Shell launches AI-powered service for Lubricant customers
Aug 04, 2015
Shell is the first company in the lubricants sector to launch an artificial intelligence-driven service for customers - Shell Virtual Assistant.
It is an interactive one-stop shop on the Shell website where customers and distributors can ask common lubricant-related questions, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Customers and distributors type in their question via an online message window, and avatars Emma and Ethan reply back with an appropriate answer within seconds. The interaction is similar to a chat conversation, but instead of a live person on the other end, it is all done through artificial intelligence via a technology known as Natural Language Interaction. This technology allows interaction using normal, everyday language and is also in use in certain popular personal assistant applications.
This new lubricant service by Shell is now available to customers and distributors in the United Kingdom and the United States. Shell Virtual Assistant is capable of answering questions such as: where to buy lubricants, what pack sizes are available and give information about product technical properties. The service can also attend to requests for brochures, Technical Data Sheets (TDS), Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
“Shell offers a wide range of lubricant-related services in addition to our product range. Our services help customers choose and use the right product to improve their operations. Shell Virtual Assistant is the next step in our delivery of great support - it is like having a technical expert at your fingertips, ready to answer your technical questions anytime. We are now evaluating launching Shell Virtual Assistant to other markets and in other languages in the near future,” said Roger Moulding, Vice President of Global Marketing, Shell Lubricants.
Shell Virtual Assistant can also make product recommendations based on customers’ equipment, by linking customers to Shell LubeMatch, a free online service where customers can find the right lubricants for their vehicles and equipment in seconds. Shell LubeMatch provides over two million product recommendations for Shell customers every year. It is the most robust oil selector tool in the market, available in 138 countries and 21 languages.
Shell Virtual Assistant also complements another Shell value-added lubricant service, Shell LubeAdvisor, another widely used service that helps customers optimise lubricants in their machinery. It includes a web platform, a technical helpdesk, as well as local application experts for deeper technical support. In fact, for more complex technical questions that Shell Virtual Assistant cannot answer, users are re-directed to Shell LubeAdvisor.
Shell’s business customers also want personal technical advice and support close by. In response, Shell now employs 350 technical field staff and 30 Product Application Specialists working directly with customers – more than any other lubricants supplier.
Shell Lubricants also offers other technical services such as: Shell LubeAnalyst, an oil condition monitoring service and Shell LubeCoach, a robust training programme for customers’ employees.
For more detailed information on Shell’s lubricant services, visit www.shell.com/techservices.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Shell Virtual Assistant handles more than 100,000 datasheets for 3,000 products, 18,000 different pack sizes, understands 16,500 physical characteristics of lubricants and matches Shell products to 10,000 competitive products.
- Shell customers and distributors can access Shell Virtual Assistant through the following links: the United Kingdom at www.shell.co.uk/virtualassistant and the United States at www.shell.us/virtualassistant.
- Shell LubeMatch is Shell’s most popular customer-facing technical service, with over 8 million hits in 2013. It can be accessed online here. Shell LubeMatch is also embedded within the Shell MiGarage app, available on both iOS and Android mobile platforms. Users of the Shell MiGarage app receive reminders on tasks regarding their vehicle maintenance (oil changes, insurance, etc.), locate the nearest locations that offer these services and view any lubricant promotions that are relevant to their vehicle/equipment.
- Shell LubeAnalyst is an early warning system that helps identify potential oil and equipment failures before they become critical. Customers can have an oil sample analysed in a Shell laboratory. Shell LubeAnalyst is available in 95 countries and 27 languages.
- Shell LubeCoach helps customers’ employees deliver better performance through an improved understanding and better application of lubricants.
ABOUT SHELL LUBRICANTS
The term “Shell Lubricants” collectively refers to Shell Group companies engaged in the lubricants business. Shell sells a wide variety of lubricants to meet customer needs across a range of applications. These include consumer motoring, heavy-duty transport, mining, power generation and general engineering. Shell’s portfolio of lubricant brands includes Pennzoil, Quaker State, Shell Helix, Shell Rotella, Shell Tellus and Shell Rimula. We are active across the full lubricant supply chain. We manufacture base oils in eight plants, blend base oils with additives to make lubricants in over 50 plants, distribute, market and sell lubricants in over 100 countries.
We also provide technical and business support to customers. We offer lubricant-related services in addition to our product range. These include: Shell LubeMatch, Shell LubeAdvisor and Shell LubeAnalyst. Shell’s world-class technology works to deliver value to our customers.
Innovation, product application and technical collaboration are at the heart of Shell lubricants. We have leading lubricants research centres in China, Germany, Japan (in a joint venture with Showa Shell), and the USA. We invest significantly in technology and work closely with our customers to develop innovative lubricants. We have a patent portfolio with 150 + patent series for lubricants, base oils and greases; more than 200 scientists and lubricants engineers dedicated to lubricants research and development.
Customer benefits include lower maintenance costs, longer equipment life and reduced energy consumption. One of the ways we push the boundaries of lubricant technology is by working closely with top motor racing teams such as Scuderia Ferrari and BMW Motorsport. These technical partnerships enable us to expand our knowledge of lubrication science and transfer cutting-edge technology from the racetrack to our commercial products.
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges. Shell companies have operations in more than 70 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects. For further information, visit www.shell.com
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