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Nov. 22, 2019—On Nov. 13, ASA Automotive and Openbay announced a strategic partnership that allows ASA customers using TireMaster services access to Openbay’s AI-based messaging platform—Openbay Otis.

Currently, the number of shops that are utilizing Otis is in the 100s. Single shops and multi-locations are using it. 

Rob Infantino, CEO of Openbay, discussed the decision to partner with ASA and explained the benefits of Otis with Ratchet+Wrench.  

Why did Openbay decide to partner with ASA?

 Companies “think” that by combining their offerings and teams, value will be created and delivered to the customer. This approach works from time to time, but less often than you might think. 

The second way, which is the preferred way (in our opinion) is the way the ASA - Openbay partnership came about; customer-driven. Meaning customers drove the partnership. Customers see the value created. Customers experience the value created. And, customers vote with their dollars. So, this is a more natural way partnerships get established, lower risk and greater chance for success. 

From our point of view, this partnership opens many doors that would not have been easily opened. ASA has in place established trust relationships with a unique segment of the market—large, enterprise-level, multi-location automotive service businesses that sell tires. This partnership allows Openbay access to this highly regarded segment of the market and allows us to develop unique features of our offerings making Openbay more valuable to customers. 

How does Otis provide value? 

Otis is a shop’s 24/7/365-day per year service advisor that never sleeps, eats, takes coffee breaks or goes on vacation. It works on the shop's website, interacting with website visitors. Having a website is good, but adding intelligence to it is better and offers its visitors a more interactive and a satisfying experience.

Otis will answer general questions about the business, such as, “What type of vehicles do you service?” It can generate price estimates for specific year-make and models. It can book a service appointment. We see a 2:1 ratio appointments to quotes requested. It offers 2-way texting. It also supports live chat and call center features. 

Openbay also offers a free mobile app that interacts with Otis. You can see its performance in real time.  

Will Otis eliminate the need for an actual person serving as a service advisor? 

We see Otis as complementary to any human service advisor, any website or any business. Getting a vehicle serviced can be an emotional process for a vehicle owner, especially when a large price tag is involved. The service advisor can sense that emotion and help a vehicle owner walk through the process. Otis is not there (yet). Humans are still needed! 

The flip side of this is AI is needed for a specific segment of the market. We talked about the digital born generation. These segments shop for services online. They expect instant gratification when shopping. They expect the information they are seeking to be readily available when they are online - this could be at 10 PM or 3 AM. They may want to know the types of services offered, pricing and availability. They want to feel good about their decision, too. A company that delivers a great online experience will get the business. 

How does an offering like Otis help grow Openbay? 

We want the market to think about Openbay not only as an online marketplace where new customer acquisition happens, but as a provider of online intelligent tools to help grow automotive service businesses. We have the tools that vehicle owners want to use. 

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