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Convert More Phone Leads with CallRevu’s Powerful AI Technology

On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Tom Harsha, Chief Product Officer at CallRevu, a call tracking and call monitoring solutions company. Tom is here to discuss all of the exciting things CallRevu is tackling this year, including the upcoming NADA show. Be sure to check out their booth #4837C.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Hi everyone. Jim Fitzpatrick with CBT News. Thanks so much for joining us today. Today we’re happy to have with us Mr. Tom Harsha, who is Chief Product Officer at CallRevu. I know that you know the name of that company because they’ve been doing business in the automotive space for some time, and really providing a great solution to dealers nationwide. Tom, welcome into the show.

Tom Harsha: Thank you Jim.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, so let’s jump right in here. There is a lot of buzz lately around voice services, as you know, and artificial intelligence seems to be kind of the key phrase here lately in the last four or five years, in the automotive industry. Is CallRevu utilizing any of these technologies?

Tom Harsha: Yeah, I’m glad you asked. Ironically, we’ve been working on, almost for the last year and a half, a brand new platform that utilizes all the power of artificial intelligence, incorporates a lot of different technologies to actually get to the artificial intelligence. But one of the things we heard loud and clear from our dealers was that they really wanted to have all their calls, and in order to provide that capability and really give the full breadth of the caller’s journey throughout each of the departments at the dealership, we really needed a much more powerful technology, allowed us access to all the calls. In the past it was more about connected calls, and just sales calls, but we’re… I think everybody’s realizing this day and age, the entire customer’s journey matters, not just connected sales calls.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s for sure. There’s no question about it. How can dealers be sure that these new AI technologies are accurate and reliable?

Tom Harsha: The interesting thing about what we’re learning about these AI based summaries if you will, and the data we’re able to extract from these calls, it’s really incredible. We can now get down to what we call the agent and customer level. We’re able to, with the machine technology, understand gender on both sides of the calls. We can understand that is this a male or female, and what matters to that person on the call-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow. That’s amazing.

Tom Harsha: … and in each of the departments. We also can get full sentiment and emotion on every call for the whole call. So not only can we tell who we’re speaking to, but how’s it going. We can really pinpoint the location of the call where it goes bad. I always say there’s kind of a moment of truth on a phone call-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Tom Harsha: … where the customer that called in is going to get what they wanted and you’re going to answer their questions or you’re not, quite frankly. And so we actually now can pinpoint that on the call with this machine technology, which is kind of amazing if you think about it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: It’s incredible.

Tom Harsha: We’re also, now, have the machines we call beyond human parody, which means they’re actually more accurate with the data that we’ve fed them than what the humans were able to do for what we call department classification. So we can now tell you by listening to that call with machine technology exactly where the call, what department that said, and whether it converted it or not. We can tell you if an appointment was set, the customer was upset, we can even get as far as we can determine over-talk on a call now with the machine technology, which means are you interrupting your customer, and how much of the call did you interrupt your customer? So there’s a really some amazing pieces that are available now with this machine technology that allow us to scale this out and offer a level of transparency to dealers that have really never been offered before. So one of the most important things about CallRevu is with have over 25 million humans summarized and quality controlled calls in our database.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Tom Harsha: So we were actually able to use that data to train these machines on the first passes on what we were looking for, and what certain phrases in the car industry mean. And the fact that we are the only telephony provider out there that only does automotive also, is a very critical piece to the accuracy of our machine technology and artificial intelligence, because we’re focused on only auto calls. Again, we’re much more accurate training these machines on potential slang, and variations of tone, and language even. So it really makes a big difference on the accuracy of what we’re able to provide back to the dealers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So for the dealers that are listening, this sounds great, Tom. And I hear all this technology, and it sounds like just something that is way out in the future. Obviously it’s here now, but at the end of the day, how do these new technologies really help dealers sell more cars and set more service appointments, from your perspective?

Tom Harsha: It’s really incredible as we look at…. because we now start to have data on all the calls coming to the dealership. What’s really fascinating is that one of the trends we noticed, from the help of the machines, is that 71% of the calls that are coming in right now, there’s only two things customers are generally asking for when they’re low funnel. They’re coming in, and they’ve already done all the research online, and when they call in they’re actually asking about inventory. Do you have the car? The one that I saw on the website, I just want to make sure you have it before I come in-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Tom Harsha: … this weekend. And the other thing, this is the one that’s really fascinating and actually did a presentation for Honda on this a little while back, is that they’re trying to figure out if you’ll be honest with them. Before they come in, they want to confirm the payment that I saw is that actually going to be what it is? Is it accurate? It’s really fascinating that if the dealer can just pass those two tests, they actually will get the conversion a very, very high rate.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Tom Harsha: And so the machines being able to listen to all these calls and now that we know what we’re listening for, and now we can clearly pick up, okay, we’ve missed an opportunity there.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Tom Harsha: That becomes especially true. I talked about gender at the beginning. It’s really fascinating when we hear female-to-female talking, the appointment set is much higher, but when we hear female-to-male talking we see a significant dip. And so it’s really going to be great data for dealers to say, “Hey, look, if you’re talking to a female, these are the adjustments you want to make in how you’re talking to them, quite frankly.” The information you’re delivering, they’re interested in different things than oftentimes what you’re talking about. So it’s, again, I think it’s going to give the industry insights that I don’t think anybody has ever seen before, to be completely honest with you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. And it’s an industry that for a long time it was controlled by humans, while we’re so used to calling up American Express and getting AI, and Delta Airlines or for that matter any airlines, and so many other industries. So it only makes sense that this is now in the auto space, right?

Tom Harsha: Right. And I, I think what we’re constantly working towards is what I call the human machine hybrid model.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tom Harsha: In other words, there are certain aspects of it. We still want the human touch, if you will.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Tom Harsha: But again, what the machine technology is allowing CallRevu to do, we’ve been the industry standard for years on the summaries and the alerts that we send.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Tom Harsha: So you don’t want to lose what you’re the best at. The trick is what dealers were constantly telling us, Tom, is we need all the calls, right? We just don’t want connected sales calls because there’s so many other things happening. And so that leads me to maybe a final point of how do we help dealers sell cars.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Tom Harsha: So we’re actually starting to utilize the machines to understand what we call connectivity at a level that it’s never been done before in the automotive space also. So I’ll give you a quick example, I wanted to do problems they found with the recent dealer group is their Verizon tower was being upgraded to 5G, and during that process of the upgrade, they were dropping hundreds of calls for that dealership-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh my gosh.

Tom Harsha: … that originated from cell phones, from the Verizon network.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s crazy.

Tom Harsha: So it was really fascinating. You can now pinpoint that type of an issue. They are actually able to reach out to their Verizon carrier and actually have that resolved very, very quickly. And without this kind of technology, they would never even known that the calls we’re trying to be connected and established, let alone know what the carrier was, and actually go in and resolve the problem very quickly.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh my gosh. I’m putting my dealer hat back on here and listening to you.

Tom Harsha: Right.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And the hair on my back’s going up, because I couldn’t imagine telling a dealer, “You’ve got hundreds of calls that you missed altogether.” And the chances of those customers calling back are probably slim and none, they just go to the next dealer, right?

Tom Harsha: Yeah. Or if they’d been a longtime customer, they’re really frustrated with you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yes.

Tom Harsha: Which is, again, one of the things that-

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s a good point.

Tom Harsha: … good customer journey. I think when I talk about all calls, we have a tendency to gravitate towards sales, but the reality is there’s a gigantic opportunity in the service department also.

Jim Fitzpatrick: What do you say to the dealer that’s listening and says, “Oh Tom, I hear what you’re saying, but I have a BDC center. I don’t need any of that.”

Tom Harsha: Yeah. So I would say, “Congratulations on the BDC center.” Because I’ve seen a lot of those that work really well and honestly drive great results for the dealer, when they’re managed properly and they have the right KPI.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Tom Harsha: But I’m going to tell you right now with the BDC, you sure want a safety net. And what this really is, this monitoring technology that we’re all offering at the launch of NADA this year, we’ll actually safety net that that call center.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Tom Harsha: Everybody has a bad day, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Tom Harsha: How many deals do you want to lose while someone’s having a bad day. With this technology, we can monitor all those calls-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure.

Tom Harsha: … very efficiently. And alert you in near real time when someone’s having a bad day, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Or even if it’s-

Tom Harsha: The tones wrong.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … and overflow sit-

Tom Harsha: They’re upsetting customers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. Even if it’s an-

Tom Harsha: Go ahead.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … overflow situation where you’ve got three, four BDC center personnel, they’re all on the line. What’s happening to that incoming call?

Tom Harsha: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. The other thing that’s really nice about this technology, is it’s something that we can deliver at a real value price also.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Tom Harsha: In other words, because this machine, we get these things rolled up and the processes working.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Tom Harsha: And we’re able to actually do all the calls in a high volume of calls at a frankly, a great price in comparison to what it’s cost in the past with the humans, who were really, really good, but they also were expensive.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. And nowadays with margin compression on the front end, and the expenses to run a dealership overall, dealers don’t have the luxury to… they can’t afford to lose one opportunity, right? And this program that you’re talking about today, ensures that they don’t miss those opportunities. Right?

Tom Harsha: Yeah. I would say you’re spot on. And again, what’s a fascinating data point for you is we’re seeing, when we slide up new dealers on the platform that start to use it for the first time, we’re seeing between 30 and 35% of all their calls not connecting. In other words, they’re not getting to the human that they called in for.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.

Tom Harsha: So that alone, the lift that we can provide in the first 30 days-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Tom Harsha: … honestly pays for the system. It really is incredible.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, there’s no question about it. For dealers that are out there listening to this conversation and listening to Tom, Chief Product Officer at CallRevu, talk about this very important issue in dealerships and as you all know out there listening to us, that consumer is going to pick up that phone at some point in time usually before they get to the dealership. And of course in the service side they’re using the phone all the time to make those appointments. So Tom, I want to thank you so much for joining us on CBT News, it’s been very enlightening. I know our viewers will get a lot out of it. And talk to us a little bit about NADA, I know you guys are going to have a booth out there, right? If dealers want to learn more?

Tom Harsha: Yeah, I’m very excited about NADA, we’re going to have a couple of huge announcements. I can’t talk about just yet, but we’re super excited about it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Tom Harsha: We’re going to be selling the traditional product as everybody knows it now, but we are going to be previewing the conversation intelligence platform, which is what we’ve been talking about today. It’s an AI powered platform, brand new product offering for CallRevu. We literally have been working on the thing for over a year now.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Tom Harsha: So dealers are going to get their first look at this new kind of capability. Some stupid things that we’re very excited about is keyword capabilities now. So not only do you search for phone numbers, which everybody can do right now, but this technology is going to allow us to search for any words spoken in the call, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Tom Harsha: You can literally go find anything you want from as far back as you want on your phone calls. So one of the other things that we’re launching at NADA this year is a brand new support technology that’s going to be coupled with this platform. We call it Rapid Response, and it’s based off of the artificial intelligence that we get back from the system. So what that means is we actually can now monitor very, very closely abandoned call increases, call volume decreases, alert closure decreases, calls being pushed to their CRM that drop, appointment set decreases. So we literally have built AI technology that monitors every single line in an account 24/7, and anytime we see a change from that dealer specific algorithm, if you will, or an anomaly, it actually fires an automated alert, proactively contact dealer and say, “Hey, here’s what we just saw happen at your dealership. We’d like your permission to fix this.” And we’ve been beta testing this for the last 90 days now, and the feedback we’re getting from the beta dealers is off the chart. And so we’re super excited to announce this at NADA also.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow. I bet you are. And you’ll be able to give full demonstrations at your booth on that?

Tom Harsha: We will, yeah. We actually are setting up demos for the CI platform right now.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Awesome. So for dealers that are watching, you want to set up a demo, go to a CallRevu. Is it, Tom?

Tom Harsha: Yes sir.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, You can set up your appointment there to visit Tom and his team out at NADA. Their booth is 4837C. We’ll show it on the screen here as well in addition to the website. So again, Tom, thank you so much for joining us on CBT News. I appreciate all the time you gave us today, and we will see you out at NADA. Thanks so much.

Tom Harsha: My pleasure. Thank you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Thanks.

CBT Automotive Network. The number one most-watched network in retail automotive. This has been a JBF Business Media production.

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