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Why Automotive Dealerships Should Adopt AI With Josselyn Boudett

  • April 4, 2023
16 min read
Why Automotive Dealerships Should Adopt AI With Josselyn Boudett

Ilana Shabtay, Fullpath
VP of Marketing

Josselyn Boudett, STELLA Automotive AI
Founder and CEO

Josselyn Boudett is the Founder and CEO of STELLA Automotive AI, an AI-powered voice assistant that handles inbound calls, answers questions, and books appointments for businesses. As a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in AI, Josselyn has led and advised technology companies that have helped large enterprises deploy AI. She has also worked in commercial real estate, FinTech, retail, and other verticals to help companies predict and adapt to dynamic market events.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Josselyn Boudett shares how she entered the automotive industry
  • Josselyn’s thoughts on ChatGPT’s adoption and impact on the automotive space
  • How people have reacted to STELLA Automotive AI replacing humans
  • How will AI affect service delivery in dealerships?

In this episode…

To build a successful dealership, you need to identify, understand, and engage with your customers. Although chatbots are popular with many dealerships, their potential to satisfy customer needs is limited. How can you embrace progressive technology to provide exceptional customer experiences?

The automotive industry is overlooking 30% of phone calls, and the average consumer wait time is five minutes. AI can improve service delivery and drive sales by automating repetitive tasks and streamlining workflows. By implementing AI in your dealership, you can provide personalized service that resolves customer concerns instantly.

Josselyn Boudett, the Founder and CEO of STELLA Automotive AI, joins Ilana Shabtay in this episode of the InsideAuto Podcast to talk about AI’s adoption in the automotive space. They also discuss the benefits of ChatGPT and how STELLA Automotive AI supports dealerships.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Fullpath (formerly AutoLeadStar).

Fullpath is the automotive industry’s leading customer data and experience platform (CDXP).

Fullpath enables dealers to turn their first-party data into lifelong customers by unifying siloed data sources and leveraging that data to create exceptional, hyper-personalized customer experiences.

To learn more, visit

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to InsideAuto Podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you’d want to talk to you in and out of the automotive industry.

Ilana Shabtay 0:14

Ilana Shabtay here host of InsideAuto Podcast where we interview top dealers GMs, marketers, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. And before we introduce today’s special guest, this episode is sponsored by AutoLeadStar is automotive’s first and leading customer data and experience platform to help dealers invest in CDXPs to unify dealership data sources, automatically create one-to-one customized journeys and execute omni-channel shopping experiences. Today we’re welcoming, we’re welcoming Josselyn Boudett. The show. Thanks so much for joining us.

Josselyn Boudett 0:50

I’m so glad to be here. Thank you, world traveler. I

Ilana Shabtay 0:52

appreciate you joining all the way from Singapore.

Josselyn Boudett 0:55

Yeah, it’s a pleasure. I’m here visiting our office. We have about 70 employees here.

Ilana Shabtay 1:02

That is that’s incredible. And you have a few more offices, correct?

Josselyn Boudett 1:06

I do. Yeah, I have an office in Zurich, Switzerland, and in Tampa. And then I’ve got sort of clusters in Boston and LA.

Ilana Shabtay 1:15

That’s, that’s awesome. I think it’s great to be able to run successful global company and we’ll talk about that. But just to give you a proper intro here. Josselyn is the CEO of Stella Automotive AI. She’s a serial entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in AI. Justin has led and advise technology companies that help large enterprise companies deploy AI. She has worked in commercial real estate, FinTech, retail, and other verticals to help Bonnell predict and adapt dynamic market events. So really an expert in in artificial intelligence, which we love to talk about here inside automotive, and I’m really looking forward to this conversation. So let’s, let’s chat a bit. I know you’ve been in all certain, and all different industries, how did you get into automotive specifically?

Josselyn Boudett 2:03

You know, by invitation, we had built some AI for some large OEMs in the heavy equipment space. And I have a long history in the manufacturing area. And I hired an employee that had worked at a auto software company. And when she joined and saw what we had built, she freaked out and said, We have to go to auto so really, that it was just a passionate employee. And then we made some phone calls, and started showing our products. And we actually surveyed the auto market to find out what product was wanted and, and then and then brought that

Ilana Shabtay 2:48

that’s really that’s really interesting. And how long has it been that you’ve actually broken into automotive?

Josselyn Boudett 2:54

Well, we launched in soft launch in nada 2022, we had a very good market response. And we hired our sales team in round August, and really got into market in the fall this year. And I think we’ve just entered a hyper growth phase.

Ilana Shabtay 3:16

Yeah, that’s incredible. I mean, as you know, AI is the center of every conversation right now in and out of automotive, something that really consumes my entire LinkedIn feed is chat GPT. And by the way, my my tic tock and rails and everything that I see is all about ChatGPT. What are your thoughts about that, and predictions about the impact of GPT? And what Google came out with with Bard? Like, where do you think that’s gonna go? Where do you think that’s gonna take us?

Josselyn Boudett 3:46

Well, I think we’re very early. And I think it’s incredibly exciting and sort of mind blowing, what can be done. And for me, it it really elevated the understanding of AI and has catalyzed a strong demand for products like mine at Stella Automotive. And so it’s just been a good thing all the way around, I would say, almost every investor in my company wanted to know what ChatGPT With. It has also been in my inbox in any case narrative in the last few months. But overall, you know, that’s just an incredibly exciting product. And I think it’s just the beginning of what can be done with AI.

Ilana Shabtay 4:35

Yeah, I do think that you mentioned this a little bit, but I think there’s something there was something very foreign about AI, even if a lot of the technologies that dealerships were adopting, were using AI or were developed with AI because there wasn’t like a direct you know, consumer experience with it, but with ChatGPT that what I’m finding out least is it’s breaking that barrier a bit. And people are just interacting with something that’s incredibly powerful. Based on AI. I mean, of course, you have Siri and Alexa and other things. But there’s something about being able to write an essay or write a blog post or write code right in front of your eyes that I think breaks that down a little bit and gives people an understanding of how powerful AI is. Do you think that like, that psychologically changed? And that’s kind of what what made this become a catalyst for adoption for things like Stella or is it something else about you know, is it just because it’s a key narrative that it’s like a sexy thing that everyone wants to adopt? Like, what do you think it is?

Josselyn Boudett 5:42

Well, I think we can unpack it a little. I mean, the first thing I’ll say is Stella itself is mind blowing. So Stella answers a phone and talks on the telephone with consumers, unsupervised as an AI having full 15 back and forth, negotiating time discussing opcodes answering questions, transferring calls, taking voicemails, without any human intervention, completely automated AI. So if you just Paris dela to the market, I think what we delivered to auto brushes, anything you’ve seen in airline hospitality, trillion, billion dollar industries don’t have what we brought to auto. So I think we have had an experience of people going, Whoa, this is completely different. I think the auto industry has been dabbling and chatbot technology, which really wasn’t that impressive, because it can only kind of start something but not finished. It was start something and then quick as possible, get it to a BDC or still is the first product that actually replaces completely humans, and completes the process. So we consider ourselves deep tech in the area of ChatGPT. It ChatGPT however, is a whole other level. What that is, is generative AI, which is is it has learned from things that it knows and can repurpose information and create new content. That is, in particularly mind blowing. But just to compare like for Stella, I mean, when was the last time Siri called you, and had a long dialogue with you about a movie, right? So I’m already I’m like, Yeah, I’m fully on board. ChatGPT is awesome. But it for me it it put a punctuation point, that there is real AI in the market is now where I really think that the automotive industry has been, you know, not seen it yet. And a lot of our when we’re out meeting dealers, you know, this is the first time usually was Stella that they’ve seen AI. Now, what’s the response? Like,

Ilana Shabtay 7:56

when you say, it replaces humans, I know that’s something that dealers are often nervous about. On the one hand, they want the best technology and technology that works and technology will that will get them the most service customers in their doors, meaning that’s, that’s the end of the day, their goal. So if Stella can do, you know, Stella or whatever other AI product can deliver them, that’s what they’re gonna go with. But I still feel like there’s a aversion to something that completely replaces humans, how what’s that experience been like?

Josselyn Boudett 8:29

Well, I would say, you know, I think I was cautious with it early on. But you know, now that we have so many dealers and dealer groups on, I’m much more comfortable with it, because two things one, no one needs to lose their job, there are so many best practices to execute upon as a dealer that are truly missed. The first being most call centers are focused on inbound when they should be focused on outbound. So the first thing that will happen is we remove a huge chunk of calls, and free up the team to do other things. The other thing is, the industry right now is missing about 30% of their phone calls, that the average hold time is five minutes, people are hanging up, service sucks, scores are down. So I don’t think there’s any problem automating the area. And then there’s always going to be, you know, an air of things that a computer can do well, which is repetitive processes, and then things that humans do better, which is complicated things. And so, you know, the way we view that is Stella will do the best job on repetitive processes. And if anything gets complicated, it goes to the BDC. What that results in is about 40% of calls are handled by Stella today, and you know, we hope to lean in more on that. But um, you know, and then the flip side of it is dealers having a hard time hiring, and they’re having to pay more, and they’re the amount of time they spend training people getting them on boarded hired, there’s high turnover. And we have one group that has At 20 job openings for the BDC unfillable, right, and I’m like, well, Stella will apply for all 20. We could take a big chunk of your, your, your, your, your BDC and automate it. But I don’t see it as threatening. I think most younger people don’t like jobs that are repetitive and boring. And they don’t mind getting rid of that kind of work.

Ilana Shabtay 10:23

Yeah. Do you see just because you are the AI expert on today’s show? Do you see other areas not connected to Stella, necessarily, but other areas? I mean, of course, you see other areas, what other areas do you see at the dealership that you really feel like in the next year or two, I will just probably take over those monotonous, you know, repetitive jobs at the dealership? You know, I

Josselyn Boudett 10:47

think, you know, one way to look at it. I think because we’re answering the phone, we’re talking about repetitive jobs. But I think the more important narrative around AI is its ability to be simultaneous ly aware. So what you have is with people, a person walks in, or they come in through a chat, or they come, you know, into the BDC on a chat line, or they call and you have a linear process of figuring out who this person is, what their history is, if they’re a repeat customer, have they bought a car, what is going on with this person, where those are several steps to identify the person go sit down at a computer and look it up while they wait, figure it all out? Where an AI really does everything in one instant? So I think what’s coming is just this complete knowledge upfront of who you’re talking to their, their, their patterns with your company, or how valuable of a customer on their what it how is it multifamily members? Is this a broker? Or is it a commercial account? And what sort of where are they located? What are their preferences? What are their normal behaviors and things that and then what’s going on with their connected car, you know, and all of that, simultaneously, you walk in? And it’s like, well, it’s Josselyn, I know what car she drives, I have a high probability, you know, based on her mileage that she’s here for a 50,000 mile checkup. And they almost know what why, why somebody’s there before they get there. And I think that’s what’s coming to the rooftop. I think that’s what customers want. If you look in other markets where AI exists, that’s where customers go, where it’s really think of an airline that knows you versus an airline that just treats you like nobody I mean, people want loyalty programs, they like being known and recognized. Will AI is that on steroids.

Ilana Shabtay 12:47

Yeah, it’s so interesting, because it’s like these little things, too. I have a mileage. You know, I’m a frequent flyer with all the airlines but with American Airlines when I call it says, Hello, Ilana, we’ve identified you by your phone number. I mean, I’m sure you’re you’re you’re

Josselyn Boudett 13:01

like yeah, they’re gonna hook me up they’re gonna do care and then they don’t have a lifeline, right? Yeah, otherwise

Ilana Shabtay 13:10

honestly, it’s saved so much time now united. I just started flying united with United specifically they they fly international Israel. So it’s like, I’m always on the phone with them whenever I’m traveling. And they don’t do that. And I have to tell you, I’m not such a sucker for like, Oh, let me chat instead of call. I’m, I’m very different. In that sense. With my generation. I do like calling. I think it’s easier sometimes to just talk to someone on the phone. I’m not afraid of talking to people but but that extra step takes a really does add five minutes to the call. And it really, like down to the core will will bother me and I think like exactly what you said, there is a way to identify the shopper and exactly what’s happening and probably be 95% accurate, why they’re even. You know why they’re even coming into the showroom. So

Josselyn Boudett 14:04

AI can do it on three levels. But I would say you’re statistically normal. Because what what happened after COVID? Was everybody doubled down on phones. You think, oh, the millennials are coming. They only tact I’ll tell you what happened during COVID as phones doubled. You know what they don’t want to drive in. Right?

Ilana Shabtay 14:25

And no one and chatting. You know, no one wants to wait, that’s

Josselyn Boudett 14:30

all damn. So everybody knows if you go to the chat bot, it’s going to fail in about one minute right now. Mark? Yeah. So we strangely phones are getting slammed. We do have dealer groups that are you know, putting in these things to interrupt the phone call. I noticed that you’ve been holding Can we move to chat, but I mean, if they wanted to chat they would have chatted, they called you. Yeah, yeah. So I think you know, you need to meet them where they are and the customer Cars are on the phones.

Ilana Shabtay 15:01

Yeah, I think it’s great that there’s a really, really powerful solution for that. I think dealerships in general, need to be just adopting AI in every facet, real good, like real AI that can actually, you know, create customers for life by just making experiences that that shoppers want today. So I appreciate that. And I think your expertise is, is making the product what it is. So I appreciate you sharing that with us today. Any last words before we sign off here?

Josselyn Boudett 15:32

Oh, well, I’m just thrilled to talk about AI. I, you know, I would say, there’s a lot of confusion around what it is. And the part of the reason why just to have some compassion for our listeners, is the definition has really changed. Okay, and so like in 2000, what we said was AI, you know, is now common, and you might not call it AI, Rand. And I would say one thing that’s just occurred is ChatGPT. And, and products, like Stella, have thrown down the gauntlet and redefined it as, whoa. This is just, you know, I’m in the Amazon cloud. And I know how to share data. This is like, I can crunch information and be intelligent. And the level of intelligence I think, is mind blowing. And I just say we’re really excited about the narrative here. And Otto.

Ilana Shabtay 16:26

Yeah, yeah, I am, too. We are to thank you so much for joining us today. All the way from Singapore again. I know you don’t live there, but it’s a nice day only from Israel, right. Yeah, right. Super global. But thank you so much. Again, Josselyn, we appreciate it InsideAuto Podcast. And if you liked this episode, please tune in on all your favorite streaming channels. So thanks again.

Outro 16:52

Thanks for listening to InsideAuto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

  • Automotive
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  • Customer Experience

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