You can’t go very far these days without seeing something that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) in some way – especially in the automotive industry – and the collision industry is following suit, specifically in the workflow process.

Delegates were told at a conference that AI-assisted decisions allow for increased levels of automation, early determination of severity, and accurate and persistent assessments – all of which will help the claim chain increase profitability and margins, especially in the body shop.

According to research, 72% of consumers desire a fully automated AI claims and repair experience, with 83% fully trusting of automotive claims driven entirely by AI.

Digital damage capture technology is the biggest innovation in the collision repair process in recent years. It brings with it the opportunity for speedier and more consistent damage estimating processes. Using an application that can be used by both consumers and body shop personnel, owners or technicians can submit a group of photographs that AI analyses to identify the vehicle, parts, and the damage and its severity in just 30 seconds. It can then produce a pre-estimate, line-by-line, automated report within three minutes – a process that normally takes around 30 minutes.

Digital damage capture software also speeds up the triage journey, ensuring that a total loss does not slip through the cracks to the repair workflow, saving both cycle time and storage and manpower costs.

There are many benefits to implementing AI-driven processes for body shops and MSOs to drive efficiency and higher margins.  Body shops are increasingly pressured to have the skills and capabilities to deal with more complex repairs and consumer demand toward automation, but they are not technology businesses and often don’t have the resources and skills to build the technology required for the new repair world that we all face today. By implementing these new AI ways of working, body shops can expect to see faster cycle times, improved productivity, better customer service, with more than three in four consumers favouring body shops that can provide more digital channels to quote, book and track repairs.

Employee productivity is improved by guiding the technicians through appropriate repair procedures and minimising the requirement for research. “It helps body shop technicians and employees to do the right thing without having to spend hours figuring out what that right thing is. Customer experience will be significantly enhanced through shorter repair cycle times, better customer experiences, and thus improving customer satisfaction and service. Body shops can then focus on their repair procedures and execution and be less concerned about estimating and ordering.”

The repair review tool in the AI system can be used to validate what has been submitted and make sure no actions have been missed. Less skills and staff are required equalling less operational costs to deliver the new normal.

There’s a significant lack of skill entering the repair industry in terms of appraisers and technicians and AI will lessen the recruitment burden by providing the appropriate repair procedures and data.

Some guidance to body shops is to embrace this technology today or face the danger of being left behind. People are going to come to your body shop because you have the capability and the technology to make it a seamless, easy and fast process for them to transact with you.