At 8:15 AM I called Safelite Auto Glass for a quote to fix a chip in my car’s windshield. I wasn’t expecting to get the work done today, but the customer service rep gave me a great deal. We scheduled the appointment for 9:30 AM. Then he asked if he could send me an email confirmation.
Normally I don’t give out my email address because I don’t want to get on another mailing list. However, in my past experience there’s been miscommunication between the corporate call center and the place of service. In truth, the $50 Safelite quote was way below the $140 dealer quote I got the day before. An email confirmation of the quote would clear up any issues should they arise. So I obliged.
What I usually do next is put the appointment in my calendar. It’s a habit I tried very hard to make over the years. No matter how soon the appointment is put it in the calendar to remember to do it!
A funny thing happened when I opened my calendar. There was an event there that said Repair your WINDSHIELD already. It had the proper time and everything.
Took me a minute to realize what had happened. The email confirmation was sent to my personal email. I use Google’s Gmail.
Turns out Google made a calendar event based on the information in that email. I use Google Calendar too. Gmail + Calendar + Google stuff was able to parse the proper event name, the time, and the location.
Then at 8:50 AM, my phone buzzed. A notification told me to leave by 9:07 AM because there is heavy traffic on the way there. I even got driving directions. By the way, there’s always heavy traffic in Chicago.
By 10:30 AM I left the Safelite shop with a repaired windshield.
I felt like I had a personal assistant this morning. I had a glimpse of artificial intelligence, but not once did I feel like I was in a sci-fi movie.
The coolest thing about my “personal assistant” experience is that it didn’t require sci-fi technology. It was amazing for sure, but I didn’t call out to Siri or ask my non-existent robot butler. It all started with a simple low tech thing: email.