Is Conversational AI Right For Your Dealership?
There’s been a lot of conversation about conversational AI this year. By now, you know that conversational AI is artificial intelligence that uses Natural Learning Processes (NLP) and Natural Learning Understanding (NLU) to help machines communicate with people through human-like conversations. True conversational AI asks open-ended questions, such as STELLA’s favorite, “How can I help you?”, instead of close-ended or either/or scenarios such as: “Press 1 for Sales”. And, while the phrase “conversational AI” is not yet in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, you realize that conversational AI has actual intelligence behind it. That intelligence gives a conversational AI platform the ability to recognize a speaker’s intent so that it can respond with the most relevant information, similar to how a typical human-to-human conversation would occur.
You already know that conversational AI technology, like STELLA, can pick up the majority of your BDC workload or, at a minimum, all of your inbound, repetitive, support tasks. Even with this knowledge, you may be wondering whether conversational AI is the right choice for your dealership or dealer group. In order to evaluate this decision for your store, it’s vital to know where your dealership’s processes currently stand. Consider the following:
1. How many calls are you missing each day?
If measuring the number of missed calls per day is too granular, what about the number of missed calls per week? Or, per month?
If you aren’t sure how many calls are currently going unanswered each day, odds are good that you are underestimating the amount of business that could be gained by implementing a conversational AI platform. Regardless of whether you have 10 missed calls a day or 100, those calls represent customers your dealership is turning away – and revenue that you are giving to another, more responsive, dealership. Even one missed call a day is one too many. This is especially true when intelligent voice assistant technology is available to prevent future missed calls. Why would you throw money away if you don’t have to? That’s really what it comes down to with conversational AI. Once a conversational AI platform, like STELLA, is implemented in the store, there are, simply, no more missed calls. Every inbound call can be answered on the first ring. Every. Single. One.
Moreover, removing the inbound calls from your staff’s workload enables them to prioritize the outbound, revenue-generating tasks that truly grow your business. A 2020 worldwide study of over 10,000 employees found that an average of over three hours a day is spent on manual, repetitive computer tasks*. If you’re considering a BDC representative’s job functions, this number could be significantly, and unnecessarily, higher. Repetitive tasks kill creativity and high-functioning productivity. They cost your dealership in labor, employee error, and reduced productivity, while also causing physical, mental and psychological health hazards. This all has a tangible effect on your business too. It’s costing you an average of 19 days per employee per year**. Take a minute to tally up the cost of that for your store. Equally as impactful is the fact that data entry is the world’s most hated task*. Think about it. There’s a global consensus on how much data entry is hated and yet what do you ask your BDC staff to do? That’s right, data entry.
This is where you can improve your dealership culture while increasing your bottom line with conversational AI. By taking all of those manual, repetitive tasks off of your employees and turning them over to a platform like STELLA, you’re not only allowing them to become more productive employees, but also decreasing your risk of error as well.
2. Are your service bays optimized?
Given the current macroeconomics in America, optimizing your service bay is turning out to be a key component of retail automotive financial success. Many dealers think their service bays are optimized until they examine the numbers. How many no-shows did your service department have this week? What is your appointment scheduling plan? Do you book your staff based on the number of hours or the number of appointments?
Let’s say your service bay is currently operating at 75% productivity with five technicians, meaning that your technicians are working an average of 6 out of 8 hours a day. At a rate of $140 an hour per technician, you’ve lost $1,400 a day, or $352,800 a year (based on 21 working days a month). Increasing your productivity by 5% or 10% would have a significant impact on your bottom line. One of the easiest areas to increase productivity is in the appointment-setting process. Your conversational AI platform can schedule service appointments in a way that’s most efficient for your technicians. Dealers simply cannot afford to have technicians standing around waiting, or a service bay that’s overbooked. Both lead to dissatisfied customers, which leads to lower CSI scores, customer loyalty and decreased revenue.
3. Are all of your service advisors set up with voicemail that they actually use?
Along with optimizing your service bay, it’s important to evaluate your phone system. Do all of your service advisors have their own properly set-up voicemail at your dealership? And, equally as important, do they check that voicemail? Ask any of your customers, voicemail at dealerships is like a black hole. The calls go in and are never found again. One of the great benefits of implementing conversational AI within a dealership is the ability to dramatically decrease the number of calls that go to voicemail at your store. The more calls your dealership actually handles with the support of a strong conversational AI platform like STELLA, the greater your customer experience and profits will be.
No matter where your dealership falls on the spectrum – whether you’re measuring every call that’s gone unanswered or truly aren’t sure how many calls your dealership is missing, STELLA can help. Once your store stops missing calls, optimizes service bay appointments, and sends fewer calls to voicemail, you’ll be amazed at how productive your dealership becomes! And it’s all possible while also improving the dealership culture for your staff. Conversational AI is a win-win for every dealership. Contact STELLA to get started today.
Eric Painter, National Sales Director
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The STELLA Conversation AI technology is automotive's leading digital assistant.