The Business Case for Conversational AI in Retail Automotive
Conversational AI is transforming the landscape of day-to-day processes. By the end of 2020, over 37% of all American households had a smart home device, such as Amazon’s Alexa. *By 2025, it is forecasted that over $28.7 billion will have been spent on smart home devices in the United States alone. The use of natural language processing and understanding has already become a trusted part of many Americans’ lives, so why has there been a delay in using it for retail automotive?
Honestly, it may just be an issue of clarity. What is conversational AI? How is it different than what you experience in other industries? How can conversational AI best support retail automotive dealerships? Let’s start by defining what conversational AI really is – and isn’t.
Conversational AI, specifically speech-based virtual assistants, use natural language processing to determine both the intent and needs of a caller. It can recognize accents or different languages (such as Spanish) and route the caller to a predetermined employee for language fluency, if needed. It is not a menu of limited preset options, or a “select 1 for Sales or 2 for Service” phone tree. It provides open-ended questions for the caller, such as “how may I help you?” and will actually improve upon its own technology as it is used. For dealers, this means that the more a conversational AI platform is used to schedule service appointments, the more efficient it will become by recognizing patterns of customer needs that are unique to your store. Conversational AI is not a replacement for your employees. It is implemented to support them so that they can become trained in higher-level tasks within your dealership.
When evaluating the business case for conversational AI in your specific dealership, the first item to consider is the dealership’s unique priorities. Where would conversational AI fit in best if you were to implement it tomorrow? The majority of businesses use conversational AI technology to handle repetitive tasks – both online and over the phone. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, “finely tuned conversational systems can provide a more personal and engaging experience as they help users perform rote tasks.” **Conversational AI platforms are very good at solving specific problems, so it’s important to determine what those areas are for your dealership or dealerships.
Some of the areas where conversational AI platforms perform the best are:
1. Handling customer FAQs
2. Scheduling service appointments
3. Recognizing languages other than English when spoken
4. Sending appointment reminders or confirmations
5. Identifying the need for problem escalations, when necessary
6. Taking care of vehicle status checks in the Service Drive
7. Troubleshooting real-time during customer calls
If any of these areas sound like problem areas in your store, it might be time to consider implementing a conversational AI platform, like STELLA Automotive AI. In addition to all of the above strengths, this new technology frees employees to focus on outbound, revenue-generating calls and customers on the lot. Conversational AI implemented into the dealership’s phone system also ensures that every call is handled on the first ring, with consistent professionalism, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It’s one of the best ways to support both your staff and your customers at the same time!
Jennifer Sanford, Vice President, Marketing and Industry Relations
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The STELLA Conversation AI technology is automotive's leading digital assistant.