Automotive Q&A with STELLA
Q: How can you be sure to get the most benefit from your dealership’s automotive service scheduler?
A: Install a conversational AI voice assistant and integrate it with your existing service scheduler for 24-hour online and offline access. Let me explain…
A dealership’s automotive service scheduler software helps service departments manage daily operations. It integrates with a new or used car dealership’s DMS and is typically installed on the dealership’s website as well. It can also give customers the ability to schedule their service appointments online. At its most fundamental level, the service scheduler allows managers within a dealership’s Service Department to create, manage, and track scheduled maintenance and repair orders on a range of vehicles. It typically includes features such as scheduling auto repair appointments, accessing customer records, ordering necessary parts for vehicles in an automotive repair shop, and invoicing.
There are numerous automotive service schedulers available to retail auto dealerships. The most common include Xtime, DealerFX, MyKaarma and Update Promise. Some OEMs even offer incentives to dealers for using specific schedulers on their websites.
Automotive service and appointment schedulers vary in their product offerings and integration capabilities. Because dealership managers and service advisors are the primary users, these tools must integrate with a multitude of DMS providers. When used as a store’s online appointment scheduler, the same software must also integrate with automotive website providers. It’s never been more important for dealerships to enable customers to schedule appointments online than it is right now.
Despite the increase in online service scheduling, new and used vehicle owners still call dealerships to schedule appointments. In fact, according to JD Power, 59% of all appointments are still set by people picking up the phone and calling into the dealership. With online options, why do so many people still choose to call a dealership? Some find the online interface difficult to use. Others simply prefer using the phone to schedule auto repair appointments.
As a result, each dealership’s phone system must be integrated with its automotive service scheduler in order for these dealerships to experience optimal results. When humans answer the phone at a dealership, they must handle caller details in a sequential manner. For example, the dealership employee needs to confirm the caller’s name, phone number, vehicle needing service, repair needed, transportation type, etc. All of that takes time and access to a computer with the scheduling software open and working.
And, of course, humans can only answer one call at a time.
This is where a conversational AI voice assistant, like STELLA, improves not only the service scheduler tool itself but also the customer’s service scheduling experience. A great conversational AI voice assistant can recognize existing customers from their phone numbers alone and instantaneously identify the vehicles in their record. The ideal conversational AI assistant accomplishes this while also presenting available times for service that work best with the caller’s schedule. The maximum phone time to schedule an oil change appointment should be under 2 minutes.
In addition to the basic must-haves for a successful conversational AI voice assistant integration, dealers should look for other capabilities as well. These include: creating new customer records in the scheduler, accurately mapping repair needs to automotive labor operation codes (“op codes”), arranging transportation methods for the customer, setting up confirmation calls and even transferring calls upon request. A reliable conversational AI assistant understands the customer’s intent without he or she using specific verbal prompts or having to select specific keys on his or her phone.
When dealerships integrate an existing service scheduler with the evolving technology and intelligence behind a conversational AI assistant, they create a full online and offline, 24/7, customer experience. To learn more about how this can become a reality for your dealership, call 727-955-3550 or visit meetstella.ai.
Article By: Jennifer Sanford, VP of Marketing & Industry Relations.
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