CommentaryMay 23rd, 2020

Chatbot - Friend or Foe


What exactly is a chatbot? 

A chatbot is exactly what it sounds like: A robot that managesyour conversations. The bot simulates a human-like interaction to give shoppersthe information they are looking for. Bots are trained and then speak on yourbehalf, answering the most frequently asked questions while continuouslylearning your audience’s needs and interests. 

Who uses chatbots? 

Sephora, Spotify, and 1-800-flowers are just a few of the largercorporations that have chatbots on their website. Meaning, when you engage withtheir customer service, you’re most likely speaking with their AI-powered robotthat can quickly answer your questions. According to Forbes, Sephora’s chatbot led toan 11% increase in makeover appointments when it started using a messengerchatbot. 

WebEngage writes that “over 54% of respondents in a recent study preferredengaging with a brand via a chatbot, and not an app. The potential for userengagement is absolutely massive, provided the chatbots are intelligent enoughto hold up a meaningful conversation with multiple users.” Forbes also claims that the globalchatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025, with an annualgrowth rate of nearly 25%. 

Benefits of chat

Why invest in a chatbot? Because virtual assistants work. Theytransform your website into a smoother and more efficient user experience. Infact, with the help of chatbots, businesses can reduce their customer servicecosts by upto 30% and saveemployees’ and customers’ valuable time and energy alike. These bots speed upresponse rates, and free employees from questions that are practicallyroutine. 

With chatbots, you don’t need to rely on the limitations ofhumans-- like sleep or coffee breaks. They can be active 24 hours, 7 days aweek. Even if you’re experiencing high volume, the robot can provide the samelevel of service swiftly to each and every potential buyer. 

Shoppers today are also impatient and high maintenance. There’s nohiding it. On average, browsers will refuse to wait more than a mere 10 secondsfor a response to their message. When a robot is managing your chat, there willbe zero wait time, which will likely keep the shopper more engaged throughout,therefore prompting them to stay and eventually convert. 

Chatbots for automotive 

Luckily for dealers, some chatbots are actually built forautomotive. Shoppers expect call centers, BDC teams, and sales reps to knowdetails on all inventory, advanced features, lease offers, OEM offers, etc. Youname it, customers want to know it. Instead of relying on human memory andmonthly training with the team, chatbots automatically learn your new inventoryand simultaneously incorporate this into their responses. A chatbot becomesyour personal specialist on day one and can represent your dealership with nohuman errors. 

Tackling chat myths. 

Bots are stupid: Actually, bots are smarter than humans and havethe ability to optimize in seconds. Every conversation that it has helps thebot learns your shoppers’ wants and needs. 

Bots say embarrassing things: Some chatbots are trained on how torespond to users based on their input. If they ever get confused or senses thatthe user is frustrated many times, it will try to get contactinformation. 

Bots don’t know everything: Correct, but neither do people. Andmany times, chatbots come in with a lot more information at their fingertipsthan a human could–i.e. the person’s previous browsing history, entireinventory, and all vehicle specials. 

So, friend or foe? 

Here’s the bottom line: the average consumer not only requests quick answers, but expects them. If dealers are ready for the next step forward, they’ll invest in chatbots in 2020. This is one step closer to relating to shoppers who are used to interacting with smart, efficient digital engagement in their everyday lives. Say goodbye to manual, slow chat times, and hello to the future of conversational marketing. 

Ilana Shabtay is the VP of Marketing at Fullpath, Automotive’s first customer data and experience platform (CDXP). She is an experienced marketer, highly skilled in digital marketing and artificial intelligence, and the host of the InsideAuto podcast. Having spent almost a decade in the automotive industry, Ilana continues to develop critical skills to drive marketing and serve the dealership community in a new era of technology.

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