How AI and Intelligent Messaging Help Dealers Increase Sales and Service Revenue
The internet and social media have created a society of consumers who expect information immediately at any time of day or night. In an always-connected world, information is so readily available that our expectation of instant satisfaction has spilled over to our interactions with businesses. Customers just won’t wait for a response.
Even dealerships with seemingly long hours like 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. won’t cut it — and 24/7 call centers are expensive and don’t provide the level of expertise and care your customers expect. We recently conducted a mystery shop study of more than 1,500 dealerships to gauge their responses to leads from their website and social networks, and the results were less than stellar.
The study found that only 16% of dealers responded to leads with a price quote within 15 minutes, despite data that shows internet shoppers who receive a response within 10 minutes are three times more likely to visit the dealership. See the rest of the results at digitalairstrike.com/lead-response-white-paper.
With a growing number of consumers with short attention spans and high expectations of business response times, how do dealerships maintain a competitive edge? The answer is artificial intelligence (AI), which powers intelligent messaging. Dealerships can use AI-powered messaging platforms to free up the valuable time of salespeople by capturing and qualifying leads, searching inventory, scheduling appointments and, if needed, routing leads to appropriate team members.
This process works through the deployment of intelligent messaging bots via website chat, SMS text, and social media messengers. The bots can respond to customer inquiries within seconds, so if salespeople are tied up with in-store customers, or it’s after business hours (say, 10 p.m.), leads are still nurtured and pulled deeper into the sales funnel.
The level of sophistication available in some of today’s top intelligent messaging platforms can solve 80% of customer questions, according to a recent study by Accenture. Businesses are using AI to communicate with their customers in new ways, and consumers are OK with it. According to our 7th Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study of 4,000 car buyers and service customers, 70% of people ages 18 to 44 have used AI-powered messaging tools to contact a business, and 87% classified the experience as positive.
Additionally, 82% are willing to use messaging tools to get information about a business, and 88% would book appointments through the technology. These early-stage interactions can easily be handled by AI-powered bots and deliver information to customers 24/7.
Not only do intelligent messaging platforms make operations more efficient, but their 24-hour availability has also been shown to improve customer satisfaction. Forbes recently reported that 75% of companies using AI have seen customer service ratings increase by an average of 10%.
This increase in satisfaction can be the difference between closing a sale or losing a customer to a competitor. Simply placing the right chat feature on a dealership website can increase website to lead conversions dramatically.
State-of-the-art intelligent messaging platforms are already helping dealers sell more cars and schedule more service appointments.
“The AI technology communicates with our customers who message us through Google Text My Business and on Facebook Marketplace, and then directs the conversation to a team member when they are ready to buy,”
says Brett Boatright, general manager of Arizona Dodge and Winslow Ford.
“The fact that the leads are sent directly to our CRM makes follow-up much more efficient. [The platform] also sends vehicle price quotes — without getting salespeople involved until they're needed,”
This not only makes capturing leads easier, it also provides a solution for dealerships that lack the resources to stay engaged with consumers around the clock.
Now is a critical time for dealerships to prepare for leads from car shoppers via messaging. AI enhances the customer experience and makes businesses more efficient.
Technology trends come and go, but some are more disruptive than others. This one is destined to change the industry forever. Interested in other automotive industry trends? Get the results from our latest Social Media Trends Study at digitalairstrike.com/trends.
Alexi Venneri is co-founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike — a leading social media and digital engagement and intelligent messaging company that works with thousands of businesses worldwide, and creator of the Response Path intelligent messaging platform. Alexi has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and is a pioneer in digital response, social marketing, and online reputation management. Alexi has a BA in marketing from the University of Calgary, and is an accredited trainer at the University of Washington as well as the Pacific Institute. She supports numerous charitable organizations and works closely with ARME and the Beagle Freedom Project, nonprofit organizations that rescue and rehabilitate animals.