Have you thought about using Artificial Intelligence?

Chip Dorman

I'm curious, how many dealers have thought about using Artificial Intelligence in their marketing efforts?

Chris K Leslie

Like how? 

Chip Dorman

In your marketing. Things like lead gen, website optimization, retention, chat bots, etc.

 

Mike Cartwright

We've been using chat bots for our website for quite some time. It's effective as it saves our prospects and customers time (no waiting time). Once they have a more detailed inquiry, they are then automatically directed to our customer facing-reps.

I'm not against innovation or technology. If AI makes life easier, great. Here's my thing though...

Most (if not all) AI-powered virtual assistants are limited only to email or chat communication. They work on a single platform and cannot be integrated into your CRM. So let's say your AI assistant engages a lead and captures their information. That information is not logged in the CRM. It sends a notification to your sales manager, GM, etc. who then has to manually add the customer in the CRM--if and when they remember to. The same goes for updating customer information.

How about someone looking to schedule service? If they're on your website and your AI engages them with chat, really all that happens is your AI gathers the customer's information and passes it along. It cannot schedule actual service. A live chat operator can be trained to schedule service, saving time and minimizing the risk of a lost appointment.

I've also tested a few different AI machines, and while they certainly hold up to their promise of consistent and active follow-up, the quality of that follow-up was less than impressive. For example, with one AI I received three emails (each a couple days apart) all asking me if I was still interested. That's it. No suggestion for other options, no announcement about price changes, essentially nothing to entice me to come in.

I believe AI will play a significant role in how we do business in the future. But as it stands right now, I don't think it has developed enough to make a true impact on the automotive sector.

Chip Dorman

Sunny, chat bots and virtual assistants are the lowest form of AI, at least for now... but keep a very close eye on companies like CarLabs. 

Most chat bots are using decision tree logic driven by if/then programming. They are not using any predictive analytics or deep learning, which combine to form Machine Learning, to drive their conversations. But that is going to change in a hurry, along with connectivity to dealers' CRM/DMS systems, probably in conjunction with a single unified data layer. 

There are real AI driven marketing platforms that have recently become available for dealers that can drive what some are calling hyper-personalized emails and SMS. Or to put it another way, real, actual one-to-one communications. A segment of one.

And if you haven't seen this yet, check it out. IBM Watson is fielding questions from an ad about the Prius Prime like an expert. https://martechtoday.com/watson-mans-first-cognitive-ad-cars-199640?utm_src=ml&utm_medium=textlink&utm_campaign=mlxpost

 

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