For nearly 20 years, auto dealerships have used chat solutions on websites to capture and engage in-market car shoppers. Until recently, these options have been limited. If you’re a dealer, you can use a third-party managed solution and/or in-house staff to provide chat assistance or a chatbot that offers pre-programmed responses.
The rise of digital retailing and the increase of digital natives in the marketplace, not to mention artificial intelligence (AI), are all impacting how consumers shop and communicate. In the next few years, prepare for a chat solution that must act like a personal greeter to every customer who visits your digital showroom.
Here are five predictions for front-line chat solutions.
1. Hyper-Personalized Responses
As consumer expectations evolve, personalization in chat responses will become crucial. According to Sprout Social, 64% of consumers want to interact with brands the same way they interact with friends and family.
This means that chat responses must be more tailored to the individual customer. For example, a chat provider might use a customer’s purchase history to recommend similar vehicles or look at service history and ask about previously declined services.
2. Growth of Co-Managed Solutions
More than 90% of human chat assistance is fully managed, meaning a third party provides the solution. But as car shoppers complete more of the vehicle purchase process online, we can expect to see a rise in co-managed solutions.
Co-managed solutions involve a combination of third-party human agents handling chat conversations and seamlessly transferring them to dealership staff at the appropriate point in the buying process. This approach ensures a smooth and continuous customer journey, increasing conversion rates and improving customer satisfaction.
3. AI Assisting Human Agents
AI will also play a pivotal role in empowering human chat agents to provide better and faster responses. AI tools can assist agents by rapidly retrieving and providing real-time data, customer insights and suggested answers to questions. This will allow humans to offer more informed assistance to car shoppers.
With AI’s support, human agents will deliver enhanced customer experiences, resolve customer concerns and provide accurate information on vehicle features, specifications, pricing and promotions. Integrating AI into the human agent’s workflow will improve productivity, reduce response times and heighten customer satisfaction.
4. Bi-Directional Video Calls
Some solutions already include turning a text chat into a live, face-to-face video call with a single click. This will offer customers a more personal experience, which helps to build trust and increase transparency.
Video calls can facilitate virtual vehicle tours, detailed product demonstrations and personalized consultations, allowing customers to make more informed purchase decisions. Bi-directional video will bridge the gap between the physical and digital retail purchasing experience while strengthening customer relationships.
5. Digital Messaging Becomes the Standard
As millennials move into leadership and decision-making positions, digital messaging will become the new business standard for communications. Younger generations grew up with technology and are generally more comfortable conversing digitally than over the phone. In fact, 87% of consumers prefer digital messaging over a phone call. The ability to communicate and build relationships with customers via digital channels such as chat will become vital to continued success.
The future of front-line chat solutions is centered around personalization, co-management, AI empowerment, bi-directional video capabilities and embracing digital messaging as the new standard. These advancements will allow dealerships to engage more customers and enhance their digital retail process.