An average customer in today’s car dealership is worth $517,000 over their lifetime. According to NADA, while the average new car sale yields 3.6% gross, the average service yields 72%. With car sales up 8% this past quarter alone, dealerships can and should expect even more opportunity in the next several quarters to also capitalize on their higher-margin fixed operations.
From independent dealerships to franchised auto groups — the influx of activity will increase pressure to contact, engage and serve customers in all aspects of their lifecycle. While there are hundreds to thousands of potential service customers, even the best teams are challenged to take advantage of the opportunity to drive more service business, repair order (RO) opportunities and better customer satisfaction.
The answer sounds futuristic, but it’s actually already here: Artificial Intelligence (AI). We’re not talking about a simple chatbot, but an advanced and self-sustaining AI assistant that engages, responds and ensures service teams have followed up with every customer that demonstrates interest. That same assistant hands over service customers at the moment they are conversation-ready, so your team can focus on providing an excellent customer experience rather than chasing contacts. Similarly for your sales department, the assistant reaches out to internet leads to determine which ones are ready to buy and helps set up appointments for your team to close the sale.
Here are just a few additional examples of where an AI-powered assistant can help your dealership.
For your service department:
• Engaging customers who have been in for service but have not returned
• Following up with customers who came in for a visit but declined the recommended service
• Reminding customers about their next suggested service visit
• Notifying customers about factory recalls and urging them to schedule an appointment
• Following up after a service visit to gauge customer satisfaction
And for sales:
• Engaging contacts that have recently interacted with a representative; either called into the dealership, walked in or chatted online
• Engaging fresh contacts that have recently submitted interest in a vehicle on the internet (for trade-in, quote requests, etc.)
• Immediately post-sale, communicating with customers to ensure a happy experience during and after the car sale process
So, what’s the catch? In short, there is none.
While many of today’s dealerships and auto groups struggle to adopt the right AI technology, it doesn’t necessarily require an entire IT team or even a huge budget. AI assistants leverage years of development and integrations with the most common CRM and DMS platforms to enable set-up in as little as 14 days. That’s much faster than the time it takes a dealership to onboard a new human team member, and continually keep them engaged to drive staff retention. The end result — you can scale your service and sales teams by employing AI as a virtual team member — one that autonomously engages customers in trusted, human-like, two-way conversations.
AI will (and is already) changing the way dealerships grow their business. You too can take advantage of the vast amount of data captured in your CRM and DMS to expand revenues for both your service and sales departments, deliver efficiency and team satisfaction, all while enhancing customer experience and loyalty to win market share.