Auto dealers are losing their battle with their customers when it comes to controlling the road to the sale. Customers have been emboldened by their access to information on the internet making them as informed as to the salespeople who claim to have all the answers. The latest bump on the internet superhighway, for customers that is, is the ability for auto dealers to apply predictive marketing messages coupled with personalized conversion tools on their websites. The salesperson has regained control of the steering wheel by answering their customers' questions before they even have to ask them.
Artificial Intelligence has gotten a bad rap starting with its name since it isn't as "artificial" as it sounds. Today's software focused on enhancing the customer experience by providing transparency for online shoppers has a hidden power. It allows the auto dealer to monitor customer activity in their virtual showroom as well as subsequent online visits to competing dealerships or third-party sites. The data collected can then be applied to develop algorithms powering machine learning, (artificial intelligence), which can predict what the customer is really looking for. With that knowledge, the dealer can deliver personalized targeted messages designed to satisfy the customers' wants and needs by offering exactly the vehicle they are looking for.
The truth is that artificial intelligence is simply the collected wisdom and experience of the human beings that write the algorithms that drive it. There is no replacement for experience. The data accumulated by machine learning-powered software platforms provide the collected experiences of thousands of customers along with the trial and error attempts to sell them a vehicle resulting in the best chance to earn their business. Human nature isn't discarded by the software, it is collected and applied to their problem-solving capabilities.
Software as a solution is a proven way to provide efficiencies in sales and service processes at an auto dealership by improving on the people part of the process. The secret to the next generation of artificial intelligence-powered software is that the people are baked into the technical cake.
The challenge for auto dealers moving forward is to observe problems in their sales processes from their customers' perspective. Solutions that allow the customer to feel like they are in charge will be more easily accepted than anything that even the best-intentioned salesperson can present.