By Natesh Muthalan, Senior Consultant, Infosys
In the age of instant messaging, customers expect to get a response within seconds. And nobody likes to wait on the phone, hearing: We appreciate your patience – your call is important to us. An agent will be with you shortly. Gone are the days of tremendous patience; We live in an age where the next-gen takes a selfie and posts it immediately online. Consumers expect fast responses, and chatbots can deliver those, thus playing a vital role in winning business.
Automated assistants can:
- Engage shoppers right at the beginning of the car purchasing cycle and guide them in identifying their preferred model car, features, or a finance offer, sealing the deal for the prospective buyer.
- Answer the customer’s first set of queries/requests (often straightforward and standard questions) like getting the trade-in value, credit score check, booking a test drive, latest offer, etc. Powered by advanced technology, chatbots can respond with the same enthusiasm (regardless of whether it is the first response or one of many) at any point of time during the day (24/7). Automated responses free-up dealership sales/service personnel, allowing the dealership to serve more customers. It can also take out the human bias and the pressure elements that somebody goes through (be it at the beginning of the sales month or the end of month meeting sales targets).
- Deliver effective follow-up responses via the latest instant messaging apps. This can be tremendously helpful in the service cycle; These bots can reach out to customers to help them book service appointments, schedule a quick maintenance check. With the capability to follow-up with more customers, quickly, you can retain more customers, and prevent losing service business to a local mechanic or repair shop.
- Provide instant service status for the vehicle. We love the way the pizza delivery apps provide status right from the order to ready-for-pickup; and similarly, these bots can provide real-time vehicle status be it cleaning or inspection or ready for pick-up.
- Act as a quick advisor like the way Amazon or Netflix offers recommended items based on clients browsing or viewing history. They can offer deals and cross-sell/ up-sell easily by recommending offers to the customers which they would probably ignore otherwise.
Factors to consider while utilizing these assistants:
- Keep the flow of conversation simple and personalized – as close to normal daily chats with basic questions and responses.
- Leverage this technology across various channels.
- Make sure your customer data is secure, especially in this age of security breaches by having the latest data encryption standards.
- Let the virtual assistants handle the basic questions/requests, so that dealership staff can handle the more complex situations.
- Store the conversations that are happening with the customer, not only for auditing and compliance perspective but for continuous improvement and enhancements as that will help in further delighting the engagement experience with the dealership.
The New Normal
Customers are completing more shopping online, so we must embrace the new trends and provide customers with what they are looking for. Intelligent assistants will go a long way in establishing life-long relationships and association with the dealership starting from research, buying, to the servicing of the vehicle, a person may leave the dealership, but these virtual assistants will always be with the dealership and with the customer thereby increasing the longevity and personal touch with the dealership brand.
About the Author
Natesh Muthalan is a Senior Consultant with Infosys, having extensive knowledge in the manufacturing domain, especially in the automotive sector related to dealership operations, learning management, and data management.