AI is the topic of the decade. What (and who) will it replace? How will it evolve industries? Will it really help or hurt society as a whole? While we can’t speculate on the larger philosophical questions of AI, we can theorize a bit about how AI will impact our specialty: dealerships. Based on what we currently know about AI, here’s how we think dealerships can evolve to get all the best out of AI in 2020 without compromising the human connection to customers.
DO: Expand Online Car Shopping Functionality
Most car-buyers now expect to find the vehicle they want, pick features and upgrades, select payment plans, and all but check out on a dealership’s website. Developing your website to include shopping is currently the most obvious and functional use of AI in dealerships.
DON’T: Remove Sales Reps
Because most car-buyers want to start their car purchase online, when they DO enter the dealership, they absolutely need a human connection to establish a personal relationship with your dealership. Those who skip the online shopping and go straight to the dealership are a self-selecting crowd who values human connection- increasing the likelihood of a sale even though foot traffic may be less. Don’t replace people with kiosks. While the salesperson role may evolve as the buying process shifts more online, a customer liaison will still be needed to connect your customers to your business ethos.
DO: Automate Customer Care (partially)
Most dealerships already do this, but if you haven’t, now’s the time to create an automated plan for customer followup with a CRM or some other method of tracking. This should be a combination of automated emails and reminders for direct calls and notes to check-in with past customers.
DON’T: Depend on your Manufacturer Inventory Replenishment Program
Are you trusting your manufacturer auto-replenishment program to give you a good parts inventory? We highly recommend you take a closer look. While there are many ways to automate inventory management (like our service), trusting your manufacturer to manage your parts inventory is risky- read more about that here.
DO: Automate your DMS, properly
While DMS’s can help greatly with the automation of your parts inventory, an improperly set up DMS can wreak havoc your inventory and lead to increased obsolescence and slowed service. Check out our entire educational library for MUCH more on this. For questions about how to set up your DMS properly, send us a message!
What do you think is the best use of AI in dealerships? Leave a comment below!
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