Automotive artificial intelligence
There is peace of mind that employing an automotive A.I. at your dealership provides. You know that it won’t get tired, call in sick, or skirt its duties, rain or shine. Yet, when dealers bite the bullet and partner with artificial intelligence to converse with their customers, it brings with it a feeling of finality, as if we’re turning our backs on the one variable that makes us special… our people.
Companies are investing a lot of money to build technology to make customer connections happen faster. And speed to response can only create more engagement between your dealership and potential clients, right? To an extent. We must realize that automotive A.I. has its strengths but also its limits. A.I. dedicated to data collection and analysis can be gold, saving countless hours of work. Others are decent at completing an entire task with a customer, provided the path the customer must take is the same from the beginning of the customer engagement to its conclusion. Yet most A.I. dealers are pitched to do little more than generate hollow engagements.
What automotive A.I. is good at doing
Yes, I said “hollow.” Why? Because I’m the guy who, when dealing with an automated attendant on the phone, keeps shouting, “Speak to an agent!” each utterance growing in volume and octaves because it just can’t help me the way I need. I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Again, this isn’t anti-A.I. (Not entirely, at least.) As I said, it is ideal for analyzing data and assessing opportunities. It’s also generally good at initiating an engagement but less than capable of carrying on a conversation of meaning or value. Most conversational bot technologies simply cannot offer customers the outcome desired: Someone to listen and care.
What automotive A.I. is missing
Where automotive A.I. fails is its inability to automate thoughtfulness. No artificial intelligence replaces human compassion. Your people still play the most important role in developing a real customer connection. If you partner with automotive A.I., don’t consider it a “solution.” Look at it as a stop-gap that can keep customers at bay until a well-trained human being gets involved to carry that relationship forward.
For that reason, for every dollar you spend on conversational A.I., spend that same amount on training your salespeople and management. Hire people who understand not just the process but with empathy. They are skillful communicators, not because they can regurgitate the same word tracks, but because they understand how to react with kindness. A live conversation between human beings should always be the end goal. Technology has mastered the ability to collect data and initiate contact, but it does not give off the impression that you listen or care about what’s being said. No matter what you name it.
Hear me rant about automotive artificial intelligence four years ago as well. It’s supposed to be machine learning but has improved very little.