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Do’s and Don’ts of Automation

Do's and Don'ts of AI
Article Highlights:

  • A recent phone-tree experience shed light on some automation don’ts.
  • Five do’s and don’ts of automation in your dealership.

I know, I know, everyone is talking about AI. So why am I talking about automation? When you get down to it, AI really is the next level of automation. So I want to go back to the basics and think about some of the do’s and don’ts. What really spurred this thought was a recent interaction I had with an unnamed healthcare provider…

It’s tax season, and like most people, I’m impatiently waiting on all my forms to come in the mail. I’m waiting on just one form. After searching through the app and the online site, I came up empty handed. I inevitably put off calling said unnamed company for days, and when I finally did, I was reminded why.

First, I was greeted with the most inauthentic robot. It asked for my name and date of birth – pretty standard stuff. The problem was, anytime I started to speak the robot interrupted me. It was one of those who’s-going-to-talk-first games, and we kept speaking at the same time. This game went on for quite a while.

Finally, after giving the robot all my details and repeating a series of random numbers to get through the phone tree, I wound up with a real person! Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to help me, so I was transferred. Upon my arrival at this new destination, I was greeted by another lovely message with more options to choose from. I heard the exact option I need! (Finally, I’m going to get my answer.) Instead, I was greeted once again by another robot not giving me the information I needed. I hung up!

Wow, that was 15 minutes wasted.

What does this have to do with you and your dealership? Well, as we continue to look for ways to automate processes and introduce AI technology, it’s important to understand some of the do’s and don’ts.

Don’t automate the relationship aspects of your process. There are just some things that need a human touch. For you, that could be your F&I process. For many consumers – 71.92 percent to be exact – the F&I process is an unfamiliar experience. A helping hand from your expert F&I manager is beneficial to building a relationship and trust with the customer. When you have trust, consumers feel more comfortable purchasing additional offerings.

Don’t frustrate your customer or your employees. A huge point of frustration for consumers today is the transition from “robot” to human. Robot here refers to either a phone tree or maybe a chat system. What often happens is the customer will give the “robot” a lot of information, but somehow that info doesn’t translate to the human that eventually comes into the picture. The customer is left starting the process over entirely. Make sure whoever is taking over has all the information the “robot” captured at their fingertips so they can pick up the conversation or sale seamlessly.

Do automate mundane or simple tasks. When you automate the simple, no-thought-required tasks, you free up your employees to focus on more impactful opportunities. This could be automating the intake of customer information on the service drive, like phone, email, mileage, etc. When a service advisor doesn’t have to take down information, they can focus on upselling and building those connections.

Do leverage tools that use your data to help make decisions. Your dealership and all your systems are filled to the brim with data. But what good is it if you don’t have a way to leverage it? Find automation or AI tools that leverage all of your data to help make decisions for you. For example, utilize a CRM that is able to analyze consumer priority based on their likelihood to buy. This can help your sales team prioritize their days and focus on the most profitable opportunities first. Or leverage tools that can analyze phone calls to alert management of any upset customers and determine if follow-up is needed. Using automation or AI technology to analyze the data you already have can help improve efficiency and workflows throughout your entire dealership.

Do automate time saving opportunities. How many people in your dealership right now are waiting on someone else to get them something? It might be a work order for a recon job or maybe parts availability for an RO. These types of tasks can be automated to save time and make your team faster. As soon as the recon work order is completed, it’s automatically sent to the used car manager for approval. As soon as the parts are added to the RO, the parts department gets the notification and pulls them. You can also look outside your dealership for opportunities. Consider how long an advisor waits for customer approval on a job? You could automate this process with texts and emails that send automatically.

There are ample opportunities for automation and AI in every corner of your dealership. But, don’t worry – it won’t replace us humans! There are some opportunities, like the phone experience I had, to use automation to improve the customer experience and efficiency for your employees. There are other areas, like discovering vehicle needs, explaining difficult products or services, and general relationship building, that will always need a human touch.  Your technology should simply be an extension of your people, working together seamlessly.

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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