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What CRMs with Artificial Intelligence Can (and Can't) Do for Your Dealership

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By Mo Zahabi

If you’ve ever watched a movie on artificial intelligence, you’re left with the impression that robots will soon be taking over our world and running our lives (see “iRobot” [2004] and “Ex Machina” [2014]). 

While entertaining to watch, these Hollywood visions have left some misconceptions about artificial intelligence as the technology finds its way to the marketplace. The topic has particular importance for dealerships, with CRMs that use artificial intelligence now available for the auto retail space and more advances coming soon. 

So, what can a CRM with artificial intelligence deliver? What’s the reality and what’s the hype? First, let’s take a look at what artificial intelligence can’t do (at least for now).  

Artificial intelligence can’t replace humans. A common misconception is that artificial intelligence will take over the in-store role of dealership staff and leave no room for human interactions. Research shows car buyers still highly value the human interaction of an in-store experience. While more than 80% of consumers say they want to do one or more steps of the car-buying process online, almost 90% still want to sign the final document in-store, according to the Cox Automotive Future of Digital Retail Study. 

Artificial intelligence also can’t provide all the answers. Sometimes automated responses don’t align with the question asked because it’s difficult to process all the nuances of human interaction. While artificial intelligence can be incredibly useful to guide consumers to the right department, dealership employees still need to be on the other end of the call/screen to offer the best possible experience for the customer. 

So, what can AI do? 

A CRM with artificial intelligence can help identify and analyze customer data, enabling dealers to create a more relevant and personalized experience. This ultimately leads to dealers having a deeper understanding of a customer’s needs and preferences. Not only does this improve the car-shopping experience for consumers, but this helps the dealership staff to streamline their to-do list. 

For example, when a customer comes into the dealership, employees often have little or no time to prepare for the customer visit. A CRM with artificial intelligence can help by instantly providing and analyzing information about that customer. What vehicles do they currently own? What kind of vehicles have they been shopping for online? And what kind of past interactions have they had, either in-store or online, with the dealership? It can also be a proactive tool to flag ready-to-buy consumers based on their shopping behaviors. 

If successfully implemented, a CRM that uses artificial intelligence can improve productivity by helping employees more effectively and efficiently handle their jobs. According to Accenture’s artificial intelligence research, artificial intelligence technologies are projected to increase business productivity by up to 40% by 2035. CRMs with Aartificial intelligence also can help deliver the personalized shopping process that customers want. Almost half of all consumers are willing to shop more frequently and 34% are willing to spend more money when artificial intelligence is used to help personalize the experience, according to PointSource research data. 

In the near-term, artificial intelligence won’t make work magically disappear at dealerships or replace the need for human interaction with customers. However, it can provide a powerful assistant for connecting with each customer, better understanding when a customer is serious about making a purchase, and creating a faster sales process that benefits the dealer and consumer. A CRM with artificial intelligence, such as Connect CRM with Connect Automotive Intelligence, can provide actionable insights that allow dealership staff to concentrate on what matters most, which is selling cars and making customers happy. 

To learn more about how a CRM with artificial intelligence can benefit your dealership, schedule a demo of Connect CRM with Connect Automotive Intelligence.  

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Only VinSolutions Connect CRM with Connect Automotive Intelligence uses artificial intelligence and Cox Automotive buyer information to help identify which of a dealership’s customers are most likely to buy. In fact, consumers classified as “ready to buy” by Connect Automotive Intelligence are 8.2 times more likely than the average customer in the CRM to purchase within 30 days.

Learn more about VinSolutions’ suite of dealership software solutions at VinSolutions.com.

Sources Infographic: 84 percent of B2Cmarketing orgs are implementing or expanding AI in 2018, Amplero, 2017.
Predicts 2018: AI and the Future of Work, Gartner, 2018.
Artificial Intelligence is the Future of Growth, Accenture, 2018.
Connected Customer Report, Salesforce, 2016.
Finding Common Ground Between Consumers and Artificial Intelligence, Pointsource, 2018.
41% of Consumers Believe Artificial Intelligence Will Make Their Lives Better, Strategy Analytics, 2017.
MarketVision Research Cox Automotive Communities, February 27th-March 6th, 2019 with n=241 dealers

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