Selling cars with chatbots and customer care
We explore how chatbots and AI can help car companies to have better relationships with their customers and increase sales.
Can love be rekindled? Or, to say it in a less romantic way, can you squeeze more money out of a customer? In April, we wrote an article on the topic that gave a simple answer “if you don’t ask, you will never know”. In the wake of it, some asked if the same logic could apply to big-ticket purchases like cars.
The answer is a resounding yes, but before we get there we should build some suspense and take time to analyze the issue. We’ll use the car industry as a reference point. Purchasing a car, for most people, is not only a significant financial investment but also an emotional one. Cars are something that goes beyond the mere utility of the object and strays into a way to express our personality, and space where we spend a significant amount of time.
Emotionally, the connection between the car and its owner is strong, but the relationship itself can be a strained one especially when there are mechanical problems to fix or installments to pay. The consequence, from a marketing perspective, is that the purchase decision is not made rationally. It is the result of the emotional perception of the car that has been built by messages coming from people around us, friends, family, and influencers big and small.
Relationships require communication
It is in the manufacturer’s best interest to make the relationship between the owner and its car is as positive as possible to ensure both a repeat purchase and good recommendations. This relationship, like any relationship, requires communication. Ideally a two-way, caring, type of communication, not a one-way, sales marketing-newsletter type.
The goal should be to listen to the clients, solving problems wherever possible, and ensuring the brand stays at the top of mind when things are going well. Depending on the company’s business model, this type of listening work will also lead to the sale of additional services like checkups, repairs, or upgrades, but it should not be the main goal of the communication.
Clients should feel that the company cares about them and checks-in with them every once in a while, in a non-pushy, non-sales way. This communication should preferably take place on a platform, like a messaging app, that the client uses every and where they are used to receiving messages from friends, family, and business partners.
A numbers game
The challenge in this process is, of course, scale. Car companies have hundreds of thousands of customers and hiring people to talk to all of them would be simply unfeasible. Thankfully, today’s technology offers us a great tool in the form of chatbots and artificial intelligence. A well-designed custom system will be able to do most of the work by itself, checking in on customers, providing useful information, and only escalating the issue to a human being when necessary.
If programmed to use external sources the chatbot could also use the information to provide specialist advice or warning to drivers. Think, for example, of a chatbot that is able to monitor the internet for unusual weather events and give warnings on the state of the roads, perhaps remaining them of enabling a certain setting on the car or put on tire-chains ahead of a snowstorm.
The possibilities are endless, and it is important to conduct a thorough analysis of the business and its customers to develop the best custom-designed chatbot for each company. To help you get started we have put together a team of experts that will be more than happy to assess your situation and provide advice free of charge.
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