3 Min Read • December 6, 2021
How Virtual Assistants (AI) Help Retain More Service Customers
The current inventory shortage presents a problem for dealership Service departments. Fewer new vehicle sales will translate to fewer service customers in coming years. This means it’s more important than ever to focus on customer retention in your Service department.
Yet, in most dealerships, Service staff are too busy to keep in touch with customers. While service marketing partners can help, blanket campaigns lack the personalization that your customers expect, and BDC outreach campaigns can get expensive. After all, the average service customer database contains tens of thousands of customers. How can you possibly stay in touch with all of them?
Enter artificial intelligence (AI). An AI virtual assistant can work nonstop in a dealership’s database by re-engaging with old customers and keeping in touch with current customers. AI also works seamlessly across email, chat and text platforms to maximize opportunities for customer engagement.
These specific service communications are ideal for AI assistance.
1Engage customers who have been in for service and have not returned
Dealers can set their own parameters for when previous service customers should be contacted. Your AI assistant will find these customers and send personalized, friendly emails designed to entice them back to your Service department. Special offers can be included with emails as an extra incentive.
2Follow up with customers who have declined recommended services
Your Service Writers should be doing this, but this is one of those tasks that gets pushed to the back burner. However, your AI assistant doesn’t have a back burner; it can keep dozens of front burners going all at once. A persistent communications funnel is key here. If a customer has any questions about the service they need, your AI assistant can set up a phone call and/or pass the customer to someone who can help.
3Send service and appointment reminders
Your customers will always appreciate getting reminders for specific maintenance and reminders for their appointments. If a customer needs to schedule or reschedule, your AI assistant can handle those tasks as well.
4Notify customers about factory recalls
Don’t rely on your manufacturer to get the word out. Your customers want to hear from your dealership about how you can help them solve their recall issue. An AI assistant can inform them about the recall and follow up several times through emails or texts to set up the appointment. If a customer has a question that AI can’t handle, AI will connect that customer with an available Service Writer or Manager.
5Gauge customer satisfaction after service visits
AI is ideal for conducting customer surveys. Emails go out automatically after each visit, along with several follow-up communications to customers who don’t respond.
6Increase ROI of service marketing campaigns
When your Service department sends out a marketing campaign with a special offer, a certain percentage of people open the email and/or click on something in the email. An AI assistant can identify who those people are and reach out to them to see if they want to take advantage of the offer, increasing campaign ROI. One of the best things about AI assistants is that they never send duplicate or generic emails — every email is personalized.
In addition to these tasks, your AI assistant will encourage more Service customers to opt in to text communications, which has a greater overall response rate than any other communication channel. AI also keeps contact information updated by asking customers for new phone numbers, emails and/or addresses.
With fewer new vehicle customers being funneled into your Service department, it’s time to focus on customer retention. Hiring an AI assistant will keep more customers engaged and is the fastest, easiest way to help your Service staff provide a better customer experience.