Now Is the Time to Learn and Lead With AI
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Mahesh Shah
| 11 May 2022

Now Is the Time to Learn and Lead With AI

For the past two years as an industry, we’ve been expecting things to get back to normal when it comes to both inventory levels and ways of doing business. But as it becomes more clear that slim inventory will continue into the foreseeable future, now is the time for dealerships to consider opportunities that may have been overlooked.

In our recent Trendsetter’s Guide to Automotive Retail study, we discovered that while less than half of dealers introduced new digital technology in the past two years, an overwhelming amount of those who did (84%) will add even more tech in the next two years.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an important technology that many dealers often overlook. There are many ways that dealers can use AI to work smarter and make their money go further.

Our research into the use of AI uncovered that 68% of dealerships surveyed either use or plan to use AI in the near future, and more than half of those using AI today say they’ve already realized gains.

As you wait for supply chain issues to resolve, consider investing in something that will keep your teams productive and your revenue flowing. Here are just a few ways AI can help improve your bottom line.

AI Improves Efficiency and Streamlines Workflows

AI applications powered by machine learning can help Sales and Service teams save time by automating tasks and streamlining workflows.

Machine learning looks at current and historical data to identify trends and patterns, and applies this insight to new data to make better predictions that help solve problems and find opportunities.

For example, AI can be used in the Sales department to help create targeted lists of customers who are more likely to be in the market to buy a new vehicle. This can help Sales teams save time and improve their success rates.

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Use AI to Always Be There for Your Customers

Natural Language Processing (NLP), another AI technology, allows computers to understand text and the spoken word in similar ways humans can.

For example, an AI-powered virtual assistant integrated with your CRM application can provide human-like support to customers 24/7. It can also be used to reach out to dormant leads on a routine basis to rekindle interest with previous customers and build loyalty.

Solutions that use NLP can help you detect the sentiments of customers that call your dealership. This insight can be used to better handle incoming calls, which ultimately leads to more Sales and Service appointments.

AI Assists in Increasing Loyalty and Trust With Your Customers

With more supply issues on the horizon, consumers are doing everything they can to keep their existing vehicles in tip-top shape.

AI applications that use machine learning, repair order data and vehicle alerts from connected car data can be used to improve vehicle diagnostics and predict future service needs. Once the predictions are made, Service Technicians can proactively inform the customer and include those components in the multipoint inspection.

This helps drive fixed operations costs down while increasing revenue and delighting the customer with trusted guidance and a better service experience.

AI Solutions Yield Higher Margins

As dealerships do everything they can to retain Service staff, having less inventory to sell has led many to reduce their Sales headcount. These leaner teams, along with other cost-reduction efforts in the past two years, have left dealers looking for new solutions that can increase efficiencies to make up for staff shortages.
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AI capabilities can allow a smaller Sales team to generate qualified leads faster. It also streamlines the workday by handling monotonous tasks that tend to be resource-intensive, freeing up your Sales team to spend more time selling.

AI can also be used to review customer financial history and preferences to offer financial solutions uniquely tailored to each customer. This provides a better customer experience and often increases dealer margins.

An Optimistic Outlook for AI

With AI and machine learning becoming a benchmark for business practices, dealers and OEMs have a unique opportunity to leverage their data and elevate employee and customer experiences in new, more meaningful ways.

Intelligence engines like CDK Neuron are able to take large volumes of data and apply AI and advanced analytics to uncover insights that help dealers and OEMs sell more vehicles and provide better customer experiences.

Fortellis, our automotive commerce exchange platform, gives dealers choices to invest in a variety of applications powered by AI and other technologies as well.

Overall, our research tells us that dealers are very optimistic that AI has or will have a positive impact on their business, making it easier to meet financial needs and achieve customer satisfaction goals.

By investing in AI now, dealers will be better equipped to facilitate efficient retail, improve margins and deliver excellent customer service no matter their inventory levels.

Learn More
Ebook: What Automotive Dealers Think About Artificial Intelligence
Video: NADA 2022 - Artificial Intelligence in Automotive Retail

Mahesh Shah
Mahesh Shah

Executive Vice President and Chief Product and Technology Officer, CDK Global.
Mahesh Shah is responsible for driving product innovation, research and development, building and testing, and road mapping existing and future portfolios in partnership with the business.
Prior to CDK Global, Mahesh was the general manager and vice president, Acquisition and Divestiture, IT Consulting Services at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). He held various roles there throughout his 16-year tenure including chief information officer, Enterprise Services and Software; IT separation leader; vice president, Product R&D and IT; and executive director, Security Product Management and Development.

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