Using AI to Increase Customer Retention and Drive Sales

 Al and the motor trade industry

With increasing consumer demands and political and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it’s unsurprising the motor trade industry is going through turbulent times. Those that are staying one step ahead of the competition have had to find new and innovative ways of improving customer engagement and retention through the use of digital and artificial intelligence (AI) in their marketing plans. 

Whatever the size of your motor trade business or car dealership, the use of automated technology can help to increase profits and streamline a busy operation. It can better inform potential and current customers when they are searching online, while leaving your team more opportunity for face to face engagement once a prospective client visits your showroom.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

When talking about artificial intelligence in the car industry, you would be forgiven for thinking about driverless cars and robot-powered production lines. AI within automotive sales and marketing, however, is far more focussed on data, analytics and algorithms. By starting to learn and gather data about your clients, as well as potential customers, you can anticipate their needs, engage regularly and generate interest in your car dealership or showroom.

How AI can help marketing and sales:

  • Helping targeted lead generation to potential customers
  • Determining the trends and needs of your customers
  • Providing current data for accurate analysis
  • Understanding when a person is just browsing or ready to purchase
  • Streamlining your operation
  • Enabling personalisation of online campaigns and engagement for current customers
  • Boosting sales and revenue

Whilst AI can be used to improve the efficiency and profitability of your business, what it can’t do is replace the need for human interaction further down the line. Your clients still expect personalisation and a friendly, helpful service whether online or in the showroom.

How to Use AI in Car Dealerships

Here are five ways that you can begin on the AI journey with your customers to help boost your bottom line and encourage repeat purchase. 

1. Improving the customer experience

Before looking into what AI can do for your motor business, you must have a customer service strategy in place. Gather information about your current customers, using the sales handover period as an opportunity to find out more details about the reasons they bought from you, what they thought of the car, the customer service and financial package. 

Also, don’t forget to try and find out when they might be ready to think about a possible trade-in or new purchase so that you can get back to them at a later date with relevant information.

2 Engaging through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system

When a customer purchases from you, a CRM system can be an effective way to make sure you communicate with them regarding product and service updates. It’s quite likely a customer will be keen to move cars before their PCP has reached maturity date, so keeping in touch will help to inform them about new developments in the market.

3. AI solution(s) to target potential customers

While having a good CRM system enables you to organise current customer data, AI technology is able to analyse customer data in real time.  AI can predict when a potential customer will be in the market to buy a new car, enabling you the opportunity to put your car dealership in front of an already warm lead.

Targeting customers with marketing material during this ‘shopping’ window considerably increases the chances that they will buy from you rather than your competitors. It is also more likely that your sales team leads will convert when followed up through email or telesales.

4. The right AI methods for your business

There are various AI services that can be incorporated into your business including chatbots, AI-driven email, and pay per click re-marketing.

Chatbots conduct conversations with customers through text or voice interactions. Customers simply have to ask their query, to which the chatbot responds accordingly.

Chatbots are gaining in sophistication, some even answering questions, scheduling appointments and collecting information such as email, phone number, name. New AI technology can even shift an enquiry to a real customer services person should the bot not be sophisticated enough to answer a tricky question.

 For smaller dealerships, using Facebook Messenger can provide bots that can interact with visitors to your Facebook page either organically or in response to marketing material. The advantage here is that it’s easy to set up and that you are always ‘open’ but do not have to physically man your chat window page 24/7.

AI and machine learning  are quick to analyse algorithms or patterns of prospective clients, giving wider opportunities to reach relevant audiences through advertising and re-marketing. Using re-marketing (or re-targeting) allows you to get your product in front of someone who has already shown an interest in a new car or vehicle. Google pay per click and Facebook both have impressive re-marketing solutions. 

5. Always track your results

Using AI such as pay per click or re-marketing allows for accurate measurement of metrics including click through rate and cost per conversion. Google and Facebook offer dashboards to easily track your AI results.

 For more information please contact Tradex on 0333 313 1111

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