The automotive industry is notable for its innovation: Cars themselves are on everyone’s list of the most innovative inventions of the 20th Century … OEMs redesign most models every year or so, and are paving the way to autonomous vehicles … dealerships regularly and frequently come up with clever new ways to engage with customers and sell more cars.
So it’s a bit surprising that the automotive industry lags behind other industries in its adoption of artificial intelligence. But that is what a recent Capgemini Research Institute study shows:
“The automotive industry has made moderate progress when it comes to AI adoption. Excessive experimentation has made way for a more mature and calculated approach. But there are a number of ways that the industry can accelerate. It can begin by focusing on high-benefit use cases that are not complex to scale, backed up by committed investment, effective governance, a strategy for building the required skills, and developing the maturity of enterprise IT and data practices. By managing these dimensions, automotive players can turn artificial intelligence into a powerful engine of growth,” the authors of the study report.
Basically, it’s not that dealerships and others in the industry aren’t open to these new technologies; it’s that they haven’t quite figured out yet how best to adopt and scale them. In the study, Vice President and CIO of Ford Motor Company Jeff Lemmer says: “Not only are AI technologies critical for enabling our autonomous vehicles, but they are playing an increasing role in transforming our customer and employee experiences.”
For that, data is critical. Data is what needs to be scalable for dealerships; or rather, the use of data in a customer-focused way to drive your team’s performance, build better relationships, and create more opportunities. And it all needs to be trackable and measurable.
This is where data solutions innovators AutoAlert shine. Because of the company’s early and deep dive into data, it has configured some of the most innovative solutions for scaling and harmonizing it. Its Customer Experience Management (CXM) platform pulls data from myriad insightful sources – including geoframing technology, customer texting, online shopping behavior, service visits, etc. – and uses complex analysis to filter it all down into the single best communication for every customer, every day.
“It’s not that you want to communicate with every customer every day, but you probably do want to know when they and you have opportunities,” says AutoAlert Global VP of Sales and Marketing Don Favero. “It’s all about win-win. These opportunities weren’t available before, because this level of data analysis wasn’t available before, but they are proven to click with consumers because the consumer is always put at the center. And dealers like them because they’re profitable.”
The customer message is kept consistent throughout all touchpoints, including and especially with your dealership team.
“The last thing you want is for one of your marketing efforts from all this data analysis to work, bringing your customer to your store, but then nobody on your team knows what’s up,” Favero says.
AutoAlert is built to handle it all. That’s because every piece of data comes back to its CXM platform to be analyzed and included in team processes: every marketing effort, every text, every click on the website, every time a customer sets foot in your dealership, or in your service department, or in another dealership or service department.
In the Capgemini report, when businesses that were successful in scaling AI and data use were asked what made them successful, the most popular response was their ability to “structure and harmonize complex data collected from various platforms and sources.”
The report also showed that the smaller the dealership (or other automotive-based business), the greater the odds of not adopting and scaling AI. AutoAlert is built for every dealership, big and small.
“We’re in some of the biggest dealership groups in the world, but we equally serve the dealership doing 30 or 40 cars a month,” says Shawn Morse, VP of Sales and Performance Management for AutoAlert.
When asked about their strategies for expanding AI at their organization in the future, the most successful businesses responding to the Capgemini study had a greater focus on proactively up-skilling or re-skilling employees with new skills.
AutoAlert has a built-in approach to handling training; it’s developed an entire academy around its products. Skills are shared freely and widely in various formats, including onsite training, on-demand live presentations, and online courses, and are updated daily.
“We’ve now begun offering Partnership Summits at our headquarters in Kansas City,” says Maggie Huffman, AutoAlert’s Director of Corporate Training. “We’re not keeping any secrets. We want your team to succeed, and we can teach and share the best ways – fun ways, even, really! – for them to do so.”
In the Capgemini report, Atif Rafiq, Global CIO and CDO for Volvo Car Group, says: “Car companies are actively using AI in their autonomous driving efforts and this typically gets the most headlines. But every facet of this industry can benefit, including how cars are made and sold and to invent new customer experiences.”
When it comes to inventing new customer experiences, AutoAlert is ahead of the pack. Customers today want personalized, relevant offers – even ones that they hadn’t considered. Spray-and-pray turns them off. Data harmonizing is the key, and it’s worth a look.
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