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The Synergy of AI and Human Expertise in the Dealership

As a current automotive software product manager and former CRM startup developer with eight years of in-dealership experience, I have seen it all. My interest has always been in software development and breaking tech advancements. I’m noticing a technological renaissance in the automotive industry today. Understanding the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the dealership is becoming necessary for anyone in the automotive space. This is especially true for those in leadership positions. Dealership leaders can enhance operations by integrating AI across sales, service, and management. Efficient AI application hinges on fostering a partnership between technology and human expertise.

Jacob Nickel

Jacob Nickel

Senior Product Manager

The Current State of Automotive AI in Dealerships

In today’s dealership, AI has transitioned from being a futuristic concept and software “magic” to a key operational asset with multiple benefits. Sales teams use AI-powered CRM systems that analyze customer data, providing insights that lead to a stronger understanding of their customers and offer a solution to enhancing their outreach efficiency. Service solutions may use AI for time-series-based predictive maintenance and customer lifetime value scores, offering customers timely services and understanding their customer loyalty.

On the management front, AI assists in inventory management and workflows – watching buying and purchasing patterns for vehicle recommendations and simplifying complex management problems with automated workflows.

Understanding all the different applications of AI across many platforms can be daunting. The best approach to understanding how AI can benefit a dealership is finding a solution where the sum of its AI implementations exceeds its independent parts. A solution implementing AI throughout its platform will provide the best value and clarity for its users.

Best Practices for Using AI in Your Dealership

What you want to look for in solutions offering AI in their tool are those that work to support some of these best practices that I’ve observed while working with dealers and designing AI systems:

Streamlining Car Dealership Operations with AutoAlert's CRM - Data Entry

1. Data-Driven Decision-Making:

Champion AI for gaining actionable insights from data, such as inventory recommendations, predictive maintenance, and lead scoring, to improve operational efficiency.

Streamlining Car Dealership Operations with AutoAlert's CRM - Data Entry

2. Customer-Centric Approach:

Use AI chatbots for instant communication, freeing staff to engage in deeper customer service when needed.

Streamlining Car Dealership Operations with AutoAlert's CRM - Data Entry

3. Train Staff for AI Collaboration:

Invest in training for dealership employees to work alongside AI tools, ensuring they can provide a seamless customer experience.

AI Tools Supporting Best Practices

Dealers or software solutions can deploy a range of AI tools to support these practices:

Predictive Analytics for Sales:
Forecasting and customer behavior insights. Driving things like replacement vehicle recommendation engines or per-customer offers.

Machine Learning Algorithms:
Evaluating your wealth of data and making it actionable.

Natural Language Processing:
Handles queries, improves automated communications, and improves customer engagement experience.

Generative AI:
Producing summaries, inspiring creativity, and offering novel new potential.

Future Speculations: AI and Human Synergy

AI will become even more sophisticated, with adaptive learning algorithms offering more solutions and personalizing the customer journey.

In the future, the gold standard may be a hybrid model that combines AI efficiency with human empathy. Dealership employees will act as brand ambassadors and relationship managers, while AI handles data-driven tasks and instant customer response systems.

Positioning in the Hype Cycle

Given the advancements in Generative AI, such as ChatGPT, and the growing interest in AI, it’s important to take a larger view of the landscape. Referring to the Gartner Hype Cycle for Artificial Intelligence, 2023, AI in dealerships may be approaching the peak of inflated expectations. Yet, as we advance, we may recalibrate expectations, leading to the “Slope of Enlightenment” (stage 4 in GHC), where we realize and embrace AI’s practical and sustainable applications.

Choosing the right partner for your automotive software solutions means selecting a solution with a longstanding reputation for delivering innovation and focusing on strong data mining and AI integration before “pop-up” AI products flooded the market.

Integrating AI in the dealership is not about hastily adopting new technologies and inserting a variety of single-use integrations; it’s about creating a strategic synergy with a solution that can offer a suite of tools, enhancing every aspect of the dealership experience.

The blend of AI and human talent within dealerships is the key to unlocking a new realm of efficiency and customer engagement. As we navigate the Hype Cycle, it’s essential to make informed decisions about introducing AI into your dealership and, investing in solutions with a history of implementing and exploring state-of-the-art AI.

Ready to unlock AI’s full potential in your dealership? Explore how AutoAlert’s AI-powered solutions can improve every part of your dealership experience.

Schedule your demo below to take the first step toward your dealership’s success in 2024!

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