The simplest call to a service department is the customer who calls to schedule an oil change. A busy shop doing 50 oil changes a day with a $2 show bonus shells out $100 every day just in employee bonuses for handling these simple calls. You have to agree with me this doesn’t make any sense.
Instead, why not use a Digital Voice Assistant (DVA) to handle in-bound appointment requests and calls for information (like shop hours) and reserve service advisors and BDC agents for belly-to-belly customers and outbound revenue-generating calls? A DVA answers every call, never calls in sick, and never asks for bonus pay.
I can hear what you’re thinking right now: “My customers won’t talk to a robot.” The truth is today’s DVAs are far from a “robot” and millions of customers are already talking to them through Alexa and Google Home. And they’re not just talking to them. They’re trusting them to complete tasks like ordering groceries and making sure the front door is locked.
I believe DVA myths like this are hindering market adoption – and that’s hurting dealership business. The sooner we bust these myths, the sooner your service department can get on-board with the latest technology to enhance the customer experience and boost your bottom-line. So, let’s jump in:
Myth #1: DVAs lack empathy. Ok, I get it, you can’t train a robot to feel emotion, but you can ensure it instills confidence and a sense of security for a customer in need of immediate assistance. A DVA “learns” to pick-up on tone of voice, inflection, etc., to detect mood and modify behavior accordingly. Picture this: a customer calls with noticeable anger in his voice. The DVA instantly recognizes it and proceeds to immediately transfer the customer to a human. Another scenario: a customer calls in and upon hearing the DVA impatiently asks for a human. The DVA asks a question to better transfer the customer, learns it’s an appointable request, smoothly makes the appointment, and converts a skeptical customer into a happy customer.
Myth #2: DVAs lack accuracy. Today, not only do voice-enabled applications accurately understand what you are saying, but how you are saying it and the context in which the inquiry is made. A DVA uses natural language processing and machine learning (part of artificial intelligence technology) to go from an asked question to an appropriate response. In addition, a DVA tied into your DMS and appointment scheduling tool can greet a returning customer, pull-up vehicle information, offer available times, and confirm the appointment, all without missing a beat.
Myth #3: DVAs sink the customer experience. By pushing routine interactions to a DVA, customers have a pleasant, consistent experience and accomplish their goals in a shorter amount of time. A DVA can schedule a service appointment in about three minutes. A human takes an average of six minutes. And, as I mentioned before, millions of customers use voice technology via Alexa and Google Home, and even trust those devices to complete transactions. Smart home devices will carry out more than $164 billion worth of transactions in 2025. That’s more than 630 percent growth in five years. We wouldn’t see that rate of growth if the experience was unpleasant.
Myth #4: DVAs can be integrated into existing processes without changing any processes. It’s important to develop a strategy for when and how to deploy a DVA so there are no conflicts in the customer experience. Your processes should be revisited as now the assistant will be handling tasks that your employees no longer need to do. It’s important everyone understands what calls the DVA will answer – routine calls that humans don’t have to handle – so advisors have more time in walk-arounds and BDC agents have more time to make revenue-producing outbound calls.
The adoption of virtual home assistants by millions of people proves that the public doesn’t have a fear of turning to technology for help completing tasks. The sooner our industry joins them and busts the myths about DVAs, the sooner we can offer a better customer experience and realize bottom line savings. It’s time to answer the call of change.
Lawson Owen is the founder and CEO at Proactive Dealer Solutions. He is a thought leader in lead and process management and has been inspiring management teams for over 20 years. Lawson has helped to implement more than 4,000 business development centers throughout the US and Canada.