David Wishinsky

We’ve all been there. We step on to our local auto lot hoping to maybe peek around at a few cars and the salespeople start circling. Every car you look at is the best choice unless another vehicle is more expensive or has more options in which case that one is the better choice. It is no wonder that studies have found that 81% of Americans say that they do not enjoy the car buying experience. What is fascinating is the number one reason consumers don’t like it, it isn’t primarily the negotiations or thinking they’re not getting a good deal, the number one reason consumers don’t like it is they don’t trust salespeople with 29% of people labeling that as the prime culprit.

One interesting way of increasing trust for auto dealers is by taking out any of the incentives a seller might have to violate that trust. We realize they work on commission and have families to feed so each sale means a lot to them, so we can’t change the seller but automakers are learning you can change the access to the information: chatbots.

Chatbots don’t care if you buy the car. They don’t have families to feed or sales quotas to reach. They take your inputs and just give you answers. What is the MPG of the newest sedan? They’ll tell in a flash. 0-60 in how many seconds? Does it have side-impact airbags? It can answer all those in lightening speed too. What this means for the consumer is they can get this information without the pressure to test drive a car. If the MPG isn’t what they expected or require there’s no person following them around a lot, they can simply close the window and move onto another option. What is interesting about this all is that because there are no incentives for the chatbot and people are aware it is a machine, they trust it more. It is counterintuitive but true.

What this means for automakers and dealers is that when the chatbot gives that customer the answers they needed they can help build trust. Not only that when that consumer does come onto the lot they’re a qualified lead, the salesperson copy of the chat in hand, knows they value safety over performance, they know what features they may care about and that entire sales process shortens and is made easier. They don’t have to erode the seller’s trust by talking up features that a customer couldn’t care less about, but to their benefit they still have the opportunity for upsells.

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