Appointments a Few Clicks Away

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Making appointments online is now common. PHOTO Pixabay

The development of a multitude digital solutions allows dealerships to leverage online appointment scheduling.

For transactions concerning a new vehicle or for mechanical maintenance, each party involved now manages their agenda at the tip of their finger.

In the comfort of your home

Viewed through a more positive lens, the pandemic will have propelled digital opportunities in the business world, particularly for the benefit of the automotive dealership community. Todd Robinson, Vice President of Sales and Support at RAPID RTC, a Keyloop company, states that the digitization of the automotive retail industry has transformed the way customers make purchasing decisions, book services and engage with dealers and manufacturers.

“Our Global Consumer Digitization white paper indicates that the ability to book services and repairs online is the most valued digital feature for customers, with 62 percent of respondents stating that they want to use this feature.”

A technology that facilitates the booking of appointments at any time, no matter where the customer is located. Our speaker adds that the dealer can also offer its customers the choice of platform: website, mobile application or WhatsApp.

“In addition, online service bookings have been shown to increase customer retention when combined with service offers, promotions and reward programs.”

Robinson concludes by noting that service booking tools that integrate with the shop’s schedule improve both the customer experience and resource management in the service department.

“Benefits include customer convenience, improved planning and accuracy, and reduced double entry on the shop floor.”

Todd Robinson, Vice President, Sales and Support, RAPID RTC, a Keyloop company. PHOTO RAPID RTC, a Keyloop company

Promoting digital technology

From the outset, some might think that the evolution of digital solutions is more beneficial to a younger clientele, who are more comfortable with the suggested way of making an appointment. Many dealerships rely on the expertise of companies that specialize in the field. Mylene Pagé, Director of Sales at CDK Global, calls it a simple, user-friendly system from the dealer’s website. It requires no password, only a cell phone number.

“CDK Service Appointment can be integrated with the manufacturer’s suggested vehicle maintenance program. Our system allows the customer to book an appointment online based on the dealer’s availability and to add the date to their virtual calendar. They will receive a confirmation by text or email,” she says, adding that the customer can even pay the bill electronically.

Ms. Pagé added that the automotive industry is constantly working to provide consumers with accessible and innovative solutions for after-sales mechanical maintenance. Driven by a realistic goal in today’s digital environment, manufacturers are suggesting that dealerships push the use of these methods.

“More and more, manufacturers are putting forward these digital solutions in order to reach a target of up to 20% of appointments online, depending on the manufacturer,” she says.

Mylène Pagé, Director of Sales at CDK Global. PHOTO CDK Global

The conversational agent

Among the automated spokespersons that can act on behalf of the dealer is the chatbot. Accessible day and night, it provides relief even on weekends and holidays. DealerAI’s chatbot, activated by artificial intelligence, allows for a real-time chat conversation with the customer in order to target service or sales appointments.

“DealerAI’s chatbot is not like a web form that imposes a rigid step-by-step process on the customer. As information is gathered, it enables exchanges that form a conversation like the one we’re having right now,” says Bryan Xu, Co-Founder of Toronto-based DealerAI.

Such a conversational agent, which is also multilingual, is cost-effective for companies since it does not require human intervention. While he is doing this, the other employees are doing their jobs for the dealership.

“We think this is the next level of customer experience that dealers will be able to offer their customers, the way they prefer to be communicated with,” adds Bryan Xu.

In addition to the dealer’s website, the DealerAI dialog can also integrate with many services such as Facebook Messenger and SMS.

Bryan Xu, DealerAI. PHOTO DealerAI



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