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Impel Blog

Your Never-Off Employee: The Power of Always-On Engagement in a Nonstop Industry

Always on engagement

In an ideal world, your dealership would provide personalized, white-glove customer service to every prospect 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. How can this be achieved when human employees need — and deserve — breaks, holidays, and a work-life balance? 

Welcome to conversational AI, the always-on employee your dealership needs to capture and nurture leads around the clock. It stays on 24/7/365, so you – and your team – don’t have to. 

Consumers are Always Browsing. You are Always Engaging.

Vehicle dealerships are fast-paced environments. Thanks to the increasing number of available channels, consumers have more opportunities than ever before to browse and shop at any hour, any day of the week. Many customer inquiries come in at night, leaving off-hour requests to pile up. And even if a sales team follows up on every lead, most give up after two or three connection attempts. Other leads may not receive any follow-up, resulting in a negative customer experience. 

No human sales staff can realistically handle 24/7 engagement. Labor shortages have made adequate staffing more challenging than ever, and frankly, not every interaction requires a human response in real-time. 

Impel’s Sales AI answers incoming leads instantly, regardless of the time of day. Conversational AI draws from first-party shopper data and the retailer’s inventory to personalize answers, engage prospective buyers in a timely and relevant manner, and guide them through the sales funnel.

“I was expecting there to be questions that would throw a wrench in the works for the AI, but it’s been really quite good at answering customers… I constantly get people that ask for Sarah (the name of our AI).” 

-Graham Dallas, BDC Director, Sewell Ford Lincoln

Customers assess various options during the long automotive buying cycle between models, features, customizations, price points, and more. The more considered and costly the purchase, the more dealers need to nurture the consumer.

Auto-responders and other last-gen AI are no longer enough to meet consumer needs with their canned, robotic conversations. Unlike Sales AI, this outdated tech can’t understand VIN-specific questions or provide personalized, interactive answers. Conversational AI automation empowers your sales team to handle qualified leads with more organization, efficiency, and speed, enabling them to focus on proactive business development.

“I want my salespeople to always be in front of a customer, selling. The best time to sell a car is when you just sold one – you’re on that high, and nothing can stop you. Any tool that I can use, like smart conversational AI, I’m going to use to ensure they’re always with an active high-value customer. Provide your team with the tools they need to be successful–you’ll be surprised.” 

-Casey Sicher-Ford, Digital Marketing and Variable Operations Director, various dealer groups

Consumers are over three times more likely to respond to a text message than an email. Sales AI uses both SMS text and email, encouraging maximum responsiveness and engagement. And by integrating with your CRM, it keeps all the communication documented in the same place for a full 360° view of each shopper.

Nurture Customer Relationships With AI-Powered Conversations

AI is the chief enabler of always-on engagement. Sales AI’s conversational AI technology interacts with customers across multiple means using human-like dialogue. It integrates with most major dealership CRMs and records everything conveniently in one place, enabling a vehicle retailer to drive previously unimaginable levels of automated interaction and continuity across channels. Machine learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (MLP) create personalized conversations with shoppers that feel like real conversations with a live sales team member. Personalized AI interactions never feel robotic or canned. And because the AI is exceptional at collecting personalized insights, the salesperson is fully informed so that every conversation feels seamless and like part of the ongoing journey.

“Hannah (Sales AI) was game-changing for us… People come in asking for her. They call for her. They insist on working only with Hannah because she’s been emailing them back and forth. And we have to explain that Hannah works from home – she doesn’t come into the dealership.”

-Gray Scott, Chief Marketing Officer, Cardinale Automotive Group

Consumers who feel nurtured and supported during large purchases and commitments are more likely to convert and remain loyal to that dealership when considering future vehicle purchases.

Increase Appointment Set Rates With Automation

A Pied Piper survey showed the average dealership lead follow-up rate is 30%. Sales AI sets appointments automatically. A customer who requests a phone call or an in-person meeting at midnight can be booked the next day by Sales AI. Sales AI will ask for the lead’s contact details and coordinate a call or meeting at a convenient time. The appointment is on their calendar when the salesperson arrives at work in the morning. 

Customers are immediately engaged, while salespeople are free to focus on low-funnel prospects, closing deals, and providing an excellent customer experience.

Based on results from dealers across the country, Sales AI adopters have seen an average increase of 25% in scheduled appointments. That means more qualified leads coming in the door and less time juggling messages from multiple platforms.

Sales AI Fills in the Gaps and Picks up the Slack

Even the best sales teams make mistakes, miss leads, or fail to communicate in a timely fashion. Missed opportunities, delayed replies, inefficient follow-ups, incomplete replies, and other problems happen, but any of these issues can lead to customer dissatisfaction and missed sales. Sales AI gives your shoppers a top-notch experience from start to finish with most never realizing they’ve spoken to an AI.

Dealerships with Sales AI have an advantage with customized, connected, and easy shopping experiences that set them apart from the competition.

Every sales team can benefit from additional support. Learn more about how automation, conversational AI, and digital engagement can take your dealership to the next level through our Digital Engagement platform.