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A.I. ain't A.I. in automotive. It is B.S.

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,804
1,430
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Alex
A.I. lead handling...

On the horn with a GM from a dealer group, last night, and he told me a story about how they went from "modern sophistication" to "being human" again. This is his story and his words (not mine):

Corporate got excited about Conversica and decided to make it a part of their lead follow-up, but take it even further. So, "Brittany" would make the initial reply to the lead confirming the request was received and a note about whether the store was open or not. Then the sales agent would respond with the actual reply. And the sales manager responded to introduce himself too. On paper, it sounded so professional!

The lead closing ratio dropped.

Then they removed the sales manager response and hired an experienced Internet manager to make the human response. He employed an arsenal of his old templates and got to work. Conversica's "Brittany" was still going too.

Response rates from customers improved, but the closing ratio remained unchanged.

The GM yanked "Brittany" and took all the templates away from his Internet Manager. They're now selling cars to their Internet leads again. And, they're also sending a price and payment quote in the initial email response to the lead. He finished his story by stating "hey man, this ain't rocket science - it is just people. Why do we keep trying to make it so complex?"
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
I'm a little confused here so bear with me.
You're saying that going off script, treating each customer as unique and talking to them instead of having them talk to a robot works better than "AI"?

 

Brittany

Getting Refreshed
Jun 25, 2019
55
47
18
First Name
Brittany
A.I. lead handling...

On the horn with a GM from a dealer group, last night, and he told me a story about how they went from "modern sophistication" to "being human" again. This is his story and his words (not mine):

Corporate got excited about Conversica and decided to make it a part of their lead follow-up, but take it even further. So, "Brittany" would make the initial reply to the lead confirming the request was received and a note about whether the store was open or not. Then the sales agent would respond with the actual reply. And the sales manager responded to introduce himself too. On paper, it sounded so professional!

The lead closing ratio dropped.

Then they removed the sales manager response and hired an experienced Internet manager to make the human response. He employed an arsenal of his old templates and got to work. Conversica's "Brittany" was still going too.

Response rates from customers improved, but the closing ratio remained unchanged.

The GM yanked "Brittany" and took all the templates away from his Internet Manager. They're now selling cars to their Internet leads again. And, they're also sending a price and payment quote in the initial email response to the lead. He finished his story by stating "hey man, this ain't rocket science - it is just people. Why do we keep trying to make it so complex?"
:iagree:
I couldn't be more excited for my name to be part of an example :hello:

It's CRAZY how real people get real results when it comes to handling leads. Almost as if customers are *gasp* real people
 

Mike Rod

Noob
Aug 27, 2019
9
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Mike
I'm a little confused here so bear with me.
You're saying that going off script, treating each customer as unique and talking to them instead of having them talk to a robot works better than "AI"?...
I read through a few pages of this thread. I am no where near needing an auto reply, but I am confident I would never even use one.
I don't believe in AI as there is nothing "intelligent" about it. I find it very demeaning/insulting when a piece of code is attempting to be a live person. I can't even roll my eyes back enough when I call a company with an automated reply pretending to type keys to behave like a person. I find nothing more annoying than an autoreply keeping me in a loop. If I were to ever use such a chat system, I would give the option to customers to either try again when we have live agents or speak to an automated system and make it known it is an automated system.
 
Reactions: craigh

ryan.leslie

Sr. Refresher
Apr 20, 2009
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Ryan
A.I. is so much more than 1980's era automated chat following a prescribed workflow. I truly feel that if you let that be your working definition and expectation you are missing opportunity today and you won't be ready for tomorrow.

Check this out. It is a 3-minute video that does a great job of describing the process of training a computer through "reinforcement learning." You can visually see the adjustments that a computer made to solve a specific problem over millions of iterations. It looks like a video game too, so there is that.


Dr. Franke, who joined me on a RefreshFriday a few months back, dabbled with this exact methodology of reinforcement learning models to solve for pricing predictions in automotive. He quickly determined that it wasn't the right application because we cannot sufficiently "reset the world" on an everchanging market to test and retest a strategy.

Dealers can't "reset the world" either. A.I. is already having an impact in the industry at the tier III level, and it is only going to become more apparent and more important.
 
Reactions: Alexander Lau

john.quinn

Sr. Refresher
Dec 2, 2009
993
615
93
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John
I don't think the general DR populace is doubting A.I. as a "science" or technology in general. But it's hard to argue against the B.S. Buzzword, rush-to-market products in today's automotive marketplace.

C'mon, I mean... when you see Sr. VP's of Product for major automotive conglomerates talking about A.I. in their products or even in their plans, it's nothing but TRULY cringeworthy.
 

Brittany

Getting Refreshed
Jun 25, 2019
55
47
18
First Name
Brittany
I agree with @john.quinn, I think people are just tired of being sold AI, the "easy" solution, especially when it comes to customer facing operations.
 
Reactions: john.quinn

ryan.leslie

Sr. Refresher
Apr 20, 2009
581
500
93
First Name
Ryan
I don't think the general DR populace is doubting A.I. as a "science" or technology in general. But it's hard to argue against the B.S. Buzzword, rush-to-market products in today's automotive marketplace.

C'mon, I mean... when you see Sr. VP's of Product for major automotive conglomerates talking about A.I. in their products or even in their plans, it's nothing but TRULY cringeworthy.
I get it @john.quinn. I lived through the front lines of the misappropriation of "Online Reputation Management." ;) Here is a different take, perhaps to be read in your best Billy Mays voice as a commercial for participation in the Refresh Forums and RefreshFriday.

"Hi, Billy Mays here for DealerRefresh...

Have you ever wanted to knock a "Sr. VP of Product for a major automotive conglomerate" down a few pegs?
Pesky Vendors wearing out your inbox with an unintelligible promise of artificial intelligence?
Wondering if you moved to Canada or are constantly getting pitched A.I., eh, I am too!

Do I have a solution for you! For the low, low price of just $0, you can educate yourself as to the ACTUAL meaning of the buzzwords they are slinging like slapjacks and get their product pitches back on track! Like I always say, the best things in life are free, or $19.95, and this is free. Quit lurking and start jerking those buzzword droppers back into YOUR reality today, with DealerRefresh! Now you can know if they are just pitching a sham, wow! Act fast, or don't, this is an unlimited time offer!"


All you have to do to stop a buzzword drop in a pitch is have a better understanding of the buzzword they are using than they do. Nothing slows down a buzzword laden product demonstration like a knowledgeable audience. A.I., as a buzzword and a process, isn't going away any time soon. We won't change that here, but we may be successful arming a dealer or two with weapons to fight the buzzword battle in their stores. If dealers peruse this thread and listen to Dr. Franke's discussion with Alex, they'll be well on their way to creating cringeworthy moments for those that misuse this buzzword.

I know the conglomerate you are referencing and the data is SO dirty they are a long way from meaningful AI. Shoot, I'd stop every Rep that mentioned A.I. in their product demo and ask them to define the terms. In what branch of AI is your product or service rooted? Are you referring to 1980's expert systems or true machine learning? Throw in a question about the "AI winter" for bonus cringing. ;)

The best way to battle buzzwords is knowledge.

I agree with @john.quinn, I think people are just tired of being sold AI, the "easy" solution, especially when it comes to customer facing operations.
I disagree @Brittany. I think people are tired of getting pitched 1980's A.I. as if it were Westworld level automation. Again, don't buy the buzzword, buy the solution. Understanding the basics takes the buzz out of the buzzwords.
 
Reactions: Alexander Lau

Brittany

Getting Refreshed
Jun 25, 2019
55
47
18
First Name
Brittany
@ryan.leslie Realistically, it's probably a combination of both, but I do think even just this page of this thread backs up my point. ;)

Although I'm sure it's always annoying being sold anything that you've heard time and time again. I get annoyed when every single store you go to asks for a phone number and email address