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Cars.com launches AI Chat (Conversations Starter Package)

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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This just released from Cars.com - wasting no time since the acquisition of DealerInspire.

We are excited to announce that the Conversations Starter™ Package will launch on Cars.com for your dealership the week of 4/16. Conversations Starter™ Package is built on the Dealer Inspire messaging platform that can connect you with in-market consumers as they are researching on Cars.com. Chats initiated on Cars.com will be answered by an AI chatbot and transferred to managed chat agents who convert the chats to leads which are sent directly to your CRM.

Conversations Starter™ Package helps you to:

  • Drive Incremental Connections: Turn chats into conversations that convert to sales.
  • Never Miss an Opportunity: Connect with consumers any day or time.
  • Future-Proof Your Dealership: Move the modern consumer closer to purchase.


Here's an image from the more info page...

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 4.40.40 PM.png

My first question was; what if ANA can't answer the question?? Cars.com has an answer...

"If Ana cannot answer a question, she passes it off to a team of managed chat experts to continue the conversation before converting it to a lead on behalf of your dealership and routing it through to your team."

What exactly do they mean by "routing it through to your team?" Does the dealership need to be with Dealer Inspire?

More importantly, is this a game changer in the vehicle listings/marketplace landscape??
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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More importantly, is this a game changer in the vehicle listings/marketplace landscape??
I don't think this is a game changer, but we'll know soon enough.

I imagine the questions on classifieds websites are going to be far more specific than the questions on a dealership website.
So many dealership website chats are about hours, booking service appointments, is Tony at work, etc.
I would think the classifieds discussions would be more directed at:
  • Price of the vehicle and how negotiable it is
  • Specific features of the car and whether or not it has them
  • Sales questions regarding availability, timing, etc
  • Is this car still available (probably be 50% of all chats in my prediction) - I think the general publishing delays on classifieds sites will make this a common question that consumers will expect an answer to
 

Ben_Adler12

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Feb 28, 2017
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That sure was fast. It's going to be interesting to see....

What questions will commonly be asked?
What will the user experience be like?

1. User talks to ANA
2. User talks to a managed rep
3. User submits lead info and waits for a response
4. User talks to BDC / Salesperson
 

Ben_Adler12

Getting Refreshed
Feb 28, 2017
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Ben
I don't think this is a game changer, but we'll know soon enough.

I imagine the questions on classifieds websites are going to be far more specific than the questions on a dealership website.
So many dealership website chats are about hours, booking service appointments, is Tony at work, etc.
I would think the classifieds discussions would be more directed at:
  • Price of the vehicle and how negotiable it is
  • Specific features of the car and whether or not it has them
  • Sales questions regarding availability, timing, etc
  • Is this car still available (probably be 50% of all chats in my prediction) - I think the general publishing delays on classifieds sites will make this a common question that consumers will expect an answer to
I think it might come down to whether or not the user thinks they are talking to someone at the dealership or not? I might not even ask certain questions if I don't think the chat can answer them.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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Craig
I think it might come down to whether or not the user thinks they are talking to someone at the dealership or not? I might not even ask certain questions if I don't think the chat can answer them.
There's what I was trying to brainstorm though.
What questions would you ask ANA on a classifieds site?
 

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,452
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113
First Name
Jeff
I don't think this is a game changer, but we'll know soon enough.

I imagine the questions on classifieds websites are going to be far more specific than the questions on a dealership website.
So many dealership website chats are about hours, booking service appointments, is Tony at work, etc.
I would think the classifieds discussions would be more directed at:
  • Price of the vehicle and how negotiable it is
  • Specific features of the car and whether or not it has them
  • Sales questions regarding availability, timing, etc
  • Is this car still available (probably be 50% of all chats in my prediction) - I think the general publishing delays on classifieds sites will make this a common question that consumers will expect an answer to
@craigh I was thinking the same... but considering it's AI in a landscape that's never been explored before, what will Cars.com learn from this? That alone, could be exciting. But then again, chat isn't new Cars.com / Dealer's VDP (albeit sorta hidden.) How many shoppers are using chat on a listing site? In all my years counting, the results have been low. So who knows...
 

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,452
1,040
113
First Name
Jeff
I think it might come down to whether or not the user thinks they are talking to someone at the dealership or not? I might not even ask certain questions if I don't think the chat can answer them.
But let's agree, we're not the norm.
 

craigh

Super Moderator
May 19, 2011
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@craigh I was thinking the same... but considering it's AI
I'll stop you there ;)
This isn't Artificial Intelligence. AI requires reasoning, problem solving and perception.
At best, this is a machine learning and contextual awareness.
More than likely, and now I'm in unknown waters, it's a collection of data lookups based on keyword triggers and patterns, which only learns with manual data input, from humans who learned how to server better chats by reading past chats and results and gauging positive and negative responses based on emotional keywords.

But that's not relevant. I'm excited to see how it goes.
 
Reactions: Alexander Lau

Rob

Getting Refreshed
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I'll stop you there ;)
This isn't Artificial Intelligence. AI requires reasoning, problem solving and perception.
At best, this is a machine learning and contextual awareness.
More than likely, and now I'm in unknown waters, it's a collection of data lookups based on keyword triggers and patterns, which only learns with manual data input, from humans who learned how to server better chats by reading past chats and results and gauging positive and negative responses based on emotional keywords.

But that's not relevant. I'm excited to see how it goes.
Anything companies can stretch to label AI or Machine Learning, they're gonna.