Salesman with tablet and young family in car salon

McKinsey Global Institute has conducted a broad-based research initiative on automation across sectors. The good news is that this research has shown that about half of retail activities can be automated using current, at-scale technology. Unfortunately, the idea of automation also brings thoughts of job replacement, increased short-term costs and IT challenges. 

Maybe you don’t think you’re ready to leap, but it’s actually easy to get started if you’re not doing it already. As the first part of this series, let’s look at ways of dealing with obstacles you may encounter on the road to increasing consumer engagement through automation.  

Obstacle #1: Automation Will Take Too Much Time

In the short term, there will be some pain as automation is deployed. Figuring out coding, using a third party, or understanding how to use data will require some time. However, once that bump is overcome, you’ll be able to focus on better insights, more personalization and an overall better consumer experience. As happens when beginning a new exercise regimen, automation will cause some uncomfortable moments but will be worth it as you reach your goals of better consumer communication.   

Obstacle #2: With Automation, We’ll Forget How to Think

Even if you’re using tools from HubSpot, Marketo, or Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, you still need a plan. Yes, you can more easily track and improve your consumer communications, but you need to figure out what you’ll automate, what the workflow will be and what your customer experience goals will be. The truth is that you can’t automate everything, so you’ll need to think, plan and do. This leads to our third obstacle. 

Obstacle #3: Automation is a Magic Wand

Automation isn’t going to be the answer to all your dealership issues, and it’s not a plug-and-play recipe for success. It’s a process that takes in quality data you’ve provided and runs it through a strategy you’ve decided to implement. In marketing, it can be a key to your successful communication strategy. In sales, it can allow customers to set up and conduct their own test drives without a forced salesperson interaction. It can also expand your dwindling resources by assisting with service departments’ consumer interactions. 

Automation still requires personalization that’s unique to you, your market and a compete dealership cooperation so things don’t happen in a silo. Current internal issues such as struggles to get sales, marketing, and fixed ops on the same page will not go away. However, bringing together cross-functional teams to rally around a singular focused and improved customer experience will eventually elevate every department.

It will be important for every area of the dealership to align with your brand’s customer experience. Automation will be useless without that.

In part 2, we’ll discuss best practices using automation to bring a better experience to your present and future customers.

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