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Collaborative Intelligence is the natural progression of AI in a human environment. AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be incredibly efficient and companies in the automotive industry to save time and money, but there are gaps in AI alone, especially when engaging with customers. Those gaps can be more of a pain point than a solution. According to the American Marketing Association, fully AI engagement can lead to disappointing outcomes with customers:

“Our research team finds that when customers are angry, deploying humanlike chatbots can negatively impact customer satisfaction, overall firm evaluation, and subsequent purchase intentions. Why? Because humanlike chatbots raise unrealistic expectations of how helpful they will be.” 

While many companies in the automotive space have relied heavily on the efficiency and speed of AI, collaborative intelligence is the key to the best customer experience and continued partnership. Computers and machine learning can function to a degree with success, but when changes happen in the industry, in the community, or in the world (2020, anyone?), AI is not aware. It turns out that computers DO need us.

According to Matthew Belk, CEO and Chief of Ideas at Better Car People, “Computers are not good with change, they are good at predicting the same thing that is going to happen repeatedly. Enter Collaborative Intelligence. Dealerships need real people and the brut force of AI.”

“When you combine the best of the two, collaborative intelligence wins.”

There are aspects of that technology (especially technology that has had the time to mature, gather data, and provide historical information) that can amplify your engagement, highlight key in-market shoppers, and save time. It can be efficient, both from a cost perspective and also from a time perspective. People are still critical to the engagement and buying process, though. People can pivot quickly, provide empathy and understanding, answer difficult questions, and create relationships.

Why is Collaborative Intelligence Important in Automotive?

Collaborative Intelligence in automotive is the blending of all of the data and learnings we have acquired to create a beneficial mix of machine learning and human touch. We use AI in varied elements of the automotive transaction, including marketing, customer engagement, online transactions, lead response, and vehicle valuations. AI brings efficiency to all of these, but more times than not, the consumer can only get so far before the AI does not know how to process the request or provide empathy, sympathy, or understanding.

Solutions that solely use AI can be less expensive, but at what cost? 54% of people would rather talk with a human than AI, and many abandon the chat/SMS solution or inquire for a real person to assist. When transitions to a live agent occur, you have the potential to frustrate or lose the customer. Solutions that use collaborative intelligence provide the best of both worlds–the human touch and intelligent AI.

Where does Collaborative Intelligence fit in Automotive?

There are many areas of opportunity to utilize Collaborative Intelligence in automotive, one of the biggest being engagement. Better Car People has been engaging with automotive customers since 2010–gathering best practices, refining our technology and creating a team of automotive experts. The combination of intelligence and the human touch is what makes collaborative intelligence so successful–especially in regards to building consumer relationships. Below are just three specific ways that companies will win when utilizing collaborative intelligence over a solely AI engagement.


The FQR (First Quality Response) is the initial interaction a customer has with the dealer. It generally comes in the form of a lead generated either from the website or from a 3rd party listing site. 

When a customer submits a lead that you have initiated, the dealership has one shot to not only engage with the customer, but to ask questions, answer questions, provide value, and start the relationship.

Because people buy from people they like.

You can see why the FQR is so critical to short and long-term success for the dealer. This “First Hello” can garner the consumer's interest, and create trust, transparency, and a potential long-term sales and service relationship. It can also increase your ROI as you are generating these leads for your dealerships. They are only deemed valuable if the dealership interacts with them, which has historically been out of your control.

Leaving this critical element up to AI completely could be a mistake. You want your partners to be the first to respond, but you also want to make sure their response brings value to the customer. That is where Collaborative Intelligence comes into play.  AI can learn and make assumptions based on the information a customer has given. However, there will be questions and inquiries that AI cannot answer. The technology is only as smart as what it has encountered and the learning it has undergone. 

People are needed to address and answer questions, empathize with customers, and build the beginning of a relationship.

Collaborative Intelligence is key to a fast, professional, and personal FQR 24/7/365.

Appointment Setting

Setting the appointment is the goal for the majority of customer interactions. Whether it is a sales appointment or a service appointment, the goal is to listen to the customer, help guide them where they need to be, and finalize the appointment before the end of the conversation all while gathering pertinent information that will prove valuable in marketing (email, phone number, full name).

AI is a great assistant in this process, but there are two areas where AI falls short when working independently of people:

  • It’s impersonal
  • The scheduler can be difficult to navigate, and AI can only know specific ways to help

Collaborative Intelligence bridges the gap between ease of use, AI, and the consumer. In service, for instance, a customer may want to use the OSS tool to set an appointment for next week, but cannot find the specific service they believe they need to get done. Without assistance, the customer may drop off and abandon the appointment. 

With Collaborative Intelligence, our AI sends a self-service message to the consumer so they can set their own appointment. But we also have agents who call customers and set appointments for them. 

The key is to remove all friction points, and that happens when you support technology with the human touch.

SMS/Chat Tools

Similar to setting appointments, SMS/Chat tools are a fantastic way to stay connected with consumers and potential consumers. These services, when paired with AI, can create a 24/7 experience for your customers. 

But how many of you have tried to chat with a company, only to be stuck in the AI loop? This leaves customers with canned responses and the awareness that there are only basic questions that can be answered, but that you ultimately need a live person to answer your questions or resolve your concern.

Again, this is where Collaborative Intelligence wins. 

AI and bots provide efficiencies, and the agents who assist provide the human touch. The combination of both leads to a quick, informational experience where the customer's questions are addressed, they can ask specific questions and be provided answers, and they are treated with care, empathy, and kindness.

In the end, customers like the ease of technology, but still want the accessibility of a live person when needed. Collaborative Intelligence provides the best of both worlds.

What Now?

If you are looking for engagement solutions, and are looking for proven, effective ways to harness technology with a human touch, check out Better Car People. We are experts in automotive customer engagement and utilize Collaborative Intelligence to ensure we get the best results from our AI and our agents. 


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