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The Pitfalls of Using AI Technology to Respond to Internet Leads.

As the landscape of the automotive industry continues to change, the use of technology is reshaping the way many dealerships operate when it comes to connecting with potential customers. As I meet with new LotWalk dealers every day, I’m finding a growing number of dealers who are implementing strategies using AI platforms to respond to internet leads. Even though AI offers speed and efficiency when it comes to making initial contact and replying to incoming prospect leads, it is important to consider the downsides that come with taking the human element away from engaging with potential customers.


One of the primary drawbacks to relying on AI for internet lead responses is the potential loss of personalization. AI algorithms can struggle to understand and incorporate the nuances of individual customer preferences, leading to generic responses that fail to establish a meaningful connection. Our industry thrives on building relationships, and a lack of personal touch can result in missed opportunities and customer dissatisfaction.


AI systems excel in handling routine and straightforward tasks, but they often struggle when confronted with complex questions that require understanding context, emotion, and empathy. In our business, customers always have specific questions about features, financing options, or warranty details. AI can be deficient in providing accurate and nuanced responses that will lead to frustration for potential customers looking for comprehensive answers. 


AI is driven by algorithms and programmed responses that can often misinterpret what a prospect is inquiring about. Let’s face it: we all have our own unique speech patterns and dialects. When AI doesn’t exactly pick up what a prospect is putting down, there is a considerable risk of your AI tool damaging the reputation that you have worked so hard to build.


Human interaction is impossible to replace, and that interaction is essential for us when building trust, which is such a massive part of being successful in our business. Even though AI can streamline our processes, is the risk of AI contributing to an impersonal customer experience worth it? Customers see value in interacting with knowledgeable and empathetic sales professionals who can address their concerns and demonstrate authentic understanding. Relying on AI may lead to the perception that your dealership prioritizes efficiency over customer relationships.


We are blessed to be in a dynamic industry with ever-changing trends, market conditions, and customer preferences. Although AI systems can learn from data, there is a struggle to adapt quickly to emerging trends and sudden shifts in customer behavior. Dealerships relying solely on AI for lead responses risk falling behind competitors who can adapt more rapidly to changes in the market.


While AI undoubtedly offers advantages when it comes to bringing efficiency to the lead response process, we must acknowledge and navigate the downsides. Balancing the benefits of automation with the need for personalized, empathetic, and adaptable customer interaction is key to success in our world today. 

-Renaldo Leonard



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