Helping auto dealers close more sales with Google Cloud Platform

Car dealers often undervalue their calls with customers. A survey by Dealix found that dealers don’t follow up calls to make sales appointments with customers nearly three-quarters of the time, even though calls can be among their highest-value leads. That’s the problem InterActiveTel set out to solve. The company develops solutions that track, monitor and report on dealer-customer interactions by telephone. They wanted to build a system to help dealers turn phone calls into sales and increase customer loyalty.

The core of its solution requires accurate transcription of calls in near real-time so that dealers can more quickly and accurately respond to them. The automatic transcription service it was using was not accurate enough, and so InterActiveTel switched to Google Cloud Platform and Google Cloud Speech API for their scalability and high accuracy rates.

"Google Cloud Speech API performs highly accurate speech-to-text transcription in near-real-time. The higher accuracy rates mean we can help dealers get the most out of phone interactions with their customers and increase sales.” — Gary Graves, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, InterActiveTel

Transcribing text, boosting sales

When a dealer receives a call, InterActiveTel’s system records and then stores the details in Google Cloud Storage. The call is simultaneously transcribed by Cloud Speech API. Because the transcription is done in near real-time, the dealer can receive actionable alerts about calls while they are in progress, and respond to ensure customers are being treated well.

InterActiveTel’s proprietary analysis engine examines the text in the transcript and takes action based on the content of the call. Dealers can create keywords or phrases that when found in a transcript will trigger alerts to be sent to specific people.

For example, suppose a customer calls to inquire about a specific vehicle only to learn that that vehicle is now sold. The sales agent ends the call without capturing any info about the customer or inquiry. The fluid nature of automotive inventory could bring a very similar vehicle in within days, yet this opportunity may have been missed. With InterActiveTel’s solution an alert and the transcript are instantly sent to the sales manager, who can call back the customer within minutes and possibly earn future business.

Map showing customer interaction analysis

Based on call analysis, the software can also detect when a customer is unhappy based on certain words being used and send out an alert. Near-real-time transcripts enable dealers and sales managers to take immediate actions. If a customer disagrees with a salesperson, a sales manager can be alerted to join the call while it is live and try to smooth out the situation. In the case of a customer leaving a message saying she was unhappy with a long wait for her car to get serviced, a manager can call back immediately to mollify her and try to turn her into a repeat customer.

“Calls are the hottest leads for dealerships, but they are very hard to track and analyze. The key to optimizing them is to act immediately by analyzing customer reactions in near real-time using call transcripts,” says Graves.

More accurate transcriptions lead to greater customer satisfaction

Image of broken car and frustrated driver with quote from Gary Graves, CTO of InteractiveTel, which reads 'The accuracy and performance of Google's Cloud Speech API enables us to provide near real-time notifications of bumps in the road along the customer's journey.'

According to the customer, using Cloud Speech API has enabled, on average, a 25 to 30 percent higher accuracy rate than InterActiveTel’s previous machine transcription service. Now InterActiveTel’s API can recognize keywords and customer sentiment more accurately and provide dealers with a more effective solution. Dealers can better follow up on sales leads and close more deals, improve customer loyalty and increase repeat visits to their service departments. With the help of Cloud Speech API’s high accuracy rates, an increasing number of dealers are signing up with InterActiveTel.

“Customer interaction analysis tools like ours can go beyond closing sales. They can also root out systemic phone-handling problems, and create a complete picture of how dealers relate to their customers,” says Graves.