Technology vs. Human Connection: Which One Does Your Dealership Need?

There’s no question; technology is a boon to dealerships. Big data, mobile apps, social media–there are countless ways that tech smooths the car buying journey and bringing foot traffic to dealerships.

Before deciding to fire your sales team in favor of the latest uploads, here are some points to consider.

Humans are social creatures. From infancy through our lifespans, we crave an emotional connection with others. This is one of the reasons why social media has boomed in the last few years; people are seeking ways to connect in a culture that can be very isolating at times.

As good as technology is, it has not shown the ability to replace that real, emotional warmth. An app can’t yet substitute the welcoming, personalized smile greeting customers when they walk through the door.

Granted, science fiction has given us a picture AI as one day being equal to or mastering the human race. Some great thinkers have ventured to describe that day as well. However, most realistic estimates put that day in the distant future, if it comes at all.

In the meantime, view technology for what it is: a useful tool that needs a human hand to wield it. A hammer can’t build much without a hand and human vision. Or, to use the words of my second-grade math teacher when she introduced the concept of calculators, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Dealerships need to train staff to make the most of the technological tools, instead of relying on those tools to replace staff. The better they are at using the tools, the more proficient they’ll be at what you’ve hired them to do.

When ATMs were first introduced, people feared they heralded the end of bank tellers. As anyone who’s recently visited a bank can attest, that’s not the case. By taking care of the tedious jobs of doling out cash and looking up balances, ATMs free up bank staff to focus on more critical, human-centric work.

Dealerships can use this model to balance their human-tech equations. Outsource tasks that need little mental or emotional input to machines, allowing staff to take on more creative and personable roles. For example, enable apps to set appointments, but have a human make the follow-up call.

Overall, human-to-human connection still wins out over human-to-technology engagement. It’s a mistake to turn the wheel completely to technology or to look at your flesh-and-blood employees as secondary to or merely servicing your tech. The best model is to find ways to use tech to free up your employees so they can connect more completely and satisfyingly with your customers, and you’ll have a winning equation.


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