August 22, 2017 By Guest Author, Michael Cross
As technology becomes more widely accessible and easier to use, consumers are becoming more comfortable with the concept of “The Internet of Things1” (IoT). This concept refers to how everyday objects can send data and information via the Internet (wireless) to external sources. Then, the recipients (people or systems) of this data can use the information to understand how a product or service is performing and identify actions that need to be triggered. The information is also stored and can be analyzed for product and process improvements.
One of the earliest uses of IoT was for inventory management. In 1982, Carnegie Mellon University modified a Coke machine to report back inventory levels. It also provided other insights such as how long it took for newly stocked items to become cold. People quickly recognized the value of such real-time information and how it could be used to create a competitive advantage.
Since then, IoT has grown to include energy management, healthcare monitoring and intervention, emergency alerts, building and home automation, and much, much more. The vehicles your dealership sells today are becoming major IoT devices. And many (though not all) consumers are eating up the benefits.
So, the question is, can your dealership employees explain the “connected car” to potential vehicle buyers? Do they have the knowledge and insights to make IoT a deal closer? If the answer is no, you might want to train your staff in the following 3 areas.
Safety is a big benefit of a connected car. Given that safety is often a key factor for buyers, your teams should really understand this aspect. Consumers will appreciate functionality such as pre-collision systems, road hazard detection, lane departure alerts, blind-spot warnings, automatic high beams, and pilot assist. Just as important are any hands-free features for phone and text.
People are always looking for ways to make their lives easier. Make sure you’re able to explain to them how a connected car can help accomplish just that. For example, you could point out that since you can start, stop, lock, and unlock your vehicle all from your phone, keys aren’t needed and you don’t have to worry about losing them. You can also upload directions from your phone directly into the vehicle’s navigation system. Some vehicles will even upload your daily calendar and program the navigation system to take you from appointment to appointment. And don’t forget to mention built-in Wi-Fi, the GPS locator, or the self-parking feature if available.
Today’s connected vehicle already gathers and analyzes vehicle data to predict if problems are arising and alert the owner if service maintenance is needed. Notifications can be sent via email, text, or smartphone app. Other types of notifications include alerts about road conditions, traffic, and weather. Some vehicles even allow parents to set controls that alert them if the car is being driven after curfew or outside a predefined geographic area.
Dealership employees who can talk-the-talk will no doubt make stronger connections with customers. The trick, of course, is focusing on the connected features that align with the vehicles you sell. Don’t be afraid to explain connected features on your website as well. The buying public is looking to understand this emerging and rapidly changing area and you can set yourself up as a subject-matter-expert by sharing what you know.
One word of warning, however: As mentioned earlier, not all vehicle buyers are enamored with the concept of a connected car. Some are bothered by the idea that Big Brother is watching. Others fear hacking and have privacy concerns. So just be sure you can address these concerns as well.
1. “A SIMPLE EXPLANATION OF ‘THE INTERNET OF THINGS’”
2. “THE ‘ONLY’ COKE MACHINE ON THE INTERNET.” CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY. NOVEMBER 2014.