In February we participated in the first innovation Safari in the "German Remarketing Congress" and the pitch competition won. The challenge was to develop innovative digital solutions for car dealerships, in our case for a test drive. In a 24h hackathon, we automatically developed a chatbot via Facebook Messenger that arranges test drives for car dealers.

Why do car dealers need a chatbot now?

In cooperation with Car dealership Köpper, we were able to identify the following scenarios in the organisation of test drives:

  1. One of the main problems was the lack of availability (24/7).
  2. Completing a test drive involves many formalities, which is why there is great potential for digitisation.
  3. During the process, 4-5 people are needed, which costs a lot of time and resources. The time spent could be better invested in closing deals.

All these problems will be addressed in the following post, which explains step by step how to get all the information you need about a chatbot can be collected and how the test drive can be staffed without employees.

Step 1: Selection of a car via Chatbot

Chatbots for test drives

In the first step, the user is asked to choose a make of car and then the model. It makes sense to use special templates for each car in order to name further details such as aesthetics, pricing, years, etc..

Step 2: Scheduling via the chatbot

Chatbots for test drives

Once a specific car has been selected, an appointment for the test drive must be made. There are several possibilities. You can either ask the user to type a date in a standard format (dd/mm/yyyy) or even a webview to integrate calendars. In our case, the chatbot will process the specified date and check with a database what hours are still available. These time frames are displayed in quick response/buttons where the user can choose his preferred time or go back to change the date.

Step 3: Collect relevant documents

Chatbots for test drives

Now is the time to finish the formalities. The user is asked to upload all relevant documents such as his ID, driver's license, etc. The chatbot can already extract crucial information such as name, age, address by using the vision and NLP APIs from Google to store the data in a CRM. In case you are wondering how your personal data can be stored securely. Google offers a Data Loss Prevention API (Beta) which automatically recognizes sensitive data (text or images) and hides certain elements such as names, addresses, etc.. Finally, the user can be sent a legal agreement for the test drive, which he must sign. There is either the possibility that the user takes a photo of the signed agreement and uploads it, or he takes it with him to the test drive and hands it in on the spot.

Step 4: Summary and confirmation

Chatbots for test drives

In the last step, the user has the option to confirm his test drive to ensure that all appointments are correct.

Step 5: Reminder

Confirmation of the test drive

It makes sense to remind the driver the day before of his booked test drive.

Step 6: Feedback


Completion of the process

The following day, the user receives an automated message asking him to provide feedback. This is a great opportunity to gather valuable information that can help improve your service as a car dealer. In addition, this provides the opportunity to remind the test driver, which in turn can increase the likelihood of a purchase. For example, you can send the tester an overview of the car, which points to the unique selling points.

This was a rough draft of our prototype, which we developed for a car dealer. With this innovation, we believe that not only can the entire process be optimized, but that 70% of the workload can be reduced and up to 50% less downtime can be achieved. However, there are many more use cases for this branch than just arranging a test drive. For example, the chatbot could be used to present all current car models and answer FAQs such as opening hours or product-related questions.

As always: Please leave your thoughts in the comments!