Welcome to Automotive Industries, where we delve into the innovative strategies and technologies shaping the automotive landscape. Today, we have the pleasure of chatting with Chance Mayfield, the CEO of Carfluent, a company at the forefront of revolutionizing the automotive industry through AI integration and language inclusivity.
AI Integration for Language Inclusivity:
Automotive Industries: Chance, the integration of AI to translate a dealer’s search and inventory into Spanish seems like a game-changer. Can you share how it has impacted the outreach to the underserved Spanish-speaking population, and what challenges were overcome in implementing this technology?
Mayfield: Absolutely. The impact has been remarkable. Our dealers are experiencing a 12% conversion rate, compared to the industry average of 1.5, marking an 8x improvement. This success reflects the urgent need for a solution, finally allowing Spanish speakers to navigate the online car shopping journey seamlessly. One significant challenge was making our product fully automated, affordable, and contextually accurate. We spent nearly two years building the infrastructure to achieve this.
Automotive Industries: Carfluent achieved a remarkable 6x growth in the customer base during 2023. Could you share insights into the strategies and innovations employed for such rapid growth?
Mayfield: Launching Carfluent in 2023 meant actively spreading the word. Partnering with groups like Glenn Polk and Cavender, along with a diverse range of OEMs, contributed to a snowball effect of results, gaining trust and driving more business. It’s exciting to witness the broad industry support.
Automotive Industries: The unveiling of Tory, the bilingual chatbot, is intriguing. How do you anticipate this chatbot enhancing the overall customer experience, and what specific features make it stand out in the market?
Mayfield: Tory is the fastest way for a dealer to connect with a Spanish-speaking customer. It can guide them to their dream car in just three clicks and under five seconds. Installation is as easy as inserting a code snippet, and it’s now free for all customers on our Standard Subscription plan.
Automotive Industries: Carfluent emphasizes an agile approach. Can you provide examples of how this approach has allowed Carfluent to adapt quickly to changes in market conditions and evolving customer needs?
Mayfield: In beta, we stress-tested incentive translations and adjusted to keep up with daily changes. We changed the way our sites index to complement existing websites on SEO, focusing on Spanish pages. Adjusting URL structures enables dealers to drive different types of ads directly to vehicles of interest.
Automotive Industries: How is Carfluent leveraging cutting-edge AI and machine learning technologies to optimize its platform, and what benefits does this bring to both dealerships and car shoppers?
Mayfield: Carfluent’s database of automotive-specific terms and manufacturer names allows for nuance and accuracy, creating a less confusing shopping journey. The more dealerships join, the more accurate the language model becomes, benefiting both dealerships and shoppers.
Automotive Industries: Carfluent envisions a fluent future beyond the sale of vehicles. Can you elaborate on developments or initiatives Carfluent is working on to extend language automation across various vehicle lifecycle touch-points?
Mayfield: We’re exploring language automation in service scheduling, recognizing that the vehicle lifecycle extends beyond the search-to-sold instance. Service scheduling is a focus for the future.
Automotive Industries: Carfluent explores possibilities beyond traditional retail. Could you share areas of development or innovation Carfluent is pursuing that go beyond retail?
Mayfield: While our end goal is to bring a full-baked digital retail experience, for now, we focus on being the best solution for bilingual web pages and sales tools. We’re also looking into advertising automations and other R&D to benefit our customers.
Automotive Industries: Carfluent’s founders bring over 40 years of combined experience. How has this extensive experience influenced Carfluent’s approach to developing solutions in the automotive industry?
Mayfield: Our combined experience allowed us to launch with the right team and understanding of the automotive space. Our shared vision to make car shopping easier has been the driving force, and that shared vision is priceless.
Automotive Industries: Carfluent was born from customer needs. How does Carfluent ensure a customer-centric approach in its development process, and what role does customer feedback play in shaping the company’s innovations?
Mayfield: Our UI/UX showcases offerings developed in-house by dealers, acknowledging their investments. We work closely with dealers, collaborating on improvements and remaining flexible. Being smaller allows genuine collaboration and flexibility, solidifying when our dealers are successful.