Kia has teamed with Gubagoo, a conversational commerce service, to add another tool to Kia dealers' digital marketing programs.
Gubagoo specializes in digital retailing tools that allow automotive shoppers to page through inventory on a dealership's website and engage in chat with the dealership The chat's themes, colors, fonts, scripting, images, messages and location elements are among the customizable components.
But non-Kia dealers don't need to rely on their OEMs to adopt Gubagoo, recently acquired by Reynolds & Reynolds, to bolster their marketing and customer service. Jeff Vaughn, chief marketing officer-Cable Dahmer Automotive Group, Kansas City, MO, has adopted Gubagoo for the seven storefronts and five OEM franchises, including Kia, in his group.
"It allows us to take our front-end consumer experiences (and) connect them with deeper experiences and applications that Reynolds has on actually contracting deals and signing deals… so that we can bring the best on the consumer front end as well as the dealership backend," Vaughn tells Wards.
"So we're now on the cusp of really delivering all the e-commerce experiences through every part of the dealership, every part of the consumer experience, the dealership and other deep integrations with, say, service and being able to access the chat," Vaughn says.
Another standout feature is buyers' ability to connect with actual dealership representatives 24/7/365. Gubagoo staff is trained for specific makes and dealerships and answering off-hour inquiries. And when dealership staff takes the lead on a chat, Gubagoo staff can unobtrusively join the discussion and relay relevant information to the dealer.
Gubagoo dates back about a decade to when the founders noted customers on dealers’ websites needed to fill out a form to initiate contact. As technology developed, the founders introduced customized chat greeting messages based on customers' interests.
"So rather than saying 'How can I help you?' it could detect the website user's interest and say, 'How can I help you with the Honda Civic?'" says Ryan Osten, executive vice president-Gubagoo. “We launched it with some early dealers and it had an immediate impact…on lead-conversion revenue to dealerships and it just took off from there."
As customer preferences switched to more online interaction during deals, it expanded the service to fulfill that need. Now a variety of customization options is available for dealerships and brand experience.
"One thing the automotive dealerships are very particular about is how they want customers' experiences to be," says Osten. "Our chat scripting is customizable, our messages are customizable, the handling of customers is customizable. Over the years we've been doing this, we've built a lot of customization to match the dealerships' businesses and preferences."
That customization is the reason Vaughan is so high on the service.
"What we like is, the consumer starts to chat and everything can tie into the online retailing side," he says. "We can start building the deal with the customer…as you are on the chat side of the conversation."
"They truly know our vehicles," says Vaughn of Gubagoo staff. "They are automotive-focused people and the chat quality is much higher than on the previous providers."
Kia dealers that adopt Gubagoo's website chat can enter chat on Kia.com to monitor and access those interactions. The conversation is seamless, Kia reps say.
Kia dealers that don't use Gubagoo as their chat provider can access Gubagoo through a GLive portal that allows them to monitor and access chat about their dealerships that originates on Kia.com.
There's a bonus for Kia dealerships currently using Gubagoo as their website chat provider: They can chat with customers that come through Kia.com, just as they do on their websites.