Alfa Romeo boosted their numbers of test drivers with the help of NLI

The Italian car manufacturer Alfa Romeo put Natural Language Interaction technology to the test when they wanted to improve the level of online engagement with Italian consumers and drive a higher number of test drive requests for its dealer network.

The Italian marquee was also looking to enrich the way consumers searched on its website by introducing more natural methods of interaction. Their existing search tool was not very user friendly as it simply created a long list of pages that featured a user’s keyword. In addition, Alfa Romeo needed to find a way to increase data capture by signing up more people to its email newsletter, as the existing ‘subscribe’ button wasn’t yielding high results.

Working alongside Alfa Romeo’s marketing agency DM Group, who were responsible for the website, the Natural Language Interaction specialist, Artificial Solutions, developed male and female Virtual Assistants named Giulietta and Tazio.

The characters helped visitors navigate the website and also guided them through a new car configurator, by having an intelligent two-way conversation about their age, sex and interests to build up a picture of each customer. This helped to quickly qualify which Alfa Romeo car best suited their needs. Prospects could then go on to play with all the options and configure their final choice, before asking either Giulietta or Tazio to organize a test drive at their local dealer.

Giulietta and Tazio could also suggest reasons to register for the brand’s email newsletter or point them towards the forum, based on an understanding already gained through their previous conversation. People with young families were told of fun events hosted by Alfa Romeo they might be interested in, for example, while young men would be pointed towards news about the Alfa Romeo motor racing team.

Giulietta and Tazio were given distinct personalities that consumers could empathize with. Young, sporty and friendly, the characters were also involved in an entertaining comic strip to extend their use. A downloadable deskmate was also developed so visitors could receive Alfa Romeo updates on their desktop from one of the virtual assistants.

Prospects were able to ask Giulietta and Tazio questions as soon as they landed on the site, which meant they could rapidly find what they wanted, rather than trawling through menus.

Focus groups had also highlighted that car configurators work well if you know the model you want but are not so effective if you are unsure of what you are looking for. Having Giulietta available to help qualify which model browsers were interested in ensured that uptake of the new car configurator was impressive, which in turn achieved an uplift in test drive requests. Appointments booked via Giulietta were in fact higher than through any other channel including telemarketing.

During the project, the Virtual Assistants became the online face of the brand and by demonstrating their understanding of visitors’ needs, developed into trusted sources of information and helped improve the overall online experience. Newsletter subscription rates also increased due to the more targeted approach of suggesting why a visitor should sign up.

Giulietta and Tazio brought new methods of interaction to the Alfa Romeo website, making the whole user experience not only more informative but also entertaining and ultimately helping drive more sales.

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