Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Auto Live Chat Emoticon Etiquette: When can you use =) ?

By Stephen Jackson on Mar 15, 2012

 

It is a well-known fact that abbreviations and emoticons are often used in every day conversations. From texting to emailing, this lingo has become popular across all generations and forms of media – dating all the way back to 1862. So, when is it appropriate to use emoticons in an automotive live chat conversation?

There is one golden rule that you must always keep in mind: do not use emoticons or abbreviations unless the chatter uses them first. However, this rule can be applied loosely depending on the vibe each live chat participant gives off during the conversation. If you are having a great conversation and acquire all the contact information effortlessly, an emoticon or abbreviation here and there could help, not hinder, your chat. This fresh way of communicating can give off positive feelings in the chat conversation and can be a great way to build a relationship with the web shopper.

Scenarios when to use Emoticons after the chatter uses them first:

Inappropriate:

Customer: You look very good in the picture online. Will I be working with you? ;-)

Sales Person: I do not work in sales, but a member of my Sales Team will be following up with you! ;-D

Live chat interactions are the first impression a customer has of your dealership. If the chatter is being flirtatious in a chat, do not reward their flirtation with an emoticon.  Focus their attention on the vehicle, not the emotion. Keep the conversation on a professional note.

 

Appropriate:

Customer: I want a SUV with leather, sunroof, and navigation for 35k. I know that is a lot to ask. =)

Sales Person: We’ll see what we can do for you John. =)

When a customer is excited about a vehicle, match that excitement with an emoticon. Not only does it make the chatter feel good, but the emoticon confirms you are on the right track to acquiring contact information.

 

Scenarios when to use Emoticons first:

Inappropriate:

Customer:  I have very bad credit and I want to know if you guys can work with that.  I filed for bankruptcy as well.

Sales Person:  =(  I’m sorry to hear that John!

Never focus on a negative statement made by the chatter and never use a frowning emoticon. You want the live chat participant’s experience to always be positive which will reflect on the dealership itself.

 

Appropriate:

Customer: When I come in, I would like to work with you, where do I go to ask for you?

Sales Person: I’m sorry, I don’t work in sales. I leave that to the pros ;-) .

Sometimes when a live chat goes well the customer asks to work with the chat representative when they visit the dealership. In this chat, an emoticon is appropriate because it reflects back a positive feeling on the sales staff and the dealership.

 

When to use an abbreviation back:

Inappropriate:

Customer: My credit is horrible, I bet the bum down the street has a better score than me.

Sales Person: LOL. We’ll see what we can do for you John.

When you oversimplify live chat with abbreviations, a lot of communication errors can occur. Don’t focus on the negatives in chat and don’t “laugh out loud” to any chatter’s reference to bad credit. Focus on positives and keep the conversation focused on the vehicle!

 

Appropriate:

Customer: I’m being a good husband and getting all the features my wife wants on this car. I’m a keeper, aren’t I? LOL

Sales Person: LOL. Yes, we wouldn’t want your wife to be angry because you didn’t listen! I’ve made sure to make note of those features for you.

When a chatter feels comfortable enough to joke around with you, then that feeling of comfort will pass onto the dealership. First impressions are important and to return a given LOL is golden.

 

When to use emoticons and abbreviations simultaneously:

Inappropriate:

Customer: I’m looking for a vehicle that I can get hot chicks in, you know what I mean? LOL :-)

Sales Person: LOL. I’m sure you can get lots of beautiful girls in this vehicle John. ;-D

We have identified the behavior of serious buyers in previous blogs, but generally when a chatter comes in asking for a vehicle to get hot chicks in, they aren’t a serious buyer. Don’t entertain their dialogue by returning emoticons or abbreviations.

 

Appropriate:

Customer: Do you take trade-ins? My wife is a really good cook, but she has a lot of miles on her. LOL. Can we work something out? ;-)

Sales Person: LOL. Let me see what we can do John, but I’m sure your wife will be valued priceless. =)

In this chat, it looks like we have gotten the full lead and are winding down the conversation. Again, when the chatter is comfortable enough to joke around with you, it is a good sign and you have liberty to return the emoticons and abbreviations given. When the shopper leaves the conversation after having a great experience, you can bet that they are looking forward to the same type of experience at the dealership location.

_

Hopefully these scenarios have given you insight on when to properly use emoticons and abbreviations in live chat. While chatting you always want the chatter to feel good and positive about the car buying experience. Never emphasize the negative. Always return good positive feelings back! =)

Make sure to subscribe to our blog for more updates on live chat best practices!

 

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Stephen Jackson's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • 7 Lessons From My First Year Building an Automotive Startup

    Most articles like these start off with phrases like, "looking back, it's hard to believe..." or "there have been ups and downs, but we never lost sight of..." - I'm not going to start this article that way. Instead, I'll say this: "It's been pretty easy, so easy in fact that I'm actually a little worried that I did something wrong without knowing it." One year ago last week, I officially launched our website and started looking for people who wanted to go on an adventure. The official documentation, bank accounts, tax forms, and other such things wouldn't happen for a month, but on this date in 2013, we had a website and were ready to take on clients. There's something incredibly cool about hitting the one-year mark. We can now say that we've been around for "a little over a year", which I'm hoping will reduce skeptical coughs when prospects talk to us. We have a full year's worth of data to plug into reports. We can get a bigger line of credit. Otherwise, very little has actually...Read post

  • In the spirit of Thanksgiving a tip about being grateful.

    Here is the daily hiring and getting hired tip: In the spirit of Thanksgiving a tip about being grateful. Interviews are not only a time to gain critical information about a prospective employee, they are an opportunity to reach out to your community and gain clients for like. The key is showing the candidate that you are grateful for the time together.Read post

  • Will Speed & Efficiency Give AutoNation A Competitive Edge?

    The largest complaint that consumers have when considering a vehicle purchase is the fact that the process takes too long. Even with all the new technology processes that dealerships have employed over the past few years, the purchase process is still as long and cumbersome as it was twenty years ago.   AutoNation recently started to roll out a vehicle purchase program, transferring much of the buying process online. It promises consumers a 30-minute in-store automobile purchase transaction. It would seem that AutoNation listened to the auto buying public and may well transform how cars are purchased in the future. They certainly don’t have a shortage of locations available to consumers.   I’m sure the entire industry is watching to see whether they can accomplish this and if car shoppers will embrace it. If their program is successful, and consumers start to realize that they can buy a vehicle almost as swiftly as buying something on Amazon, AutoNation could hold a serious...Read post

  • Join social media groups to find your next great job

    Here is the daily hiring and getting hired tip: Get social to find your next dream job. In today's connected world many of the best positions are filled before they ever get advertised. Social media is not just a place to catch up with friends, business owners and managers are connecting with potential candidates. The best place to find these hidden opportunities are in groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Join five or six groups specific to your industry and contribute. Comment when there is a topic you have an opinion on, or pose a question to the group. These groups are one of the first places management goes to hunt for fresh talent. Sometimes they will even post right in the group that they need a new employee and ask who knows someone. Most importantly start engaging in groups now. It can take time to be noticed as a contributor, and you want to build those connections before you need to use them to find an employer.Read post

  • How to attract the best sales help.

    If your business is seeking the best candidates in the market you are going to have a lot of competition, especially in sales. So what are these talented people looking for in choosing their next employer? Two things a base salary and flexibility of schedule to fit family needs. 75% of present sales people surveyed cited these two issues and being the most important in selecting their next employer. These even were ranked higher than income potential. If you are looking out at your sales floor and thinking how do I get the best in my community to work here, consider staffing to a level that lets you cover your business and give time off and implementing a base salary with bonus.Read post

  • How to start your job search

    Here is the daily hiring and getting hired tip: When it is time to find a new job start early and get help. You are most marketable when you are already working. So always be seeking your next dream job. How can you do that, while you are already working full time? Get signed up with a recruitment firm in your field. Make sure they have experience in your industry. Good firms do not charge workers for placement in positions, and will know about job opportunities that aren't even advertised. When you give your information to a recruitment firm they keep it confidential until there is a serious intention to take a job, even from potential employers. You can work at trying to be as successful as possible in your current job, and have a team of professionals marketing your skills to other employers.Read post

  • Impress top candidates in your community

    Here is the daily hiring and getting hired tip: Want to impress top candidates in your community, start with your employment page on your own website. Always be hiring! Take the time to detail the benefits of working at your store like income, work environment, flexible schedule. Highlight some key employees with tenure, and give descriptions of each of the positions in your store. Even if you are not actively looking at the moment give the community the ability to pursue a position.Read post

  • Brand yourself and get hired

    Here is the daily hiring and getting hired tip: How do you win a coveted job in a crowded employment market place? It is more than a good resume. In the digital age a personal branding page can put you over the top. They are inexpensive and point and click easy to make. Find one of the platforms like wix, wordpress, or one and one. Post a personal bio, professional bio, and a short video introducing yourself. Put the url in your emails, resume, and on a personal branding business card you hand out to any prospective employer. This will separate you from every other applicant with a minimal amount of extra work.Read post