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In the chat segment of the automotive industry, there's a question that comes up from time to time when I'm talking to dealers. We talk about leads as one of the primary focuses of our software and service options, so it's natural for savvy dealers to ask, "Is it really adding more leads or simply replacing leads that could be coming from other sources?"
The question is valid. Our experience clearly shows that dealers see an increase in overall leads when they integrate chat for their websites. It's in the nature and mentality of the modern car buyer that the explanation for this can be found.
We have a million different ways to communicate with each other and with businesses. It wasn't too long ago that the options were limited to phone, email, and form submissions, but today there are plenty of choices. With so many choices, people naturally tend to find a preference. For me, it's text. I love talking to people on the phone but I'm on the phone so often that I can miss calls. It's almost impossible to miss a text. I know I'm not alone.
For those who like to text, chat is usually the closest available option to for website visitors to contact a dealership with questions. It has the real-time benefits that forms and emails do not have while maintaining a degree of separation for those who aren't ready or willing to call the dealership directly. In other words, the website visitor has a perception of conversational control with chat that they don't get with phone while getting the instant answers they want that they can't always get with forms or emails.
Perhaps the most important reason that chat is effective for increasing rather than replacing leads on dealer websites is that it's simple. It's wide open. They can voice their questions and engage in a direct conversation in ways that forms cannot accomplish. The numbers clearly demonstrate this and it's becoming more pronounced. Compared to the early days of chat, the number of strong leads coming through to dealerships properly utilizing chat is steadily increasing.
Some swear by chat. Others are skeptical. You may be one of those who aren't certain about the effectness of chat. Perhaps you've had it on your website in the past. It's better today than ever before. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to put chat on your website and see how the numbers pan out.
There may have been a time in the past when chat replaced more than it increased leads, but those days are long behind us.