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Jared Hamilton
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I have learned so much by visiting dealerships around the nation and learned how more and more dealers are using chat to engage web site visitors and sell more cars. From the dealerships that do it themselves to dealerships that outsource the whole operation, there are several things that you must do to have success with chat. I have come to realize chat is like the phone in that it can add a higher level of sales, service and support for your dealership, or it can ring and ring and ring and produce poor results. Let’s take some time and go over just how to leverage chat to actively engage your web site visitors and, more importantly, turn them into sales for the dealership. (I have taken this information from a recent Digital Dealer article.) 

1. Online and on time – As I speak with people that don’t seem to be getting the most out of using chat, the first thing that I usually uncover is the limited amount of time they spend in front of the computer trying to engage shoppers. To make this work you will need to operate at least 60 hours per week. In our experience, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Friday is the optimum time since the vast majority of your dealership’s Internet traffic will occur during this time frame.

The second part in the “online and on time” piece is that people online are incredibly impatient, similar to a small child. The Internet is a place where 15 seconds feels like an eternity. To be successful chatting with online shoppers you need to reach them with a personalized response in five seconds or less. This is the benchmark we continuously strive to hit, and for you to get the most out of using chat you will need to do the same. Yes, five seconds is your window; any longer and the potential for that individual to abandon the chat goes up exponentially. Let’s recap; you have to make sure you are covering enough hours during the week to actively engage shoppers while also making sure you do it at lightning quick speed. The best part about using chat is the ability to see people shopping your dealership’s web site and insert yourself in their shopping process.

2. Direction equals success – I have the great privilege to review hundreds, if not thousands of chats. I can assure you that you need to direct your shoppers using a chat script no different than how you manage and direct customers through a systematic process for a phone up. When a customer gets on a chat and starts asking questions and you just start answering them, who is in control? Not you and that’s not the position you want to be in, so you must gain control back by offering information while asking questions to gather the customer’s information. Control on chat is one of the most critical parts of making it work at your dealership, while ensuring your shopper has a great first experience. Chat only works when your staff can direct your shoppers through a series of questions and web pages, moving the customer through an online sales process all the while satisfying the shopper by giving them snippets of useful information to make their purchase experience better.

 

Id love to hear about your experiences with chat, both in and out of our industry.

 

Todd Smith

www.ActivEngage.com  

 

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