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There are countless ways dealers can use live chat to help website visitors (and increase lead generation and sales)-- and also some ways it can go terribly wrong.  So why do some dealerships keep making the same mistakes?

I have broken down the main reasons live chat can fail to increase website lead generation for dealers.  We’ll call them the 7 Deadly Sins of Chat. Just think of the movie Seven but without all the scary stuff.

Lust- Loving your customers is great, but take it slow.  Yes, show your customers the love, but don’t be too pushy.  Be friendly, initiate the relationship and ask if they would like to chat.  If they say no, leave them alone.  Don’t keep trying.  If they do chat, but only need a simple answer to a quick question, offer more help, but leave them alone if they say they’re okay.  Also try not to get too personal too fast. Asking a shopper if they want help on the 2008 Chevrolet Equinox that they have view 3 times in two days might be a little scary for the shopper.   

 

Gluttony- Don’t take on more than you can handle.  You must make sure that a trained professional is available to chat at all key dealership hours.  If you can’t manage it from the dealership, then hire an outside firm that can.  Fast responses are key for chat success.  You can’t just ask one sales person (who’s also greeting customers on the floor, answering phone calls and responding to email) to add this assignment on.  It just doesn’t work.  Also, a single dedicated chat agent can only handle so many chats simultaneously.  If agents consistently receive more than 3 chats simultaneously, it’s time to think about adding another agent. 

Greed- Don’t “go for the kill” immediately.  Listen to what the site visitor is saying (typing).  Try to really understand what they need and then do your utmost to help them.  You can (and will) get their contact information after you have helped them, but give before you expect to get.  Think of this as banking: you need to make a couple of deposits before you make any withdraws. Asking too soon on chat is just the same as being too pushy on the phone, in email or in person: it makes people uncomfortable and drives them away. 

Sloth- Adding a “click to chat” button to your website and deploying the software behind it are easy, and you can even do that for free.  Merely doing this will not get your dealership more leads.  And forget having any kind of canned or automated responses.  A live person must be available to assist website visitors at all key dealership hours, period.  In fact a “set it and forget it” approach will do damage because shoppers get very irritated if they think live chat is available but no one responds to them. Having chat available yet no one is there to respond is worse than not having it at all. This comes down to managing shoppers’ expectations.  

Wrath- People ask dumb questions, even smart people do sometimes.  People can be irritating.  People can p*#s you off.  But, there is absolutely no room for irritation, sarcasm or anything other than positive and friendly responses to all customer queries.  Again, the rules of engagement are the same as the phone, email and in person.  No snarky comments allowed—even if they get snippy with you! Remember Ritz Carlton’s motto, “We are Ladies and Gentleman Serving Ladies and Gentleman.”      

Envy- Some dealerships will always be doing better than you and some will always be doing worse than you.  Who cares, just do the best you can, be smart, follow best practices and you will increase your website lead generation with live chat. Chat takes work to develop good chat processes.  Just like anything, take it one step at a time.    

 

Pride-  When the new leads start coming in, don’t get too cavalier about it.  You can always be doing more and doing better.  What is working today may not work tomorrow, or the day after that.  Keep on top of changes and make sure you’re always staying ahead of the game.  The rate of change continuously increases, make sure you keep up with it.  In this day and age, there is no “resting in your laurels.”   

Call me to talk more about chat or visit www.activengage.com to learn more.  Inspiration for this blog came from Seven Deadly Sins of Social MediaCheck it out! 

Todd Smith

ActivEngage Co-founder

(800) 775-7358 x9200  

 

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