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What Auto Dealers Need to Manage A Dealer Chat Solution

Auto dealers eager to boost website conversion and Internet leads are increasingly using dealer chat solutions to engage visitors on dealership websites.  Automotive chat is an effective and proven method for growing the volume of a dealership’s online leads but thesuccess of chat largely depends on specific qualities of the automotive chat vendor and the dealership’s Internet department.

There are a variety of automotive chatsolutions available to dealerships today, but the most important chat decision with which auto dealers are faced is whether to manage chat in-house at the dealership or outsource it to a full-service vendor.  In this blog, we identify the most important things auto dealers need in order to successfully answer chats and manage their own dealer chat solution.


First and foremost, auto dealers must put on their customer service hats.  Automotive chat is a communication channel used by website visitors seeking quick answers to questions.  The job of the dealer managing automotive chat in-house is to assist chat participants in their decision-making process while providing personalized service and developing a relationship with them.

Rob Campbell, eCommerce Director at Harnish Auto Family, has been successfully managing his dealership’s automotive chat for over two years.  Rob offers the following advice to auto dealers just starting off with in-house managed chat.  “It took us a little while to get our heads around how to leverage live chat. We realized that chats must be viewed as somewhere between an email lead and phone-up. Chatters are in a different phase of the sales process and taking them very seriously helped us to start closing more sales from chat.”

Rob has been so successful because he went with a vendor that has years of live chat and automotive retail sales experience.  Experienced chat vendors help auto dealers understand the intricacies and best practices of automotive chat conversations.  Vendors without extensive chat or automotive sales expertise will leave you on your own to discover success through trial and error.


Successfully self-managing automotive chat requires a dedicated staff.  In order to deliver significant results, a team of salespeople must commit to only answering chats.  Multitasking won’t cut it.  Dealership employees handling chats must be solely focused on answering automotive chat requests and moving website visitors forward in the sales process.

You will also need cutting-edge technology.  There are many different variations of automotive chat software on the market, but auto dealers experience the best return on investment if they choose technology specifically designed for automotive dealerships.  Additionally, live chat that comes with real-time business intelligence reporting is a must.  Thedetailed analytics of real-time business intelligence reporting show you website visitor:

  • Click paths
  • Geo-location
  • Keywords

This information helps you understand the specific interests of each website visitor so you can better assist during their online shopping experience and craft a more thorough chat conversation.  Without these analytics, your website visitors control the conversation while you struggle to move them forward in your sales process.


So, how will you know if you’re doing a good job managing your own dealer chat solution?  Are you getting contact information from online conversations with prospective customers?  Are automotive chat participants annoyed that you’re not answering their questions in a timely manner? How many chats on average do you miss each day?  Are your salesmen following upwith live chat leads with personalized emails?

Your answers to those questions will give you an idea of whether or not you’re achieving success with handling the management of your automotive chat.  The following benchmarks, developed by the most trusted brand in automotive live chat, are best practices off of which you can base your success.

  • 6 seconds - The maximum time it should take for sales associates to answer chats
  • 80% – The percentage of chat conversations that convert into leads, complete with name, phone number and email address.
  • 9 minutes – The average length of each live chat conversation.  Auto dealers must be aware that automotive chat conversations are time consuming.  The time it takes to convert a chat conversation into a lead is more than 4 times that of converting a phone up.

Download Your Free Guide Today!

Feeling confident you have what it takes to manage your own dealer chat solution? Download this new ebook, “7 Reasons Live Chat Fails,” and learn how to avoid the most common causes of automotive chat failure.

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