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“If we’re working with Longo Toyota chatters, we direct them to ClientCare instead of Internet Sales.” Carl spoke to me out of the corner of his mouth, keeping both eyes focused on his current live chat conversation. His fingers flew across the keyboard, typing out leasing information on a new Camry as he simultaneously explained the nuances of hundreds of different dealerships to me. Carl is a veteran ActivEngage Virtual Sales Assistant, an expert at locating vehicle information and building online relationships. He deftly navigated a dealership website, pulling up a Highlander inventory page in an instant.
I watched him take 5 chats with real dealership customers within a 20-minute period, and I was amazed to see all 5 of these faceless strangers happily give Carl their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Two of them set appointments to walk into a physical dealership, and all of them left their live chat experiences thanking Carl for his help. I asked him what his secret was, and he responded with a laugh: “You’d be amazed at how quickly people open up to you after you’ve become their friend.” He then turned back to his screen, and began helping a man and his wife find their dream car.
I took Carl’s advice with me back to the training room. It was my fourth day as an ActivEngage Virtual Sales Assistant, and my formal training had begun. Jennifer, our training director, put the group of fresh VSAs on a regimen that combined classroom learning with one-on-one observation of experienced associates. I was surprised to learn that the educational part of our training program was very psychological. We participated in insightful discussions about the very nature of human relationships and the conversations we have with each other. Why do people form social bonds with one another? What kinds of service do consumers of the Internet Age expect? How can we become better listeners?
Do you sometimes feel like a robot at your job? Do you complete the same tasks or utter the same sentences in a stiff, routine manner? Unless you’re working on an assembly line, that’s not a good thing. One of the only things that separates man from machines is listening – our unique ability to process information and understand the intention and feelings of the sender. In any position dealing with customers, this is perhaps our greatest asset. Carl could help a family start their search for a new car because he wasn’t just collecting customer data; he was actively seeking to learn what the customer valued in a vehicle, while getting to know him on a first name basis.
Our Virtual Sales Assistants aren’t just chatters – they are sculpted to become experts in sales, communications, and human relations. At ActivEngage, we do not mine website visitors for their contact information. We do not churn out empty, mechanical responses – we listen. “Lead providing” is not our ultimate goal. Instead, we focus on mastering the art of conversation, and we employ our highly-trained representatives to form exactly the kind of friendships Carl told me about. And once you make a real, human connection through chat – the simple act of acquiring lead information occurs naturally and effortlessly.
Stephen will be posting weekly updates about becoming ActivEngage VSA every Monday. Learn more about what makes our chatters the best by subscribing to our blog!