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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Contact At Once!

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Auto Dealer Chat - 7 Must Have Features That Impact The Bottom Line

Car dealerships adding auto dealer chat to their websites will find a number of companies promising results and offering a variety of enticing features. But which ones are truly important and have a direct impact on the bottom line and which ones are simply “shiny objects”. Here is a list of the most important features dealers should look for when selecting a chat provider:

#1: Automatic Login/Logout
Live chat only works when users are logged in and available to receive chat leads. For dealership salespeople, remembering to log in and out of a chat client each day can be one more step they're likely to forget. The ability for a chat tool to auto-detect when salespeople are present and ready to answer chat inquiries saves managers from having to remind users to log in so that they don’t miss out on potential leads.

#2: The Option For Dealerships To Answer Their Own Chats
How many car dealerships outsource their phone calls? Those that do may need to consider outsourcing their chat conversations, but otherwise dealerships should insist on answering their own. Live chat is simply another form of communication between consumers and dealers. Like phone leads, responding to interested buyers and building rapport is an important step in driving customers into the dealership. Trained salespeople are a dealership’s best resource for responding to chat questions regarding vehicle inventory, features and affordability. In times when the dealership needs support (peak traffic times, after-hours or when there are not enough salespeople available to answer the chats) sending inquiries to a professionally staffed chat center makes sense. Chat providers offering dealerships first preference in answering themselves and providing the option for reinforcement when necessary, offer the best solution.

#3: Use Of Photos Of Actual Salespeople, Not Models
Customers want to chat with real people. Statistics show that using the true name and photo of the dealership salesperson responding to the chat can double the number of inquiries dealers receive. Real names and photos also help salespeople build trust and rapport with buyers who want to know that the person they are chatting with is also the person they are likely to meet and recognize when they visit the dealership.

#4: Ability To Answer Chat Leads While On The Go, Anytime, Anywhere
Consumers want to chat with dealerships when it’s convenient for them and dealership salespeople are more effective when they have the freedom to move about the dealership. Answering chat leads while on the go using Android devices, Blackberrys, iPads, iPod touches and iPhones becomes a great advantage for dealers. With mobile chat, salespeople are likely to field a higher number of requests and capitalize on more sales opportunities.

#5: One Chat Tool That Can Receive Leads From Sites Across the Web
On average, online car shoppers are known to visit a number of other websites including manufacturer sites, third-party sites, Craigslist, etc. prior to visiting the dealership’s website. Enabling live chat at each of these touch points is essential to maximizing a dealership’s online lead and revenue potential. Selecting an auto dealer chat provider that accepts inquiries from outside sources in addition to the dealership’s website increases leads for dealers and reduces the number of chat tools and processes their employees must learn.

#6: All-In-One Reporting And Tracking Of Chat Leads
Dealers don't have time to log into different systems. For efficiency sake, one reporting system to track chats across each of the websites the dealer's chat icons appear on is essential. Which sites produce the greatest return on investment and which ones require further optimization to improve results? With centralized reporting dealers can know. Additionally, some chat providers also enable dealerships to benchmark themselves against other dealerships within the same brand, region or dealer group - talk about improving results!

#7: Dealer Group-Level Management
Managing chats for multi-store groups is challenging, especially with chat products designed for single-store implementations. Group-level management and tracking allows group administrators, managers and Business Development Centers (BDCs) the ability to configure, manage, and track group performance across all stores from a single sign-on.

For the latest articles and information on auto dealer chat, please visit: http://www.dealerchatblog.com

Jim Bell
Some great points here Aaron that I agree with. One thing that we don't do with our chat is do it in-house. I just don't trust my guys to do it yet and have it outsourced. The company that I deal with is very effective with their chats and we are closing 22% of our total chats (56% of the ones that show) so I can't complain about the results. With outsourcing it, I can rest at peace knowing that the chats will be responded to within 10 seconds which is key with chat. Being a busy dealership, I know for a fact that we wouldn't be able to accomplish that as not many guys are just sitting at their computers. It is nice that some of the chat services are offering mobile versions, but if they are with a customer, it will go unanswered.
Aaron Hassen
Thanks, Jim. I really appreciate your comments and where you're coming from. Your dealership prefers to outsource, your closing rates sound good, and the way your dealership is structured, you prefer not having to worry about floor reps responding in time. As you know, Contact At Once! serves over 8,000 dealers. In regards to the right answer for who should answer chats at a particular dealership, we are agnostic. Some of our customers send all their chats to our professionally staffed chat center, while others are completely against having a third-party come between them and their buyers. Still others choose a hybrid model where the dealership answers chats as they are available and when they are not, chats flow through to a chat receptionist. With that said, the comments made in my post reflect years of data which show an increase in the number of chat leads and conversions for dealers who: (A) Use photos of actual salespeople instead of models (B) Offer chat as an option not only on their website, but also on other websites where they list their inventory: Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, CarsDirect.com, Craiglist, etc. If you think about it from a customer experience standpoint, the ideal scenerio is: (1) the customer is online searching for a vehicle and hits your listing on AutoTrader.com. (2) There they visibly identify Tom at your dealership greeting them and inviting them to ask a question. (3) When they click over to your dealership's website Tom is there again. They begin speaking with Tom directly via live chat and (4) when they walk into the dealership, Tom greets them in person to finish the conversation. While this exact sequence may not occur in every situation, you would probably agree that in regards to chat - from both a selling and buying consumers and dealers.
Aaron Hassen
Oops, seems it cut off the end of my comments there. I meant to say: ---------------------------- While this exact sequence may not occur in every situation, you would probably agree that in regards to live chat - from both a seller's and buyer's perspective, the opportunity for personalized social interaction at key touch points makes sense.
sam smith
Live Chat Feature Automatic Log-in / Log-out For live chat to work,users must be logged in, online and available to accept consumer inquiries. With so much happening at the dealership, salespeople and their supervisors are busy. Remembering to log in and out of a chat client each day can be one more step users are likely to forget. Trailers for sale || Yamaha Atvs

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