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Have you noticed that people these days are more social than ever? The use of online social networks is exploding, as evidenced by the recent launch of Google+, Google's answer to Facebook. In just the first 30 days, Google+ garnered 25 million users, the fastest growth of any social networking site in history. So, what is it about communicating online with real people, represented by imperfect photos, that has so much of the public attracted to Facebook and now, Google+?
Today more than ever customers are looking to interact online. Mashable, one of the internet's most respected social media monitoring sites reports that "9 out of 10 Americans are now online" and of those, "the purchasing decisions of nearly 38 million 13 to 80-year-olds in the U.S. are being directly influenced by social media."
So, how does this apply to dealerships? First, what it means is that dealers are wise to reach out to consumers via social networking sites. Second, the numbers indicate that online consumers are beginning to expect similar online access and social interaction with people at the dealership.
If you've spend any time at all looking for products online these days, you'll notice live chat icons appearing on major consumer websites like Dell, Bank of America and many others. Instant chat offers a convenient way for shoppers to connect with retailers, ask questions and receive instant answers.
This year alone more than 9000+ auto dealers will conduct approximately 3 million live chat conversations with consumers using the Contact At Once! dealer chat network. Car buyers looking for vehicles online are greeted by the actual photo and name of a person at the dealership who is, at that precise moment, prepared to engage in a conversation. Let's keep in mind that these conversations aren't about deciding what to eat for lunch. No, consumers are requesting information about inventory and building rapport with the salesperson in the process. Consider a recent quote from Contact At Once! user Mitchell Brenner of Precision Acura of Princeton: "Signing up with Contact At Once! was the single best move we've made to generate quality leads from people ready to buy." Mitchell's dealership sold 10 more cars because of dealership chat the month that statement was made.
The promise of the social networking experience is that individuals can reach out and interact in real-time with real people, whose names they know and faces they can identify. Dealership websites are more socially accessible when they offer online chat as a way to interact with consumers. Providing an option to chat live from the dealership's website results in more consumer engagement (at least 25% more sales conversations) and a modern online experience which transitions seamlessly into showroom rapport the moment a consumer arrives on the lot and recognizes the person they've been speaking with all along.