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As what Forrester terms the “mobile mind shift” grows more mainstream, dealers are adapting. Over 30% now offer live dealership chat, and texting solutions are on the rise. Still, most dealers only offer these communications in the sales department, leaving customers to deal with more antiquated methods elsewhere. If instant gratification appeals to today’s buyer during the sales process, would they take advantage of the same convenience in other parts of the dealership?
It could impact your bottom line: Automotive News noted that the service, body shop and parts departments generate about 43% of an average dealership’s annual gross profits. Yet many dealership service departments still lack a competitive online presence, which could mean they’re leaving money on the table.
Adding chat and text options in the service department (and other areas like F&I) can help dealerships give today’s shoppers the customer experience and “right here, right now” utility they crave at every touchpoint. It makes it easy for customers to get their questions answered, set appointments, and perform other tasks right on their computer or smartphone.
Thoroughbred Ford in Missouri added dealership chat to their sales, service and body shop with such preferences in mind. They wanted to “offer a consistently high level of service” across their store. George O’Sullivan, E-Commerce Director, thinks it helps them give customers the exact help they need. As he says in a recent Dealer Marketing Magazine article, they transfer chats from one department to the next, “just like the handoff that takes place in our showroom.”
Chatting also paid off for Orlando Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. A customer recently chatted in from Brazil, was connected with the right department and purchased $5,500 worth of parts. (Watch the video.)
It seems that the more connected you can be (even within your own dealership), the more chances you’ll get to win a customer’s business...and loyalty.
What about you? Do you have experience with using live chat or text in departments other than sales? How is it working for you?