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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development

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Top Things to Consider When Chatting Online Chat vs. FaceBook Messenger

There several ways to communicate with your customer with everything from texting, calling, emailing, web chat, and FaceBook messenger. All of which are great tools and can be highly effective on the dealer level. With that said, however, the way we approach these communication tools ought to vary. In that, the way we respond via text message or Facebook messenger is different than of website chat. Here are the top things to consider when handling correspondence on the various platform. 

While We Pick Up Our Phones More than Two Hundred Times A Day - We Do Not Always Respond to A text Immediately. Stop texting or Facebook Messaging “Are You Still With Me?” 

If you are like me, we cannot always immediately respond to a text message or a Facebook Message immediately. It might be a few minutes, which is the great thing about texting and using Facebook messaging, no? It gives us the ability to respond to our messages on our own time. So when you are texting or Facebook messaging a customer, the last thing we want to do is say “Are You Still With Me.” Doing so could cause some frustration on the customer's end as they would likely have called the store or chatted on the dealership website if they wanted to have an immediate dialogue. 

Top Things to Consider With Website Chat. How to Keep the Customer Engaged. 

With there being key differences in webchat versus other forms of messaging it is important to note that if the customer is chatting on your dealership website than we need to cognizant that the customer most likely wants their questions answered in real time. That said, there is nothing more frustrating than a customer who is asking a question to then have their question ignored as you are messaging back. Here is a prime example of this key issue. 

Dealer: Thanks for choosing (dealer), how can I assist you? 

(make sure to check and see if the customer has already asked a question before sending this response. It is frustrating to have to repeat the same question, especially if you are on a mobile device trying to chat, which can be quite the task).

Customer: What is the price of the new (model)?

Dealer: We have great prices. Are you available to come in now for a test drive? 

Customer: I need to know the sale price of the new (model) before I come into the dealership

Dealer: The best way to get secure the best deal is to come in and work with my manager, they will give you a great deal. 

You might not think this is common, but it is quite common. So as a customer, do you think they are going to respond well to this chat? Probably not. The pricing is online, albeit - it is not always straight forward as many dealers include rebates and incentives that are otherwise not available to anyone. That said, if the customer is asking for the sale price, give it to them! At which point, you should be asking - “is this the only make and model you were considering? If not, I have some other similar options that could potentially save you more money” or “were you hoping just to purchase this vehicle, or did you have a trade?” Asking these questions can spark dialogue, which offers a more meaningful conversation that can turn into an appointment. 

Top Things to Avoid When Messaging the Customer on FaceBook Messanger. Facebook Messanger Offers a Richer Media Experience than of SMS Messaging. How to Capture the Customers Interest. 

Have you ever chatted with someone, and they ask “what is your name?” to which you say, “ugh, it is on the chat?” - this happens far more than you would think. The other thing to avoid is immediately asking “can I get your email address?” if you are messaging the customer on Facebook, do you think you are going to have better luck with email? The answer is most likely, no. The customer using their Facebook messenger - who picks their phone up hundreds of times (if not thousands of times a day) - is far more likely to look at their Facebook messages than to check their email. It is also no secret that Facebook messaging offers a rich multimedia experience. One where the user can effortlessly send photos, videos, etc. to their friends along with those memes and GIF’s we all love to send. So before we hit that ‘send’ button take a moment to think about how the user interacts with the platform, and avoid asking questions that are not relevant to the situation. 

Bottom Line: before you hit the ‘send’ button on the Facebook messaging app or text message, take a minute and think about how you respond to messages. With the notion that (as mentioned above) we do not always immediately respond to the message in real time. This is not to say, of course, that we should not respond at all, either. In fact, if some time has passed, it is best to give the customer a call unless they have stated otherwise. As we know, calling the customer is one of the most effective means of building a rapport - one that assists you in selling the dealership. 

Do You Text and Facebook Message the Same Way You Chat? Have You Had Great Success With Facebook Messaging? 

Bart Wilson

Interesting insight.  I would not have thought you had different communication approaches with text vs FB but it makes sense.

Ian Coburn

Great tips. I would add to make sure staff knows A) how to work this technology and B) the importance of spelling and using proper grammar. People tend to think those who don't do the latter either lack basic skills (and thus lose credibility) or don't feel the customer is worth the effort to utilize proper spelling and grammar (i.e. don't value the customer). As for the earlier, having videos, screenshots, printed materials, etc, that staff can access, discretely, is ideal. (Frequently, staff don't want to admit they don't know how to work tech, especially if we just throw it at them, as though we assume they know how to use it. "Never assume!" is a good credo.)

Derrick Woolfson

@Bart, it is not something I considered until I was using FB messenger to chat with a business, and the customer rep kept asking if I was still with them, and I was like 'yes, just in the middle of something, which is why I chose to use messenger vs. chat - I could respond when I needed too, and it was not another email hitting my inbox. And it dawned on me, that even though the customer might not be thinking about it, it could make a difference with regards to engagement. 

Derrick Woolfson

@Ian, that is a great point! I cannot tell you how many times I have cringed when I saw an email, chat or text that was full of errors. It is all about the first impression, and while I am cognizant that we need to mirror the customer, I am not a fan of using abbreviated words, and or using 'slang' such as "R u avail tonight?" or "kk." 

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