Is Live Chat important?

Aaron Hassen
Hey Ron, Thanks for the ping on Twitter (@autodealerchat). Here's how I would answer your questions... 1. In today's digital age, is Live Chat important to consumers? You mentioned chat, but it's broader than that. Consumers today expect instant answers and accessibility - this includes chatting, but also texting the dealership. Today's shoppers use smartphones, iPads and desktops to browse OEM sites, Third-Party listings, Craigslist, Dealership sites and a whole host of other sites on the path to purchase. With chat and text options present across across all of these touch points (AKA, zero moments of truth) dealers can engage and connect with more of today's online buyers. 2. Should chat be handled by in-store personnel or off-site services and does it make a difference in terms of customer experience? Most dealerships wouldn't consider outsourcing their phone calls, so it needs to be said that if at all possible, dealer salespeople are the best individuals to answer specific buying questions (price, in stock, financing, special order, etc). Think about it - this is really what the consumer is expecting when they click the button. It's important to note that Contact At Once! can be configured to display the faces and names the dealership salesperson answering the chat so that rapport and trust can begin from the very first conversation. When configured this way, conversion rates are the highest. Having said that, its just not practical for every dealer to answer every chat/text all of the time, and the fact is that some dealers just prefer help. In these cases, choosing a chat/text provider staffed with experienced automotive professionals (like former Internet Director, David Parrot) who answer the chats on the dealership's behalf is the way to go. Dealerships can send all of their chats (Fully Managed) to professionals like David and his team or the Dealership can choose to answer when they're available and have David and the team answer when they can't. The choice is theirs. Lastly, if you think of chats/texts answered by a dealership salesperson as Online Ups - direct, one-to-one conversations between dealers and interested buyers - and chats/texts answered by someone else as leads (buyer information passed through a CRM), than the choice of who should answer becomes a little clearer.
Brian Miller
Great post Aaron! You are "preachin' to the choir"here, but it's always good to have another person reenforce so well, what I have been advising dealers for years....I'm gonna steel this post.
Aaron Hassen
You got it, Brian. Just let us know how we can help.
Ryan Lucia
As a previous employee of Contact At Once I feel confident I can help answer this as well. My answer may mirror Aarons a bit only because I was exposed to the data like he is now. Customers want information now. I feel that chat disrupts the shopping process and middle and top funnel customers will eliminate you if you can't answer their questions because the shopper isn't at "that" stage yet. However, the need for support on an "outsourced" basis is valuable due to missed chats etc.. This is why Contact At Once deployed a solution like what Aaron spoke about. This solution eliminates the negatives of dealer answer and outsourced while at the same time bringing the best of both worlds together. In my mind its a no brainer! So to answer your question without this turning into a love fest for my former employer..... 1) In today's digital age, is Live Chat important to consumers? Dealers who have chat do not want their competitors to have it for a reason. It simply collects leads/ups they wouldn't have received. These are customer that could be location based shoppers. Based on data I have seen website traffic is during work hours, meaning people are shopping from work. Chat is a value to consumers because they don't fall for the lead forms anymore, they can't call to get the answer the want while at work and frankly its nice knowing if you need to reach someone post purchase its not going to be like pulling teeth. I used to work at a dealership and now that I don't I always go way over on getting my oil change simply because I don't have time to call the dealer to request an appointment during their hours. Its my work hours too and I am very busy. Chat can and does fix that problem!!! 2) Should chat be handled by in-store personnel or off-site services and does it make a difference in terms of customer experience? Different chat companies will approach this answer differently based on their business plan and model. For companies who will say outsource is the way to go is devaluing your product as a dealer "your people". See we are taught to sell ourselves first then the dealer then the car because everyone else on the block has the car but what really separates you from everyone else is the actual sales person. We tend to forget this when it comes to chat and basically hire a human lead form to receive the questions ask for info and tell them we will call you back. Ask yourself whats in the best interest of the customer. If you feel that is outsourcing for your store than do it. If you feel giving your team the responsibility to answer and hold them accountable just like you do phone calls.......well I agree with you! It just makes better sense. Speaking of sense....that's my two!
Shelly Watson
1) In today's digital age, is Live Chat important to consumers? In my opinion, live chat is becoming more and more important to customers. In the digital age, time is most valuable thing for people. When they come accross a problem, they all want to solve it timely. With live chat, consumers can get in touch with the customer service team in real time. Therefore, compared to email and phone, Live chat is the most preferential and efficient way to communicate with the online store owners. 2) Should chat be handled by in-store personnel or off-site services and does it make a difference in terms of customer experience? Most dealerships will handle the chat by in-store personnel. Why? The in-store staff knows their products most. They can answer the customers’ questions in a professional way, which is very important, because it decides whether the visitor will covert into a customer in most situations. Live chat is a real-time customer support way. So professionalism is a key factor to the customer service team. Regarding to the off-site service , what you invest most is the training cost. They are not specialized in your industry or products. In order to make them handle your chat smoothly, you need to make a series of training course. They may come across some tough problems out of their capability, you need to solve it by yourself. Well, it’s up to you to decide whether choosing off-site service. You have to make a full consideration, such as your business scale, cost, etc.

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