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Jeff Sterns

Jeff Sterns VP Sales and Business Development

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Why Chat is Becoming More Popular for Car Shoppers

TextingonaniPhone.jpg?width=750

Every day, we hear about how forms on websites are generating fewer leads than they once did. It's a shift that has been happening for the last couple of years, which is surprising because business has been up at most dealerships across North America.

Some say that it's the technology that hasn't truly evolved much that's the culprit, but we know that reason is simply untrue. First, lead-generating technology and website platforms have improved. Second, chat technology (something I know very well) has also improved at the same rate. However, the number of people chatting and the number of leads generated by chat are on the rise, so there's more to the equation than technology fatigue. Consumers still want to communicate with dealers, but more and more are choosing chat over lead forms and phone calls. Why?

Nobody likes to miss an opportunity, so we continue to test (as we always do) not just the methods of improving website chat but also the science behind the increase in frequency. What is it about chat that makes it more appealing today than a couple of years ago? For the answer, we turned our attention to good ol' common sense.

Texting has been on the rise since the first text was ever sent. Unlike voice calls and lead form fills, texting is the one component of the mobile experience that has grown over the past couple of years. Some dealers have even tried to implement texting as a lead option on their websites with varying degrees of success. Yet, chat continues to rise. Is there a correlation.

Our contention is that chat, when done properly on a dealer's mobile website, offers a similar experience to consumers who adore texting. However, it's better for many of them because it offers an anonymity that they do not get from texts, voice calls, and lead forms. They have the ability to get their answers in a format very similar to their beloved texting without having to hand over their personals up front.

We have seen the biggest increases in chats and leads when the mobile chat is proactive on their phones and when proper scripts are used by the operator to prompt the leads accordingly. People are still skeptical about giving their personal information, but they're willing to give it to you once they are comfortable. That's the purpose of chat, to create a gap between the dealership and the consumer that they're allowed to cross at their discretion.

When you put the right chat interface in front of them and allow them to control the initial part of the conversation, you'll be able to improve the overall lead-generation on your website. With leads comes more sale. Isn't that what we all want?

Robert Karbaum
I've always wondered what would happen if you converted all your Call To Action form buttons to chat requests. Customer selects "Monthly Payments" for example, and a chat window opens up. No waiting for emails, just direct to rep.
Chris Speer
I totally agree that people are less likely to put in a lead on your site but chat does help us start the conversation and with just a little bit of trust and rapport customers are willing to share their contact info.

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