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Ketty Colom

Ketty Colom Digital Marketing Specialist

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Misconceptions of Automotive Live Chat

 

As more consumers are using the web to research and communicate with dealerships before they decide to purchase a vehicle, it is important to understand the value of live chat and the power behind establishing a relationship between the chatter and your dealership. Keep in mind that although your potential customer has access to countless forms of information online, one thing hasn’t changed: until someone gets in a car and drives it, they can’t be sure of their purchase.

There is plenty of literature on the Web that establishes the best practices of live chat for automotive dealers. Watch out for these articles, if they are not from credible sources! Here are some common misconceptions that are found online about live chat and the real facts to help your dealership master the art of chat.

Misconceptions of automotive live chat:

  1. Dealers can sell a vehicle during a chat conversation.
  • FACT: The notion that you can turn a chat into a sale right then and there is ridiculous. Carol Marshall, Director of Virtual Sales at ActivEngage states, “Unlike other commodities, like shoes and clothing, a car is something people need to drive and to ‘experience.’ This cannot be achieved online.”

     2. Asking for contact information too early in the chat

  • FACT: By asking for contact information (full name, email, phone number..etc) too early in the chat you are basically, “closing too early.” And as all Sales Managers know this can be detrimental in the sales process. Instead, you need to be proactive in understanding what the chatter wants as well as their preferences.

    3. Never ignore questions

  • FACT: Around 24% of shoppers online actually buy the vehicle they inquired about. Many questions aren’t black or white and neither are the answers. Ask to clarify the questions instead so your salespeople, the experts, can answer them. Marshall added, “We make them aware of their need to come to the dealership through relative questions. We ask questions in order to get clarification on their request and then, when appropriate, go for a tentative appointment.”

     4. Be persistent by offering promotional materials, direct mails of offers, or by calling them.

  • FACT: Online customers do not want to be bombarded by promotional materials. They want to be contacted to get answers to their questions. By ignoring what they are truly asking for, you are ignoring the customer and negating the 9 + min conversation they had with your online assistant, the VSA.

     5. While chatting, watch your tone in your responses.

  • FACT: Its about grammar, professionalism, and the length of responses that create the “tone.” Every word matters in a chat conversation.

We view our live chat services as more than just a lead providing machine, so we task ourselves with building a relationship with the customer for your dealership so that visitors feel tied to your dealerships. “We are handling the ‘meet and greet’ and some needs analysis, allowing the dealership to do what they do best - sell cars,” Marshall commented.

Ketty - great article! You're points are right on with what I see when dealers are successful with chat. Many of these non-credible sources paint a picture that you'll be closing deals within minutes if you follow the recommendations with chat. All too often I run into improperly executed chat features as I visit dealer websites and the chat feature actually discourages visiting the dealership. Again, great article and very helpful information!

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