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Jared Hamilton
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Ketty Colom

Ketty Colom Digital Marketing Specialist

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Handy Automotive's My Chat Story




The Handy Family of Dealerships has been around for quite some time. Established in 1952, Handy Automotive actually started out as Handy Truck and Trailer, a tractor trailer dealership. From this investment they were able to open John Deere farm equipment dealerships in Highgate Vermont. With time, they turned that dealership into a number of different car brands—GMC, Oldsmobile, Nissan, Dodge –until they settled on Handy Toyota and Handy Chevrolet.

Chris Dugan, Internet Manager, has been in the automotive industry for three years, “Since I started here in 2010, we have been aggressively pursuing the eCommerce side of our business.  Prior to my arrival, we had a good foothold on Internet operations, however we lacked a dedicated and knowledgeable person with the skill to write content and expand our social presence. Since then, we have attempted to open every avenue for any/all customers to reach us, including live chat, mobile and social.”



The need for reliable chat software

Handy Automotive had adopted live chat as early as 2004 since it was a free service with their website’s package, “It was a horrible program - free or otherwise - and it was unreliable.  Early in 2011, we decided it was necessary to have an actual, pay-for service, and ActivEngage was our initial inclination.”


Although Dugan wanted to go with ActivEngage at first, he did pull quotes and saw demos from other vendors stating, “ActivEngage wins hands down. Their software was by far the most robust AND least expensive, something nobody in our industry (or perhaps anyone, period) can easily swallow due to the nature of business. It honestly confounds me to this day how ActivEngage’s program - reliable chat, insanely robust back-end statistics, and ‘in-your-face’ customer awareness graphics and imagery – perfectly combine to make the best chat product on the market today. And, that stands true for any ONE piece of the aforementioned qualities alone.”

Choosing to Chat In-House

Dugan wanted to keep chat in-house for good reasons, “We wanted it to be an extension of our BDC agents, including up to the minute knowledge of deals and offers that they retain and know more about than even yours truly.”

Reporting and Analytics

“In terms of business intelligence, ActivEngage is second to none.  90% of my reporting comes from the ActivEngage reporting dashboards, as I've noticed a marked enhancement when compared to website providers reporting. Further, the up-to-the-minute reporting is phenomenal and empowers dealers and dealership employees, especially our BDC,” Dugan stated.

Customer Support

Dugan feels that ActivEngage’s Customer Support goes beyond expectations, “I have gotten everything I've needed and then some.  Our Customer Success Manager is exceptional at going over monthly statistics, understanding our needs, relaying any support or other questions and getting timely answers, and implementing holiday-based graphics.”

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