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Chat in my opinion is the best way to communicate with your online customers (potential and existing) - second only to a phone call. So what gives?

We've just built a tremendous intuitive integrated Chat client within our software....yes, based on Dealer demand. Now we are seeing the Dealers who wanted it most are just...simply....not chatting.

Is Chat just another product that Dealers believe they need, and then sits idle because nobody is effectively managing it?

Chat is not just a product. It's a job. It requires someone on the other end communicating professionally and knowledgeably with its customers. Yes it's a lead-driver with tremendous conversion power, but in my opinion it's much more. It's one of the strongest and most overt representations of how your dealership treats its customers. In fact my mother chose not to ever do business with a local dealer because of her chat experience (it was outsourced for the record).

So the question is - what is a PERFECT chat tool for Dealers? Is it dealer-managed? Is it outsourced? Is it even Chat at all?

Help us help you!

Tags: chat, conversion, dealer, lead, leads, managed, rates

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I use active engage as our chat client and I couldn't be more pleased. Real time analytics. endless integration with all of our dealer tools. It is hard though, with so much going on, to be in front of the dashboard all day. I have witnessed our competitors who also use chat be offline for most of the day. While chats come maybe 3 to 4 a day for us they have been more productive than even phone calls and so I'll remain with one eye on the chat client for most of the day. I feel its super rewarding and the more dealerships that use it the better it will get as customers become accustomed to get instant gratification through chat.
Thanks David. Question - if your chat vendor gave you the option of a managed chat, which meant they had in-house people (not people in India) would you be interested in paying more? And if so, would you be open to a Cost Per Lead type program instead of an increased flat rate?
I do believe Active Engage has an in house chat team that works round the clock fielding chats. We chose to go with doing it ourselves because we believe our relationship to the vehicles puts us in a better position to answer questions. I take 50 pictures of these vehicles. They are cleaned right outside my window. I have the results of our 120 point inspection and what service we did to each of the vehicles as well as what family or company had them before us. If I was convinced of the companies ability to out do me using our chat service then I would most definitely spend more to have the chat company do it. It may also make A LOT of difference if our dealership was bigger.

A cost per lead program would definitely make sense to me as we could set our ROI and not just observe and manipulate our methods based on possilble ROI.
Hi David! Good to see you on here :-)
Hello Lizelle! Loving my chat!
That is Awesome!! I am sure that business has picked up a BIT :-)
Plenty! An increase in conversion percentage from our website is EXACTLY what we needed! Did you move on to bigger and better things with the company?
Awesome stuff! Wow I guess I got moved right in the mist of things. Happened very quick! :-) I am actually now the North East Active Sales Agent. Very Happy and loving every day of it!
Terrence,

One of the problems I have with Chat is that it isn't allowed to be loaded on enough computers. If your production team could come up with a way to allow it to roll to the "active" computer that increases the odds of someone being there to answer. So I think a desirable product would be the same fee for up to four computers. Set it up like a "rolling phone line". If user 1 hasn't touched their mouse/keyboard for 3-5 mins then roll to user two-three and four. Now if they could make it really intuitive so it can go to whatever desktop it "sees" is active that would get you a few more pesos out of me.
Hi there! I believe that chat is the best tool that any dealership can have. This is such a great way to make sure that you get connected with those online visitors. We have many of our dealerships that started of with the software only, that did their own chats. I believe this all depends on your own specific needs and what you want out of your chat services. Having a managed chat service is pretty neat, you know that your chats are ALL answered in good time. Why would anyone want to chat when they have to wait too long to get acknowledged? It is also very important to know what the right approach is to engage your visitors. Why are people visiting your site? To avoid the "pressure" of sales? Comfort? There is such a fine art to make sure that you approach your visitors the best possible way.

I believe that a sales person, should be doing that alone. This is what they know and this is where they are needed. We often hear that this is the most common issue in dealerships and that is why most people switch to the managed chats instead. Timely responses, being able to be in front of your desk all day, having the right interaction with your customers.

Having a team managed and knowing that your customers are getting great information and a great first experience is where this service becomes a master piece. Again, there is a fine art to it and if this is done in the right way and utilized as it should be, the sales and leads will be tremendous!

Shop around, try all of the chat services and this is where you can see the difference between a "instant message" chat or a service that actually cares about the visitors and tries to inform and engage them. At the end of the day all that matters is how your visitor feels. They need to leave your site saying "wow, they actually care and listened to my needs"

Have an awesome week!
I am currently shopping for a company to use for my dealership chat. Any suggestions on who is the best and how much should I be spending? They seem to range from $199-$699 per month.

thanks
Great feedback everyone! Question - What would you as a dealer be prepared to pay PER LEAD if you were offered a Managed Chat solution. In other words, no cost except the Per Lead. Something along the lines of $10 for an eMail Address, $15 for a phone number and $20 for both (all with the prospect's name)?

Thoughts?

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