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I am currently in the market for a vehicle. It's this rare opportunity that I, as a website/software vendor, have to actually put myself in the shoes of someone who uses the product we build and sell. The little things I notice are amazing. I'm utterly shocked at how bad some dealer websites are in regards to providing a USABLE experience. But there is one thing that I noticed recently that really stood out - the Chat Dupe.

I initiated a chat on a dealer's website. I'm not going to name the vendor, but the chat box showed me a picture of what I considered an attractive, yet professional, 20-something woman with auburn hair and brown eyes named Kelly. Kelly appeared to start chatting with me by saying, "Hi I'm Kelly". The next line looked like she was typing something along the lines of, "Click here to chat with me and I'll show you all the specials we have in our inventory".

I clicked. I waited for approximately 1 minute, and low and behold who answered the chat? Bob. Now although I didn't see a picture of Bob (even though some softwares do show the salesperson), I only imagined...and he looked nothing like Kelly.

This is actually amusing to me as a vendor, but when I think of people such as my mother or my wife clicking to chat with Kelly because she thinks she's going to...well, chat with Kelly because as a female she would prefer to do so...and she then gets Frankie? I feel bad for her. She got duped, and I know she's smart enough to figure it out. And from the very beginning of a potential relationship, this car dealer is not being honest. It was a setup to get me to chat. And whether it worked or not is actually irrelevant because it just starts things off in the wrong direction.

Unfortunately most dealers never actually take the time to test their websites as if they were a consumer. I recommend it next time you have the chance.

Tags: chat, dealer, marketing, websites

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