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describe the imageOne of J.D. Rucker’s outstanding blog postscame across my desk the other day and fueled lots of discussion in the ActivEngage offices. J.D. says that he sees way too many chat providers asking for lead info right off the bat - and we’ve found that this is one of the most destructive things you could do in a conversation. Asking for contact information almost always repulses people - no one wants to give away their phone number or email address to a stranger online. There’s too much mistrust - too many sales calls at dinnertime, too many stories about stolen identities.

It’s a little like trying to take someone to bed before you’ve even bought them a drink.


When you upset your customers in the store, you usually know it. They get angry or storm out of your dealership or leave a nasty Yelp review. But it’s almost impossible to know when you’ve upset them online, because they just leave. When 70% of your Internet trafficis completely anonymous, they won’t complain - they’ll just bounce.


Chat is a gambit that is high-risk, but high-reward. If chat on your site creates a negative experience for shoppers - frustrating conversations or slow pick-up times - you won’t see them in your physical store any time soon. But if you’re engaging your shoppers, communicating well, and serving them with the information they’re looking for, you will walk out of your conversations with the most valuable leads that your website could possibly gather: shoppers that are ready to buy.


Chat is certainly a great lead source, but leads aren’t good enough. You want the greatleads. The valuable ones that you can close. J.D.’s post suggests that chat combines the dialogue of a phone call with the information gathering of a lead form - and we couldn’t agree more. But if all you care about is the information - and not the dialogue - you’ll lose customers. Choose carefully how you handle this part of your business.


We have hired communicators, educators, and trainers that have developed a chat strategy which encourages our agents to have a normal conversation, above all. Eliminate words you wouldn’t use in everyday speech. Share stories with dealership shoppers. Listen to what the customer really wants and provide that information in as fast and as friendly a manner as humanly possible.

However you’re handling chat on your site, strive for a human connection above all things. That’s what moves metal.  

Views: 44

Tags: chat, leads, shoppers, visitors

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Comment by Don O'Connor on May 21, 2014 at 7:50am

I am not sure I would outsource my chat to someone who might use the analogy in your post:

"It’s a little like trying to take someone to bed before you’ve even bought them a drink."

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 21, 2014 at 8:44am

YES! Great minds think alike! ;-)

Comment by Stephen Jackson on March 21, 2014 at 8:42am

I hate that too. Dealers are spending tons of money every month driving traffic to their site - the last thing they need is for these "special effects" to obscure important information or scare visitors away.

I would love to hear your thoughts - or anyone else's - about what you guys expect out of chat. In your minds, what does the ideal chat experience look like?  That's the experience we're trying to build. 

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 21, 2014 at 8:36am

Thanks Stephen, I think the concept behind having a live representative is a good one, however, I find most chat mechanisms to be intrusive. Not all of them, but some. I think it's smart to build the mechanism into the user interface, as to not disrupt the UX design. I HATE it when a great looking and user tested website incorporate a clunky JS-based chat pop-up or roll-over effect unit. That's really my point, in general.

Comment by Stephen Jackson on March 21, 2014 at 8:31am

Hey Alex,

Thanks for commenting! I did read your thoughts on J.D.'s original post and your insights were thoughtful and helpful. 

It sounds like you aren't a fan of the design philosophy of live chat. I agree with you - I also think it's a big problem. The idea (up to this point) has been to grab user attention by any means necessary. Chat providers use moving banners, obtrusive invitations, and flashing applets. But I think that chat is taking a new direction over the next few years.

I believe that the most successful chat provider won't be the one that stands out the most; it will be the one that blends in with the dealership website and enhances the experience for shoppers. It's a delicate balance between letting people know that you are there to help and getting in the way. We are working hard over here at ActivEngage to strike that balance.

Let me ask you: Do you think that there is a benefit to having live representatives on your site? If you could staff your home page with an online sales force - not robots, or receptionists overseas, but a real team devoted to meeting your customers and discovering their needs - would you do it? What would it take to make live chat successful, in your eyes?
 

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 21, 2014 at 7:11am

I completely disagree, they are annoying and bog down the user experience. I stated this on his post.

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