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Do dealerships really need 24/7 live chat?

I recently stayed with a millennial friend who is enjoying her summer break from college by watching YouTube sitcoms until 3 am and shopping for shoes online. A business friend of mine was at the airport last week waiting for his 7 am flight and surfing the web for an Apple watch and looking for Taylor Swift tickets for his daughter. In either of these cases, the shopping could have easily been for a car, and THAT is why you definitely want 24/7 live chat on your dealership website.

During regular business hours, do you ONLY greet shoppers on the lot during certain hours? Well, the internet is open 24 hours a day, and so is your website, so it only makes sense to have a live person greet them when they arrive. Just like you never know on the lot who is actually going to make a purchase, the same goes for your website. Both the friends mentioned above shop for their cars online – EVERYBODY shops for their cars online, and they shop at THEIR convenience. This graphic, with recent data pulled from a New York dealership, illustrates the surprising trend for after-hours chat conversations.

Here are three keys to remember when you are choosing a 24-hour live chat provider:

  1. Do you get the same top-tier operators from your chat vendor or 3rd party contractors?
  2. How well are they scripted? Can they answer basic dealership questions, vehicle queries, and shopping questions, and always attempt to collect quality lead information?
  3. Are the operators working in a fully-managed office that is dedicated to the auto industry, or are they working from home, and possibly taking chats for lingerie or mobile phones?

Trusting a vendor to interact with your customers is a very big deal. Most dealers don’t want a minimum-wage receptionist greeting their customers in the showroom, and the same applies to live chat. A few bucks extra per day can make a dramatic difference in both the shopper experience, and (most important) boosting leads and selling more cars.


Tom LaPointe CarChat24 CHAT GURU 24/7 Interactive Automotive Dealer Website LIVE CHAT Solutions Hosted or In-House Options – FREE web chat software 727-638-0195

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Tom has an MBA in Marketing and is an automotive writer and author with nearly 20 years experience in virtually every aspect of the retail auto industry. He has been involved with the internet from the beginning, building websites at Johns Hopkins University in the 90's, and has been a performance leader in nearly every dealer role, from sales and service, to BDC / internet sales and viral marketing.

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