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Live Chat - If it hurts to listen to your phone ups...

...then handling chats in-house isn't for your store.

There are a bunch of things that can be imperfect when a salesperson or BDC staffer takes a phone call. These include:

  • Bad grammar
  • Giving too much info
  • Not giving enough info
  • Fumbling for words
  • Going WAY off script regarding the vehicle or potential deal
  • Failure to attempt to set an appointment
  • Not asking for contact information

Even the best salesperson taking a call is subject to the realities of being human. How enthusiastic are they when they're on their third call of the day with a 520 credit score, or hearing the shopper is $5,000 upside-down in their current car? How about when the customer wants to come in 20 minutes before their shift ends or on their day off?

Are they still as strong? Of course not. That is one of the reasons dealerships have BDCs.

What does this have to do with chat? Plenty!

For starters, the average chat conversation of a professional chat operator is nine minutes or so, and even longer when dealer personnel take the chats - especially when they are running back and forth to the car checking tire tread depth and inspection stickers. So obstacle number one is getting them to even ACCEPT the conversation. It's kind of like when your semi-retired buddy calls and you have to decide if you have the 15 minutes you know the conversation will take.

Now take all the phone up challenges we mentioned above and add in things like spelling, ALL CAPS, slow typing, a new software interface they may use once a day (or less), and even slow computers and/or internet connections in some cases.

This spider chart shows the overhead requirements for the different levels of live chat support, including Staff, Investment, Lead count, and Management

Self-managed chat seems like a no-brainer from a financial standpoint, because after all, they're already sitting there, right? It's not that simple. Opting out of a managed chat program means you are OPTING IN to another process for your leaders to MANAGE. So in between desking deals, your managers have to talk to Salesman X about why they offered a free tire, only to realize they bumped the SEND button before they finished typing TIRE INSPECTION. While we're on the topic of service, since half of all chat conversations involve parts or service, how enthusiastic are your people going to be handling THOSE chat conversations, or the ones where the website visitor asks your top salesperson "what are you wearing"?

If you're like most owners and managers, you are trying to decrease distractions, not increase them. That's where a high-quality live chat that actually leads to more car sales comes in. Choosing the right company means your customers have someone live on the other side around the clock (not bad for CSI, either), you have a reliable virtual employee for pennies an hour, and your website leads can increase 50% or more.

Can you REALLY have someone standing by in front of a keyboard all 1440 minutes a day, waiting for that ten-second chat invite that will likely only come a few times in every 24 hours? Of course not. But you CAN leverage this technology to generate more leads from your dealer website around the clock with a quality 24-hour option at least as a backup.


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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