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Live Chat vs. Contact Form: is there really a difference?

Five reasons chat wins the battle

Just like the early days of the commercial internet, when many auto dealerships were slow to recognize the potential a website held for helping them sell more cars, adding a live chat option is a concept that seems to cause principals and general managers some consternation as a new technology that adds value to their existing internet marketing portfolio. Here are five substantial differences between a hosted live chat service or self hosted live chat software and a static dealer website form:



Chat conversations give shoppers immediate dialogue so they know they were heard and the sales process has begun.

Forms only (sometimes) give shoppers a courtesy note that it was received and possibly even an automated email response but they wait for minutes or even hours for a response

Buyers can live chat on every website page if set up properly

Customers may have to search for a contact form

An effective live chat operator can guide shoppers around the dealer website and help search inventory

The contact form sits there. Waiting to be completed.

Live chat creates a dialogue that can lead to warm phone contact or even a scheduled appointment.

Buyers may ask for a phone call or request an appointment. Then wait.

Sales, CSI, service, and parts inquiries can receive a live response with hosted live chat. 

Visitors fill out a form. And wait.

As you can see, the difference between a contact form and live chat is that chat is, well, LIVE. Much more than a virtual answering service for your phones, a good chat operator can guide visitors through the website (including inventory), set appointments, provide Edmunds.com data about vehicles or CarFax reports up to twenty-four hours a day (with participating dealers and select live chat providers), and much more. The live chat operator becomes a car shopper's 'concierge in the cloud'.

The best time to implement a live chat option is NOW, so be sure your live chat software or live chat hosted service has the experience and portfolio to meet your needs.

 

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Tom LaPointe CarChat24  Interactive Media Manager / Industry Analyst

www.carchat24.com/ 24/7 Interactive Automotive Dealer Website LIVE CHAT Solutions Hosted or In-House Options – FREE web chat software 727-638-0195

Tom has an MBA in Marketing and is an automotive writer and author with more than 15 years experience in virtually every aspect of the retail auto industry. He began working with the internet 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 web development and viral marketing.

Views: 227

Tags: 24/7 chat, CarChat24, chat software, dealer website, hosted chat, live chat

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Comment by Ron Harris on December 6, 2013 at 4:30pm

'Good' live chat should be a no-brainer value if supported by the ROI. Is there any third party data regarding conversion rates, appointments kept, close rates, % of visitors that use live chat, etc. for dealer sites using live chat vs dealer sites without live chat?

To Mr. Mickelson's comment "it is surprising that more prospects aren't chatting with dealers", the obvious answer seems to be they don't want to talk to the dealer at whatever point they are in the buying process, but shoudn't somone be asking another "why"? I would like to know what % of unique visitors choose NOT to click on chat. Then perhaps we canfigure out 'why'.

Comment by Jason Mickelson on December 2, 2013 at 11:52am

The more channels the better.  Chat is an effective tool.  To me, it is surprising that more prospects aren't chatting with dealers.  

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