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Emotional Intelligence is the Key to Live Chat Success

According to Hubspot, emotional intelligence is the ability to absorb emotional cues and use it to guide behavior. It’s essentially the combination of personal and social competence(which are then divided into 4 skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management), and it affects how well we interact with others.

The most important thing your dealership needs to know about emotional intelligence is that your live chat team should have it.

Why does EI matter in live chat?

I’ve probably said this before, but I’m going to say it again. Your dealership’s website is the online equivalent of your showroom -- and customers expect the SAME quality of service when they click to chat that they receive wh en walking onto your lot. What a chat representative says in a conversation with yourshoppers will always be a reflection of your dealership.

When a chat representative shows emotional intelligence in a chat conversation, this will ultimately ensure your shoppers have a positive consumer experience - resulting in more leads, more sales, and a positive reputation for your store.

But what exactly makes an emotionally intelligent chat team? And how do you know whether your chat provider trains them to have a high emotional IQ?

Traits of emotionally intelligent chatters


When shoppers click to chat, they’re expecting the representative to either have answers or a solution that will help them find the answers. They DO NOT want to hear “I don’t know” or “that’s not my department”.

Self-aware live chat representatives are confident in their conversational skills as well as their knowledge of your dealership. In order to develop confidence, your live chat vendor should provide reps with ongoing training to ensure they are giving top-level customer service that will get your dealership more leads and more sales.

In terms of self-management, an emotionally intelligent live chat associate will be adaptable when having conversations with different types of shoppers.

TEST IT: Ask your chat provider about what qualities or backgrounds they look for when hiring their chat representatives. Do they look for adaptability, creativity, or experience in customer service? The answers to these questions will help you understand if your chat reps are going to provide excellent customer service on your behalf.  

You should also be aware if they provide any training to their chat reps, as well as what kind of information they collect from your dealership in order for the chat team to better understand who they are chatting for. Knowing this information gives you an idea of how dedicated your chat provider is to ensuring that top-notch customer service via chat.

Also, don’t forget to look at your live chat transcripts -- does the chat rep sound knowledgeable about your dealership? If in your transcripts the chat rep included details like service hours, vehicle specs, and even your dealership’s “why buy” statement, they’re doing it right.


Social awareness is the skill-set that allows chat representatives to understand and respond accordingly to the emotions of the shoppers clicking to chat. By understanding your online customers, your live chat representatives should then be able to relate to and engage with them.

If your live chat team is trained to respond to every shopper with the same lame canned scripts, they’re going to frustrate your potential customers who are looking for a unique, human experience that is not robotic.

The key to empathy is relating to your shoppers, something a scripted conversation CANNOT DO -- which is why personalization is so important.

TEST IT: Look for awkward conversations being had on your site. For example, if chat representatives are responding to shoppers that say “I just totaled by car and need a new one” with remarks like “Great!” or “Perfect!”, you need a new chat team.


Shoppers that click to chat originally do so because they want to answer their questions without having to give out their contact information. An emotionally intelligent chat rep should be able to help your shoppers AND influence the conversation to get you a lead.

Although getting contact information, setting up appointments, and sending quality leads are some of the goals of live chat -- they’re not the only goals.

In order to bring emotional intelligence full-circle, your live chat team should be helping your dealership build trust and lasting relationships online. By being knowledgeable, understanding, tactful, and most of all helpful, your live chat reps are building a bridge between your shopper and your dealership.

TEST IT: AGAIN -- Look at your chat transcripts! Is the chat representative asking for contact information only AFTER they have addressed the shopper’s questions? Is the shopper being directed to pages (when appropriate!) that help them move farther into the sales process, such as the finance application? All of these actions build a relationship during the chat, and should be mandatory parts of creating the best online consumer experience for your shoppers.


What other important chat standards do you hold your provider accountable for? Let us know in the comments below.

For more information on how live chat can create the ultimate online consumer experience for your dealership, check out this free eBook:

Live Chat: White Glove Style 

Views: 146

Tags: ActivEngage, automotive, chat, dealer, emotional, industry, intelligence, live


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