Automotive Digital Marketing

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Should your sales team handle live chat? Five critical questions to answer

“How happy are you with the way your team manages phone ups?”

As dealers look for ways to add tech to their digital marketing portfolio while controlling costs, the temptation is very strong to use in-house staff to handle live chat conversations. Some of the motivation is certainly sound, as dealer staff:

  • Have more product and dealer knowledge
  • May be more concerned about quality of interaction
  • Are already being paid
  • Should be more qualified to sell a car online

This logic is certainly compelling. After all, your dealership team sells your product every day. Chat is unique, in that it’s one of the rare vendors with people that interact with your customers, save for a greeter or team of closers in a private sale event…and how good does that usually end up? But having the sales team respond to live chat requests may not be the cost-cutting panacea it seems. Consider:

  • Each chat takes as long as eight minutes or more
  • Chat conversations often occur when staffing is lighter (breakfast, lunch, dinner, primetime)
  • Dealer staff lead rates can be much lower than managed chat operators
  • Sales department may not give adequate care to the 30-50 percent of chat conversations that are NOT a potential sales lead, such as service department, parts, or a general inquiry (like jobs, or inquiry related to existing car deal)
  • How happy are you with the way your team manages phone ups?

Just like removing body repairs or touch-up paint work, live chat requires specialty skills and tools. It doesn’t take fancy bells and whistles to generate a substantial net gain in website lead count. So before you just stick your team in front of a computer screen or on a mobile device to chat with customers, consider that a quality third party chat provider could be your most affordable ‘employee’, and one of the best-trained for the job.


Tom LaPointe CarChat24 Marketing Consultant 24/7 Interactive Automotive Dealer Website LIVE CHAT Solutions Managed Chat, Backup Chat Support, and chat software options 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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Tags: automotive, boat sales, chat software, dealership, live chat, managed chat, marketing, sales


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