It is very common nowadays to be greeted by a chat operator upon visiting a car dealership’s website. After all, according to Accenture and based on their study of 13,000 drivers in 11 countries, “70% of US drivers welcome the ability to chat with a dealer online in order to unearth more information1.” Live chat is a proactive tool to supplement a dealer’s “digital showroom”, AKA their website. The top reasons a dealer should consider utilizing a live chat service on their website are to allow their online shoppers the ability to engage around the clock, to save customers time and frustration, and therefore to ultimately to generate more leads for the dealership.
One of the most attractive features of a chat service to automotive dealerships is the fact that it allows their online shoppers the ability to engage 24/7, day or night. Many customers visit dealership websites to do their online research and shopping after a dealership’s normal business hours, such as during nighttime and weekend hours (many dealerships are closed on Sundays). To be able to respond in real time with these customers when a dealership is closed is key, because customers don’t want to wait until the next business day to receive service.
Additionally, a chat service can often make the customer more comfortable as they have the ability to remain anonymous, if they so desire. Plus, customers are completing more tasks online than in person, or even on the phone. By allowing customers the option to chat with a dealership via the dealership website, it saves their customers time and allows them to multi-task digitally. This is key in the age of speed and accessibility.
Finally, chat services are a fantastic lead generator for a dealership, in both the sales and service departments. It is a proactive way to get in front of the customer and allow them the opportunity to engage with the dealership. It is not considered overly “salesy”, as the customer requests the information desired and the operator answers their questions while simultaneously gathering the relevant customer contact information (name, email, phone), and submitting this into a dealership’s CRM as a lead.
In the past 90 days of this metro-Detroit Honda dealer using Dealer eProcess chat, it generated 153 leads, at an average conversion rate of 3.1% for sales and 4.3% for service.
There are several different providers as well as several different chat options for the automotive industry, including dealer-managed chat (dealership staff answers all the incoming chats), vendor managed (the vendor partner answers all the incoming chats; be sure the vendor you select uses automotive-specific chat operators!), a hybrid of the two, or AutoBot (artificial intelligence driven).
Chat is a fantastic option for dealers looking to provide online shoppers with the ability to easily communicate with them at all times of day or night, as well as to increase their website conversions. In today’s “finger communication” atmosphere, it is a great solution for customers who are looking for instant service without calling or visiting the dealership.