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ActivEngage Ranks in Top 25% of Fastest Growing Technology Companies in North America

2014 Deloitte Technology Fast 500November 18, 2014 (Orlando, FL) — ActivEngage, Inc., the most trusted brand in live chat, continues to show exceptional growth by ranking #117 on Deloitte’s 2014 Technology Fast 500 list of fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America.

Their 1,025% revenue growth places ActivEngage in the top 25% of technology companies in all of the United States and Canada.

Combining technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and rapid growth, Fast 500 companies – large, small, public and private – are on the cutting edge and are transforming the way we do business.

“Among ActivEngage’s core values is our pursuit to continuously innovate online engagement technology,” stated Ted Rubin, President of ActivEngage. “We recently launched our new web-based chat console which allows our customers to answer chat requests from any web browser without having to download any software. We needed to build a chat console that could scale with our customer base and included advanced features such as the ability to pre-read what a shopper is typing before they hit send, the option to switch to a mobile device and send pictures during a chat conversation, and management’s ability to monitor and coach their team in real-time. It was not easy or quick to develop these effective chat features. Rather than taking the easy route, we always focus on providing services that transform the way our customers do business online.”

This is the second year that ActivEngage has ranked on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list of fastest growing tech companies. The company also recently ranked on Inc. Magazine’s annual Inc. 500|5000 for the third consecutive year.

For more details about ActivEngage’s innovative live chat software, see it firsthand here.

6 DO’s and DON’Ts for Incoming Dealership Phone Calls

Incoming calls are some of the hottest leads for a dealership. However, if best practices aren’t in place, these calls can turn from a blessing to a tragic mess. And bad phone practices will negatively affect your reputation, your customer loyalty, and the acquisition of new customers.

So in today’s blog, we’ll discuss some do’s and don’ts your dealership staff needs to keep in mind when they receive incoming calls.

#1: DO – Please, please, please – Answer the Phone!

According to a recent study by Marchex, when shoppers search for cars, service, or parts on their mobile phones and then call a dealership, 1 in 6 calls are not picked up. That’s about 16% of mobile shoppers who, right off the bat, are indirectly told to look elsewhere, because “we’re too busy to answer the phone.”

I know it may sound harsh, but that’s exactly what your customer thinks when you don’t pick up the phone. “You don’t have time for me.”

No one wants to make this wrong impression and lose so many opportunities.

So what can you do about it?

Step 1: Measure your team’s phone performance to see how many incoming calls you are missing.

Step 2: If you find that a lot of calls go unanswered, it may be time to segment your team so that you have a dedicated group answering the phones and setting up appointments, and another team which closes the sale or takes care of the service when the customer comes in.

 

#2: DON’T Transfer the Shopper to the Wrong Rep

Sometimes, shoppers expect to speak to a particular person but end up getting transferred to someone else.

For example: A friend of mine called the service department of a dealership that was part of an auto group the other day. She asked for the Service Manager and was instead transferred to the primary auto group number.

This is not helpful to the shopper, and can create frustration and abandonment.

To prevent abandonment during transfers, make sure to double-check your processes for transferring:

  • Are the numbers correct?

  • Are they routing properly?

  • Have you accounted for any recent terminations or additions to your team and adjusted your internal phone list accordingly?

 

You want to ensure the shopper has a seamless, happy experience on the phone talking to the right rep, and the only way this can happen is if your processes are functioning properly.

 

#3: DO – Pay Attention to Your Tone

Unlike chat where word choice and punctuation imply tone, phones calls rely on the inflection of your voice.

It’s important to pay attention to how your tone, and word choice, affects your shopper’s experience. And one way to do this is to listen first to how the shopper sounds when they speak.

If your shopper seems excited, mirror that excitement in your voice.

If your shopper seems upset, take a more concerned tone.

Manipulating your tone is an art that all of your phone-suing staff should know. However, some people have more practice than others, and it’s important to find any weaknesses in your methods and fix them.

If you’re a manager: In the case with tone, this is an issue that sometimes needs an outsider’s ears to confirm that corrective measures must be taken.

For example, if you see you’re getting comments about your staff’s tone in reviews, consider setting up a surprise evaluation of your staff’s phone performance.

And better yet – you should have a process in place to monthly check your staff’s phone calls for quality. Don’t tell them when it will be, just let them know that you’ll be checking in on them from time to time and whatever you hear during those phone calls better be good and up to the right standards.

 

#4: DON’T Forget to Put the Customer on Hold

Sometimes you need to put customers on hold to look something up for them or to transfer them to another rep (see #2).

However, sometimes your staff forgets to put the shopper on hold, and then they tell another employee something like, “I have no idea what this person is saying!”

First of all, you should NEVER talk about your customers in a negative way. Ears are everywhere. And it could seriously hurt your business.

Second, if you can prevent shoppers from being put on hold in the first place by answering their questions immediately, that is ALWAYS the best option.

However, if you NEED to put someone on hold to check on something, you should follow three rules of thumb:

It needs to be done. Put the shopper on hold if you tell them you are going to do so.

It needs to be brief. Make sure the shopper doesn’t wait very long. Just like in chat, shoppers who wait too long to receive information will hang up on you. Keep the wait time to 30 seconds max if possible.

Or follow Century Interactive’s advice, and ask if it would be okay to call the shopper back once you’ve found the answer to their question.

It needs to be helpful. If you’re going to put the shopper on hold, let them know what other options they can use to contact you. For example – instead of the usual elevator music, have a recording tell your phone shoppers they can also get their questions answered via chat on your website.

Also, if you do put someone on hold, and prefer to include some music – make sure it is not a Top 40 radio station. Sometimes these stations have unsavory music that might be insulting to your customers. Keep the music wordless – it’s a safer choice.

 

#5: DO Ask the Shopper to Set an Appointment

The same Marchex study shows that 63% of mobile shoppers were never asked to schedule an appointment. That’s more than half!

Shoppers call to get their questions answered. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to move shoppers down the sales funnel by asking them to set up an appointment.

To get the most out of your communication channels, you need to proactively ask shoppers to visit your store. Car shopping isn’t entirely online yet, and maybe it never will be, so we still have to worry about our sales approach during phone calls.

Tip: The best method for setting appointments combines asking for an appointment with giving shoppers a reason why they should come into YOUR dealership:

  • If they call about service, ask them what time they want to come in to get their vehicle repaired. AND tell them about your unique specials, and your awesome amenities, or your free loaner vehicle services.

  • If they call to see if a vehicle is available, ask them if they’d like to stop by for a test drive. You should also mention if you have any incentives for why they should come by today, such as $100 off their purchase or a vehicle special that will be ending soon.

When you do set an appointment, don’t forget to ask for contact information! Incoming phone calls aren’t just for customer service – you need to make sure they are a valuable lead source as well.

 

#6: DON’T Hang Up Before Saying Goodbye

Just like during a chat, the shopper should be the one to end the conversation over the phone. You should never hang up the phone after just answering one question.

The shopper might have many questions not yet answered, or you might have questions you can ask them to make the shopper more decisive – or to help better understand their needs.

However, when you have no additional questions to ask, and the shopper isn’t speaking up, always ask a closing question like, “Is there anything else I can assist you with today?”

DO NOT hang up on the customer without making sure they’re done talking. If you do, they’ll probably think you were rude, and you might have a nasty review coming your way.

Instead, wait for the shopper to indicate that they don’t need any more information. Then tell them to have a great day and that you look forward to (hopefully) seeing them when they come in for their appointment!

live chat strategy for car dealers

Use Live Chat to Promote Your Dealership’s Competitive Advantages

In a perfect world, shoppers would immediately know your dealership’s competitive advantages (i.e., amenities, “why buy” statement, and specials) by perusing your website. But that’s not always the case. Many times websites have too much or too little information, or shoppers are just too lazy to navigate the pages and find a reason to buy from you.

If you aren’t providing an effortless online shopping experience, chances are these shoppers are bouncing off your site. That means you are missing out on potential leads and sales. Automotive live chat can help you combat this trend! Here are some ways your staff can use live chat as a tool to market your dealership’s competitive advantages:

Promote Your Competitive Advantages in Automotive Live Chat

1. When you greet your customers

The chat greeting is essential, as it sets the tone for the entire conversation. Use this moment to showcase what sets you apart from the competition, and start influencing your shoppers’ buying decision. Once your customers click to chat, you can personalize your greetings and showcase your “why buy” statement in the messages! Here’s an example:

“Hi there, [CUSTOMER NAME]! Welcome to [INSERT DEALERSHIP NAME], where we’ll always have the best price, or match the competition!”

Let your shoppers know from the get-go why YOU are the dealership they should be buying a vehicle or receiving service from.

2. During the chat conversation

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again: there’s more to chat about than vehicle availability. Take your customer service skills up a notch by plugging your amenities and specials into chat conversations when it’s relevant.

Mention Your Amenities:

The chances are that having a great waiting area alone will not convince a shopper to schedule a service appointment with your dealership. However, mentioning your amenities is a great way to build a relationship during a conversation and provide added value to your services!

  • Do you have a game room in your waiting area for service customers? Tell your shoppers chatting in for an oil change how much fun their kids can have while they wait!

  • Do you offer complimentary WiFi? Tell them to remember to bring their tablet in case they want to get some work done while they wait!

  • If you offer free CarFax documents on vehicles, Black Book Trade-in appraisals, a First-Time Buyers Program, etc. — you can say so during a chat! That might just be the extra push your prospect needs to choose your dealership over one of your competitors.

With ActivEngage’s mobile chat app, you can even take pictures of your amenities to send shoppers and really WOW them!

Mention Your Specials:

One of our most frequently asked questions in an automotive live chat conversation is “What specials are you currently running?”

As I mentioned before, your shoppers don’t always find what they’re looking for on your website. When shoppers ask about a vehicle you’re running a special on in a chat conversation, guide them to your specials page so they can check out the details on the special they asked about, as well as get information on all of your other deals you have listed. Letting them in on your specials will not only demonstrate excellent customer service skills but also show your online shoppers that you have a vested interest in their business.

What I’m Trying to Say is…

Don’t just use automotive live chat to answer questions, use it to differentiate yourself from the competition and to build relationships with your customers. The more you make their shopping experience unique, the more they’ll want to do business with you.

Why You Need to Join the Mobile Chat Revolution

mobile_phone_taking_pic2“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” — Victor Hugo

As the live chat industry grows, chat technology is getting better every day. New ideas are creating new chat features, and it’s important to know what options are out there that make tasks easier for your chat team and your online shopper’s chat experience more helpful.

The Mobile Chat Revolution

Recently, we at ActivEngage decided it was time to raise the mobile chat bar, and so we launched our newly updated mobile chat app with picture-taking capabilities.

This single change in dealer-to-consumer mobile interaction is so important to the customer experience. It provides a way for a dealership’s in-house chat team to offer something to their online shoppers that has never been possible before now.

Real-time pictures.

Now, we all know how powerful images presented on your website can be in driving sales. However, when a dealership’s website isn’t up-to-speed on getting that content posted or when a shopper would like to see an angle or detail about the vehicle that isn’t already shown on the website, it’s extremely helpful to send the requested pictures within a chat conversation in real-time.

More Efficiency. Faster Transactions.

Before we launched our updated mobile chat app, a shopper would request a photo in the chat conversation, and the chat rep would have to follow up via email to send them the photo.

However, by using our mobile chat app, now your team can instantly transfer their conversation from their desktop to our mobile app, and continue to speak with the shopper while they walk out to the lot to take a picture of the vehicle.

This picture-taking capability is particularly helpful in cases where:

  • The vehicle is not shown on the website (the shopper is seeing only a stock image or “photo coming soon” image).

  • The shopper wants to see something specific that isn’t shown in the images already on the website – such as the mileage, the vehicle’s interior color, a scratch or dent, a different angle of the vehicle, etc.

  • The shopper is new to the dealership and would like to know who to look for when they come in for an appointment for a test drive or service repair

Being able to send real-time pictures during a chat eliminates the hassle of an email follow-up and streamlines the sales process by getting the shopper into the showroom immediately!

By giving shoppers the information they need in real-time, they will be more ready to set an appointment for a test drive.

More Transparency = Happy Aftermarket Customers.

vehicle_picture_in_phoneBeing able to send pictures via chat not only streamlines your processes, it also improves your reputation for transparency.

Many service customers can be wary about getting their vehicle serviced and want to know that honest and professional work was done on their vehicle.

Now, in order to appease chatting service customers, chat reps can send “before and after” pictures of a vehicle repair during a chat and show the customer that their vehicle is ready for pickup. They can also show if the vehicle is still being worked on, or discuss additional needed repairs with pictures for visual aid (which means more service revenue for you!).

By providing real-time photographic evidence, shoppers will know you aren’t trying to hide anything. They’ll appreciate the full disclosure, and will be more likely to return to your service bays for additional work in the future.

That’s right – sending pictures of vehicle repairs via our mobile chat app can actually improve your customer loyalty!

The Time for Mobile Chat with Advanced Features is…NOW!

Victor Hugo was right. The time for the idea of mobile chat with picture-taking capabilities has come. And by realizing its power for your automotive marketing strategy, you have the ability to make more money – RIGHT NOW!

And isn’t that we all want? Better results and more money?!

This is why your dealership needs to join the mobile chat revolution! The time is now!

7 Ways Live Chat Can Fail and How to Prevent Them

Live chat isn’t always as easy as adding code to your website and watching the leads come into your CRM. If you don’t have the correct processes and practices in place before you start, there’s a very likely chance that your live chat service could fail. And terrible chat can be catastrophic to your dealership.

7 Ways to Avoid Live Chat Fails

In order to help you prevent live chat disaster, we put together our most recent eBook,

7_reasons-3d-2

In this eBook, you’ll learn all about the 7 ways live chat may be poorly implemented and used improperly. To name a few:

  • Having low-quality chat conversations

  • Not understanding the modern shopper’s mindset

  • Not managing your chat team

You’ll also learn all of the ways to avoid these common pitfalls in order to ensure your own live chat success!

Do you want to ensure your dealership is prepared to succeed with live chat as an important part of your automotive marketing strategy?

If so, then please follow this link to your FREE eBook Download!