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ActivEngage Receives Third Major Automotive Award

January 28, 2015 (Orlando, FL) — ActivEngage, Inc., the most trusted brand in live chat, received its third top ranking automotive award from 2014 when the company was voted the “Top Rated” Chat Product Award in the DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards.

In addition to being the top-rated chat product, ActivEngage was also voted the #1 technology leader for live chat by a dealer panel in Dealer Marketing Magazine’s 2014 Leadership Awards, as well as voted the top-ranking Diamond provider for live chat for the third time.

“2014 was a great year for us. We developed and launched never-before-seen technologies such as our web-based chat technology with the ability to pre-read a consumer’s response and mobile picture-taking capabilities, all of which greatly enhance the consumer’s online experience with dealerships, automotive groups, and manufacturers,” commented Todd Smith, CEO of ActivEngage. “Consumers expect and appreciate the quality of conversation they have with dealerships utilizing our expertly trained chat team and innovative chat technology. Therefore, our customers consistently see the value in our services. You can expect to see many more unique offerings from us in 2015.”

About ActivEngage

Since 2007, ActivEngage has provided the most trusted automotive live chat solution and professionally managed chat service to dealerships, automotive groups and manufacturers around the world. With our web-based live chat software, dealerships can build relationships with their online customers and provide a concierge-level of customer service which was once only available over the phone. ActivEngage also employs professional Virtual Sales Assistants in their Orlando and Las Vegas offices who are expertly trained to answer inquiries and generate additional sales opportunities on behalf of the dealership.ActivEngage has ranked on the Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest growing American companies for the past three years, ranked on Deloitte’s 2013 and 2014 Technology Fast 500 list, and received the first ever Inc. Hire Power Award for the creation of American jobs.

Make Digital Communication a Priority by 2025

ibm_study_external_forces_imageIn a recent report by IBM, “Automotive 2025: Industry without borders”, discusses the future of the automotive industry among OEMs, automotive suppliers, and other auto industry participants. The authors Ben Stanley and Kal Gyimesi ask this question,

“How can you form relationships with newer, non-traditional industry participants to provide the digital relationship and customer experience that today’s drivers and passengers demand?”

The answer, left open for you to do some soul-searching, has one obvious answer:

Invest in live chat.

Live chat is a proven and cost-effective way to provide an always-connected and helpful customer experience on your website. And it’s one of the best ways to exceed today’s consumer expectations for digital engagement outlined in IBM’s study.

Make Digital Communication a Priority

However, the IBM study also discussed that several OEMs have not yet made consumer expectations for digital communication a top priority in their business models, but are instead focusing on offering new product features to create growth. But what we need to realize is this:

Consumers have made digital and connected technologies a priority, and if you are not accommodating your business toward their preferences, you are missing out on growth opportunities and reaching new consumers.

And as a consequence, your dealerships are also missing out on that potential growth.

With that in mind, OEMs, automotive groups, and individual dealerships need to look into live chat services for all stages of the buying process – from research to vehicle purchases, to aftermarket services, and customer service.

“Why Should Live Chat Be Included in Our Growth Plan?”

  1. Instantaneous Customer Support – With all of the recall issues currently taking place, it’s more important than ever to have real-time support when customers use your website to look up recall information. You want a live chat representative who can answer their questions instantly and help alleviate their concerns to ensure the best reputation for your brand.

  1. Incremental Lead Generation – When shoppers browse your website to look at your vehicle lineup, not all of them are going to want to fill out a web lead form to get the information they need about a car or a dealership. Sometimes, they prefer real-time communication with an actual person. Live chat allows you to engage those shoppers who prefer anonymous digital communication, while instantly recommending dealerships in the shopper’s area so that they can find the vehicle of their dreams and move them closer toward a sale.

  1. Dealer to OEM Communications – It’s also important to offer chat so that dealers can easily and quickly order parts or submit Warranty claims through your website. Offering chat on all of these dealer support sites provides multiple avenues for a dealer to be able to reach you and therefore improves the service they provide to their customers. Dealer to OEM chat communication builds rapport with your brand by increasing satisfaction at the dealership level and settling the consumer’s parts orders and warranty issues quickly.

  1. OEM Influence on Dealer-to-Consumer Communications – You can also encourage dealerships to improve their reach to online consumers by offering co-op programs for various digital services including live chat. Let your dealerships take advantage of services they might not otherwise be able to afford due to budget restrictions or lack of time for research.

The benefits of co-op programs include:

  • Receive discounts off of a chat provider’s retail rates

  • OEM reimbursement entices dealers to add services that drive more sales for the brand

  • Save time on researching professional automotive-specific chat providers

OEMs like Audi, BMW, GM, and Ford already utilize live chat in various stages of the buying process to keep up with consumer expectations. Are you prepared for 2025 and the Digital Age?

Start preparing for 2025 by partnering with a progressive live chat provider.

build rapport with shoppers

Use Live Chat to Build Rapport With Shoppers

People buy from businesses they like, trust, and know—which is a big reason why establishing rapport is so important in the sales process, both on the showroom floor and on your dealership’s website.

Qualified Sales Leads Start with Rapport

The number one reason live chat will fail at your dealership is that of a lack of a quality conversation. Building rapport is what’s going to help you make the shopper more comfortable to give you their contact information. It’s crucial for your chat team to possess customer service skills so they can build rapport AND generate a qualified sales leads. You must have both to see a return from your chat service.

Avoid Scripts at all Costs

Some live chat vendors try to sell scripted chat as the “scientific approach” to getting you more qualified sales leads. They say that chat does NOT involve any personal interaction and that it is in fact, the driest form of communication available to consumers.

How can you build a relationship with your online shoppers if your chat team is treating them like scientific subjects, and not actual people? You wouldn’t do this at your physical dealership, so don’t do it online when your visitors chat in.

Just as you strive to provide excellent customer service on your dealership’s sales floor, you should also demand it from your live chat team, whether outsourced or in-house.

To make this happen, chat reps should be using the shopper’s name, directly answering specific questions, and showing their personality within the chat by avoiding the use of scripts. Illuminating that the chat rep is a human being (NOT a robot) will help generate more qualified sales leads and actual sales!

You don’t script the conversations your team has on your showroom floor, so why would you script them online? When your chat representatives have unscripted chats, shoppers are not only more likely to give out their contact information; they’re also more likely to be excited about working with your dealership and thus visit your showroom!

Give ‘em What they Ask For!

Answering shoppers’ questions is the best way to get them to trust you, hands down. When they trust you, they will buy from you.

Online shoppers don’t want to feel like they’re just another number. Your chat team needs to understand that they are more than just a lead source—they’re also a source of information for your shoppers.

Therefore, Chat reps first and foremost need to be able to answer almost all shopper questions.

Here are some examples of questions that your chat reps should be able to answer:

  • What is the towing capacity of this vehicle?

  • Do you offer loaner vehicles to service customers?

  • Do you have any tire specials?

  • What time are you open on New Year’s Day?

  • I have bad credit. Can I still get approved for a car?

  • Are there any specials running for this vehicle?

  • Is this vehicle still available?

  • Who is your General Manager?

Your website visitors who are clicking to chat expect answers to these questions—so don’t risk putting them off and forcing them to leave your website on a sour note by having unhelpful chat reps! Give ‘em what they ask for!

Ask the Right Questions

Questions to obtain the shopper’s name, phone number, and email are among the top priorities for some chat representatives — but a chat team worth anything will go further in building rapport for your dealership by asking other investigative questions.

Probing questions help your staff follow up with your shoppers more personally and intelligently. When you read the chat transcript, it should help your team answer questions like:

  • Is the customer looking to finance?

  • Is there a particular mileage, color, or specs the shopper is looking for in a vehicle?

  • Why has the shopper chosen this vehicle – New baby? Needs space for golf clubs? Commutes 100 miles to work every day?

  • Does the shopper have a trade in, and if so, what is the year, make, and model?

  • What service does this customer need to be done on their vehicle?

That being said, not every visitor that clicks to chat is interested in having extensive conversations. The amount of rapport built and information gathered from a chat conversation can vary depending on the shopper’s personality.

If your chat transcripts are generally only 2 minutes long, without questions asked other than, “May I have your phone number and email address so a representative can contact you back with the information you requested?”, you need to consider switching to a chat provider with a quality chat team.

Conclusion

We’ve said before that your chat provider should be adding value to the conversations being had on your behalf—but that’s only a piece of the puzzle. Once that conversation is over, what value are they adding to your follow-up process?

If your chat team isn’t helping you build rapport with your dealership’s prospective customers, you are the one missing out—and it will inevitably affect your bottom line.