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ActivEngage Recognized as One of America’s Fastest Growing Companies in the Inc. 5000 List for 4th Consecutive Year

August 25, 2015 (Maitland, FL) —ActivEngage Inc., the most trusted brand in live chat, is proud to once again rank in the 34th annual Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the year 2015. The list represents a comprehensive look at the most important segment of the Economy – America’s independent entrepreneurs.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that ActivEngage has been included in Inc.’s list of fastest-growing companies in North America due to its impressive growth rate of 113% from 2011 to 2014.

On receiving this prestigious award, President and Co-Founder, Ted Rubin, said:

“Our continued growth is a testament to the increasing relevance of live chat in modern digital marketing for businesses.” He added, “Chat is quickly becoming a preferred method of communication for consumers, and companies are looking for a live chat provider that will have quality conversations with their online shoppers, provide cutting-edge chat technology, and ultimately contribute to their bottom line. And that’s exactly what ActivEngage will continue delivering to our partners for years to come.”

But an even bigger reason for ActivEngage’s success lies in the company’s dedication to the online consumer experience. Since its inception in 2007, ActivEngage has remained the premier live chat solution by upholding their mission to connect businesses with consumers through quality chat conversations.

Not only does ActivEngage offer innovative live chat software with unique features such as PreRead™ and a 16-language translation capability, but it also employs a centrally-managed team of Chat Specialists highly trained to chat on behalf of some of the businesses it serves.

To learn more about ActivEngage’s live chat services, visit www.activengage.com.

video chat is not really chat

“Video Chat” is Not Chat

I don’t often like to get into arguments about semantics, but I think this one cannot be ignored. There’s a term out there that chat providers are using, and they are misusing it. What’s the term they are using? It’s “Video Chat.”

“Video Chat” is improperly named. It’s not chatting at all. It’s a video call.

How is “Video Chat” Different from Text-Based Live Chat?

Helping Only One Person at a Time

In a video chat, you are limited to a single, one-on-one conversation. It’s just like a phone call in that way. You cannot chat with many shoppers at once on a video chat.

On the other hand, with text-based live chat, one of the benefits is that your customers don’t know how many people you are helping at any given time. Your chat reps can multitask, speak with more than one shopper at once, and ultimately gain more leads for your store at less cost.

Tone of Voice and Physical Appearance Matter

Another difference between video chat and text-based chat is the different communication skills required.

With video chat, your chat representatives need to have the best speaking skills. They need to know how tone and body language affect a shopper’s perception of the dealership.

In a previous blog, I also mentioned how video chat reps have to pay particular attention to how they dress and behave while on camera. But with text-based chat, there’s less of a demand for the chat rep to be physically appealing, and more focus on how knowledgeable they are and whether or not they can empathize with a shopper via words.

Writing skills are a must with text-based chat. It requires knowledge of how punctuation affects a shopper’s emotions. It also demands fast typing expertise and accuracy. With text-based chat, it’s also harder to make a mistake in the communication – since a chat representative has more time to think and formulate a response.

How Does Video Chat Impact your Dealership Customers?

Video Chat Intimidates Anonymous Visitors

When considering a live chat option for your website, it’s important to realize that a lot of online shoppers want to remain anonymous. They don’t want to show their face to you until they are ready to come into the dealership.

In fact, that’s part of the reason they chat – it’s a test! They want to see if you can answer their questions if you are knowledgeable enough about their car and your products and if you are the right fit for them. And they want to do all of this without revealing their identity.

With text-based chat, all of this is possible. Shoppers can remain anonymous, get the information they need impersonally, and decide when they are ready to reveal themselves.

However, video chat intimidates these shoppers. It moves them too quickly from anonymous to known. It’s uncomfortable, and they won’t use it. If video chat is the only method online that you offer, they’ll go to another dealership that offers anonymous text-based chat instead.

You Can’t Have a Video Chat at Work

Along the same lines as wanting to stay anonymous, many shoppers want to message you at work. (Yes, people are devious multitaskers!) But using video chat will not allow them to quietly receive the answers they need about a car or service without their boss knowing.

Shoppers can use text-based chat on a desktop or mobile devices without a peep. However, it would be awkward to sit at your desk or walk around the office or retail store, while having a video chat that everyone can hear.

Text-based chat allows shoppers to be sly about their research – no noise and no need to be chained to their desk. They can get their answers in the morning at work, and travel to your dealership on their lunch break.

Text-based chat is simply a more effective research sidekick at work.

Sorry, Video Chat, you’re not chat…and you’re not Batman’s Robin either.

4 Key Skills Your Dealership’s Self-Managed Live Chat Team Should Have

At ActivEngage, it’s no secret that we’re strong advocates of quality conversations. And we know our managed chat team does it best. But, if you’re considering building a self-managed chat team at your dealership, you’ll need a team ready to build relationships with online shoppers. That’s why today, I’m sharing four essential live chat skills you should look for and build upon when managing your team at the dealership. Here we go:

4 Key Live Chat Skills Your Dealership Team Needs

1. Website Familiarity

The ugly truth is dealership websites are still not navigable enough to provide a no-hassle user experience. Many times, your shoppers are lost and need chat reps to guide them to the right pages on your website.

This is a big reason why your chat department should know the ins and outs of your dealership website. When a shopper chats in to ask for the towing capacity of your 2015 Chevy Silverado, your chat rep better be able to find that answer at lightning speed.

Today’s shoppers don’t have the time or patience to wait forever and day for chat responses — after about 30 seconds, their attention meter will be at its limit, and they won’t stick around. They’ll move on to a dealer who can answer their questions faster.

Having a chat team that actively reviews your pages and knows the quickest way to access things like your specials, finance application, and critical information on inventory pages will go a long way in guiding your online shoppers from your website to your brick-and-mortar store.

2. Fast, Accurate Typing

When it comes to chatting, time is of the essence. None of your chat reps should be one-finger typing! Set a benchmark speed you want your chat team to type at, and hold them to it.

Also, be sure to hold your team accountable for their typing accuracy! Yes, the occasional typo may happen. But if your chat rep is constantly leaving out punctuation marks and words, failing to capitalize letters at the beginning of a sentence, or misspelling names, it can leave a sour impression on your shoppers.

3. The Right Tone

While a face-to-face encounter allows your staff to be polite, reassuring, and friendly, live chat requires a bit more work from the chat representative to emote these qualities in written form.

Make sure you hire a representative with emotional intelligence and other essential live chat skills. Your chat reps should:

  • Understand how punctuation affects emotions. Too many question marks or an exclamation point at the wrong time could result in a lost opportunity.

  • Pay particular attention to humor in text form, as it can get lost or be misinterpreted by your customers. Encourage them to be friendly, but mindful of their word choices!

  • Let the conversation flow naturally instead of using canned responses and trying to cut the conversation short.

4. A Solid Focus on Chat

As a customer, there’s nothing more off-putting than chatting with a representative that isn’t paying attention to me.

Having a chat agent that’s doing ten different things at once could be detrimental to your chat conversion. While your chat rep might be busy doing important things (i.e., handling phone calls, setting appointments, etc.), customers don’t care. They want quality customer service with the sole focus on them and their problems.

A professional rep will pick up chats in 10 seconds or less, quickly respond to shoppers questions, and expertly assist your customers.

Let your chat team focus solely on chat. This will allow chat reps to connect with shoppers’ wants and needs, to assist them quickly and efficiently, and ultimately get more leads for your dealership.

How to Keep Your Chat Team Accountable:

Keep your chat team in tip-top shape by monitoring their chats in real-time, encouraging them to take online typing tests, and reviewing their chat transcripts regularly to ensure your dealership’s name is held in high regard (and that it’s spelled correctly, too!).

And remember: Establishing clear expectations on what chat conversations should look like, providing live chat training and setting benchmarks for your team will help your team hone their live chat skills and have quality conversations that create lasting impressions on your shoppers!

video chat for car dealership

3 Costly Problems of Video Chat

You know what sucks? When businesses do something they believe will benefit customers, but due to poor execution, ends up being damaging and derogatory. This is exactly what recently happened to me, and I have to say I have never felt so offended. It was a Tuesday afternoon in April when I started what I thought would be a friendly video chat with a dealership employee. As I’m browsing a dealership’s website, I notice video chat is available with a button that says, “Let’s Talk!”. I choose this option just to see how it might work.

A video chat window opens, and what do I see, but a woman on the screen located in an office talking to me. I wave “Hi!” from the other end, but she doesn’t see me because my video component wasn’t available. She has a microphone, and I can hear her every word. She tries to walk me through the process of connecting to the video stream. But this was unsuccessful and felt a little too “Big Brother.” It’s unnerving when anyone else takes over my computer, and I felt like I was being controlled without my consent. This system was definitely not making a good impression on me already.

I keep clicking off the video connection invite and try to look around the website for a car while the woman is still on the line. Meanwhile, the woman on the video chat is getting frustrated because she’s still trying to get me to connect. She has a text chat feature but hasn’t asked me any questions yet. Then suddenly out of nowhere, she turns to her co-worker, and says, “Seven minutes. I’m wasting my time with this a**hole”. What?! I felt insulted, uncomfortable, and it made me realize just how risky video chat is for business.

If you’re considering using video chat in your dealership, it’s important to understand some of the main concerns with utilizing this new engagement tool. Let’s look at the top 3 costly problems of video chat that you should be aware of:

#1: Limited Chat Volume

The first issue with offering video chat is that your dealership’s ability to handle a high volume of chats is restricted. Video chat is a one-on-one conversation. So each representative can only take one chat at a time rather than the multiple chats they could take when using a text-based chat solution.

Therefore, to keep up with the same volume of chats, video chat requires you to hire more employees. And each employee is going to deliver fewer lead opportunities per person because of the volume restriction. You’re getting the same or less amount of leads and paying more for it.

You may also lose potential customers who don’t want to use video chat if that is the only communication option you choose to offer on your website. If you still want to use video chat, find a chat provider that allows you to provide text-based and video chat at the same time.

Keep in mind though that even if you offer both chat options, you still have the added cost of hiring enough employees to cover video one-on-one chat conversations, as well as the employees to take regular text-based chats. Why spend the extra money when you can get the same or better results with text-based chat?

#2: They Can See You (and ALL of Your Flaws)

Body language communicates things words do not. Unintentional though it might be, you could put someone off by having a disgruntled expression during video chat.

While I was in the video chat with the dealership I mentioned earlier, I could see the representative getting angry as I looked around the website. Throwing her hands up in the air, slamming them on the desk, turning in frustration to talk to her coworkers to tell them about what she thought of me (not good words). These expressions did NOT make a good impression at all.

You see, on video chat, every expression matters. And it’s important to note that just because you cannot see the shopper, it doesn’t mean they can’t see you. If there’s a camera on you or any of your coworkers, you need to make sure that by chance the camera ever accidentally gets turned on, you and your team are always displaying your best faces.

The truth is, your face is the face of your dealership on video chat. How you hold yourself during a video conversation could make or break the sale – and your reputation.

With video chat, it’s vital to ensure that the person on camera is appealing, so you would have to make sure your dealership hires people who are welcoming and presentable. And the same goes for the background of the video chat. If the office is dirty, cluttered, or distracting with people walking back and forth, you could be leaving a terrible impression.

Video chat is marketing for your dealership’s atmosphere, and anything your shoppers see should be presentable, appealing, and professional. Think of it as a TV commercial. What they see should be inviting so that they want to visit your dealership’s physical showroom.

Negative body language and an unprofessional background atmosphere are two concerns you’ll have by adding video chat to your dealership’s marketing strategy. And the added cost of finding the right people for this position could be extensive. Is it worth it?

#3: Cost of Resources

To make the best impression with video chat, you need high-quality resources. To host video, each of your dealership employees needs:

  • substantial internet bandwidth
  • A decent computer
  • A quality camera

These expenses can get expensive quickly. If your customer doesn’t also have the right technology, these upfront costs won’t be worthwhile.

Video chat assumes that a shopper has these resources available to them, which isn’t always the case. If your video doesn’t seamlessly stream on the shopper’s computer, the shopper will be more likely to leave your website. Therefore, the setup alone has the potential to cost you sales opportunities.

On the other hand, a text-based chat service like ActivEngage only requires a single line of coding on your website. Therefore it won’t have an adverse impact on your load time. In an age where the shopper’s attention span is decreasing every day, it’s best to have a chat solution that doesn’t make them wait.

Dealer Takeaway on Video Chat:

Video chat may be the shiny new object in chat right now, but there’s a reason it isn’t taking off. It’s a highly problematic service, with a lot of added costs, and where many things could go wrong. You’ll be sure to get better results with a text-based live chat service designed to offer your shoppers a personal and helpful way to get information quickly, without the extra costs or liability to your store.