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.