3 Reasons You Need a Car Dealer Chat Platform

Written By Eric Schlesinger

Buying stuff online is fun, and it's also incredibly easy. Cars are no different.

With online purchasing being easier and more convenient than ever, customers have grown accustomed to, enjoy, and expect digital communication service from a business; whether it's the initial touch point, the follow up while waiting for the product or service, or to address any concerns post-sale.

Some dealerships are big enough installations in their own communities to be a relatively large personal brand. As such, your organization would do well to make a social connection with tools for your website that help you engage with people who browse your website looking for cars.

That's where a great chat platform comes in. (We actually like to use the term "messaging", because it has evolved past simply being chat, but I digress.)

Enhance Your Car Dealership Website Experience

Of course, customers will still ultimately need to come into dealerships to ensure their car of interest is not only available, but comfortable and meets their needs (unless they are placing a brand new order). But, customers are looking to minimize their dealer time.

Initializing contact with a dealership's team online is fast becoming preferred, as it often means a lower average time in the showroom and finance office; something that can make the situation seem stressful and pressured. These days, not everyone is ready for a phone call right off the jump.

Let's face it, the automotive industry, on the retail side, historically doesn't inspire much confidence in customers, and spending hours in an auto dealership isn't everyone's favorite pastime.

A "first line of defense" chat platform can help ease customers further down the sales funnel, and it also contributes to a more efficient sales potential for auto dealers.

According to a Car Buyer Journey Study, as reported by Cox Automotive:

"...as the vehicle buying process becomes more efficient, satisfaction levels increase. “Heavy Digital” buyers in the survey – those buyers who performed more than half the steps online – were more satisfied with the process than “Light Digital” buyers, who performed less than 20% of the vehicle-buying steps online. The Heavy Digital buyers reduced their time at the dealership by more than 40 minutes compared to Light Digital buyers, with the biggest time savings delivered in negotiating price and signing paperwork, the two steps that have historically had the lowest satisfaction ratings. The study shows that Heavy Digital buyers were also more likely than Light Digital buyers to trust the deal they received."

3 Reasons a Dealer Chat Platform Helps Your Dealership

There are more benefits a great chat platform can afford you other than breaking the ice for hesitant customers that may have been burned by automotive industry sales people. So, let's take a look at what an auto dealer chat platform can do to enhance your website experience, conversion, and prime your team for sales success:

  1. Cost-Effectiveness

    Time is money, and using tools that are intuitive and convenient to use allows your Business Development Center (or whoever takes your warm, inbound leads) to assist customers faster and more efficiently. A chat platform that is created for dealers specifically has features that can help expedite the interest in a car and encourage action in customers, no matter what department is being tapped; sales, service, parts, or customer service.

    If you end up going the managed messaging route, it can be an enormous savings in lieu of employing an entire BDC. ActivEngage's Managed Messaging is a fully people-powered, live chat service. You are getting highly trained customer engagement experts continually trained on vehicles and utilizing your dealership's specific guidelines, and utilizing our automotive-minded chat software console. This is all in the price of the service you pay for, rather than a potential of multiple yearly salaries.

  2. Convenience

    A solid automotive live chat platform isn't just convenient for the customer. It should be convenient for you team as well. Good support goes both ways, and chat tools - either live or self-managed - should provide your business value on both sides of the customer and employee relationship.

    Being able to get to the proper department through the chat icon, or being able to transfer your chats to another department or team member is very important for convenient operations. Compartmentalizing your leads is a huge support for organizing. And, having something that can reliably route leads to your CRM (or multiple CRMs) is very well-loved feature for dealers.

    ActivEngage has a super intuitive chat console software backed by technology commissioned by leadership with decades of automotive retail experience. It also comes with reporting to help you track your team's performance, and lets you know exactly where you may need to improve in your own chats. This is truly a specially crafted to provide dealers the optimal way to engage with their car shopping customers.

  3. Connecting with your Customers

    Okay, maybe I lied a little. One of the reasons IS to connect with car shoppers on a deeper level. People buy cars from people they like, and a warm lead is only made warmer when you start fostering a great working relationship with your customers ASAP after engaging with them - meet them where they are in the customer journey! Being accessible and flexible is valuable to gain customer trust.

    It's also important to just be there for potentially fleeting customers. Most customers who are shopping for a car will pick a few dealerships, start on one website, but they typically do not stay or stick around long. Then, they begin hopping around multiple dealer sites.

    The key to conversion for car shopping website browsers is to give them access to resources to engage with your website, and increase the chance to address their requests and build trust with your location specifically. Without such an opportunity, it is likely that hurried car shoppers will fly, not buy.

Equip Your Car Dealership with the Awesome Chat Technology from ActivEngage

ActivEngage's patented chat software technology is the foundation for a variety of dealer-centric engagement solutions and smart services. Here are just a few examples of other services that help keep your digital dealership strong. As you can see, you get a varied suite of options:

  • RetailSync, real-time guidance through financing processes.
  • MyDrive, video test drives and overviews to excite buyers.
  • ActivTarget, tailored offers based off browsing behavior.


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?