upgrade your online customer service with chat

3 Ways to Improve Your Live Chat Game

Written By Eric Schlesinger

Live chat can be a great way to offer excellent online customer service, generate leads, and build lasting relationships with shoppers. When customers click to chat, they want knowledgeable associates that will answer their questions and build their trust.

However, that’s not always the case...and the worst part is you could be avoiding it!

Today I’ll be sharing three ways you can make sure your managed chat team is giving the kind of online customer service that knocks your shoppers’ socks off.

Online Customer Service DON'T

For the purpose of this post, here’s a real-life example of a live chat DON'T:

Internet Sales: Hello I’m Charlotte, how can I assist you today?

You: looking at this lacrosse. I'm also interested in a Cruze. Trying to figure out my options

Internet Sales: Ok Great! With whom do I have the pleasure of chatting today?

You: This is Dan

Internet Sales: Hi Dan. This is probably going to be something only a sales team member can assist you with. They are going to know exactly what's in stock and can provide you with specs, photos, options, pricing and/or financing information. Can I have someone get back to you directly on this?

You: Sure. You can reach me at [email address].

You: Do you know if you have any specials on the Cruze?

Internet Sales: We have TV, radio and internet promotions that are changing all the time. In the chat department, we are not always kept up to speed on the latest new incentives.

Internet Sales: If you can provide some information to me, I will see that you are contacted directly by the proper team member. May I please have your full name, phone number? We only use this information for this inquiry.

You: I'd rather just use email for now.

You: Thanks

Internet Sales: Ok I understand. I will send a copy of this over to our sales team, and someone will contact you directly. Is there anything else I can assist you with?

You: No that's alright

Internet Sales: Great! Thank you and have a great day!

So many things are wrong with this conversation! The associate did not give any insight and was not helpful to the shopper at all. She even claimed that the Sales Team would be better equipped to discuss vehicle options, which ultimately discredits the value of the chat service and she wasn’t able to gather most of the contact’s information because of it.

Is this the kind of online customer service you would want on behalf of YOUR dealership? Something like this could be happening at your dealership if you’re not careful! But, how exactly do you make sure your live chat services are remaining top notch?

Monitor Your Live Chat

First, you want to make sure your managed chat team is held accountable for good chat conversations and bad ones. Your chat provider should ALWAYS be sending their chat transcripts directly to your CRM for easy access by your team!

While reading the transcripts, ensure your chat representatives are friendly, engaging, and helpful to customers. If they aren’t, it’s important that you contact your managed chat provider ASAP with feedback because their conversations are affecting your reputation and sales.

Also look into reporting tools that help you keep up with any trends such as:

  • The time of day when your live chat is most active
  • The most common types of shoppers using chat (vehicle or service shoppers)
  • The number of chats and leads your dealership can expect every month

This data will help your Internet Sales, Service, and Parts departments know how many staff and other in-house resources they will need to properly follow up with all of the sales opportunities.

Stalk Your Shoppers

Okay, maybe not stalk…but super-spy them.

You want to be at least one step ahead of today’s online shoppers because they are always on the move. With the right software, your chat team can provide helpful information to shoppers while gathering contact information (thus increasing your leads and reputation for excellent online customer service!).

Every time a shopper clicks to move to another page, your chat representatives should be able to follow them and provide details about the vehicle or special they are currently viewing.

What if your chat agents could be psychics?

At ActivEngage, our web-based software lets our Live Chat Specialists see what shoppers are typing before they click send with our PreRead™ feature. PreRead™ not only decreases response times (which makes your impatient shoppers happy), but it also gives you insight into the shoppers true disposition and thought process!

Keep Them Talking

Is your Sales Team robotic and monotone when shoppers approach them in person? Of course not! Then why would you let your live chat representatives be that way? Being professional and helpful should go hand-in-hand with being friendly and well...human!

Shoppers like knowing that they are talking to real people on the Internet, so make sure your chat conversations are diverse and unscripted to create the best online consumer experience.

The key to having a high-quality chat conversation is to keep your shoppers engaged. Response times are so important when chatting! Does your live chat service ever NOT PICK UP a chat? Do the representatives leave the customer waiting for more than 30 seconds after an initial response? Do they sound like C3PO from Star Wars on their chat conversations?

If the answer to any of these is yes, they are not quality conversations - and you’ll want to make some changes PRONTO.


Want more online customer service tips? Check out "Live Chat: White Glove Style", and discover 5 ways to delight & convert online shoppers.


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?