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 live chat conversations. And we know our managed chat team does it best. But, if you are considering investing in a self-managed chat solution for your dealership, you’ll need to ensure your team is prepared to start building lasting relationships with online shoppers.

That’s why today, I’m sharing four essential skills you should look for and build upon when managing your chat representatives at the dealership. Here we go:

1. Website Familiarity

The ugly truth is that dealership websites, though they’ve come a long way over the years, are still nowhere near navigable enough to provide a comfortable, 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 chat, 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 — whether it be new employees or current reps.

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 — dare I say it — misspelling names, it can leave a very sour impression on your car 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 chat representative with high emotional intelligence and other important qualities commonly found in customer service specialists. 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 lead opportunity.

  • Pay special 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!

  • Be personable and let the conversation flow naturally instead of resorting to canned responses and trying to cut the conversation too short.

4. A Solid Focus on Chat

As a customer, there’s nothing more off-putting than chatting with a representative that is clearly not paying attention to me and is apparently distracted by other things.

Having a chat agent that’s doing ten different things at once could be seriously 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.

An online representative that specializes in chatting for your dealership will be ready to pick up chats in 10 seconds or less, respond within a reasonable time frame to shoppers questions (30-45 seconds), and will more readily assist your dealership’s potential 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 chat team will help your team hone their skills and have quality conversations that create lasting impressions on your shoppers!