Automotive marketing as we know it has changed. The Internet now forces dealerships to have an online presence and build relationships with consumers in the digital world. Why? Because the modern shopper expects it.
Consumer research is no longer solely accessible via phone calls and drive-bys. Now, your prospective customers are looking for information on your website — and using live chat to get their answers.
We often talk about live chat as a great lead generation tool for dealerships. However, it’s important to keep in mind that one of the biggest benefits of having live chat on your website is that chat conversations can improve the consumer experience.
CONVERSATIONS ON SHOPPERS’ TERMS
Giving your website visitors the option to chat improves the consumer experience by making them feel more at ease during the research process and also giving them more control over the conversation. How? Here are four ways:
They have a say on how to communicate with you.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all preference when it comes to communication between consumers and your dealership. Some shoppers would easily call your dealership or unquestioningly fill out an online form.
However, with the abundance of the Internet and mobile technology – and more text-based communications, many shoppers also prefer to use live chat to get in touch with a dealership.
Offering more than one form of contact puts the shopper in a position to control how they want to experience and communicate with your dealership, and as you’ll find out later in this blog post – today’s shoppers love being in control! They are happy when they get what they want. So give shoppers exactly what they are looking for: options.
Chat gives them time to formulate the questions that matter.
If you’ve called a 1-800 customer service line, you’ve probably experienced an incident where after a 40-minute conversation you finally hang up — only to realize you have more questions! But phone queues and the repeat of “please hold” can be discouraging for shoppers who want answers NOW.
However, with live chat, it only takes your online shoppers the click of a button to start a new live chat conversation and ask the questions they need answered to move them further down the sales funnel.
So, live chat is faster for your shoppers and you get leads more quickly! It’s a win-win for both of you!
They can end the conversation whenever they want.
First, let’s establish that this is by no means a benefit or goal of live chat from a dealer’s perspective — but it may be for your online shoppers.
No one likes the pressure of having to listen to a sales pitch or wait on hold for 10 minutes, but some people do it because it’s “good manners”. With live chat, your website visitors have the choice to end a conversation whenever they want — that can be empowering for your shoppers.
A managed live chat team that is trained to have engaging conversations won’t let this happen, of course — but in the shoppers’ mind, they could stop the conversation at any time without any guilt or frustration! Today’s shoppers like to be in control – so give them the freedom they want and they’ll be more willing to do business with you!
They have control over if, and when, they give out their contact information.
Many shoppers don’t want to fill out contact forms because they are afraid to get bombarded with marketing emails from your dealership. And other times, they simply aren’t ready to give out their personal information.
You don’t want your chat team HOUNDING your website visitors for contact information! Reps who constantly say “I don’t know. Please give me your email and phone number so the appropriate person can contact you,” are not adding any value to the conversation and can essentially hurt your consumers’ perception of YOU.
Instead, you want a chat team that has helpful and informative conversations first, and then naturally ask for contact information if and when the time is right.
By having a live chat team that can assist your shoppers and answer the questions that will help them in their research — you are guiding consumers to a more trusting environment that will lead them to give you their contact information at will when they are seriously ready to purchase.
Tip: Read chat transcripts regularly. This will not only help streamline your team’s follow-up process, but it will also help you ensure the conversations being had on your behalf are the highest quality.
Live chat is more than a lead generation tool, which is why it’s important to look for a managed chat team that can provide assistance that is customer-centric. Look for a provider whose team:
Provides timely assistance by picking up chats in 6 seconds or less, and responds in 30 seconds or less
Patiently listens to and appropriately addresses your prospective shoppers’ questions and concerns
Is trained to engage online shoppers in robust conversations that guide shoppers further along the sales funnel
Has automotive knowledge and tools that will benefit shoppers chatting in