*This content was updated on 12/21/2022
Automotive live chat (or automotive managed messaging, as we like to call it) has become somewhat of a four-letter word in the automotive industry in recent years.
We know that automotive live chat and live chat software are proven digital tools that help engage curious online shoppers on your car dealership website. As a result, live chat support equips your car dealers sales team with warm leads to sell vehicles faster and easier, increases service attendance, and answer questions to overall prime the customer for a more comfortable experience.
So, what's with the bad rap on live chat?
It's actually pretty understandable once you look a little closer:
Not many automotive live chat service providers do it well.
Mostly opting for shallow contact grabbing and hollow lead generation, a concerning number of automotive live chat/managed messaging providers rely on this technology as a simple message-taking tool for car dealers, and think bots and A.I. will do the trick. (Quick spoiler alert: they don't!)
While your online shoppers are engaging car dealers on a digital platform, they themselves are not faceless, soulless digital beings. These are real humans (not living car sale leads) with valid concerns and questions that need to be alleviated before they choose to sit in your dealership for what may be hours.
Customer satisfaction and customer loyalty both hinge on meaningful conversations, the ability to answer more specific questions and requests, and potential buyers often enjoy having a good old fashioned, humanizing talk!
Simply intercepting them to be passed along makes a car shopper — a unique, real person — feel unheard and disrespected. The truth is, your potential car buyers can buy literally anywhere. There are probably 5-6 auto dealerships competing in your immediate area. With the advent of the internet and digital touch points, the world is a car buyers oyster. The convenience of a text message conversation could even be enough to sway a customer's choice in where they spend their money.
A truly great customer experience isn't just the cherry on top anymore: it's arguably the whole sundae. And your dealership website is the front line to prove your dignity and worth to potential customers, and your worthiness as a solution to their car needs.
3 Myths About Automotive Chat Service for Car Dealerships
Being a quality leader in automotive managed messaging, we have our fingers on the pulse of sentiments about live chat as it concerns businesses and companies who believe in open communication channels with clients.
(Quick stat! According to a study by SuperOffice: "The main benefit [of live chat] is that it allows your customers to get an instant response to the questions they need answering. So, it's not surprising that 79% of customers say they prefer live chat purely because of the immediacy it offers compared to other channels.")
What we see are misconceptions and misunderstandings as a result of low-quality providers and sub-optimal approaches when it comes to how a bot or poorly trained agent will interact and communicate with consumers, and overall customer connection processes.
Here are three myths about automotive live chat/managed messaging that we feel need to be addressed so that car dealers can better understand the chat service process and see that when a great managed messaging provider brings awesome results to the table, it helps dealers not leave money on the table.
1. All chat is created equal.
Sorry to break it to you — but it's not!
The automotive live chat vendor you choose matters.
An automotive live chat vendor worth its salt understands that there are many moving parts that make a messaging experience effective, special and conducive to customer satisfaction.
There are several factors to consider when choosing an automotive live chat vendor:
- Do the people involved have an automotive background and experience in the industry?
- Is it available for all of your departments (Sales, Service, Parts, Customer Service)?
- Is it omnichannel, with multiple avenues and ways to connect?
- Is the software optimized for automotive, and is it easily integrated with your other services or dealership website provider?
- Can they provide reporting for KPIs, metrics and other important measurements?
- Is their staff vetted and continually trained in both customer service approaches and automotive industry happenings?
ActivEngage's managed messaging solution encompasses all of the listed points above, making it the most effective live chat for dealerships and getting more leads; whether it's in sales, service, parts or customer service.
2. Bots are better.
This is a big one.
Bots can't even hope to compete with live, human representatives. Customers in general, but especially those in the car buying process, need to feel heard and understood. They also value genuine conversation that helps them feel closer to the businesses they interact with. Buying a car is no different.
In fact, the majority of customers would prefer live assistance. From an article by Chatdesk: “A Statista survey asked consumers in what scenarios they would be comfortable talking with a chatbot rather than a human. Only 34% of respondents stated they would be comfortable using chatbots in an online retail situation. Most customers don't want chatbots.”
The customer journey in automotive goes deeper than price. That vehicle is an extension of that person's lifestyle, needs, and personality. That car is a solution to a problem. Customers aren't leads, they are real people, and conversations that help discover their needs can help sell more cars overall. You can even help shoppers discover yet undiscovered needs: "The thing I didn't know I needed."
A bot couldn't begin to connect with the mother of two who needs reliable safety features. Or connect with that young first-time buyer about the scary yet wonderfully exciting feeling of purchasing a vehicle that's all your own.
A car purchase is a very personal and emotional purchase. In the same way you wouldn't want to speak to a bot about a potential home purchase, paying customers and website visitors do not want to just speak to a glorified form-fill about this expensive and meaningful transaction.
ActivEngage and its services are only represented by real people, well-trained in customer service and automobiles alike. Can a car dealer inspire customers? That is definitely one of our goals!
3. Handling things in-house is always best.
Just to be clear: we are in no way calling into question your expertise in automotive sales. If you're reading this, you may be a car salesperson and you are well-acquainted with car sales and the car sales process.
But live chat is a different animal.
These days, and with the pandemic on our hands, customers are utilizing messaging platforms more than ever. Without a dedicated BDC or inbound chat team, your onsite salespeople could be taking the brunt of that responsibility, distracting them from critical onsite customer experience and detracting their focus on the quality leads they can get to at that time.
When it comes down to it, an excellent managed messaging service allows dealers to do what they do best; selling vehicles and focusing their time and attention to providing an amazing customer experience on-site and comfortably handle current workload.
And as unfortunate as it is, there is a long-standing perception of car dealerships that leads to customer dread. A live, personable messaging approach can ease customer concerns and prime your team for success in the showroom.
ActivEngage's Success with Live Chat Software for Car Dealers is No Myth
ActivEngage's process and results are legendary, but they are anything but tall tales. In addition to our industry-leading, award-winning managed messaging services and live chat software, we also offer a large suite of excellent digital engagement tools for you and your car dealership(s):
- Super easy service scheduling for your website visitors with ServiceConnect.
- Targeted behavioral ads and offers with ActivTarget.
- Video test drives and overviews with MyDrive.
- And so much more!
We're happy to dispel any concerns or misconceptions regarding automotive managed messaging/automotive live chat that you may have. Don't be afraid to ask!