COVID-19 Message: A Letter from Our Executive ChairmanRead Now

Committed to Our Customers During COVID-19

Thank you very much for entrusting your customer-facing communication to ActivEngage.  We take this responsibility very seriously, making sure that we deliver detailed and quality conversations to your customers each day. Many of you are closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the state of its impact on our country and businesses. At ActivEngage, we’re monitoring it closely as well. Because you are a valued part of the ActivEngage Family, I wanted to let you know how we are working to assist you and the customers you serve.

Communication and guidance for your customers

Our Customer Engagement Experts (CEEs), are prepared to communicate with your customers at all levels of the car buying journey. Whether it’s full online retailing or simply online support via digital messaging, our team is ready to assist your shoppers 24/7. To that end, if you wish to have specific information provided to your customers, especially as the status of the situation evolves, simply reach out to our Customer Support Team. They will work diligently to ensure we convey your dealership’s message to your customers.

Training and preparedness for our employees

The wellbeing and safety of our staff is of the utmost importance. That’s why we’ve created a program that increases precautions in the office and allows for telecommuting should anyone feel ill or anxious. This ensures our CEEs continue to excel in building trust and moving conversations forward. Our enterprise-level platform allows our engineers, customer success, and chat agents to work from anywhere while staying safe and ensuring security. Additionally, our Technology Team is closely monitoring the ActivEngage suite of products to ensure they continue to operate at peak performance.

Dedication and ActivEngage-level quality for you

We want you to feel confident and have peace of mind when entrusting your online shoppers with ActivEngage. Our commitment to help your dealership make meaningful connections and build lasting relationships with your customers is at the forefront of everything we do. We will work tirelessly to continue providing the quality results and service that ActivEngage has been known to offer for over a decade.

From all of us here at ActivEngage, we wish you, your colleagues and families safety, wellness, and positivity during these challenging times.


Ted Rubin

Executive Chairman

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consumer privacy laws in automotive

Consumer Privacy in 2020: The New Age of Data Ethics

Welcome to the new decade and the age of data ethics. We’ve entered a time where consumers are warier than ever about how companies use their personal information—and with good reason. The risk of inadequate data security and lousy privacy practices has skyrocketed in the last few years. 

Since 2013, 9.7 billion data records were lost or stolen globally. Almost 64% of the total stolen data records occurred in the United States.

And, may we never forget the Cambridge Analytica revelations of 2018 that also sparked what some reports call the ‘great privacy awakening.’ Times are tough for businesses when it comes to consumer privacy, and it could get a lot harder from here.

Data Regulations Around the World

In May 2018, Europe set a precedent heard around the world: data is no longer a business asset…it is consumer property. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in Europe, and enforcement has been swift and merciless. Just last year, Google was fined €50,000,000 for GDPR noncompliance. To date, the total amount of GDPR fines is at over €116,000,000. 

It was only a matter of time before this shift reached the US. In January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect and set in motion what businesses now call “America’s GDPR.” The CCPA has already inspired 11 other states to introduce privacy legislation. 

Note to our Customers: If the CCPA applies to your business, we have compliant processes in place. For more information, contact Support.

But, it’s not all doom and gloom, if you are proactive about consumer privacy. 

Leveraging Consumer Privacy Ethics

Consumer mistrust is at an all-time high. Only businesses that build privacy into their customer experience will gain more trust and better access to data. The main reason your dealership should want this information is to market to those consumers better and sell more cars.

Your customers already want personalized experiences. Two out of three consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that sends relevant promotions (Accenture). And, they will exchange personal data for personalization. But, like with every human relationship, it’s a give-and-take. 

Data Ethics 101:

  1. Be transparent about how you use the data.
  2. Give consumers control of their information.
  3. Use the data consumers give you to serve them better.

Creating a Privacy-Focused Model

The begin practicing data ethics you need to start from within the organization.

Get Strong Handle on Privacy Requests: Make sure you have the infrastructure in place to support and manage consumer privacy requests that can come in with the CCPA.

Build Out a Privacy Program Roadmap: Expect more federal privacy laws enactments, and plan accordingly. Create a quarterly privacy roadmap for the year to keep you on track.

Create a Culture of Privacy Awareness: Connect privacy to your existing values. Have an internal champion of all things privacy that can keep the organization accountable.

“If businesses lose their customers’ trust, it’s likely that the customers’ journey will end abruptly. With the adoption of recent privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, consumers are empowered to request and control their data. To maintain trust, businesses must comply with these regulations, even though implementation can be difficult and expensive. “

Dave Sazama, Director of IT & Facilities Operations
Champion of All Things Privacy at ActivEngage


Although it may seem like data regulations mainly target technology companies, auto and truck dealerships should remain vigilant. Assess your data security, acknowledge the privacy gaps in your current processes, and be prepared to make changes.

Remember that privacy is a journey, but it’s one you must embark on now. Achieving 100% compliance won’t happen in a quarter, but meeting consumer expectations is attainable. More importantly, it’s something that companies should continuously strive for and evaluate.

dealership live chat rescue feature

Does Your Dealership Live Chat Team Need Rescuing?

You know that dealership live chat feature vendors are raving about? The one where you can ride in on a horse and shining armor to ‘save the day’? Yes, that one — the live chat feature that allows you to take over your provider’s conversation. It’s absolutely terrible.

Rescuing your live chat provider is ridiculous. Here are three reasons why you need to avoid doing it at all costs:

1. Your Customer Experience Suffers

“Why am I talking to multiple people? Why do I have to repeat myself? What is happening?!”

– A Confused Online Shopper

So many things can go wrong during a chat when your team has the power to jump into conversations. To name one example, the conversation length doubles during these chat transfers.

More often than not, your salesperson is going to play catch up in a chat transfer, or they will have to explain to the customer why they were talking to Jennifer one minute and starting over with Stuart the next. This is neither fun nor efficient for your shoppers. In fact, it can really hurt their experience and your chances of getting a sale.

The goal of every dealership interaction with consumers is to get them excited to visit your store and buy from you. Your dealership live chat solution needs to provide seamless, consistent interactions to get people in the showroom. Don’t let these seemingly ‘hot’ opportunities ruin your chances of getting the sale.

2. You’re Wasting Time and Money

Tying into the previous point, if your chat provider needs rescuing, what exactly are you paying for in your solution?

You’re paying to create more work for your team.

Because you’re paying a provider to get you POTENTIAL leads instead of actual leads, you’ll need more staff focused on helping your chat provider, which will lead to more multitasking. Fun fact: multitasking is shown to cause 50% more mistakes and 40% less productivity in the workforce — and it costs our economy around $450 million per year. The odds of closing these potential leads are slim, which means you’re paying more money for less return.

So how do you protect your commission without doing your chat provider’s job? Hire a provider who can set appointments and drive shoppers to your lot. At ActivEngage, we get online shoppers to your store. In fact, our largest auto group customer boasts a 26% closing rate from ActivEngage leads — proof that a dealership live chat solution can and should help you sell more cars with less effort.

3. It Says So Much About Your Vendor

Most other chat providers in automotive won’t talk about their managed chat service because they don’t have the necessary processes or expertise to represent you. Those that do tout having ‘messaging experts’ don’t include their team’s conversion results. Why? Because they want to entice you with shiny, new features that won’t take the place of effective conversation and won’t drive customers to your store.

Unfortunately, some vendors perpetuate the misconception that a chat provider cannot represent your dealership and hold its team to standards of excellence—which is simply untrue.

At ActivEngage, we have been representing car dealers for over a decade. Our best-in-class chat team is trained in customer service, chat, the automotive industry, and most importantly, your dealership. That’s why our average results are unmatched in the industry, even by dealers themselves:

  • 80% chat-to-lead conversion
  • 75% leads with phone numbers
  • 20% leads with sales or service appointments

In Conclusion…

If your vendor offers a service that encourages you to watch over them, it’s a clear red flag.

Look, I get it. Your dealership’s website is a digital extension of YOUR dealership. But there are managed chat services out there that can represent your business professionally and effectively. Why would you pay for anything less?

Are you looking for a chat provider with a reliable team that actually gets shoppers into your dealership? If so, chat with us.

Setting appointments increases the value of internet leads

The Competitive Advantage of Internet Leads with Appointments

Internet leads from consumers who schedule and keep an appointment have a closing rate of almost 50%. Meanwhile, traditional ups typically close at 20%, says a recent study by PLADOOGLE, LLC.

The study also found that if dealers go above and beyond by having the vehicle cleaned and make the shopper feel special during their showroom appointment, the closing ratio for an Internet lead can exceed 80%!


Internet Leads with Appointments Have Significant Value

These statistics are not something to ignore. The evidence is clear that Internet leads have distinct advantages over traditional ups because they:

  • Give the dealer the opportunity to set an appointment, creating a commitment from your shopper
  • Allow dealers to gather valuable information about shoppers’ needs, which they can use to help close the deal
  • Enable the dealer to prepare for a superior showroom room experience, while also developing a lasting relationship via the initial conversation


Internet leads with appointments are gold

Expect More From Your Live Chat Provider

With these advantages in mind, there are some essential questions you need to ask your chat team. These questions will ensure you are getting the highest closing ratio possible:

  • Do they set test-drive or service appointments?

  • If you have managed chat, do they make sure your dealership is aware of shoppers arriving in an hour or less?

  • Do they ask questions that help gather the “good to know” information from your shoppers?

If you want the best results from Internet leads, get a chat team that sets appointments and asks the right questions. These two things are ultimately going to help you sell the most cars from live chat.

ActivEngage Sets More Appointments for Your Dealership

At ActivEngage, we’ve always understood the value of getting more foot traffic to your dealership. Our bottom line is your bottom line, which is why the ActivEngage chat team sets both Sales and Service Appointments on your behalf (and sends them directly into your DMS). Out of every chat lead we send our dealer customers, around 20% have a set appointment. 

Leads don’t get sales, people in your showroom do. If you settle for less than that, your chat investment is a waste!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.




Beat the Summer Slump: How to Drive More Customers to Your Service Bays

We are well into Q3 of 2017, and car sales continue to cool off despite the summer heat. As vehicle sales flatten, optimizing the service drive will play a critical part in maximizing dealership revenue.

The service department brings in a large sum of money to your dealership, often accounting for a majority of the profit.  Yet, it’s very likely that your service department’s manpower and resources are already stretched to the limit, capping the number of service leads and appointments your dealership is able to generate.  To preserve dealership revenue in 2017, digital technology will drive your service department’s success — with live chat taking the lead.

The Service Department Goes Digital

Fortunately, refocusing your digital strategy to include the Service Department isn’t difficult. You can both boost staff performance and generate significantly more money using tools you probably already use for Sales. In fact, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, video, live chat, and online content are all digital goldmines for fixed operations!

(For essential digital marketing tips geared towards dealership parts and service departments, check out our free eBook, The Repair Order for Your Dealership’s Fixed Ops Strategy.)

The end goal is to drive more online traffic to your service bays this summer. And no other digital tool engages and converts your service customers like live chat. With the ActivEngage managed chat solution, your dealership’s service department can effortlessly:

  • Increase repair order revenue by engaging customers across multiple devices
  • Maximize the productivity of your service staff by freeing them up to focus on repairs
  • Reduce phone wait time for customers by providing a convenient alternative online
  • Improve the service lane experience and get higher satisfaction scores
  • Receive enhanced customer and repair information straight into your DMS

But we don’t just generate high quality leads for your service department. We actually drive online service shoppers to your service bays by setting service appointments!

ActivEngage Fills More Service Bays

While you may think having an online service scheduling feature is enough to maximize service profits, ActivEngage CEO, Todd Smith, has valuable data that proves live chat is the key:

Turn up the heat in your service department this summer, using ActivEngage’s in-chat service scheduling.  With our managed service scheduling feature, you could increase your service appointment show rate by a whopping 15% and make more money on repair orders. Currently, there are ActivEngage customers using our service scheduling feature that average an extra $60 per RO!

When it comes to live chat, you’ll want to trust a chat vendor who can walk the walk and talk the talk; make sure you choose a live chat solution that generates results and enhances the shopping’ experience for your customers. We take ALL of your shoppers seriously and aim to build lasting relationships on your behalf. The ActivEngage philosophy is rooted in customer experience, and we take a holistic view of all aspects of your dealership operations, including your service department.

Don’t settle for less when you can have it all. After all, your customers won’t.

Chat and text growth in the auto industry

What Car Buyers Want: Digital Channels for Today’s Automotive Shoppers

The role of the car salesperson is changing. While back in the day, shoppers would learn about car models at the dealership’s physical showroom, thanks to the Internet, they now often arrive at your lot fully equipped with a competitive overview of the vehicle they want.

The way people buy cars is evolving, and so are their expectations toward the entire purchasing journey, from research to sale. Car dealers need to find innovative ways to engage and sell to increasingly tech-savvy and informed consumers.

So, what exactly do we know about the modern, digitally-driven car shopper?

Car buyers want to chat and text.

Peter Leto, the Head of Automotive Retail at Google, gave a fantastic presentation at NADA 2016, and shed light on some interesting consumer trends:


According to Google, car buyers no longer prefer to stop by the dealership, call the store, send email, or fill out a form. Instead, today’s shoppers are increasingly turning to chat and text to connect with your dealership.

Is your dealership in it to win it?

If your dealership is not using live chat by now, you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with consumers on a convenient platform they love to use.

And your dealership should love it too, for many reasons. For example, live chat helps you:

  • Cut costs. Phone calls are 1-to-1 conversations; Chat conversations can be 1-to-3, allowing staff to engage more shoppers efficiently.
  • Increase leads and sales. When implemented correctly, live chat reduces website bounce rates, and helpful reps can move shoppers further along their purchase journey.
  • Get an edge over your competition. You sell cars, just like the dealer across the street. Live chat allows you to provide unique, compelling experiences to your website visitors.
  • Improve customer relations. Live chat isn’t just for car sales. Your customer service department can utilize chat to engage upset shoppers and give you a second chance.

Bottom line, live chat is a win-win for everyone. And the numbers don’t lie. If your shoppers increasingly prefer to utilize text-based communications to engage with dealerships, and you’re not one of them, they’re going with the competition!

If you do have chat, you need to ensure your staff or managed chat provider is providing the best customer service to your prospective buyers. The increasing trend in chat and text popularity means more and more shoppers are bound to communicate with your business this way.

If the chat conversations being had on your behalf aren’t helpful, engaging, and dynamic, you’re pretty much handing them over to the competition.

What to look for in chat and text providers.

Google’s recent study shows that unlike other lead generation tools, real-time online and mobile communications are on the rise. And the quality of these conversations has never mattered more.

Whether you utilize live chat software, or you implement a managed live chat solution, here are a few things to look out for:

  • Training and troubleshooting. If you chat in-house, does your provider offer training on how to use the software and troubleshooting assistance? If you’re outsourcing chat and text, what is the management system like? Where is the team housed? And how are the representatives trained?
  • Features and platform functionality. While it might be a slightly less common question if you are outsourcing chat, it’s important to shop and compare software features when you will be handling chats and texting at the dealership. Will they help your team’s efficiency? How do the features impact the consumer experience?
  • Reporting and analytics. Like all other digital marketing efforts, it’s essential to monitor your results (number of chats, leads converted, average conversation time, etc.) in chat. Does your provider offer real-time reporting and analytics so you can better track the success of your live chat and texting solution?
  • Chat and text for all departments. The Sales Department is not the only profit center in your dealership. Does your managed chat provider offer chat assistance for all of your departments? If so, how are leads routed to the appropriate team?
  • Chat and text transcripts. It’s proven that the more your staff reads chat transcripts before following up, the more likely they are to get prospective customers in. Not to mention it allows for more transparency and quality control. Does your managed chat provider send you every chat transcript?

Don’t Limit Your Consumers’ Touchpoints

The facts are: Your shoppers don’t want to call the dealership or fill out a form on your website; they want to communicate via live chat and text. Offering these services can help bridge the gap between your digital and physical stores.

But don’t be fooled into thinking all chat providers are the same. When it comes to chat and text, you always get what you pay for. Before adding live chat and text to your dealership website, do your research. Be sure to ask the right questions because the quality of these conversations will directly impact your bottom line!




live chat helps shoppers buy cars at work

Live Chat Helps Shoppers Secretly Research Cars at Work

Let’s be honest –  your shoppers aren’t all saintly angels. Some of them are researching for their dream car during work. Actually, A LOT of them are on your website while at work. And they don’t want their boss to know! And since they aren’t going to stop, no matter what you say or do, your role is to be the best accomplice ever by getting them the information they need…and maybe even find ways to help keep them out of trouble.

So, what better way to help shoppers with their devious car research than to offer live chat on your website?

 Here’s how live chat helps shoppers research while at work:

Shhhh! Live Chat is Quiet.

Many shoppers cannot make personal calls during work, which is why live chat is so convenient for them. Live chat doesn’t make any sounds. There is no audible way for their bosses or co-workers to detect work evasion when a shopper is chatting on your website.

Shoppers can pretend they’re working on their projects while they’re really doing research on the newest model in your inventory! It’s brilliant. But shhhh! Don’t tell!

Instead, what you need to do is add live chat to your website, and watch those work-evaders come quietly rolling through your virtual doors.

Live Chat Can Be Hidden.

Minimizing a chat window is as easy as the click of a button. If a shopper’s boss pops in for a minute to go over something with them, they don’t have to awkwardly end the conversation like they would if they were on the phone. They can hide the chat behind all of their other open tabs and applications on their computer, and then reopen up the window when they are ready to continue.

This sneakiness allows the shopper to have a fluid conversation, even when they are interrupted! No one has to know they are still having a conversation with your chat rep. The evidence is tucked away and buried under spreadsheets and emails – no one is going to question it!

Note: If your own BDC reps are chatting at your dealership, it’s important to keep in mind that sometimes these chatting-while-at-work shoppers take a little longer to respond than others. Be patient. It might take a few minutes for one of their clients to go away, or for their boss to stop looking over their shoulder. But if you wait for them, you’ll be more likely to get the lead and good rapport! Patience pays!

Also, to know for certain that the shopper has indeed stopped typing (possibly because of an interruption at work) and is not just a slow typer, you should check out ActivEngage’s PreRead™ feature. PreRead™ helps you see exactly what the shopper is typing as they are typing it in real-time! This helps eliminate guesswork for the chat rep and also saves them time when formulating their responses.

Live Chat is Mobile.

Last, but not least, shoppers can use their smartphones to chat on mobile during work. You know, in case those who may have a computer, but can’t use it for anything other than work purposes, want to chat while away from their desk.

It’s also important to note that there are all different types of jobs and many that don’t consist of sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day. Therefore, you might want to consider — when thinking of who might be your live chat audience — the bored cashier or stock person at a retail store who has nothing better to do during the slow part of their shift than to look for oil change coupons and the sickest rims you have available in your Online Parts Store.

These on-the-go shoppers would LOVE to chat with you on their phones at work to find out what you have to offer – but they can only do so if you offer a live chat button on your mobile website!

So, are you catering to the secret research of this mobile audience? If not, then your next course of action is to add live chat to your mobile site today! Otherwise, you are missing out on some extra revenue and a key target audience who is ready to buy!

Make Digital Communication a Priority by 2025

ibm_study_external_forces_imageIn a recent report by IBM, “Automotive 2025: Industry without borders”, discusses the future of the automotive industry among OEMs, automotive suppliers, and other auto industry participants. The authors Ben Stanley and Kal Gyimesi ask this question,

“How can you form relationships with newer, non-traditional industry participants to provide the digital relationship and customer experience that today’s drivers and passengers demand?”

The answer, left open for you to do some soul-searching, has one obvious answer:

Invest in live chat.

Live chat is a proven and cost-effective way to provide an always-connected and helpful customer experience on your website. And it’s one of the best ways to exceed today’s consumer expectations for digital engagement outlined in IBM’s study.

Make Digital Communication a Priority

However, the IBM study also discussed that several OEMs have not yet made consumer expectations for digital communication a top priority in their business models, but are instead focusing on offering new product features to create growth. But what we need to realize is this:

Consumers have made digital and connected technologies a priority, and if you are not accommodating your business toward their preferences, you are missing out on growth opportunities and reaching new consumers.

And as a consequence, your dealerships are also missing out on that potential growth.

With that in mind, OEMs, automotive groups, and individual dealerships need to look into live chat services for all stages of the buying process – from research to vehicle purchases, to aftermarket services, and customer service.

“Why Should Live Chat Be Included in Our Growth Plan?”

  1. Instantaneous Customer Support – With all of the recall issues currently taking place, it’s more important than ever to have real-time support when customers use your website to look up recall information. You want a live chat representative who can answer their questions instantly and help alleviate their concerns to ensure the best reputation for your brand.

  1. Incremental Lead Generation – When shoppers browse your website to look at your vehicle lineup, not all of them are going to want to fill out a web lead form to get the information they need about a car or a dealership. Sometimes, they prefer real-time communication with an actual person. Live chat allows you to engage those shoppers who prefer anonymous digital communication, while instantly recommending dealerships in the shopper’s area so that they can find the vehicle of their dreams and move them closer toward a sale.

  1. Dealer to OEM Communications – It’s also important to offer chat so that dealers can easily and quickly order parts or submit Warranty claims through your website. Offering chat on all of these dealer support sites provides multiple avenues for a dealer to be able to reach you and therefore improves the service they provide to their customers. Dealer to OEM chat communication builds rapport with your brand by increasing satisfaction at the dealership level and settling the consumer’s parts orders and warranty issues quickly.

  1. OEM Influence on Dealer-to-Consumer Communications – You can also encourage dealerships to improve their reach to online consumers by offering co-op programs for various digital services including live chat. Let your dealerships take advantage of services they might not otherwise be able to afford due to budget restrictions or lack of time for research.

The benefits of co-op programs include:

  • Receive discounts off of a chat provider’s retail rates

  • OEM reimbursement entices dealers to add services that drive more sales for the brand

  • Save time on researching professional automotive-specific chat providers

OEMs like Audi, BMW, GM, and Ford already utilize live chat in various stages of the buying process to keep up with consumer expectations. Are you prepared for 2025 and the Digital Age?

Start preparing for 2025 by partnering with a progressive live chat provider.

build rapport with shoppers

Use Live Chat to Build Rapport With Shoppers

People buy from businesses they like, trust, and know—which is a big reason why establishing rapport is so important in the sales process, both on the showroom floor and on your dealership’s website.

Qualified Sales Leads Start with Rapport

The number one reason live chat will fail at your dealership is that of a lack of a quality conversation. Building rapport is what’s going to help you make the shopper more comfortable to give you their contact information. It’s crucial for your chat team to possess customer service skills so they can build rapport AND generate a qualified sales leads. You must have both to see a return from your chat service.

Avoid Scripts at all Costs

Some live chat vendors try to sell scripted chat as the “scientific approach” to getting you more qualified sales leads. They say that chat does NOT involve any personal interaction and that it is in fact, the driest form of communication available to consumers.

How can you build a relationship with your online shoppers if your chat team is treating them like scientific subjects, and not actual people? You wouldn’t do this at your physical dealership, so don’t do it online when your visitors chat in.

Just as you strive to provide excellent customer service on your dealership’s sales floor, you should also demand it from your live chat team, whether outsourced or in-house.

To make this happen, chat reps should be using the shopper’s name, directly answering specific questions, and showing their personality within the chat by avoiding the use of scripts. Illuminating that the chat rep is a human being (NOT a robot) will help generate more qualified sales leads and actual sales!

You don’t script the conversations your team has on your showroom floor, so why would you script them online? When your chat representatives have unscripted chats, shoppers are not only more likely to give out their contact information; they’re also more likely to be excited about working with your dealership and thus visit your showroom!

Give ‘em What they Ask For!

Answering shoppers’ questions is the best way to get them to trust you, hands down. When they trust you, they will buy from you.

Online shoppers don’t want to feel like they’re just another number. Your chat team needs to understand that they are more than just a lead source—they’re also a source of information for your shoppers.

Therefore, Chat reps first and foremost need to be able to answer almost all shopper questions.

Here are some examples of questions that your chat reps should be able to answer:

  • What is the towing capacity of this vehicle?

  • Do you offer loaner vehicles to service customers?

  • Do you have any tire specials?

  • What time are you open on New Year’s Day?

  • I have bad credit. Can I still get approved for a car?

  • Are there any specials running for this vehicle?

  • Is this vehicle still available?

  • Who is your General Manager?

Your website visitors who are clicking to chat expect answers to these questions—so don’t risk putting them off and forcing them to leave your website on a sour note by having unhelpful chat reps! Give ‘em what they ask for!

Ask the Right Questions

Questions to obtain the shopper’s name, phone number, and email are among the top priorities for some chat representatives — but a chat team worth anything will go further in building rapport for your dealership by asking other investigative questions.

Probing questions help your staff follow up with your shoppers more personally and intelligently. When you read the chat transcript, it should help your team answer questions like:

  • Is the customer looking to finance?

  • Is there a particular mileage, color, or specs the shopper is looking for in a vehicle?

  • Why has the shopper chosen this vehicle – New baby? Needs space for golf clubs? Commutes 100 miles to work every day?

  • Does the shopper have a trade in, and if so, what is the year, make, and model?

  • What service does this customer need to be done on their vehicle?

That being said, not every visitor that clicks to chat is interested in having extensive conversations. The amount of rapport built and information gathered from a chat conversation can vary depending on the shopper’s personality.

If your chat transcripts are generally only 2 minutes long, without questions asked other than, “May I have your phone number and email address so a representative can contact you back with the information you requested?”, you need to consider switching to a chat provider with a quality chat team.


We’ve said before that your chat provider should be adding value to the conversations being had on your behalf—but that’s only a piece of the puzzle. Once that conversation is over, what value are they adding to your follow-up process?

If your chat team isn’t helping you build rapport with your dealership’s prospective customers, you are the one missing out—and it will inevitably affect your bottom line.