get quality internet leads using emotional intelligence

Why Your Dealership’s Live Chat Team Needs Emotional Intelligence

Written By Carol Marshall

Emotional intelligence is the ability to absorb emotional cues and use it to guide behavior. It’s essentially the combination of personal and social competence, and it affects how well we interact with others.

When it comes to digital messaging (live chat, SMS, Messenger, etc.) in the age of customer experience, emotional intelligence (EI) can mean the difference between losing a customer for life and getting a quality internet lead that closes.

But what exactly is EI? Can your BDC or messaging team learn it? And, why is it so important? Let's dive in and discuss.

How does EI impact quality internet leads?

Your dealership’s website is your digital showroom. Customers expect the SAME quality service via chat, text, and Messenger that they would receive when walking your lot.

What a chat representative says in a conversation with your shoppers will always be a reflection of your dealership. An emotionally intelligent chat rep will ensure your shoppers have a positive consumer experience—resulting in more quality internet leads, more sales, and a positive reputation for your store.

So, what exactly makes an emotionally-intelligent chat team? And how do you know whether your chat provider trains them to have a high emotional IQ?

Traits of emotionally-intelligent chatters

Self-awareness & Self-management

When shoppers message your dealership, they’re expecting the representative to answer their questions. They DO NOT want to hear “I don’t know” or “that’s not my department.”

Self-aware online reps are confident in their conversational skills as well as their knowledge of your inventory. If you manage a team in-house, your staff should use language that reflects confidence, friendliness, and professionalism. If you outsource, your vendor should provide ongoing training to ensure chat reps give the kind of customer service that reflects your business and will get your dealership more sales.

Regarding self-management, an emotionally-intelligent online rep will be adaptable when having conversations with different types of shoppers. Some shoppers are more transactional and simply want the answers to their questions. Other shoppers want to share that they need to upgrade from a sedan to a minivan because their family is growing. The rep should be able to effortlessly cater to both.

TEST IT: Investigate whether or not your provider is ensuring they have the best chat reps for your dealership. Don't be afraid to ask your chat provider:

  • What qualities or backgrounds they look for when hiring their chat representatives. Do they look for adaptability, creativity, or experience in customer service?
  • Do they provide any training to their chat reps? What kind of information do they collect from your dealership to help the chat team best understand who they are representing?

Also, don’t forget to look at your live chat transcripts. Does the chat rep sound knowledgeable about your dealership? If in your transcripts the chat rep included details like service hours, vehicle specs, and even your dealership’s “why buy” statement, odds are you're getting a quality internet lead.

Social Awareness

Social awareness allows chat representatives to understand and respond accordingly to the emotions of the shoppers clicking to chat. By understanding your online customers, your live chat agents should then be able to relate to and engage with them.

If your chat reps respond to every shopper with scripts, they’re going to frustrate potential customers looking for a unique, human experience.

The key is relating to your shoppers, something a scripted conversation CANNOT DO—which is why personalization is so important. If you want quality internet leads, avoid canned responses.

TEST IT: Look for awkward conversations being had on your site. For example, if chat representatives are responding to shoppers that say “I just totaled by car and need a new one” with remarks like “Great!” or “Perfect!”, you need a new chat team.


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?