Murphy’s law states, “Anything that can go wrong -- will go wrong.” Therefore, severe weather happens, and when it does, your live chat backup provider has two choices. They can:
1. Ensure the live chat team is prepared to handle the questions about your stores open hours or any closings due to severe weather.
2. Epically fail at answering chats and providing your online shoppers with accurate info!
Dealers, some chat providers just don't have a plan in place to ensure they give correct answers about store openings/closings and road conditions during winter storms.
This is an ongoing issue, and you're allowing chat representatives to give your shoppers misleading, and potentially dangerous information. No one wants a customer to tow a broken down vehicle to your lot in severe weather or icy conditions, only to find your dealership closed when your chat team told them otherwise. That’s not going to bode well for your reviews.
If you’re not aware of the awful experiences your shoppers have been receiving via live chat this winter, here are some examples below:
Bad Chat Backup Example #1
Dealership ABC: Thank you for choosing Dealership ABC!
System: We have alerted the online representatives that you are waiting. Someone should be with you momentarily.
Dealership ABC: We appreciate your patience. One of the online representatives should be with you momentarily. (waited over 30 seconds for someone to answer the chat)
Dealership ABC: Hello, my name is Emily J. How may I help you?
Customer: Hi, how's the weather? I'm looking for a car.
Dealership ABC: what are you interested in?
Customer: Something under 10k.
Customer: Are you guys open today?
Dealership ABC: Okay, we will be happy to look over the inventory to see what we have available. What would be the best email to reach you on, please?
Customer: What are your hours?
Dealership ABC: hours today are 9-6
Dealership ABC: I believe we are open. i can confirm and get back to you
Your Uncertainty is Showing
Notice the chat representative ignores my questions about the store being open and went straight to asking for contact information. As a shopper, I’m already put off. But when the chat rep says they have to confirm if the store is open and says they’ll contact me back to let me know - well, that takes the cake. If a chat backup representative discloses uncertainty about your hours of operation, would you trust them with any other information? It doesn't leave a great impression on your customers, especially when it's such a straightforward and vital answer your shopper needs before setting a test drive or service appointment.
In fact, some dealerships don't allow test drives in poor weather conditions due to high crash rates for customers on their way home. Does your dealership have a policy for test driving in bad weather? Let your chat representative know what it is so they can advise your shoppers when it's safe to come in!
Also, when the chat reps reveal they don't know if the store is open, they make it obvious that your chat team is NOT located at the dealership. What could be more frustrating to a shopper when they wanted to speak with an educated employee who can answer their questions?
Bad Chat Backup Example #2
We called this store before chatting and discovered they were closed. However, the chat representative told a different story:
Dealership XYZ: Thank you for choosing Dealership XYZ!
Dealership XYZ: We appreciate your patience. One of the online representatives should be with you momentarily. (again, waited 30 seconds for an answer)
Customer Care Center: Thank you for chatting with us here at Dealership XYZ. I am a customer support representative and am here to assist you, how may I help?
You: Are you open today? I need a new car. snow finally put my current vehicle in its grave!
(waited one minute for response)
Customer Care Center: we are open today and the hours is 9am-9pm
Customer Care Center: May I know which vehicle are you interested in, please?
You: Potentially a civic... may be too small though
(one minute for response)
Customer Care Center: Ok, I will be happy to assist you on this. Any specific options you prefer? Color preference?
You: do you have specials on the civic?
(45 seconds for response)
Customer Care Center: I will need to check with one of my sales team members to verify what awesome deals we are currently offering for the Civic, What is the best phone number and email that we can reach you at with those details? (why can’t I get an answer to this question? I found a page on this dealer’s website with the specials listed!)
You: I'd rather not. I'll just come and look at what you have.
Customer Care Center: Ok, Is there anything else that I can help you with?
Lazy Chat Representative
Open from 9am-9pm after getting hit with 10 inches of snow, huh? Frustrating. It takes one phone call to a store to know if you are open or not. Why is this simple, yet important task so hard to accomplish?
This chat backup representative also failed to provide information about vehicle specials. Just plain lazy. What if one of your sales reps said, “I need to check on what specials we are running, can I have your phone number and call you later today with that info?” - You would fire them instantly. There is no value to your online shoppers if your chat team can’t answer simple questions!
Bad Chat Backup Example #3
Some chat providers only have one location for their chat backup service.
When that one site is also affected by the winter storm, and they have no backup for their chat backup service, YOUR CHATS DON'T GET ANSWERED. For example, we chatted with a dealership with a chat invite that said the representative was available. But, because the storm also affected the backup chat team's location, shoppers received this disappointing message:
Dealers, why do you continue to put up with this nonsense? You need to hold your chatters responsible for the information they give your shoppers at all times.
These misguided responses to your customers are a symptom of a poorly trained and poorly managed live chat provider. Your dealership deserves better. You deserve a chat provider that cares enough about you to keep in contact with you regularly, keep track of bad weather, and call your store in case of closings.