Risky Business: 3 Ways a Bad Outsourced Chat Team Can Hurt Your Sales

Written By Carol Marshall

gettyimages_468957239-resized-600I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: not all chat providers are the same. Vendor priorities vary, software technology can be user-friendly or not, not all providers hire chat teams within the US, and the quality of managed chat conversations are not equal.

In fact, a bad managed chat service can be detrimental to your business! If the representatives don’t have expert training, do not dominate the English language, and are not held responsible for the conversations they have on behalf of your dealership - it could cost you opportunities and your reputation could suffer.

Whether you already have a managed chat team, or want to implement one for the first time -- here are 3 red flags to look out for to ensure your managed chat service is helping your business instead of hurting it:


Some managed chat providers do not properly train their staff in the automotive industry, dealership websites, and online automotive retail. Therefore, their conversations don't typically provide valuable information to the shopper, and thus they create a negative online experience.

For an example, take a look at this chat conversation:

[Chat Rep Name]: Welcome!

Visitor33043: Hi. I would like some information on the 2010 Tundra

[Chat Rep Name]: May I know your question please? And just to address you better, may I have your full name please?

Visitor33043: Fred...What do you mean may I know your question?

[Chat Rep Name]: Nice to have you with us Fred.

Visitor33043: Is this an automatic or standard?

[Chat Rep Name]: Give me a moment while I look that up for you.

Visitor33043: Hellooo

[Chat Rep Name]: (3 minutes later) Alright Fred, what I'm going to do is to have my manager get back to you with all the details on it, may I have your email address and phone number for them to reach you?

Visitor33043: Why? Can't you give me an answer?

Visitor33043: Hello?

[Chat Rep Name]: Unfortunately I don't have that information on hand. May I have your email address and phone number for them to reach you?

Visitor33043: Nevermind… found it. Under the transmission speed FYI

If you put your consumer hat on, you’ll notice a few things are wrong with this chat. For example, Fred had to repeat himself because the chat representative didn’t acknowledge his question.

However, what’s most surprising is that the answer to Fred’s question could have been found on the VDP page -- but the chat rep did not take the time, or did not have the training, to know how to properly research the vehicle and provide answers.

Your dealership website needs a managed chat team that is trained to:

  • Reflect your brand. Incorporate information about your dealership in the conversation - such as competitive advantages, whether you have loaner vehicles, dates of your upcoming sales events, and more
  • Answer questions about vehicle specs that demonstrate knowledge, authority, and encourage consumer confidence in your dealership

Otherwise, you’ll lose opportunities and dollars, upset shoppers, and hurt your reputation.


If the chat representative cannot effectively interact with your online shoppers, the quality of the conversations being had on your behalf will plummet -- and so will the consumer experience on YOUR website. This can happen two ways:

A language and culture barrier

Some chat vendors outsource their staff overseas, and although cheap labor saves the upfront costs of chat to your dealership, it can have serious long-term consequences for your business.

When a chat rep is not fluent in English and doesn’t know US culture, some awkward conversations and misunderstandings can occur. In a previous blog, we give an example of a chat rep not understanding the English acronym “Asap!”. It’s the little things like this that make shoppers crazy!

Here are some other barriers that inhibit a chat rep’s ability to produce a personalized, professional conversation:

  • Is unaware of important holidays (i.e. Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc.)
  • Does not understand English vernacular
  • Frequently omits articles in sentences like a, an, and the
  • Misuses or misspells words often

To ensure your dealership makes the best impression online, you always want your chat representative to be professional. And professionalism includes typing with a strong command of English grammar and spelling, and by being able to hold a conversation that personally relates to your shoppers - even about national holidays.

These details, although they seem like minor communication adjustments, definitely help avoid awkward conversations. When chat reps communicate effectively, shoppers get their questions answered. And when shoppers get their questions answered, they’re more likely to buy from you!

So don’t make your shoppers struggle with basic communication when they look for answers. They’ll leave your website and not come back!

The chat representative uses scripts

Your online shoppers DO NOT want to talk to Mr. Roboto. They want to have real conversations with real people. However, some managed chat providers do use scripts because they believe scripts give them consistency that is measurable, and that they have more control over the conversations.

The problem with this is that there is nothing natural about scripted chat conversations -- they just frustrate your shoppers! Your staff doesn’t use scripts on the sales floor, so why would you allow your managed chat team to use them on your website?

One of the biggest reasons your website visitors love using live chat and willingly give out their contact information along with other useful information, is that there is another human being tending to their needs.

To make your shoppers happy, find a managed chat provider whose team is expertly trained to have personalized conversations based on the shopper that chats in, not representatives that think “one script fits all.”


Many managed chat providers do not offer a dedicated support team that ensures dealership customers are happy with their chat service, or that can help them fix other areas of their digital marketing.

This may be because the provider doesn’t have the resources, doesn’t want to pay for it, or may not see the benefit in investing in people who specialize in assisting customers with their success.

However, a support team is essential because like all digital marketing, live chat requires monitoring and adjusting to fit the needs of the modern shopper.

The chat experience is changing over time as shoppers get smarter about technology and get more familiar with using the service. Your chat provider has to adapt to the shopper and the dealership’s needs - and the only way to adapt properly is to have a good support team that keeps track of YOUR success.

You shouldn’t pay a chat provider to set up a service and just disappear, leaving nothing behind but a 1-800 number.

The best managed chat providers understand that a chat service is a partnership with your dealership. So choose a live chat provider that will HELP you and offer you the personalized and proactive support you need to win more sales.

Remember: Your chat investment is only as good as the quality of the conversations had on your behalf. Do your research before selecting a managed chat provider and ask the necessary questions to ensure you get a professional chat service that will meet your shopper’s needs and increase your sales.


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?