New Product Alert! Introducing ActivEngage's Business Development Service! Learn More

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.

ActivEngage Launches Finance Tools for Car Dealerships

ActivEngage Integrates with 700Credit Finance Tools

Exciting news here at ActivEngage! We’ve integrated with 700Credit finance tools to offer car dealers even better leads from live chat. The new online finance tools in our digital communications suite will change the game for the automotive industry. Here’s why:

The Power of Finance Conversations in Chat

Your customers are NOT satisfied with the tedious car buying process at the dealership — particularly the finance part. According to a recent Autotrader study, new car buyer satisfaction declined from 82% to 69% when interactions with the F&I department were factored in. Of the 3-hours customers spend at the dealer buying a car, they spend over half of it doing paperwork.

A slow process just won’t cut it anymore. Consumers want faster, more comfortable experiences in the buying journey. That’s why they increasingly depend on the Internet and their smartphones to give them answers. It’s why more and more car buyers click to chat.

By offering chat for finance, you empower online shoppers with information and give them the confidence to take the next step. Having finance-related conversations in chat will ultimately drive more qualified shoppers to the dealership. As a result, dealers will close more sales faster at their store.

The Integration with 700Credit Online Finance Tools

At ActivEngage, we believe that people, not technology, sell cars. That’s why we designed our platform to help dealers connect with in-market buyers wherever they’re looking at cars. Naturally, we added cutting-edge 700Credit tools to strengthen these interactions and give both dealers and consumer what they want: a better car buying process.

700Credit online finance tools

With the new integration, we can help automotive businesses:

  • Get more test drive appointments from chat
  • Receive enhanced customer information (i.e., FICO score)
  • Offer customers relevant inventory options at the dealership
  • Streamline paperwork in the F&I process
  • Make the car buying process faster

Transform the Car Buying Process at Your Dealership

Like you, we’re excited about the future of the car business and the role technology will play in it. As the authority in automotive live chat, we look forward to diving deeper into the world of F&I and leading the way in how your shoppers will buy cars. Stay tuned because we have more in store!

ActivEngage customers interested in offering 700Credit finance options in chat, please visit 

Live chat data for dealership marketing

Is Your Dealership Taking Advantage of Live Chat Data?

In a previous blog post, I discussed the importance of using live chat conversations to build rapport with your online shoppers, and how it can help improve your dealership’s follow-up processes. But what about the live chat data acquired beyond the conversation — such as consumer clickpath and the browser they’re on?

This live chat data, also known as behavioral intelligence, can be very beneficial to your dealership. But before we get into how it helps your business, let’s talk a bit about what behavioral live chat data is and why it matters to you.

What is behavioral intelligence?

In a nutshell, behavioral intelligence is data that reveals the buying behavior of online shoppers on your website. Some live chat providers can track a significant amount of consumer information both inside and outside of a chat conversation. But only an excellent live chat provider will analyze this information and use it to assist you and your customers better.

For example, some live chat data your team can gather and analyze using ActivEngage’s web-based console includes:

  • Number of visits to the website
  • Number of pages seen
  • Geo-location
  • Last page they visited
  • Click path through the site
  • Browser they are using
  • Device shopper is using (Desktop computer? Mobile phone?)
  • Referral information – i.e., through which search engine did they find your website? Did they come from a third-party listing site?

Note: The amount and types of live chat data available can vary depending on the provider you choose. Remember to ask what information is available before you sign up for a live chat solution.

Why is live chat data important to my dealership?

Consumer behavior is continuously evolving. Having access to behavioral data on your site will help you keep a pulse on what your car buyers want. By collecting and analyzing visitor data, you’ll be able to predict and follow consumer trends on your website such as:

  • What the most visited VDP pages are
  • The percentage of online shoppers returning to your site
  • Whether more shoppers are chatting via mobile or desktop

From there, you can use the data you’ve analyzed to test and improve engagement techniques with online shoppers, and ultimately increase conversion on your dealership’s website.

How can I leverage it to improve my marketing?

1. Tailored Ad Campaigns

Digital advertising in today’s market is a science, and successful dealers use tangible research to invest in ads. Live chat data can help. ActivEngage customers, for example, have access to valuable information, such as what the top requested models are in chat conversations. You can use this kind of visitor data to advertise a popular vehicle or service. Then, further tailor your ad messaging by region based on location data.

Ads can be expensive, and having data to back up your advertising strategy is essential to your dealership’s marketing success. Leverage the behavioral data you get from live chat to optimize your advertising dollars.

2. Targeted Specials on Your Website

At least 64% of today’s shoppers prefer to receive offers relevant to their specific interests. Using behaviorally-driven messages that highlight your online specials is a great way to use visitor data to personalize your shoppers’ browsing experience.

Here’s a scenario: Let’s say Sally is an online shopper who is on your website for the second time, has seen 6 VDP pages of new VW vehicles so far, and has been looking at a white 2014 Jetta for about 3 minutes now. Three vital pieces of information we can infer about Sally are that she:

  • Is engaged on your website
  • Wants a new Volkswagen
  • Is interested in a white 2014 Jetta

If you’re currently offering a cash bonus, low lease with zero down, or any other special on this vehicle, LET SALLY KNOW.

Having a tailored special offer pop up on your website based on your shopper’s clickpath, time spent on a particular page, or the vehicle they’re looking at can help guide your shoppers further down the purchasing funnel. By customizing your online shopper’s browsing experience, you’ll enhance the effectiveness of your website and improve the consumer experience.

Speaking of behavioral targeting, CDK Global recently joined forces with ActivEngage to launch Concierge Chat for CDK Next Gen websites. Concierge Chat leverages behavioral technology, audience intent data, and much more!

3. Personalized Chat Conversations

Once a shopper clicks to chat, if the software is robust, your team can use behavioral data to personalize the conversation further. ActivEngage’s chat console, for example, has Co-Browse — an exclusive feature that allows chat representatives to share the screen with web shoppers in tandem. So if Sally navigates to a 2014 Passat VDP page during the chat conversation, the rep can ask:

“Sally, were you interested in learning about another vehicle in our inventory?” or “Have you considered the new Passat, Sally? It looks great in white as well!”

Upselling becomes easier and conversations more useful when your team can leverage live chat data. By using behavioral intelligence to establish rapport with online shoppers, you can then build a better follow-up process and start building relationships with your prospects.

Your Chat Provider Needs to Step Up

Most of the data you gather from live chat can be very beneficial to your business. But in order to reap the full benefits of behavioral intelligence data, your chat provider needs to work with you to get the most out of the consumer information available.

Does your live chat provider send you useful live chat data to help you improve your dealership processes? Are they using visitor data to improve the quality of their chat conversations and the consumer experience on your dealership’s website? Can they offer you tips and advice on how to get the most out of their service?

Remember, your live chat investment is only profitable if your provider works WITH you to improve your bottom line.

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

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.



ActivEngage live chat and the Art of the Online Pitch

The Art of the Pitch: How Live Chat Gets More Runs for Your Dealership

“There are 3 types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.”
-Tommy Lasorda
Former pitcher, coach, and MLB manager

After a historical World Series last year where the Chicago Cubs took home their first win in 108 years, we are set to kick off a new MLB season on Monday, April 3, 2017. America’s favorite pastime is finally in full swing.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of similarities between a successful live chat strategy and a successful baseball team. For starters, there’s the famous AIDA sales model.

What is the AIDA Model?

The AIDA model is one of the widest known models by marketers and sales professionals. The purpose of this acronym is to help professionals develop powerful communication strategies and interact with customers in a systematic way that appeals to their needs and desires to prompt an action.

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.The principles can be applied as follows:

  • Attention – How do we inform shoppers about our products or services? What is our outreach strategy? Which tools or platforms do we use? What should the messages be?
  • Interest – How will we get their attention? Do we have information available to back up our reputation?
  • Desire – What makes our product or service desirable? How do we interact personally to make an emotional connection? Online chat?
  • Action – What are the calls to action, and where do we place them? Is it easy for consumers to connect and where would they expect to find it?

Traditionally, people view the AIDA model as a funnel that shoppers go down during the sales process, but in the spirit of Opening Day weekend and America’s favorite game, your friends at ActivEngage came up with this useful analogy:

AIDA and baseball

Unfortunately,  the online environment makes it easy for shoppers to get distracted with too many purchase options and “wow features” on a dealer’s website that prolong their buying journey. And as a result, dealers are finding it harder to get shoppers to run the bases fast and reach home plate (your physical showroom). That’s where ActivEngage’s live chat strategy comes into play.

The Art of the Online Pitch

The online sales pitch is not your average throw.

Much like baseball, live chat is primarily contextual. While there are best practices, such as practicing your swing, building arm strength, and keeping the batter guessing, when it comes down to it, context dictates the flow of the game. Similarly, the conversation flow in live chat will strongly depend on who is chatting on your behalf. You’ll need a team of chat experts trained to:

  • Know your buyers and their needs (AKA the wind-up)
  • Ask guiding questions to push shoppers down the sales funnel (AKA the step)
  • Educate and personalize the online experience (AKA the throw)

All of these factors will vastly impact the consumer experience on your dealership’s website. Therefore, the pitch has to be in league with that of MLB greats, Cy Young and Roger Clemens.

ActivEngage Live Chat Gets Your Bases Loaded:

Your dealership live chat strategy should move online shoppers from first base to home (your physical store) to truly impact your bottom line. ActivEngage gets your bases loaded by:

  • Spreading awareness about special offers and other relevant USPs using proactive, dynamic chat invitations with custom content based on the shopper’s path.
  • Creating interest in a vehicle or service, and more importantly your dealership, by staffing your website with knowledgeable conversation experts that can carry auto-specific conversations and provide valuable information to potential customers
  • Prompting prospects’ desire to buy by creating powerful connections using carefully crafted conversation techniques that drive engaged buyers to the next step in the purchasing journey.
  • Moving online shoppers to take action and walk into your dealership. And our team does it more effectively than any other competitor. On average, 20% of our sales leads include a preset appointment!

But at the end of the day, we understand it’s that final action, the follow-through, that drives your business. We’re talking about the moment the shopper becomes the customer. No other provider helps dealers close the deal like ActivEngage.

Bottom line? Every online conversation is a sales pitch. Every real-time interaction presents itself as an opportunity for our chat team to sell a customer on why they should come to your dealership. Our pitch average is the best in the automotive chat industry because we have mastered the art of online conversation.

So I leave you with the following questions:

Do you have the best players on your team? Are they performing to your expectations and getting shoppers across home plate (into your showroom)? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then it’s time to make some changes to your lineup, and let ActivEngage start for your dealership. After all, even the best teams make adjustments at the start of the season!


“There are opening day pitchers, and pitchers who start on opening day.”
– Roger Craig
Former pitcher, coach, and MLB manager

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 tips for slow car sales

4 Steps to Increase Unique Visitors, Leads, and Test Drives with Live Chat During the Slower Months

Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

But before you jump off the bicycle and stop moving, there are a few steps you could take – with live chat – to tip the chart from down to more ups and to keep moving your sales forward.

Combat Slow Car Sales Months With Live Chat

Step #1: Increase UV Traffic by Promoting Your Chat

When it comes to Internet leads, according to CDK Digital Marketing, the main source of the problem for dealerships during the slow car sales months is declining organic search traffic. And as a result, you often have less unique visitors on your website.

Some of the common ways you can increase traffic to your website during these months are by improving your SEO strategy, using urgency in your ads, nurturing your service customers via email, and other inbound marketing methods to get shoppers to click to your website.

However, it’s also always a good idea to let shoppers know that your dealer site has a live chat specialist ready and waiting to answer their questions personally because for some shoppers, that’s their ideal method of communication.

One effective strategy we recommend to increase unique visitor traffic to your website is to promote your live chat service on your social media platforms, in your advertising, and even on your radio and TV commercials. Tell shoppers to stop by your website and ask a Chat Specialist about your latest inventory, incentives, and specials.

In your promotions, be sure to hit on shopper pain points to drive more traffic:

  • Tell them they won’t have to wait on hold. Nobody likes to wait – especially car buyers who would prefer a text-based communication anyway. Instant answers. A faster process. This is what the modern shopper wants.
  • Tell them they can get the personal attention they deserve right now. Customers love feeling special, and hate feeling like they are “just a number.”
  • Tell them they can get help on narrowing their options. Not all shoppers know exactly which vehicle they want and if you have what they are looking for. By letting them know they can get help with their options, you are saying that you are saving them time and they don’t have to go through the hassle of filtering through all of your inventory.

Todd Caputo, President, and Owner of Sun Chevrolet, regarding his experience with promoting his chat service, said,

“We occasionally mention our live chat service in our 30-minute infomercials on Sundays. Some people like to use email or phone; some people like to chat. By letting people know they have multiple options for contacting us, we can drive the most business to our dealership.”

And that’s exactly what you need to make sure you are doing during the slow car sales months – driving the most business to your website and into your showroom!

But once you get shoppers to your website, how do you get them to start a chat conversation?


Step #2: Get Behavioral Graphics to Increase Chats

Once you get shoppers to arrive on your dealership’s website, the next step toward getting them to your showroom is encouraging customers to chat with you.

So what’s the best proactive method for starting more conversations on your dealership’s website? Well, it’s all about the chat invite graphics and delivering the right message at the right time.

ActivEngage does this through what we call, “Behavioral Chat Graphics.” Behavioral Chat Graphics are designed to send targeted messages to shoppers on the dealership website based on their behavior and perceived intentions.

For example, you can target a customer who has just opened the Finance Application page with a message that could dispel any doubts or feelings of uncertainty about their credit history by using a message like,

“We will ensure this is your best car buying experience ever, regardless of your credit background!”

By delivering targeted messages, you can relieve shopper doubts, entice them to click to learn about specials, and more!

So once they click to chat, what’s next?


Step #3 (for Service): Discover Your Customer’s Needs and Promote Fall Service Packages During Chat to Increase Leads

Once shoppers click to chat, it’s important to determine what their needs are and to promote your dealership’s unique offerings.

During the slow car sales months, this is essentially considered “Aftermarket Season” for car dealers as many shoppers look to winterize their vehicle before the snow hits.

And something to consider is the many customers who use chat to get their fixed ops questions answered. In fact, 30% of chat conversations are related to fixed ops, and depending on your brand, that percentage can be even higher. So to take the most advantage of this time of year, make sure your live chat service is promoting your service packages.

Chat representatives have a huge advantage in their power of suggestion. When a shopper chats about their service needs, your chat agents can start the upselling process by mentioning your service package options.

Note: Chat reps can also suggest options for inventory models, essentially opening up options that the shopper hadn’t even considered for their next car, just by recommending them!

Now that your shoppers are interested, how do you coax them away from the fireside and into the driver’s seat or service bay?


Step #4 (for Sales): Create a Fall Test Drive Event with Live Chat Bonus Incentives to Increase Service Appointments and Test Drives

Sometimes shoppers need a little extra push to get them in the door, and that’s why you create awesome events with incentives!

One idea you can use to boost not only test drives but also chat leads with appointments is to create a Fall Test Drive Event. For this event, you would incentivize your shoppers to come into the dealership to test drive vehicles during the slow car sales months of the year. And for that time frame, if shoppers come in to test drive a car, they would receive a gift for bringing or showing a copy of their chat transcript (something that could easily be pulled up on their phone email!).

Gift ideas for this event would be something like a gift card, or a free pumpkin, or a Winter Car Kit – something fun, helpful, or relevant to the season!

Then you would promote your event all over the place – on social, ads, emails, on your website, and especially in your chats!

It’s important that once you’ve designed your event and how you want to execute it to make sure to inform your managed chat service or in-house chat team of a few things:

  1. The timeframe of the event.
  1. Who is eligible to receive the gift – New car shoppers only? Used car shoppers? Shoppers who are leasing? Service customers?
  1. If you’re an automotive group, are all of your locations hosting this event?

This way, the chat team knows the details of the event so they can promote it in their conversations and get you more test drive appointments!

Note: You can also use this incentive for when shoppers come in for service of course! Just tell them to show you their chat transcript when they come in for an oil change, and you’ll give them a discount or one of the other great gifts listed above!

video chat is not really chat

“Video Chat” is Not Chat

I don’t often like to get into arguments about semantics, but I think this one cannot be ignored. There’s a term out there that chat providers are using, and they are misusing it. What’s the term they are using? It’s “Video Chat.”

“Video Chat” is improperly named. It’s not chatting at all. It’s a video call.

How is “Video Chat” Different from Text-Based Live Chat?

Helping Only One Person at a Time

In a video chat, you are limited to a single, one-on-one conversation. It’s just like a phone call in that way. You cannot chat with many shoppers at once on a video chat.

On the other hand, with text-based live chat, one of the benefits is that your customers don’t know how many people you are helping at any given time. Your chat reps can multitask, speak with more than one shopper at once, and ultimately gain more leads for your store at less cost.

Tone of Voice and Physical Appearance Matter

Another difference between video chat and text-based chat is the different communication skills required.

With video chat, your chat representatives need to have the best speaking skills. They need to know how tone and body language affect a shopper’s perception of the dealership.

In a previous blog, I also mentioned how video chat reps have to pay particular attention to how they dress and behave while on camera. But with text-based chat, there’s less of a demand for the chat rep to be physically appealing, and more focus on how knowledgeable they are and whether or not they can empathize with a shopper via words.

Writing skills are a must with text-based chat. It requires knowledge of how punctuation affects a shopper’s emotions. It also demands fast typing expertise and accuracy. With text-based chat, it’s also harder to make a mistake in the communication – since a chat representative has more time to think and formulate a response.

How Does Video Chat Impact your Dealership Customers?

Video Chat Intimidates Anonymous Visitors

When considering a live chat option for your website, it’s important to realize that a lot of online shoppers want to remain anonymous. They don’t want to show their face to you until they are ready to come into the dealership.

In fact, that’s part of the reason they chat – it’s a test! They want to see if you can answer their questions if you are knowledgeable enough about their car and your products and if you are the right fit for them. And they want to do all of this without revealing their identity.

With text-based chat, all of this is possible. Shoppers can remain anonymous, get the information they need impersonally, and decide when they are ready to reveal themselves.

However, video chat intimidates these shoppers. It moves them too quickly from anonymous to known. It’s uncomfortable, and they won’t use it. If video chat is the only method online that you offer, they’ll go to another dealership that offers anonymous text-based chat instead.

You Can’t Have a Video Chat at Work

Along the same lines as wanting to stay anonymous, many shoppers want to message you at work. (Yes, people are devious multitaskers!) But using video chat will not allow them to quietly receive the answers they need about a car or service without their boss knowing.

Shoppers can use text-based chat on a desktop or mobile devices without a peep. However, it would be awkward to sit at your desk or walk around the office or retail store, while having a video chat that everyone can hear.

Text-based chat allows shoppers to be sly about their research – no noise and no need to be chained to their desk. They can get their answers in the morning at work, and travel to your dealership on their lunch break.

Text-based chat is simply a more effective research sidekick at work.

Sorry, Video Chat, you’re not chat…and you’re not Batman’s Robin either.

4 Key Skills Your Dealership’s Self-Managed Live Chat Team Should Have

At ActivEngage, it’s no secret that we’re strong advocates of quality conversations. And we know our managed chat team does it best. But, if you’re considering building a self-managed chat team at your dealership, you’ll need a team ready to build relationships with online shoppers. That’s why today, I’m sharing four essential live chat skills you should look for and build upon when managing your team at the dealership. Here we go:

4 Key Live Chat Skills Your Dealership Team Needs

1. Website Familiarity

The ugly truth is dealership websites are still not navigable enough to provide a no-hassle user experience. Many times, your shoppers are lost and need chat reps to guide them to the right pages on your website.

This is a big reason why your chat department should know the ins and outs of your dealership website. When a shopper chats in to ask for the towing capacity of your 2015 Chevy Silverado, your chat rep better be able to find that answer at lightning speed.

Today’s shoppers don’t have the time or patience to wait forever and day for chat responses — after about 30 seconds, their attention meter will be at its limit, and they won’t stick around. They’ll move on to a dealer who can answer their questions faster.

Having a chat team that actively reviews your pages and knows the quickest way to access things like your specials, finance application, and critical information on inventory pages will go a long way in guiding your online shoppers from your website to your brick-and-mortar store.

2. Fast, Accurate Typing

When it comes to chatting, time is of the essence. None of your chat reps should be one-finger typing! Set a benchmark speed you want your chat team to type at, and hold them to it.

Also, be sure to hold your team accountable for their typing accuracy! Yes, the occasional typo may happen. But if your chat rep is constantly leaving out punctuation marks and words, failing to capitalize letters at the beginning of a sentence, or misspelling names, it can leave a sour impression on your shoppers.

3. The Right Tone

While a face-to-face encounter allows your staff to be polite, reassuring, and friendly, live chat requires a bit more work from the chat representative to emote these qualities in written form.

Make sure you hire a representative with emotional intelligence and other essential live chat skills. Your chat reps should:

  • Understand how punctuation affects emotions. Too many question marks or an exclamation point at the wrong time could result in a lost opportunity.

  • Pay particular attention to humor in text form, as it can get lost or be misinterpreted by your customers. Encourage them to be friendly, but mindful of their word choices!

  • Let the conversation flow naturally instead of using canned responses and trying to cut the conversation short.

4. A Solid Focus on Chat

As a customer, there’s nothing more off-putting than chatting with a representative that isn’t paying attention to me.

Having a chat agent that’s doing ten different things at once could be detrimental to your chat conversion. While your chat rep might be busy doing important things (i.e., handling phone calls, setting appointments, etc.), customers don’t care. They want quality customer service with the sole focus on them and their problems.

A professional rep will pick up chats in 10 seconds or less, quickly respond to shoppers questions, and expertly assist your customers.

Let your chat team focus solely on chat. This will allow chat reps to connect with shoppers’ wants and needs, to assist them quickly and efficiently, and ultimately get more leads for your dealership.

How to Keep Your Chat Team Accountable:

Keep your chat team in tip-top shape by monitoring their chats in real-time, encouraging them to take online typing tests, and reviewing their chat transcripts regularly to ensure your dealership’s name is held in high regard (and that it’s spelled correctly, too!).

And remember: Establishing clear expectations on what chat conversations should look like, providing live chat training and setting benchmarks for your team will help your team hone their live chat skills and have quality conversations that create lasting impressions on your shoppers!