What to Look For When Opting For Automotive Chat Services

Written By Ted Rubin

In any relationship, communication is key. 

Romantic relationships, friendships, business partnerships, and even sales transactions; all of these require communication to initiate, sustain, and maintain. Misunderstandings, assumptions, presumptions, and any other relational mishaps you can think of, almost always come from a place of uneven or poor communication. 

In an increasingly digital world, where consumers start and sometimes end their customer journeys online, it's never been more important to keep communication channels open, real, and simple.

Rebuild Trust In Your Dealership (And All Dealerships!)

For many e-commerce entities, “live” chat support has been implemented to various degrees of effectiveness and success. With excitement surrounding the use of bots and A.I. as emerging tech, and perceptions about the savings from using them, many deploy bot-led chat solutions. The results? The above-mentioned poor and uneven communication. According to the annual Global Consumer Customer Service Report, as reported by Forbes: “... Only about half of all respondents said that they would turn to a chatbot for a quick customer service need…Beyond simple customer support, many consumers still prefer human agents to chatbots. Nearly 50 percent of U.K. respondents and around 40 percent of U.S. respondents said they'd prefer a person…

If you're reading this, you're likely in the automotive retail industry and have seen your fair share of automotive live chat companies pitch their platform. As the first live chat service in the automotive industry, we have seen it all through the years. Here are some key items to keep in mind when selecting who is representing you and your team.

5 Things to Look For in an Automotive Live Chat Company
What Services Do They Offer? 

First and foremost, what car dealer chat services are they offering? Are they taking all of your inbound dealership website chats? Can they offer a hybrid option that allows their services to pick up when your onsite team goes home? Do they give you the freedom to manage all of your chats yourself? Do they offer texting and mobile, or multiple channels to be served? 

If you do opt in for a managed chat, are they deploying bots/A.I. or employing real people trained extensively in customer service AND automotive? Pro tip: if you're unsure how to detect bots in these interactions, go ahead and test chat dealerships, note who powers the chat, and ask some curveballs; you'll be able to quickly tell if they can't acknowledge specifics or provide an uneven response to your questions. 

Are They Automotive-Specific?

Another aspect that is super important to think about: is the software and platform built with the industry in mind? 

Automotive live chat services for dealerships need features that work for dealerships. Does the platform route right to your CRM? Does it allow routing to specific departments? Do the lead forms address all of the information for that specific department?

Furthermore, what are your specific expectations for your live messaging team? Are you looking to generate quality leads for your team to follow up? Are you just looking for shopper assistance to continue to move down the funnel with your online tools? An automotive-specific team understands the "Meet and Greet" and then qualifying conversation that should happen initially with every online visitor. This is what transforms "unique visitors" on your site from data to breathing, satisfied customers. 

It is vital that you and your online team are in sync with the expectations of how you want to be represented. 

Is it More Than Just “Chat”? 

While chat is an agreed upon and common term for these types of services, we believe things have evolved beyond a simple “chat.” With the on-the-go nature of society these days, many consumers take care of a lot of business on their mobile phones. Auto dealership text messaging is a huge boon for dealerships to meet their potential customers where they are. 

We call our services “messaging” because we have evolved the service well beyond chatting. Text messaging, messaging on platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Autotrader, mobile versions of websites; all of these avenues simply cannot be boiled down to chat anymore.  

Do They Integrate with Digital Retailing Tools (Or Anything, for That Matter)?

Digital retailing is so much more than just giving the option to browse, shop, and complete some of the car buying process online. The truth is, while automotive digital retailing is fairly easy to navigate, it is still comparatively a complex technology. Where customers were once led down the car buying experience by their salesperson, they now have the power to go further down the sales funnel in their own hands, yet not uncommonly they will want assurance they are proceeding as they should. 

ActivEngage's automotive live chat platform (but remember, we like to say managed messaging!) can integrate with many things, not just digital retailing tools. Your CRM, the VDPs on your dealership website inventory, online marketplaces (like OfferUp, Autotrader, KBB), and service scheduling platforms (XTime, CDK, and Time Highway).

We were recently named the exclusive messaging partner for Cox Automotive, but we also drive the conversations on many DR tools; all of which you can see here!

Will They Support Your Team Once Brought On?

Sometimes, a vendor will lose steam once they've earned your business. A great vendor is more like a partner, adding to your strengths to enhance both parties. This is a philosophy we hold strong to at ActivEngage. It's extremely important to be able to understand the solution you're paying for, and how to get the most out of it and use it optimally for continued success. 

Inquire about product and personnel support when looking for your automotive live chat service. At ActivEngage, we have a dedicated Customer Care team that onboards and trains your team and updates you quickly on any changes. To put it in perspective, we handle over 1,500 tickets a month, respond immediately (or on average, 5 minutes for a call back), and have a 100% satisfactory score from our valued dealer partners. Each account is given a dedicated account manager to ensure complete satisfaction with the products and services you receive. 

ActivEngage Provides Premier Automotive Chat Services

Consider ActivEngage when opting for automotive live chat services! In addition to the deepest integrations with various automotive digital retailing tools, we also offer a varied suite of customer engagement solutions:  


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?