Dealer Tips – How to Start Live Chat at Your Dealership

By: Russ Chandler

One of the biggest frustrations with online marketing and shopping is that many customers feel like there’s no one to turn to when they have a question. Rather than allowing these customers to click away from their site, many dealerships have introduced live chat as a way to support customers. According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. With the potential of live chat making a difference in customers’ decisions, many dealerships are beginning to incorporate it into their digital marketing campaign. In this video, Ed Parkinson, Vice President of Training from Contact at Once, shares how to introduce live chat at your dealership.



Have a Conversation


At its most basic level, live chat is a tool for dealers to talk to customers. It allows them to engage, influence, build rapport, and gain trust with prospective and return buyers alike. Not only is live chat convenient for your customers, but it has also enables dealers to better understand the customer’s wants and frustrations. These conversations then allow dealers to better serve their customers. Also, remember to talk like a human during live chats. The entire purpose of having live chat available is to provide customers with a human to assist in the shopping experience. Use genuinely warm language in the greetings and responses for the most success.


Be Available


Availability and accessibility are key to the success of live chat. Be aware of popular shopping hours, but don’t assume these hours will be from 9:00 to 5:00. This may mean that dealers work some weird hours or you hire people with previous sales experience to handle the live chat. If live chat is not available when customers need it, it will be a wasted resource.  Figuring out the popular chat times and preparing for surges in chat volume will be one of the most challenging aspects of live chat. While this may seem like a lot of work to simply talk with customers, think about it this way: the more convenient it is for a customer to talk with someone, the more likely they will be to make a purchase.


Let the Dealers Do the Talking


If customers have questions about the dealership, the best people to answer those questions are the dealers. Dealers will not only be able to most effectively answer the customers’ questions, but their sales experience will most likely lead customers towards sales and increase the possibility of upselling. Once customers are engaged with a dealer who can understand their needs, the dealer is in a perfect position to recommend additional purchases that may be the perfect fit for that particular customer. The key to live chat is that customers have dealers to immediately walk them through a sale if they become confused or have a question. This helps to eliminate customers clicking away, and it ultimately boosts sales.

Check out this article to learn more about how live chat can improve your dealership’s marketing campaign. For more tips and tricks from the best and brightest in the auto industry, download our ultimate recap of NADA 2014 here.