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CarChat24 dealer website live chat tipIt may seem a bit counterintuitive, but if an auto dealership wants to establish a successful website live chat program in-house, it is wise to position your chat staff as online operators, and NOT as internet salespeople. There are three reasons this strategy will help create live chat success:

Allows the operator an excuse to gather lead information. Shoppers have an aversion to salesperson that is nearly encoded into DNA. When you position your staff as ‘operators’, their role is merely to provide information for the shopper and earn enough trust to gather lead information and hopefully, even an appointment.

Stops 30-minute live chats that have salespeople reading numbers off tires on used cars. If your chat staff are operators, the shopper won’t have the power to demand that they run from car to car worrying about speed rating on tires, or transmission ratios. They can stay on script moving toward a quality lead or car sales appointment.

Less likely to prejudge or sell the car online. As sales managers, we have all had sales people who ‘knew’ whether a prospect was going to buy, or avoided an appointment because they ‘knew’ the shopper couldn’t get a loan approved. Chat operators won’t have all this ‘expert knowledge’. Additionally, they won’t be focused on scheduling appointments around a shift or day off, as a salesperson might be tempted.

Numerous factors affect the success or failure of an in-house dealership website live chat program, and having proper fundamentals and training in place can make a huge difference. What is your live chat success (or lack of) story?

CarChat24 - Dealership Live Chat success diagramMore and more dealers are realizing that an effective live chat strategy is a key puzzle piece for increasing leads and sales from their dealership website – whether they opt for an in-house staff or hosted chat vendor. The scary truth is that many dealers who jump on in-house chat or the cheapest hosted chat expecting that it will magically pull them out of a sales slump overnight often end up with the same feelings as someone who ‘tried’ the latest trendy diet or fitness contraption: “I tried it and it doesn’t work”.

We may not be experts in diets or workout equipment, but we know live chat like Chef Ramsey knows cooking, and our experience teaches us that there are three key elements for live chat success:

  • Processes and people
  • Software
  • Web interface

Each piece is critically important, but once you have chosen your software or vendor, the PROCESSES and PEOPLE piece is the one element that dealers can control. First, you have to determine WHO will be involved with your live chat process. In-house, there are several steps to increase your odds of success:

  • Determine WHO will take the chats (hire additional staff?)
  • Assign management
  • Develop effective scripts (effectiveness AND speed)
  • Establish policies, processes, and escalation for ALL CHAT TYPES
  • Train, train, train for best practices on EVERY CHAT CONVERSATION

Once you have all this in place, be sure to position your chat staff as online operators, NOT as internet salespeople, to boost your chances of gathering lead information. This helps avoid your sales or BDC staff from running around to find out what brand or speed rating of tire is on a specific car, so they can get an appointment set.

If you are using your sales force to respond to live chat inquiries, you want to make sure they are strong on the phones before putting them in front of a keyboard, figure out how you will handle chat conversations when your store is full on a Saturday afternoon, then decide if that is REALLY how you want them spending time.

Choosing to use BDC staff to handle chat conversations needs other questions answered, like how much free time do they currently have and what if they are on the phone when a chat inquiry comes in (response target is 7 seconds or less). Dealers must recognize that industry statistics show that 30% of chat requests are missed by a BDC, and as many as 35% of requests can be missed during off hours.

Generating more dealership website leads and increasing car sales is very possible with an effective live chat strategy, but as with anything else, it take planning and preparation to maximize its chances for success.

CarChat24 live chat citiesCheck out this map of all the auto dealership locations that depend on CarChat24 live chat to generate more sales leads and increase auto sales.

CarChat24 dealer live chat backup option is like a flu shot for your auto dealership to generate more leads
As the leaves fall and the number of dealership staff members missing work for flu symptoms (or their child’s) rises, one way to ensure live chat requests get a quick response is to add a BACKUP option to your dealer chat strategy.

Just as a flu shot provides backup for your immune system, our service kicks in when your team is short-handed or tied up on another chat or phone call. That way, you know you have a virtual bench of strong chat operators who can help you increase your leads and sales.

In the hands of your operators or ours, the state-of-the-art CarChat24 operator software gives your dealership an edge over your competition, with Edmunds.com data integration, CarFax, a knowledge base with 100’s of facts, and ‘live text’ that shows the message as your prospect types.

CarChat24 tips for dealership live chatMore and more auto dealers see the value of an effective live chat strategy for their website, and choosing the right software is critical to help ensure a strong return on investment (ROI). Successfully managing live chat in-house requires a commitment of manpower and development of processes, and since CarChat24 is just one of several companies that offer affordable or even free chat software, choosing can be a daunting task.

Essentially, a dealership live chat program is an extension of existing tools, like your website and BDC. After all, the goal is to increase the amount of quality leads (and sales) without cannibalizing leads from the CONTACT FORM, so the last thing you (or we) want is for your live chat implementation to end up like the last unsuccessful private sale you held.

Here are seven key elements your dealer chat software should include:

  • Engineered specifically for the auto industry so it can be easily incorporated into current processes
  • Comprehensive, yet easy to operate DASHBOARD for both users and managers
  • Compatible with your website / web integration / branding, so it looks organic to your brand, rather than seems stuck on
  • Forward lead information (including transcript) to CRM / Email so prospects receive effective follow-up and follow-through
  • Usability features, including an ability to watch as guest types, easy information lookup, versatile user management
  • Variety of looks for invites / icons / surveys so your interface doesn’t look ‘cookie cutter’ to website visitors
  • Powerful reporting so you can measure the progress and success of your team

Setting up live chat in-house can entail a substantial investment of time and energy, and many dealerships are able to show a positive impact on their bottom line. If your team struggles to make an in-house chat strategy work, or you discover you can’t answer chat requests after hours, you will want to look at a managed / hosted live chat option either as a backup to your staff or even as a full-time option.

Dealers that find the right chat software or managed live chat service typically stick with it, because the ROI us undeniable.

Palm Harbor, Fla. - Dealers interested in a comprehensive live chat software option on their automotive website to manage in-house have access CarChat24’s 5-User Premium Pro version for FREE through the end of the year. This enhanced version of the company’s free dealership chat software allows up to five users at a time.


CarChat24 Announces Free use of 5-User Premium Pro Dealer Live Chat Software until 2014

“Because more and more auto dealers are adding live chat to their website to increase quality sales leads and contribute to automotive sales growth, we think it is important for them to have a proven tool that helps them leverage this cutting-edge technology,” explains Shereef Moawad, founder and CEO of the Florida-based company. “As pioneers in the growing chat software and hosted chat service field who came directly from the retail car sales industry, our team continuously strives to enhance our products and services to help dealers improve their bottom line with a strong return on investment (ROI). “

He emphasizes the advantages of a live chat option, whether handled in-house or hosted (managed), extend beyond just selling more cars, but also benefit the service and parts departments, and even help with CSI. In addition, the company’s free software option, and temporary use of the 5-user package, let dealers implement live chat on a small scale, as they learn to appreciate the competitive edge that chat options can create.

“Our free live chat software helps dealers add chat technology to their websites that can increase sales without a massive investment, and help them determine if they can make live chat work in-house, or if one of our 24/7 or backup hosted (managed) live chat services better suits their needs,” Moawad continued.

Industry-leading features of CarChat24’s live chat software include: Intelligent Proactive Chat, Advanced GEO-IP data on all visitors, Edmunds.com Data integration, CarFax integration, Dealer mobile website console display, automatic language translation, visitor text preview, automated pre-chat, smart best practices, complete canned comments, social icon integration, and more. CarChat24 has the only Dealer Chat Software built from the ground up for Car Dealers by Car People


Press Contact
Jeff Sterns
VP of Sales

ABOUT CARCHAT24: ( http://www.carchat24.com ) CarChat24 provides 24/7 hosted Live Chat Support & Dealer Chat Software for new and used car dealership websites. CarChat24 helps dealers sell more vehicles by converting a higher percentage of their website visitors into quality leads. Since 2006, CarChat24 has helped car dealers improve their sales and customer service on the Internet. Our mission is to empower car dealers with cutting edge live chat technology, and provide the professional staff and superior processes needed to obtain the best possible results. We are committed to helping our clients get the best return on investment from their websites. We strive to make our support service the very best and are always looking for innovative ways to give our dealers the edge over their competition. Follow CarChat24.com on http://www.twitter.com/CarChat24 and fan CarChat24.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CarChat24.

We are proud to announce that according a recent survey of auto dealers, CarChat24 has jumped up the list of live chat providers from its 10th-place position, and is now in the top five. According to dealermarketshare.com, a website that tracks the number of dealers using live chat software or managed chat service, CarChat24 is firmly in the fourth position. CarChat24 leaders expect continued growth from the company.

While it is more practical for auto dealers than manufacturers to leverage the strength of interactive chat software on their website, some carmakers are leading the charge to fully realize the exposure of social media. From Cadillac’s global tour of the ATS to Toyota’s “Toyota Friend” program that sends private or public or public messages to owners, OEM’s are finding creative ways to directly engage their car buyers and prospects.

The Automotive News reported on Friday that Honda is “using more social media to further its brand messaging through storytelling” (SEE STORY). From stories about an owner with more than a million miles on their car to Facebook and YouTube focus on a backyard mechanic, they are now leveraging their softer side with a “Honda loves you back” program. Now, these tidbits won’t get the play of gossip pieces about Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake’s marriage, but they help the automaker connect with their owners and build a viral following.

Of course auto dealers don’t typically have the economic power to contract Madison Avenue advertising agencies or employ teams of bloggers, but they can scale these campaigns down to the local level. Below are five ideas to capitalize on social media in your store, but I preface this list with a strong recommendation to coordinate with your legal counsel to get signed model release forms from ALL EMPLOYEES or CUSTOMERS you use in your marketing.

  • 1. Take advantage of YouTube to highlight an owner who has bought a high number of vehicles from your dealership.
  • 2. Have a game on Facebook and/or Google+ that shows your product photographed by several hotspots around town and have — FB ‘likers’ identify the locations to be eligible for a prize
  • 3. Tweet a coupon to one of your client’s businesses, like a restaurant or deli
  • 4. Have a blogger (a mom, preferably) in your community spend a week or two in one of your premium products and write about it – a successful campaign by Cadillac a few years back
  • 5. Use one or all the social networks above to highlight one or more employees who perform exceptional volunteer work in the community

These are just a few suggestions, and you can easily create more creative ideas by pooling the intellect of your management and employee teams. Most importantly, do SOMETHING, because the reach of social media is like a whole new internet. And if you are looking for a key strategy to generate more business directly from your website, contact us to find out how live website chat can benefit your dealership or dealer group.

CarChat24 Automotive Live Chat experts

Call today for more info about Automotive Live Chat (800) 510-7567

While we are confident in our assertion that MORE THAN 60 PERCENT of our Chat Queries result in automotive leads that generate more car sales at a 200 to 300 percent higher rate than third party leads, we thought we would share some statistics from outside the car business.

Page 1 Solutions provides web solutions for the medical and legal industries, and they report very impressive success rates for Instant Chat Services in those fields.Their clients enjoyed lead increases ranging from 114 percent in the legal field to as much as 164 percent increase for their dental clients. Medical clients like plastic surgery and LASIC providers saw a jump of more than 120 percent.

Similar to the auto industry, Page 1 Solutions emphasizes that a key to success is how a company responds to the lead. “Regardless of how much you pay for Instant Chat, the key is to implement conversion strategies that generate a high return on investment.”

As a leader in the Automotive Live Chat field, we have pioneered strategies that lead to higher car sales through structured processes during and after the chat experience. Our continued study of behavioral tendencies of buyers results in massive data sets that give us a unique insight into car buyers’ shopping habits.

Call us today to see how easy it is to generate more and higher quality leads. (800) 510-7567 www.CarChat24.com

We at CarChat24 love cool cars, and some of the coolest bowed during the past week at the Paris Mondial de l’Automobile 2012, also known as the Paris Auto Show. While most Americans are fixated on the playoff chase of the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, and other contenders, the autoworld focused across the pond on the latest hot rides. From Bentley racecars to supersized SMART cars, manufacturers present their next generation concept and production cars. Here is a quick video overview from our friends at Edmunds.com Inside Line.