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Should you have inventory in your chat window?

February 6, 2017 - 11:24 pm
Live chat inventory is a distraction from a sale

Live chat inventory is a distraction from a sale

Collectively the leadership team at CarChat24 has more than a century of collective time spent managing car sales in dealerships, so our expertise extends far beyond live chat. One of the trends we have noticed is for various website add-ons to list the inventory, or even use some supposed algorithm to guess which alternate vehicles to suggest to a buyer.

First, let’s get a simple statistic on the table: half of all car shoppers don’t end up buying the vehicle in which they were originally interested. That comes from AutoTrader, and we’ve seen it on the showroom floor hundreds of times. Everything from someone coming in for a sedan and leaving with a sports car to compact car shoppers opting for a minivan.

BDC staffers or chat operators are the last people to help shoppers choose a different vehicle

But when a shopper believes they want a specific model of vehicle, it’s the job of the salesperson to do everything they can to make that happen. But there are dozens of things that can happen along the way to change the situation. A spouse can lobby for a ‘better’ or ‘smarter’ choice, the seats may not have the comfort or adjustments that suit the shopper, or (in my 6’6” tall situation) they don’t fit in the vehicle. Here are often times during the course of a shoppers purchase experience that the DEALER has to encourage them to switch to another vehicle, often because of credit approval issues or a payment limit the shopper has. Another common culprit is too much negative equity in their current vehicle.

In nearly all situations, pointing the shopper toward an alternate choice needs the direct involvement of the sales and / or finance manager. They will often have information about the shopper’s credit that require a vehicle with certain loan value to get the bank’s approval – this may mean a trade-in with especially low miles or special purchase vehicles from the factory that will help the shopper get approved. Each of these scenarios requires diplomacy and tact from the dealership staff to help the shopper adjust their expectation. There are few salespeople with the wisdom and experience to make this change, and certainly a BDC staffer or chat operator are the last people to help with that decision.

In these situations, there NEEDED to be a change in vehicle choice for the shopper. Barring that, the salesperson has an obligation to help the shopper get the vehicle they want, and selling said vehicle helps pay their bills. The LAST thing a salesperson should do is arbitrarily toss some other vehicle choices into the mix. Let’s say you have a shopper who has spent the typical 8-13 hours online researching a BMW 3-Series sedan and they end up on their lot because you have the one they liked best. It makes no sense to all of a sudden suggest they also check out the beautiful Ford Raptor pickup you have on the lot just because the shopper says it’s ‘cool’.

Jumping down that rabbit hole may sell the Raptor. But it’s more likely that they will decide now they have to spend another three days online doing all the Raptor research they can. Then the salesperson calls back only to find out they bought one across town with lower miles or cooler wheels.

Don’t dilute the shopper’s online chat experience with inventory confusion

If it is so important to help give car shoppers a smooth path to the sale on their vehicle of choice, the LAST thing that should be in a chat window are a few (or all) additional shopping options to distract them from the path to your showroom. And with half of all website traffic coming in on mobile, this inventory gimmick is only on desktop chat windows, so there are a lot more important performance factors for live chat that dealers should consider.

There many reasons top dealers in the nation trust CarChat24 as their 24-hour managed chat provider. Not only does CarChat24 have the highest conversion rate of unique visits to sold units, but the top-performing mobile chat with SignalR technology, scientifically-tested protocols, award-winning interface, secure chat interface, and TRUSTe privacy certification.

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