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Scientific Chat Testing

Proven Scripts versus On-The-Fly Chat

May 5, 2014 - 4:26 am

There is a misconception in the car business when it comes to the best ways to handle chat. On one hand, you have the scientifically proven and constantly tested scripts that drive customer chats down a path to becoming a lead. On the other hand, you have the “on-the-fly” chat concept that believes that interactions and relationship-building techniques work best.

It’s a great debate. In fact, it’s one that we don’t believe we’ll ever win based upon the emotional concepts attached to both strategies. It’s human nature to want creativity and free form thought to perform better than scripted responses. It goes against our desires to believe that people can be, in essence, guided by techniques rather than following the path of personal interaction. That’s why the debate will likely never go our way when emotions are involved.

However, a quick glance at the data reveals that scripts work better than “off the cuff” conversations. A deeper dive into the numbers reveal that they not only work better to generate the leads, but that the quality of the leads generated go up as a result. More and better – that’s what scripting does. Here are 3 reasons why…

It’s Chat, Not Personal Interaction

The people who are most likely to initiate a sales chat are trying to avoid personal interaction for as long as possible. There’s a reason they did not call the dealership. There’s a reason they did not fill out a lead form. They initiated chat because they want the anonymity that it allows. That does not mean that they cannot become a lead; our numbers prove that their initial attempt at anonymity can be broken down through properly scripted responses to their chats. It simply means that they aren’t hopping into a chat box to talk about their kids. They want information delivered in an efficient manner.

There is a shockingly low number of types of chats that are initiated. 99% of them can be hand-written on a single notebook sheet of paper. There is only so much of a personal touch that can go into these chats before they are simply not personal anymore.

Body Language and Tone Cannot Be Understood Through Chat

Let’s face it. Chat is the driest form of dialogue available to car dealers and consumers. In-person and phone conversations can benefit from having a personal understanding of the customer, but chat cannot. In fact, it can hurt when going down the road to the sale.

It’s a numbers game. The numbers show that if a person asks question “A”, that response “A” is the best way to go. If they ask question “B”, a different variation of question “A”, then response “B” or “C” will work best. This is science, not art. There is no amount of salesmanship or personality that can go into chat that will ever be able to defeat the numbers. That’s hard for many to accept, but those who have gone into the numbers and explored the results would all (if they’re being truthful) acknowledge that scripted chat delivers more and better leads that hand-types off-the-cuff responses.

This leads to the question of why many chat companies, after seeing the numbers, would continue to offer hand-types chat rather than scripted. The answer to that question is…

It Sounds Good in a Pitch

Most purchases are controlled, to some extent, by emotional responses. Because chat vendors know that people generally want human opinions and personality to win over proven scripts, they embrace it. It’s not about getting better results for the clients. It’s about getting more sales for the vendor. This is an unfortunate truth in our segment of the industry, but it’s one that can easily be unveiled with a little research and a willingness to put aside the emotion and focus on the results.

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