How many times have you shopped online and had a little chat window pop up to see if there’s anything they can help you with? This is definitely becoming more and more of a phenomenon as an ever-increasing number of people are researching their purchases on a computer or mobile device before going in store. Some are even going through the buying cycle strictly online. Time is money afterall, and something we never seem to have enough of. In fact, according to Google, 97 percent of people are using the Internet when researching a vehicle, and on average they are using 26 sources of information before making a decision.
There are numerous arguments going both ways for whether you should have chat on your site or not. Initially, most would think that it would have a negative appeal to users searching your products online as the little box floating across your screen can sometimes seem invasive, and, at times, flat-out annoying. The reality is that since consumers are constantly online and nowadays everyone is connected, we shoppers are becoming more impatient when we have to wait for our questions to be answered or when we can’t easily find what we’re looking for online.
This is where chat comes into play. If done correctly, not only does it help web visitors find what they’re looking for, it can also help boost your leads and build a positive rapport, increasing returning customers in the process.
Tips for Getting It Right
If you didn’t catch the message, here it is again: If done correctly, there are numerous benefits to reap from chat. But that is a pretty big if.
Here are some questions to keep in mind when searching for a chat provider:
Do they offer 24/7 chat service?
• While you’re sitting at home at 8pm, immersing yourself in a good book, people almost ready to buy a car could be browsing your site. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you had someone available to ensure that these visitors were finding what they came to look for? Having a chat provider that offers 24/7 service will guarantee that all of your remote or off-hours customers are being taken care of, even while you’re sleeping.
Do customers need to work before they can initiate a conversation?
• When the chat window pops up, does the service ask you to submit your name, phone number, and email in order to ask a question? This type of up-front fricton is definitely one way to alienate your customers, and it’s something you don’t want in a chat provider. Having to give up personal information when you haven’t even asked a question yet is a sure-fire way to get people to leave your site and maybe never come back. Instead, what you should be looking for is a provider that customizes their introdution based on what the user is looking at. For instance, if they are on the Used Vehicle Inventory page, the ice breaker questions should specifically be related to used cars, rather than asking for their name and email “in case they get disconnected.”
Are they experts in your industry?
• Just because a company is offering chat, it doesn’t mean they are experts in your industry. This is where you will want to uncover within what fields a particular chat provider has competencies. If they’re all over the map, offering chat services for enterprises ranging from travel to heavy machinery, they may not be the one for you. Since they will essentially be the face of your customer service online, you want to make sure that they at least know what they’re talking about and are knowledgeable about the industry.
Is the chat service self-operated?
• If you’re a sales manager, what do you want your sales team to focus on? Making sales, of course. So where is the best place to have your team? On the floor, naturally, face-to-face with customers, trying to build relationships and rapport. If your sales team had to man your online chat while also taking care of customers walking into the dealership, your sales team would be constantly pulled away from the floor. And there’s still the possibility that some or many online chat inquiries would be missed. This would leave potential revenue on the floor, and customers feeling ignored. Make sure to find a chat provider that mans their own service, and, as mentioned in the first point, is available 24/7.
Is Your Dealership Ready to Chat with Customers?
If you’ve never considered chat before, maybe it’s time. If you’re interested in seeing a demo of what chat can do for you, of if you think you’re ready to take the plunge and sign up, contact your Strathcom rep today!