Mastering the Art of Chat
It is not uncommon for dealerships to be apprehensive about adopting online chat functionalities. We, however, assure you that when adopted efficiently, chat can increase online lead rates, improve time spent on your website and much more. Now that we have your attention, let’s dive into the art of online chat.
The Golden Rule of Chat
Above all else, the secret to a successful chat function is: be available, be effective and don’t be annoying! While this seems simple, many organizations miss the mark.
Not only is availability essential, it’s also the reason many dealerships are apprehensive about using chat technology. You may only receive a few chats a day. Keep in mind, however, that some consumers prefer this method of communication. By not offering it, you might be allowing virtual business to walk out your door. Your ART (average response time) should be no longer than 30 seconds. If need be, assign different team members to be available at different times of the day. If you’re experiencing a high volume of chats, be sure and set expectations. Inform those waiting that you will get to them as quickly as possible. Many chat platforms can be set to deliver a canned message in these situations.
Ensure that the people responding to chats are prepared to answer questions, or that they have fast and easy access to the information they may need. Be sure and refer to your chat logs in order to identify frequently asked question and answers. This will not only ease stress on those charged with managing your chat program, but it will establish a level of quality control.
In addition, you can leverage your chat logs to learn about your customers. Determine which conversations eventually lead to a sale. Are there correlations? Is there a way to identify a highly motivated consumer based upon their chat behavior? Over time, you may very well come to depend upon chat as a viable means of driving leads.
Don’t Be Annoying!
We’ve all visited sites that immediately bombard us with pop-up chat windows. Once you close the window, and actually have a question a few minutes later, the chat function has disappeared. This is the absolute worst way to offer chat functionalities. We highly discourage chat pop-ups, instead offer an eye-catching chat feature on every page of your site. If the site visitor wants to use chat, they should have access to it when they’re ready to initiate a conversation. If you choose to greet site visitors with a chat pop-up, be sure and keep this in mind. Once a visitor closes out of the initial pop-up, be sure they can easily begin a chat session if they choose to do so later.
To Outsource or Keep Your Chat Service In-House?
There are many reputable companies that offer out-sourced chat services. You may find that you simply don’t have the manpower to maintain a chat program. If this is the case, outsourcing may be your best option. It is, however, up to you to keep your vendor apprised of all information they may need to field questions on your behalf. While quality control can be a risk you take when outsourcing, the demand of day-to-day management can also be a risk. Be sure and weigh your options carefully. If you choose to outsource, select a vendor who is willing to be transparent and to help you groom their staff members to be an extension of your team.
With a little time and patience, your online chat program will pay off! Simply follow the golden rule of online chat and monitor performance. Before you know it, you will begin capturing a steady stream of leads and phone calls as a result.
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