According to Kayako, 79% of business owners say that using live chat builds customer loyalty, sales, and revenue. In addition, 52% of consumers are more likely to stay loyal to a business that provides live chat support.
Businesses can rely on live chat to respond to inquiries promptly, provide around-the-clock service, and build relationships through their websites. Once you understand what live chat can do for your business, choose the software that meets your needs and configure a strategy for implementing it. Here’s how to get started.
What live chat can do for your car dealership
Live chat is constantly evolving to provide the best of both worlds — a better customer experience for your prospects and an increase in quality leads for your business.
Speed isn’t a priority when customers opt for email, so dealership agents don’t have to respond to requests as quickly. Likewise, customer service via phone can feel time-consuming, and nobody likes to be put on hold. With live chat, both parties can ask clarifying questions in a format that’s faster than back-and-forth emails, and also spares the need to take time from your busy schedule to place a call, leading to a better customer experience and an increase in sales.
Improve customer service
Through live chat, agents can answer questions, give status updates, and point people in the right direction more quickly. According to AOK Marketing’s case study on live chat’s effectiveness, 73% of respondents said the quick answers to their questions caused them to prefer live chat.
To set the expectation that an agent is going to respond to inquiries, implement a real-time typing view. The feature allows car dealers to preview what website browsers are typing as they type. As this action takes place, car dealers get a head start to examine the conversation and provide a quicker response.
For example, Jim, a car salesperson at Acura Dealership of New York, encounters Marisa, a potential customer. Marisa starts to type out an inquiry on their website’s live chat: “I’m looking for a 2021 Acura TLX and deciding if I should buy or lease ...” Before Marisa clicks send, Jim will already have Acura’s lease terms pulled up to reply to her.
Instead of Marisa sending an email and anticipating a response days later or calling in to wait on hold, she can rely on the dealership to provide the answers she’s looking for within minutes. In fact, according to Talkative, the average interaction on car dealer live chats lasts for 17 minutes.
Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, at 73%. Email follows with 61%, while the satisfaction level for phones is 44%.
According to Kirk Parsons, a senior director at market research company J.D. Power, the satisfaction score for live chat is high because of “the efficiency and immediacy of the experience.”
Increase quality leads
The more people live chatting with your business, the higher the possibility of generating leads and paying customers. 73% of customers opt for live chat because it makes a clear path to getting direct answers — allowing your automotive business to grow and car sale leads to increase.
If your sales agents provide live chat 24/7, you’ll catch every potential lead. How so? You can integrate a communication hub to track quality leads, log each interaction, and record missed chat messages with a single inbox.
Choose the right live chat tool for your business to stand out
When shopping for live chat software to add to your website, consider features that will help your team send responses instantly and proactively. With such vital elements in place, prospects who initiate conversations on your platform will quickly become customers. Overall, look for live chat tools that easily integrate, automate, and offer around-the-clock service.
Integration: Integration should work with your other communications channels — live chat, calls, texts, and form submissions — to keep track of all incoming leads. In addition, look for an integration feature that allows you to identify leads and provide analytics, showing what marketing efforts led to the start of each live chat.
For example, Podium easily integrates without compromising functionality._ _
Automation: Find features that send template responses for welcome messages and commonly asked questions. Following automatic responses, look for features that allow agents to take over conversations when questions and inquiries become more complex. In addition, look at live chat software automation that helps set agent availability so that chat widgets display when someone is available to respond.
Automation during live chat saves time for car dealers, allowing them to focus more on sales until people on live chat need their assistance. Gorgias, for example, is a live chat software that gives your team the options of automatic and live person messaging. When it makes sense for a live person to step in, they have the flexibility to do so.
Flexibility: Live chat that provides flexibility helps car dealers cater to people looking for assistance after a busy day at work or living in different time zones.
In addition to software tools that increase the effectiveness within live chat, automation can trace every person that registers. With access to such information, there is enough content to allow a sales representative to pick up where the previous agent left off — leading to cross-functional collaboration.
CallRail’s Form Tracking connects every ad, campaign, and keyword to each form that potential customers submit. With this automatic tracking process, your dealership can use the background information it collects to customize each customer’s experience and generate strong leads.
Create a live chat strategy for your team
A strategy for implementing new tools provides structure and organization. It helps your car dealers understand what they need to know before starting with live chat. The process also gives clarity on what metrics car dealers should lean on to succeed in their roles. Since 73% of customers find live chat to be the most acceptable form of communication, knowing the necessary steps to build out live chat communication is essential.
All components are vital for successful live chat interactions, including training your team with product and dealership knowledge, ensuring soft skills, and identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) for car dealers to turn to.
8 tips to ensure successful live chat interactions
To ensure that they succeed, train your car dealers and stress the importance of implementing these skills during each live chat interaction.
- Speak with a positive tone. To ensure positivity, use inviting phrases such as “Please keep in mind that...” or, “Please let me know if you have any additional questions!” With positive language, customers will be more open and receptive to building a relationship with you.
- Utilize automated responses. By using automatic responses as soon as a customer sends in an inquiry, like “We have received your message and we are working to answer you,” customers will know that you are in the process of finding the best solution for them. They produce higher customer satisfaction scores, increase engagement, and solve problems more quickly.
- Use assertive communication. Providing short, to-the-point responses with the desired answer is what customers are looking for. When people send queries, they want your car dealers to answer their questions quickly and correctly.
- Be efficient. Car dealers need to be able to think fast and then type fast. Being able to multitask while handling multiple responsibilities at once is another element to consider when delivering responses on time.
- Be empathic and kind. It may be challenging to do virtually, but your agents at the dealership need to know how to empathize with customers on live chat. They should be understanding and express calmness when interacting via live chat to ensure customer satisfaction. Encourage your agents to address questions and concerns first, see situations through customers’ lenses, and be apologetic when customers express frustration.
- Write using BLUF (bottom line up front). BLUF is a communication method that focuses on putting the most important detail first. During live chat, these are clear responses that allow you to organize your thoughts and offer results to customers as fast as possible.
- Keep it natural. Keeping live chat conversations natural means chatting the same way you talk. Use contractions like “I’ve” or “you’re,” include customers’ names throughout conversations, and adapt to the way they chat (unless things take a left turn).
- Wrap up on a high note. Rather than ending the live chat conversation as soon as you resolve a case, ask customers if there is anything else you can help them with, thank them for their time, and wish them a great rest of their day.
Customer support via phone gives car dealers the benefit of hearing voices during their interactions. But with the vocal element missing during live chat conversations, it’s important to incorporate the protocols above to ensure successful discussions.
Identify KPIs that indicate a successful customer experience
Metrics set expectations for what a successful car dealership live chat interaction entails. KPIs such as first response time (FRT), customer satisfaction ratings, and conversion rates are three key measurable metrics for car dealers.
First response time (FRT) indicates how long it takes for car dealers to provide answers to customers. This metric is important to measure because customers expect live chat to answer their questions and inquiries faster than other forms of communication.
Conversions determine which live chat conversations turn shoppers into quality leads. For example, live chat for your car dealership can give an extra boost for people who are on the fence about purchasing a car. Forrester found a 10% rise in the average order value, a 48% incline in revenue per live chat hour, and a 40% conversion rate for car buyers who use car dealer live chat before making a purchase.
Customer satisfaction ratings allow car dealers to see how well they did during an interaction with a customer. Create a post-interaction questionnaire that is easily accessible and includes questions that gauge quality, timeliness, and efficiency:
- Quality: How satisfied were you with your customer experience with [agent]?
- Timeliness: Did [agent] respond to your inquiry within five minutes?
- Efficient service: Did [agent] provide the best answer to your question/inquiry?
Overall, for car dealers that score high for FRTs and report many conversions, reward them with incentives such as an additional day off or a quarterly bonus. With permission, you can also use customer satisfaction ratings as testimonials to highlight on your website. “Have a question? Ask one of our car dealers on live chat. Here is what previous customers are saying about us!” The proof is in the feedback and encourages potential car buyers to interact with your business.
Additional ways to ensure a smooth omnichannel customer experience
When implementing live chat, you want to know how successful interactions are between car dealers and prospects via live chat. Unfortunately, you can’t hover over every conversation to gain insight and provide feedback.
Ensure a smooth omnichannel customer experience by relying on automation tools like MaestroQA’s Screen Capture. Screen Capture is a feature that allows you to get a complete insight into live chat discussions. The tool’s purpose is to address out-of-sight issues that affect experiences between agents and customers. From there, car dealers can learn from their mistakes and provide better customer experiences as your business advances.
In addition to looking at screen recordings of live chats, follow up with customers who give feedback. They took the time to say something great (or not so great) about their experience with your business. Addressing concerns and thanking customers for their positive feedback will go a long way toward building relationships with potential and current customers.
Using a tool like CallRail’s Lead Center, you can track the flow of previous conversations, generate leads, and store contact information. With the personal information you obtain, follow up via email thanking customers for their time.
By implementing the tips and tools above, car dealers can use live chat as a way to connect and communicate with customers, increase sales leads, and build their businesses.