Do you really know what your dealership website chat is doing for you?
Those of us with chat on our dealer sites know that chat is an amazing lead generator, but, do you really know what your chat is doing for you? Likewize, do you really know what chat is doing for your shoppers?
It’s been a while since I took a good long walk in our chat records, while reviewing them, I see the chats fall into common classes.
- Credit Questions
- Trade-in Questions
- Search Help Needed
- Purchase Intent
Credit and trade-in questions are driven by what the shopper possesses. Examples like: “I have poor credit, or, “I have a 2003 Kia that I owe $8900…” These are chat questions that you can easily answer via a template.
Ok, so what’s ‘Search Help’ and what’s ‘Purchase Intent’?
- ‘Search Help Needed’ chats are questions from people that need help hunting.
- ‘Purchase Intent’ chats are from people that want to pull the trigger!
REAL CHAT EXAMPLES of a ‘Search Helper Needed’
- “Interested in an suv with good mpg”
- “we would like also to look into all 3rd row seating SUV’s under 20k mi”
- “is there any way to search just for 7 passenger vehicles what other models besides minivans and dodge journeys seat 7 traverse is too pricey”
- “I am looking for not sure what kind of car but around 2008 for around $12,000 if possible. In that type of ball park. Thank you.”
REAL CHAT EXAMPLES of ‘Purchase Intent’
- “…Stock# W16242 is a lincoln where is it located , is price negotiable?”
- “I like Stock# k35101, I am interested but need to know are your prices negotiable?”
- “I have a $4,750 trade-in, $2,000 down payment. It shows the price is $35,990. Is there room for negotiation?”
- “…I am buying with cash and will be looking to negotiate the best price I can get and purchase something from somewhere very soon.”
‘Purchase Intent’ or ‘Search Helper Needed’ both need 5 star treatment AND both need different sales techniques. ‘Purchase Intent’ questions are an opportunity to aggressively ask for an appointment, whereas ‘Search Helper Needed’ questions are a great window for the sales team to ‘wow’ the shoppers by really understanding their needs. I am not saying the Credit and Tradein questions are inferior, all I am saying is each chat question falls into 5 unique categories and they all need to be handled differently.
Here’s a breakout of the last 200+ chats on my site:
Search Helper Needed
The chat topics above break into smaller sub-topics. For example, is the Credit question about bad credit, or, just general credit questions? The ‘search helper’ question has many sub categories, the most common question revolves around a complex search query like “I need this and it needs to have that, but, it can’t cost more than…” Here’s an example, this chat that came in minutes ago “…do you have any extended caB or quad cab trucks, 4wheel drive under $15000? I want payments under $350”
Here are the sub categories I found FYI:
|Credit App Status?||8||4%|
|Search||search helper (complex query)||47||23%|
|search helper (by $ or payment)||32||15%|
|search helper (wants details on car)||9||4%|
|search helper, car has warranty?||3||1%|
|Purchase||Purch Intent, has car picked out, wants Appt||4||2%|
|Purch Intent (“where is this car located?”)||3||1%|
|Purch Intent (“car in stock?”)||13||6%|
|Purch assist (make an offer)||6||3%|
|Misc||After store visit, follow up chat||5||2%|
|Deliver out of State?||4||2%|
|Offer Military Discount?||1||0%|
|Young, 1st time buyers||5||2%|
|transfer car to other store||1||0%|
|prep for purch questions||3||1%|
Is your chat being used or abused? Who’s running your chat? You or a 3rd party service?
Chat falls into 2 distinct classes. Dealer Chats and 3rd party chats. These are 2 very different management problems with very different needs. Every organization is different.
Self Hosted Chat:
No doubt about it, if your not trained and prepared, chat can leave a good sales rep tired and bloody. Chat shoppers can eat up 45 minutes, suck you dry, and after all that, refuse to give you any contact info. Ugh, someone shoot me! If this happens to you (or your team), then most likely this has created another problem, chats get ignored!
If you self-manage your chats, you need great templates and a trained staff to “work” that chat shopper.
3rd Party Chat:
There are many 3rd party chat companies to choose from, and many are regulars here. One of the best threads in our forum is run by Shereef Moawad President & CEO of CarChat24. Shereef ran multiple case studies where he clearly demonstrated his team’s ability to sell cars. It’s a great read!
Chat Vendors, drop a comment here and put a flag in the sand! Dealers, tell us how your chat is doing these days!
In my organization, we started self-managing our chat and got OK results. I felt we were leaving cash on the table, we took the leap and employed ActivEngage to manage our chats. The lead counts and sales exploded! It was nice to read the chat records and watch the ActivEngage chat team consistently recognize a shopper with ‘purchase intent’ and each time they aggressively go for the appointment! For us, 3rd party chat service is our highest ROI vendor.
Lastly, to our web site vendors, when you build a site for your clients, you’re really building a site for their clients, I can’t think of a better tool to satisfying shopper needs than listening to phone calls and reading chats. You can watch me dig to find more gems in our DealerRefresh forums: The Used Car King Make Over Diary