Best PracticesDealership Communication ToolsDealership Marketing

Three Unlikely Places to Add Chat for Service

A few weeks ago, I discussed The Enormous Untapped Potential of Live Chat for Service (here’s Part 2) and how it benefits both your dealership’s processes and your service customers. The summarized version is that 30-40% of chats are related to fixed operations, and you should be chatting for the service department.

Now, as promised, I want to dive into the strategy behind live chat for service.

Your Website: Prime Real Estate for Service Chats

The short answer to “where do I put a chat button for service on my website?” is everywhere. Why? Because chat buttons and annoying pop-ups are no longer interchangeable. Find a chat provider that follows a brand standard and offers unobtrusive, mobile friendly buttons that enhance the customer experience.

If you’re using a traditional chat invitation that deploys only on your service pages, make sure you’re strategic on where you place the button. Generally, the best place to deploy chat is on the service specials page and the appointment setting page. Customers on your service specials page are just waiting for a nudge to do business with you and chat can get them there. And your service appointment setting page is a no-brainer; the easiest way for a customer to set an appointment is to have someone else do it. Offering chat as a means to set a service appointment will significantly reduce drop-off and, if used correctly, will increase appointment show rate and RO dollars.

If you’re experimenting with the deployment of chat invitations with custom messages, here are three rules of thumb to follow:

  • Be relevant – Context matters. Your customers shouldn’t see a chat invitation about an oil change while looking at tire specials.
  • Be brief – Don’t try to put all of your USPs in the chat invitation. It’s a big turn off and will definitely hurt conversion.
  • Be grammatically correct – I wish this went without saying, but I’ve seen it in action. Always check for spelling and grammar before deploying your chat invitations.

3 Unlikely Places to Add Dealer Chat for Service

Live chat technology can be used for so much more than ‘traditional chat’ on your website. Some companies in the industry have taken leaps and bounds towards multi-channel conversations, allowing dealers to engage and convert shoppers wherever else they may be in the digital world. For the sake of brevity, the term ‘chat’ will replace digital messaging variants such as text, Facebook Messaging, etc.

If your chat provider doesn’t offer anything but website chat, then do you even chat, bro?

Facebook Dealer Chat Option for Service


The inherently social and business-friendly Facebook recently gave businesses the opportunity to tailor posts based on intent and call-to-action, with Messenger being a natural option. The context of social media is that people are there to engage. What better way to connect with customers on Facebook than through Facebook?  

Ask your chat provider if they integrate with Facebook. If you use the software, it will make your life easier to use one platform for multi-channel service conversations. And if you have a managed solution, then you’re broadening your lead sources. Regardless, make sure the service leads and appointments go directly into your CRM!Google Dealer Chat Option for Service


Last year Google launched Click-to-Message, an extension that allows shoppers seeing your Google Ad to start a conversation with you from the search results page. Then, as if we needed further proof that text-based communications are the future, Google launched My Business Chat, a feature that lets you connect with consumers who find your business listing on Google Search.

Your call-phobic service customers can now reach you instantly and directly without having to navigate and possibly leave your website, and you can:

  • Reach more mobile shoppers to fill your showroom effectively
  • Fill more service bays by setting more service appointments
  • Leverage your SEO and PPC efforts to reach customers

Run, don’t walk, to turn on My Business Chat (it’s free), and if you’re running Google Ads for service, use Click-to-Message for your always-on, text-savvy service customers.Email Dealer Chat Option for Service


A static link in your email is the simplest, most overlooked way to get people to chat.

If you invest in email marketing, giving your shoppers the option to chat via email allows them to connect with you as soon as they read it. Not to mention that customers who open your email are showing a higher level of intent to take action, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Here are a few options on how to do it:

  • Link a phrase in your email like, ‘Chat now to set an appointment’
  • Get fancy with it and make call-to-action buttons
  • Set it and forget it on your email signature

Remember, Conversation is Key

The competitive advantages of the service department inside a dealership far outweigh the ones of the Pep Boys and Valvolines of the world. Use chat to showcase what your service department has to offer, and add value to these conversations by informing your customers about things like:

  • Dealership Amenities
  • Specials and Coupons
  • Other Service Opportunities
  • Service Loyalty Plans

Chat gives your dealership a digital platform to showcase its competitive advantages, build trust, establish rapport, and win service customers, but only if the conversation is of high caliber.

In this day and age, a bad chat experience can cost your dealership thousands of dollars. What good is offering live chat for service across channels if you don’t help customers and drive them to your service lane? No matter how you propagate chat for service, the results will still be the same if the conversation sucks. You won’t see the ROI and the consumer experience will suffer.

Implementing live chat for service takes preparation and follow-through. Equip your team to succeed, monitor the results, and adjust accordingly.

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