The automotive sales market is beginning to heat up. As inventory levels continue to improve, consumers are turning their sights from houses to cars and trucks. Dealerships are looking at how to get customers back onto the showroom floor, while many consumers have transitioned to shopping online. The dealers that have adapted are seeing improved sales and service appointments and those that haven’t want to know how they can get more customers. (Hint: It’s not by using windsock puppets.)
Dealers know most consumers are starting the shopping process online. They’re doing research on makes and models, searching for deals, and also looking at financing options. While searching for inventory, customers will have questions that need to be addressed, but the negative reputation of the car sales process makes them want to avoid walking in and being the next target.
The key for dealers is to meet their customers where they are—online. All dealers have a website with their inventory, but fewer have tools that encourage online communication, and even fewer than that have strategies for actual engagement. Web chat is an often misunderstood tool that dealers use to try and weed out the tire kickers from the buyers, but a poorly designed chat experience will drive buyers away.
Automated chat is good enough for very simple, commonly asked questions, but a bot never sold a car. The goal for a dealership is to get customers in the showroom to talk to them directly. It’s recommended that your chat drives customers to a live agent where natural conversations can take place and consumers can ask specific questions around inventory or financing. This builds trust and credibility, needed for any B2C relationship.
A chat widget can be more than a portal for conversation. Botsplash clients enjoy automated, automated-to-live, and live chat experiences. Integrations allow for scheduling appointments (think sales and service), and there are options to continue conversations through text. It’s like switching to 4WD on the fly.
Your website is an extension of your showroom (or maybe your showroom is an extension of your website) and you should make every effort to make your customers feel welcome. Greet them and ask for their name. Don’t immediately ask for all their contact information—you wouldn’t hand them a card to fill out their personal information when they walk through the door, so don’t be pushy online. Collect the information more organically during the course of the conversation.
By engaging in conversation, you begin to build a relationship and gain trust. No bot could ever do that. Your customers are online and they’re looking at your site and they have questions, whether it’s around inventory, financing, or service. Talk to them. Help them. Be where your customers are. When you converse, you convert.
If you’re looking for web chat, SMS text, and/or additional omnichannel engagement opportunities, please give us an opportunity to help you. See our automotive page to learn more about the impact that Botsplash is making in the automotive industry.