The process of purchasing a new vehicle directly from a dealership’s lot has become antiquated. The modern car buying journey has moved from the showroom floor to a website and remote buyers are more prevalent than ever. Entire transactions are often conducted online leaving less of a need for on-site personnel or a physical trip to a car lot. While this digital transformation opens up great opportunities for out-of-market buyers, it also means that a dealership’s in-market customers are shopping around for the best deal.
COVID-19 and the Rise of Digital Communication in the Automotive Industry
Pre-pandemic, the overwhelming majority of dealerships were not ready when it came to digital availability for consumers. This could have been due to fear of lost profits, resistance to change, or other unforeseen variables. Either way, the pandemic forced the expansion of digital communication within the automotive industry, which in turn, required auto sellers to keep up with the new “socially distanced” norm.
In addition to the lack of in-person communication, the virus presented dealerships with an additional challenge–a national chip shortage. Supply chain issues and the lack of available parts made it difficult for manufacturers to provide dealerships with inventory needs. This accelerated the need for out of market purchasing and boosted pre-owned vehicle demand. It is for this reason that in this current market, every dealership should offer a live chat option to remain competitive.
Live Chat for Dealerships
If sales associates don’t acknowledge walk-in customers, managers would be annoyed at best or firing salespeople at worst. Without a proper digital consumer engagement process in place, dealers are essentially leaving interested online customers hung out to dry. It is shown that 64% of car dealership websites offer chat somewhere on their website. The importance of web chat is that most people are impatient and demand immediate assistance right from a website. Botsplash offers both live and automated options to fit a dealership’s needs.
When managing live chat, a dealership has four main options:
- Designate sales people to manage the chat
- Hire an in-house BDC team to manage the chat
- Create a hybrid method to manage the chat (first point of contact is BDC and then transferred to sales for knowledge base)
- Outsource conversations to an external BDC that will manage leads from any incoming web chat conversations
Live vs Automated Chat
The automotive world is all about efficiency and profit. But one thing that often gets misconstrued is the idea that an automated chat process is as effective as a chat run by a live person. While it may appear less costly in the short term, is a robot actually closing your deals?
It has been proven that live chat is more effective and provides better ROI than an automated process. People want to speak to real people and receive real answers. Chatbots are limited in their responses and provide an experience that is inadequate. In the automotive industry, repeat customers drive revenue by returning and by bringing additional business through family and friends. They deserve to be able to speak to someone at the dealership, not a bot.
It’s for these reasons Botsplash suggests that a dealership’s chat is managed with a live agent(s), not a robotic process. Doing so will mitigate frustration, increase efficiency, and sell more vehicles.
Customizable to Your Brand
Chat boxes can be tailored to a unique website and brand. Through custom flows, you can provide the desired experience to the consumer that fits the overarching goal of your dealership. Whether that be information collection, knowledge base / self-help features, self-serve features, and more. Botsplash offers three different chat variations to ensure a proper fit for your website:
- Movable Chat - This chat box variation allows the user to drag and drop the box to another portion of the screen. This is helpful if the chat may be blocking important parts of a webpage or images of a vehicle for sale.
- Inline Chat - This chat box variation is stationary and fixed on the page. Inline chat is especially useful when encouraging form fills, providing chat on a blog page, or providing a CTA.
- On-Demand Chat - This chat box variation is tied to a button or link action. It is hidden unless you click a button to summon it. This form of chat is good for pages that you would like customers to browse and feel that a chat would be a distraction.
Canned messages provide an easy and efficient way for salespeople and BDC agents to quickly reply to common questions. These responses can be saved on an individual or team basis to promote consistent communication throughout your dealership. Some of the benefits include:
- Error free conversations
- Vocal uniformity across your dealership or automotive business
- The ability to take multiple chats at once
- Increased response speed
Integrations make live chat stand out from other communication channels. Botsplash chat offers integration options with the top CRMs, Pricing Engines, Inventory Management Systems, and more within the automotive industry. Custom flows can be set up with these applications to reduce the workload for your sales agents and BDC representatives. If you are utilizing a proprietary service, we can integrate with anything that has an open API. This means everyone is included in the conversation whether you’re in F&I, service, sales, or BDC.
Live chat is efficient, provides excellent customer satisfaction, is low cost, and mitigates mistakes. It’s a no-brainer that a live chat strategy will further enhance a dealership’s sales and service efforts. The new age of remote car shopping is here and you must be available everywhere online to remain competitive - especially the homepage of your website! Schedule a demo with us today to see how Botsplash can turbocharge your online consumer engagement strategy! We offer numerous automotive solutions that will not only increase revenue, but also provide a more intuitive experience for both the customer and your employees.