Should Your Dealership Manage Its Live Chat?

Jan 7, 2015 | Website Conversion

If you’re paying attention to recent studies and B2C trends, you know live chat is gaining traction in the automotive space. Last month, we found that 1 in every 3 chat users purchase a vehicle after engaging in live chat on a dealer’s website. But are dealers handling their own chat, or are they outsourcing it? More importantly, which option actually works? Let’s examine the possibilities, and explore why your dealership may not want to manage its live chat.

Should Your Dealership Manage Its Live Chat

The Sales/Operator Hybrid

You may be considering implementing a hybrid system where your existing sales team handles the live chat conversations. This will assuredly be a cost effective solution, but will it be successful? Live chat demands fast response times and an operator’s undivided attention.

To see if you have a fighting chance, study these four behaviors of your prospective sales employees:

Can they stay “laser-focused,” even under pressure?

When your team is trying to meet their quota, will they be able to focus on responding to chat conversations, or will they be tempted to multitask and risk missing important leads? Psychology gurus have found that the brain is unable to complete several tasks at the same time and attempting to do so nearly doubles the amount of time it would take to complete just one task at a time. If your team is prone to multitasking, you will lose time, money, and ROI.

How do they perform on inbound phone calls?

Are they too quick to the pitch? Do they ask for the appointment? Is their commitment to the call affected by a customer’s low beacon score, or are they hesitant to schedule an appointment on their day off? It’s important for chat operators to remain objective and focus on getting the appointment, no matter what.

Are they able to quickly learn new software?

Look at how they interact with your existing systems, such as your CRM, desking software, etc. If they don’t excel in dealing with your current technology, learning a new chat software may be grueling work.

What are their typing, spelling, and grammar skills like?

Are they able to type quickly, or are they still fixated on the hunt-and-peck method? How often do they make spelling or grammatical errors in their emails? It is vital for chat operators to remain professional, accurate, and correct when representing your dealership.

The Chat-Only BDC

You can also consider the option of hiring additional in-house staff to be dedicated to answering chats and only answering chats. That would guarantee that your operators would be able to give their undivided attention to your in-house chat service.

But how much will you be paying for that staff? $8/hour for 6 employees doesn’t sound like much, right? Let’s see:

$8 / hr   x   2,080 hrs   x   6 employees   =   $99,840 annually

At this rate, you’d spend nearly $100,000 annually on live chat. Eeek!

Don’t forget to consider employee downtime! A combination of coffee breaks, smoke breaks, and covert Facebook sessions are believed to cost US employers over $281.7 billion in lost productivity every year.

The Fully Managed Chat

On the other hand, there are multiple vendors in the auto industry who offer fully managed chat.

Though your exact cost will depend on whether you choose to go with performance-based (per lead) or a flat rate monthly price plan, a fully managed chat service is much more cost effective than creating an entirely new BDC solely dedicated to chat, and much more productive when compared with creating sales/operator hybrids.

However, if you decide to outsource your live chat, you’ll want to decide whether or not you’ll need it to operate 24/7, who will be chatting with your prospects, and if the dialogue should be scripted. You can dive more into these questions here: 3 Things To Consider Before You Get Fully Managed Live Chat

Blog Author - Brooke Jensen

Written By Brooke Jensen
Brooke handles all of Dealers United’s digital marketing. In addition to her love for design and copy, Brooke also adores her two dog-like kittens, playing the electric violin, and walking barefoot around the office.


Who is Dealers United?

Dealers United is a game-changing automotive company dedicated to helping auto dealers improve their dealerships. We have helped over 6,500 dealers nationwide cut costs, save time, and sell more cars.

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