Many dealers look at their websites as extensions of the showroom floor. This is understandable, as studies have shown that people are first looking to the internet when they are shopping for a vehicle. Yet many dealers might as well post a “We’re Closed” message on their websites, because there is no one available to directly answer the questions that the online shopper may have when their interest is greatest.
Typically, dealers invest a great deal of resources both to build websites and to leverage the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies commonly employed to promote the sites. But for all of that effort to get a prospect to a site, at the most crucial moment—when the up is on the website—what are they doing to engage the prospect?
Today, customers seek instant gratification. They want to have questions answered now, not hours or days later. They don’t want to fill out a form, only to get an auto-generated response stating that “we’ll be in touch soon.” Relying solely on forms for lead generation is risky, as doing so can cause a dealer to lose that prospect to a competitor who is able to respond in real-time.
Dealers can’t assume, however, that a customer can pick up the phone and call, either. One big obstacle is that many companies frown on their employees using the phone for personal matters during the working day. For this and other reasons, both dealers and customers benefit when live chat is offered as an option.
There are many reasons why customers like having live chat available to them as they shop. Some of the primary drivers include:
· The ability to gain real-time answers to questions without providing a phone number or even their name.
· Being able to shop while at work or late at night without using the phone.
· Having a sense that they are in control of the process and not being “pushed around” by an intimidating salesperson.
Equally important, there are many benefits to the dealer as well. These include:
· Engaging and building a rapport with the shopper long before they visit the showroom.
· Beginning the qualification process—in a chat session, questions about price ranges, vehicle inventories, as well as financing and promotions can be answered.
· Making the internet an extension of the showroom. When a physical shopper comes to shop, the sales team wastes no time greeting the up. The same applies online; dealer chat solutions allow dealers to reach out to site visitors directly and in a timely fashion.
Savvy dealers consider the internet a vital part of their marketing mix, and are investing resources to promote their online offerings. By adding live chat to their websites, dealers will be able to gain qualified customers by building the relationship and rapport that leads to increased sales.
Bill Sengstacken is director of marketing at dealer chat provider, Contact At Once! For more information, email[email protected].
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