There’s nothing idle about live chat for dealerships that are in the game

Live chatting online isn’t new.

But that doesn’t mean you’re doing it right.

There’s more to live chatting with prospects on your dealer website than, well, simply chatting. And that’s where Tom LaPointe’s “Four critical tips to boost sales without killing them” might help.

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“Even though there is great potential to increase sales,” LaPointe, a digital marketing consultant, wrote recently for Dealer Solutions magazine, “there are virtual landmines that can derail your deals, as well.” Here are a few tips LaPointe said will “ensure chat is a profit booster and not a deal killer” …

Make mobile chat your highest priority, “because mobile traffic now accounts for more than half the visits on most dealer websites. It’s critical for that experience to be seamless for shoppers … from page load speeds to the interface tabs on the website, to the chat windows, to the server technology.”

Use the popup, but not on every page. “It’s the digital equivalent of a sales person greeting a shopper on the lot. You want to greet them and offer assistance but not smother them. Too many invites will turn a potential buyer away from your site” and potentially kill the deal.

Ensure operators have a quick response time. “Five to six seconds is ideal, but not more than 10. There’s nothing like delayed response from a chat operator to bound a customer out of a conversation.”

Respond quickly to live-chat customer leads. “More than any other Internet lead, shoppers expect a timely response [from the dealership], since a live person told them the dealership would be in contact, whether the chat conversation took place at noon or midnight.”

A growing number of dealerships have found the opportunity to “power up” to win the sales game via the online live-chat channel, according to digital marketing consultant, because “website leads typically close at the highest ratio and with the higher profit margin.”

Still, fewer than 40 percent of the dealerships we surveyed in or near a major metropolitan area offered live chat to website visitors, which means the rest aren’t even in a position to take LaPointe’s advice.

And raises the question: Is your dealership live-chat channel part of the conversation?

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