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Dealership Chat - vendor manage or self manage

Apr 22, 2020
6
2
First Name
Matt
Hey guys. First post and wanted to get the community's opinion. I was wondering what everyone's opinion is on managing chat in house or having a fully managed chat.

I have used both and find that having a fully managed chat is no more than just dragging a customer along to eventually grab their info for a lead and leaving them with no more information than they could have found themselves on the dealer site.

On the other hand, I feel that self managed chat is much more of a productive conversation with a customer but it can sometimes be difficult having to constantly make sure the sales staff is grabbing the customers (I did not have a BDC).

Just wanted to see what your take is on this.

Full disclosure: this is for market research
 
Mar 21, 2012
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Ryan
Hey guys. First post and wanted to get the community's opinion. I was wondering what everyone's opinion is on managing chat in house or having a fully managed chat.

I have used both and find that having a fully managed chat is no more than just dragging a customer along to eventually grab their info for a lead and leaving them with no more information than they could have found themselves on the dealer site.

On the other hand, I feel that self managed chat is much more of a productive conversation with a customer but it can sometimes be difficult having to constantly make sure the sales staff is grabbing the customers (I did not have a BDC).

Just wanted to see what your take is on this.

Full disclosure: this is for market research
In the perfect world, all dealerships should manage their chat in-house. It's of similar or more importance as staffing someone to answer your phone. Dealers would almost never consider outsourcing this function, yet virtually all dealers outsource chat.

In the realistic world, most dealerships don't have the right people to promptly answer chats during business hours, let alone 24/7. This is why I prefer a hybrid approach that many chat providers offer. With Gubagoo RESQ we're able to be notified of incoming chats and takeover if we're able to, if not the fully managed service handles.

Managed chat services are typically better at capturing lead info (and often frustrating customers). Self-managed chat sometimes results in lower lead volume but higher closing rates and a better customer experience.
 

Marc Lavoie

3rd Base Coach
Jan 3, 2019
225
161
First Name
Marc
Ryan is right. Dealers should control chat. But, that doesn't mean you can't get some outside help to tune up your tool. I'm a believer chat tools should 1)serve your customer if they're lost and 2)gather information so you can serve them better and faster.

At least that's what I've been implementing for clients and they love it. Doesn't have to be complicated either.
 
Apr 22, 2020
6
2
First Name
Matt
In the perfect world, all dealerships should manage their chat in-house. It's of similar or more importance as staffing someone to answer your phone. Dealers would almost never consider outsourcing this function, yet virtually all dealers outsource chat.

In the realistic world, most dealerships don't have the right people to promptly answer chats during business hours, let alone 24/7. This is why I prefer a hybrid approach that many chat providers offer. With Gubagoo RESQ we're able to be notified of incoming chats and takeover if we're able to, if not the fully managed service handles.

Managed chat services are typically better at capturing lead info (and often frustrating customers). Self-managed chat sometimes results in lower lead volume but higher closing rates and a better customer experience.
Couldn't agree more with this. I've always preferred chatting with online reps (that are actually real) as opposed to calling a company. This usually eliminates the phone tree or the long hold times.

I feel that there may be an opportunity for dealers to try to make better use of website traffic that you have already paid thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to get there. I'm speaking from my own perspective here. My attitude was always get more traffic to the website and that will create more leads. I'm thinking if I would have just tried to make better use of the traffic that was already there, I may have realized a better ROI.
 
Jun 8, 2021
1
1
First Name
Robert
Just a few years ago Messaging was primarily used for dealer meet and greet, needs assessment & contact info gathering. With software enhancements, COVID and the DR boom we are now seeing the ability to further engage these customers and go as far down funnel as that customer desires.

Whether your self managed, fully managed or a hybrid the conversation is more important than ever, let's remember what we're selling, the DEALERSHIP EXPERIENCE. In my opinion stay away from scripts, bots & AI.

If you're using a managed provider they need to be able to speak to your process and situation giving the customer clear next step information/expectations. If you're self managed remember some OEM's have up to a 40/60 split favoring Fixed-Ops engagement. Either way READ the conversations coach you staff & the provider when needed.
 
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Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
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Alex
:yell: Who wants to be on a future RefreshFriday talking about managed vs. in-house chat? Dealers preferred.

Message me or @Jeff Kershner to let us know you're interested or know of someone we should consider.
 

Ryan Hartigan

Lot Lizard
Feb 20, 2017
36
16
First Name
Ryan
Manage it in-house.

We do training on social media management and handling inbound leads through messenger channels. The one thing I will point out, is that you need a rep who is attentive, compassionate, and FOCUSED on the buyer. Third-party chat services don’t do this for you.

if you have a system that can round robin your inbound messages to the team, that is preferable. If not, switch out team members - only those who are good already with social and tech - track their performance - until you find one who can do this properly.

honestly chat leads are some of the best if the rep knows how to do it. All of the friction is gone and you have immediate access to them. I’d rather a chat lead over an email lead any day
 

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
648
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Rick
Prob a good way to help you / a dealer decide if chat should be done in-house or outsourced is simply listening to some of the inbound phone calls for the store and how those reps are handling the calls. If the staff won't handle an inbound phone call / phone up properly, they darn sure won't handle a chat properly that actually takes some effort. If the sales managers won't spot check the staffs phone calls, do you think they are going to spot check and read through a chat transcript?? Who's going to handle service chats? Sales reps??? Yeah... that go will go real well. Thats a for sure to keep the Service Manager confused on why his retention numbers have fallen off a cliff and why customers are avoiding his service lane like the plague! Outsource it. Inspect what you expect. Create a close relationship with your vendor / account manager. Be sure to let them know your expectations of the product and how you expect your customers to be handled.
 
Apr 22, 2020
6
2
First Name
Matt
Just a few years ago Messaging was primarily used for dealer meet and greet, needs assessment & contact info gathering. With software enhancements, COVID and the DR boom we are now seeing the ability to further engage these customers and go as far down funnel as that customer desires.

Whether your self managed, fully managed or a hybrid the conversation is more important than ever, let's remember what we're selling, the DEALERSHIP EXPERIENCE. In my opinion stay away from scripts, bots & AI.

If you're using a managed provider they need to be able to speak to your process and situation giving the customer clear next step information/expectations. If you're self managed remember some OEM's have up to a 40/60 split favoring Fixed-Ops engagement. Either way READ the conversations coach you staff & the provider when needed.
Yeah. I think that chat started out being a very valuable tool that was tailored to the actual dealership and as tech evolved and improved, some dealers began to adopt the set it and forget it mindset. I think there is an opportunity to view the dealer chat with the same importance as the phone. Also, some of the chat functionality is focused on giving the customers information that is already readily available on the website which I never really understood. This may have been helpful years ago but now that everyone and their grandparents can navigate the web, I feel that some of these functions are unnecessary.