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Dealership Chat - vendor manage or self manage

Apr 22, 2020
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Matt
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.
This is a great point. I hadn't thought of tying the performance of the two together.
 
Apr 22, 2020
6
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First Name
Matt
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
Do you think that round robin would add too much of a lag time to respond to the customer as opposed to fist come first serve?
 
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Jun 14, 2021
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Darren
A 100% yes. You should pick-up your own chats just like you pick up your own phones. I’m passionate about this topic because I believe this is how we as an industry beat the national “Vroomvanas” out there. You have a LIVE customer that’s standing in your digital showroom, just trying to get an answer to their questions. Local dealers have far superior customer service so don’t outsource your biggest competitive advantage.
 

Tallcool1

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Mar 17, 2014
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Clint
Do you think that round robin would add too much of a lag time to respond to the customer as opposed to fist come first serve?
I personally do not like Round Robin in anything. Work Load is not accounted for in Round Robin. It does effect response time.
 
Jun 16, 2021
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Carol
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.
Many of the conversations are not so much about navigation as it is a social experience. Peak times for incoming chats are during typical business hours. People are at work and can't talk on the phone or don't want to so they can be discreet.
It is a desire for affirmation that what they see is real and if the right conversation happens, real motivations are uncovered and that information helps the dealer team close the sale.
If you have the right team chat/messaging is very powerful to capitalize on those thousands of dollars and endless hours you have put into your marketing.
 
Dec 19, 2018
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Bill
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.

I agree with this 100%. We have been managing our chat for about a year and a half now exactly like this. We have a full in-house chat service from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days per week. After hours Gubagoo takes over. If we do miss a chat during business hours Gubagoo also takes over in 30 seconds.

As Ryan said, we get fewer leads, but they convert higher. We choose not to run the risk of running of the customer by prioritizing lead generation by requesting customer information immediately. We have found that as long as we demonstrate a willingness to address the guests question they don't hesitate to provide us their information. Customers are legitimately surprised when they get a real person in the dealership and someone who can answer their questions.

It is also pointless to us to get a lead on a customer who wants a diesel truck, but the one they inquired about is a gas. What's the point? We're going to waste our reps time and annoy the guest with contact attempt after contact attempt on a truck they don't want.

We count a "conversion" on chat very simply: "Did we answer the customer's question." We feel doing that quickly and on the customer's time is worth the $500 per month alone. We sell an average of 8 chats per month as well. We were only averaging about 4 when it was managed externally.

It is definitely something you have to commit to managing and make sure that you set the expectations for your staff. Both with how they talk with the guest and making sure they miss as few as possible. One of my favorite things about it to is the same as listening to inbound phone calls and the fact that you can also learn how salespeople talk to guests on the lot.

I should also note that we don't have a BDC that manages the chat. Our salespeople handle all internet leads and chats too. It's the very best way to provide the guest with someone who can really answer their questions quickly and accurately.

We also have a banner on the main page that talks about how we manager our own chats and it links to a page that explains our managed chat in more detail. An example of that can be found here.

Lastly, most of our CTA's are linked directly to a chat. We pretty much eliminated standard lead forms except for giving the guest an opportunity to use that if they prefer not to use the chat.

I could really go on about this forever. Very passionate about it. Ultimately, it comes down to your priority as a dealer. If the priority is getting more leads and getting customer info then let someone else manage your chat. If your priority is a better customer experience you should handle chats on your own. I think if your priority is the former rather than the latter my feeling would be that your are falling behind in this new world we are living in. I think it's just another way that dealers can evolve and meet the next expectations that guests have. Evolution is how we have always stayed ahead of threats in this business.
 
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Dec 19, 2018
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Bill
Do you think that round robin would add too much of a lag time to respond to the customer as opposed to fist come first serve?
We definitely do first come first serve. Again, you have to monitor things and hold staff to keeping their promise to get on them quickly.
 
Dec 19, 2018
109
119
Awards
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First Name
Bill
Ironically, I just had to take one because my team missed it. Which one of you was that? Ha.