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Free Third-Party Chat

Ben Blanco

Lot Lizard
Jun 6, 2018
First Name
Hey Peeps!

I was having a conversation today with a dealer in my area about online chat vendors. The discussion turned to the potential of "losing chat opportunities" from popular third-party listing sites if they switched vendors.

Misconception and Fear of Switching
There's this common misconception among dealers that switching chat vendors turns off the chat faucet from ContactAtOnce. Obviously, CAO has exclusive provider agreements with the most popular third-party listing sites. It is what it is, but that doesn't mean there's a trade-off for switching vendors.

Free Third-Party Chat
CAO won't outright admit it, but if you have an active contract with Cars.com, AutoTrader, CarGurus, or BuyaToyota.com (there may be others) then you're granted a free license to use CAO to answer chats from each third-party listing provider. It's my understanding that the third-party listing sites have direct agreements for chat service that we as dealers benefit from via our active monthly contracts. <-- Hope that makes sense.

What it Means
No, you can't put CAO chat on your website, but that's ok. It means you won't miss out on chat opportunities from your third-party listing investments. Plus, you can now feel more comfortable making the switch to a new chat provider.

How does it Work?
Just reach out to each third-party listing rep/support, and request ContactAtOnce access to answer chats. You'll want to specifically request access to the CAO management dashboard (especially if you have more than one rooftop). This process is much easier if you already have a CAO dashboard account. Then you can simply provide your CAO username/email addy to so they can enable/add the access to your account.

Problems with Setup
The first time I went through this process it was painful. My reps had no idea what I was talking about, and support wasn't much help either. You can also try going the other way around, and working through CAO for access as well. Your mileage will vary, but it is possible to get this setup if you have the patience.

Install the Chat Client
Once you get access you can install the CAO client on your BDC computers like you did previously. Link to the installer is here: http://www.contactatonce.com/install/. Now your BDC reps, if you have a BDC, will be able to answer chats via CAO from third-party listing sites. They'll also be able to use your new chat vendors software at the same time.


I hope this post/thread is helpful to someone. I'm sure some of you already knew, but figured this info could help someone overcome the fear of making the switch. Heck, I've met several chat reps that had no idea this was possible. I'm sure they hear this objection from time to time.

- No, I don't work for a chat vendor.
- No, I don't work for a third-party listing company.
- No, I don't work for ContactAtOnce.

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