Car Dealership Live Chat: Drive Your Online Sales

Jessie Whittaker
September 9, 2022
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The automotive industry traditionally relied on in-store interactions to convert customers and drive sales.

But in recent years, that's all changed. The world has undergone a digital transformation that has seen more and more consumers turn to the internet for their next purchase - and vehicles are no exception to this.

In fact, statistics indicate that 63% of automotive consumers are planning to buy a car online within the next five years.

And even those who don't actually purchase online will still conduct internet research before they visit a dealership.

Either way, it's crucial that your car dealership is equipped to meet customers on your website - at the start of their buying journey.

And that's where live chat comes in. In this article, we'll cover:

  • The benefits of live chat for car dealerships
  • The best use cases for car dealership live chat
  • The next step to increasing conversions and enhancing the digital dealership experience

Benefits of live chat for car dealerships

Live chat is undoubtedly a valuable addition to any business website. Let's start off with the benefits that live chat can have, both for a car dealership and its customers.

Increased conversions

It's a well-known fact that adding live chat to a business website leads to an increase in conversions and profit.

Case in point, 79% of businesses say that implementing live chat has had a positive impact on sales, revenue, and brand loyalty.

And, customers who engage in a live chat before purchasing spend on average 10% more than those who don't.

When it comes to making a large and significant purchase like buying a new car, customers require a lot of information and will have a number of questions. By having live chat available on your website, potential car buyers can easily and quickly get the answers they need from a knowledgeable dealership advisor.

This immediate gratification helps to build trust and confidence in the dealership, which leads to stronger customer relationships and increases the chance of a conversion or sale.

Live chat can also boost dealership sales by increasing customer engagement with your website. Our customer Healthspan, for example, has seen a 500% increase in customer interactions since launching Talkative’s live chat solution on their site.

More customer conversations means more opportunities to make sales, build relationships, and generate leads.

Want a deeper dive into how you can boost sales with live chat? Check out our other blog - Does live chat increase conversions?

Maximum convenience

Live chat has become an increasingly popular customer contact channel - and this is largely in part to how convenient it is to use. In fact, around 73% of consumers consider live chat the most convenient way to contact a business.

Customers can effortlessly access live chat at any time of day simply by visiting your website - and they can multitask while doing so.

They'll be able to chat with a dealership representative while they're doing other things, like working or household duties. This makes the car-researching and buying process less hassle for consumers with busy lives.

With live chat, your customers can get their queries resolved on the spot without having to actually speak to someone on the phone, or in person.

They can also ask multiple questions at once which can be a big time-saver for both the customer and the dealership, as it allows the customer to get all the information they need during one interaction.

In short, live chat adds an ease and convenience to the customer journey that helps create a more seamless customer experience.

Fast responses

Another significant benefit of live chat for car dealerships is its speed - in fact, it's 100x faster than most other digital communication channels.

Currently, the average wait time to connect with a chat agent is just 35 seconds and the average response time stands at 2 minutes, 40 seconds.

This means that customers can get their questions answered almost immediately, which is a huge advantage over traditional digital channels like email. Plus, fast responses increase customer satisfaction and help to reduce the number of abandoned purchases.

The speed of live chat is a particularly significant benefit because 75% of consumers consider a fast response time to be the most important element of the digital customer experience. On top of that, 78% of customers buy from the brand that responds to their inquiry first.

By using live chat to connect with your customers faster, you can get ahead of your competitors and potentially shorten the car sales process so that purchases progress more quickly.

Enhanced customer experience

In today's increasingly competitive market, the importance of customer experience cannot be overstated.

And this is especially true for industries like the automotive business, where purchases require a substantial investment on the part of the customer. In fact, 64% of vehicle consumers report that the customer experience is more important than the actual price when buying a car online.

Through live chat, your advisors can meet customers at the start of their digital journey and provide one-to-one, personalized experiences that make them feel valued.

They can offer tailored guidance and give your customers all the information they need to feel comfortable making such a significant purchase. This process reflects the in-store dealership experience much more closely than if customers are just left to browse your website unattended.

By enhancing the digital customer experience through live chat, you can massively improve customer satisfaction rates and foster a stronger emotional connection between customers and your brand.

Want to discover in practice how you can provide exceptional digital customer experiences with Talkative? Sign up for a free trial today.

Car dealership live chat: Key use cases

Now that we've covered the benefits of live chat for car dealerships, let's take a look at the use cases that can help you get the most out of this essential engagement channel.

1. Providing expert advice

For car dealerships, one of the most important use cases for live chat is providing customers with expert advice and information.

As we’ve mentioned, a new vehicle is a large and important purchase for most consumers. Cars are not often bought on a whim – the buying journey almost always involves a lot of careful consideration, research, and debate. That’s why it’s imperative that your dealership is readily available to answer any questions a customer might have about different car options, the financing process, or anything else.

With live chat, you can assist a customer with these questions before they visit your dealership - they can get all the information they need from the comfort of their own home.

It's important that you don't always rely on the customer to reach out first and ask for advice. Instead, you should encourage your customer advisors to engage in proactive customer service by initiating chat interactions with customers and offering assistance.

For example, Talkative’s customers achieve this by making use of customer journey mapping. This empowers advisors to start proactive chats by allowing them to understand which pages a customer has visited and how long they've spent on them. 

From there, they can utilize this information to start a proactive chat in circumstances where it's most likely to be productive (e.g. when a customer has been on a particular product page for an extended period of time).

Alternatively, you can make use of Talkative's proactive chat nudges to greet website visitors and prompt them to start a chat. These intelligent nudges appear automatically as pop-ups on your site, once a customer has spent a certain amount of time on a particular page. 

However you proactively engage your customers, by offering expert advice via live chat, you can provide a superior consultative experience that'll give your automotive brand the power to engage and convert more digital customers than ever before.

2. Booking appointments

Unfortunately, expert advice provided through live chat is not always enough to secure a conversion. After all, not all consumers are open to making a vehicle purchase online.

In these cases, you can think of a live chat consultation as the first step to getting customers through the door.

Your advisors can build rapport with a potential customer through the digital consultative process - and then encourage them to take the discussion further by booking an in-person appointment at your dealership.

With this tactic, live chat is utilized to guide customers to the next step of their buying journey. It's effective because a customer is far more likely to book a test drive after receiving consultative guidance than they would be if they were simply left to their own devices on your website.

And this service is not just useful for new customers - it can also be offered to returning customers looking to book car servicing appointments.

By using web chat to help customers book appointments, you can progress sales with new customers and provide convenience and support to your returning ones.

3. Virtual showroom experiences

As we've touched upon, live chat is a great tool for replicating the in-store dealership experience through a digital channel.

With the addition of live chat, you can transform your automotive website into a virtual showroom. This will allow your advisors to show customers around different vehicle options online and provide in-depth consultations - as if they were in person.

And with Talkative's Consultative Service platform, the virtual showroom experience doesn't end at live chat - you can also easily escalate any chat interaction to a cobrowsing session, web call, or even a video chat.

That way, the customers who crave a more humanized digital experience than just text-based communication will also be fully catered for.

Providing these enhanced virtual experiences is crucial in this day and age, as much of the customer journey now takes place online. In fact, statistics indicate that today's consumer spends an average of 14 hours conducting internet research at the start of a car buying journey.

That's why it's vital that car dealerships are willing to move with the times and embrace progressive technology, so that they can meet their customers where they need them most.

The takeaway

It's clear that live chat, and other virtual customer experiences, have gained an important role in the automotive industry.

These digital channels are here to stay, and their prevalence in car-buying journeys is only going to increase in the years ahead.

Therefore, it's crucial that automotive businesses take steps to ensure that their digital audience is receiving the same high-quality service as their offline customers.

And what's the best way to achieve this? By investing in the right technology.

With Talkative's Consultative Service Platform, you can bridge the gap between the in-store dealership experience and its online counterpart so that your customers receive superior, in-depth assistance - wherever they are.

We provide a complete suite of digital engagement channels that'll enable your customer advisors to provide exceptional experiences and embrace their role as experts of your brand.

As a result, they'll be empowered to provide better conversations, drive digital car sales, and generate more online leads.

So, what are you waiting for? Book a demo with Talkative today.

Download the ‘Inner Circle Guide to Video & Next-Generation Customer Contact’

Discover use cases, implementation tips, and ROI for video chat as a contact channel

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