IN-HOUSE VS. FULL SERVICE MANAGED CHAT. Everything you need to know to choose the chat solution that s right for your dealership

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1 IN-HOUSE VS. FULL SERVICE MANAGED CHAT Everything you need to know to choose the chat solution that s right for your dealership

2 Chat Will Transform Your Internet Business Auto dealers eager to boost website conversion, Internet leads, and their bottom line are increasingly using automotive chat solutions to engage visitors on their dealership websites. Automotive chat is an effective and proven method for growing the volume of a dealership s online leads but the success of chat largely depends on specific qualities of the automotive chat vendor and the dealership s Internet business department. There are a variety of automotive chat solutions available to dealerships today, but the most important chat decision that auto dealers are faced with is whether to manage chat in-house at the dealership or outsource to a full-service vendor like ActivEngage. This ebook identifies the most important aspects auto dealers need to know when deciding if in-house or full-service managed chat is right for them, including: What you need to self-manage your chat solution Best practices for proactive chat invitation deployment Benefits of full-service managed chat Statistics of inhouse vs. managed chat Why 24/7 chat does not work What automotive industry experts say Dive into this ebook and learn the facts about choosing the live chat solution that is right for your dealership. Why choose ActivEngage for your chat service Implementing an automotive live chat solution for your dealership is no small decision. Choosing a vendor that doesn t meet the specific needs of your dealership can cost you lost time, money, and sales opportunities. 2

3 What You Need to Self-Manage a Chat Solution First and foremost, auto dealers must put on their customer service hats. Automotive chat is a communication channel used by website visitors seeking quick answers to questions. The primary job of a dealer managing automotive chat in-house is to assist chat participants in their decisionmaking process while providing personalized service and developing a relationship with them. Rob Campbell, ecommerce Director at Harnish Auto Family, has been successfully managing his dealership s automotive chat for over two years. Rob offers the following advice to auto dealers just starting out with in-house chat: It took us a little while to get our heads around how to leverage live chat. We realized that chats must be viewed as somewhere between an lead and phone-up. Chatters are in a different phase of the sales process and taking them very seriously helped us to start closing more sales from chat. Rob has been successful because he chose ActivEngage, a vendor that has years of live chat and automotive retail sales experience. Experienced chat vendors help auto dealers understand the intricacies and best practices of automotive chat conversations. Vendors without extensive chat or automotive sales expertise will leave you on your own to discover success through trial and error. 3

4 Resources Successfully self-managing automotive chat requires a dedicated staff. In order to deliver significant results, a team of salespeople must commit to only answering chats. Multitasking won t cut it. If you miss the opportunity to chat with a Web visitor then you miss a prospective sales lead. Dealership employees handling chats must be solely focused on answering automotive chat requests and moving website visitors forward in the sales process. You will also need cutting-edge automotive specific technology. There are many different variations of automotive chat software on the market, but auto dealers experience the best return on investment if they choose technology specifically designed for automotive dealerships, not retail moguls or insurance companies. Additionally, a live chat service that comes with real-time business intelligence reporting is a must. The detailed analytics of real-time business intelligence reporting shows you website visitor details such as: Geo-location Keywords used in search Preferred search engines Most viewed pages This information helps you understand the specific interests of each website visitor so you can better assist them during their online shopping experience and craft a more thorough chat conversation. Without these analytics, your website visitors control the conversation while you struggle to capture lead information and vehicle preferences. 4

5 Benchmarks How will you know if you re doing a good job managing your own dealer chat solution? Here are some questions you should use for your analysis: Are you getting contact information from online conversations with prospective customers? Are automotive chat participants annoyed that you re not answering their questions in a timely manner? How many chats on average do you miss each day? Are your salespeople following up live chat leads with personalized s? Your answers to the above questions will give you an idea of whether or not you are achieving success with managing your automotive chat in-house. The following benchmarks, developed by ActivEngage, are best practices with which you can measure your success. 6 sec. pick up time Statistics show that shoppers will begin to drop off the chat if it is not answered after 6 seconds. 80 % ConversIon Percentage of chats that convert to full leads complete with name, phone number and address. 9 min. average The time it takes to convert a chat conversation into a Chat length lead is more than 4 times that of converting a phone up. 5

6 The Benefits of Full-Service Managed Chat The alternative to self-managing automotive live chat is partnering with an automotive chat service provider. Not all managed dealer chat solutions offer the same quality of service, reporting, or support. We have built our reputation on our ability to successfully manage chats. Our understanding of how to facilitate powerful chat conversations to build trust with prospective customers and move them forward in the sales process is what makes ActivEngage the most trusted automotive chat provider in the industry. With all that is required of you to run a successful Internet department in today s marketplace, you are better off partnering with a vendor you trust to manage your online chat. ActivEngage converts twice the amount of website visitors into leads than that of dealerships handling automotive chat themselves. Why stretch yourself and your Internet department to dedicate the time, resources, and attention to self-managed dealer chat when a trusted vendor can be just as, if not more, successful? Partner with ActivEngage, a trusted automotive chat service provider and have ready-to-buy shoppers delivered into your dealership. Why you are better off partnering with ActivEngage, an award-winning and trusted automotive chat vendor: MAnAgEd LivE ChAt is Cost-EffECtivE 80% of chats are converted to full leads complete with name, phone number and address. activengage virtual sales associates pride themselves on the speed of which chats are answered and are highly trained. full-service LivE ChAt is ConsistEnt activengage employs highly trained, chat-focused virtual sales associates who ensure each conversation results in a trust-building customer experience. every word, every chat, every time. receive high-quality AnALytiCs activengage s console and dashboard offers over 100 different reports which gives you volumes of detailed analytics to help make educated Internet business decisions. focus on WhAt you do BEst Focus on sales while we focus on delivering a powerful first impression and a dynamic experience for your dealership website shoppers. 6

7 Statistics of In-House vs. Managed Chat You might be thinking to yourself that you can manage chats on your own, but our statistics show that is not the case. On average, our Virtual Sales Agents (VSAs) take more chats than those who elect to chat in house. Here are more numbers that might change your mind: In-house managed Chat % less chats engaged by self-managed stores 28 SECS. to answer chat 310 % more hard leads captured by full service stores 25 X more sales leads captured by full service stores Notice the difference between in-house and managed chats that ActivEngage handles produces dramatic results. Would you settle for less than 1% conversion if you answer your chat in-house? How can we produce these results? Our VSAs only handle chats, that s it. Our VSAs undergo continuous training throughout their careers at ActivEngage so that they stay up-to-date on the industry events affecting the inventory and promotions of our clients. They also use cutting edge live chat communication best practices to better assist website visitors. We all know that information is potential power and combined with our highly trained chat staff that information is translated into a lead generation machine for your dealership. On average, our trained staff collects vital information of 80% of the people that engage in chat on your dealership s website translating into more leads for your dealership with the highest closing ratio. 7

8 Graphic Placement Makes a Difference At ActivEngage, we are our own largest customer. We use the very same live chat and real-time analytics reporting software we sell to dealers every day to engage visitors on our own website and to provide the managed live chat service for which we are so respected. The analysis of more than one million live chat conversations allowed us to develop the following live chat deployment best practices. These are the same strategies that we employ on our website and recommend to our clients for the greatest success: Avoid chat graphic styles and designs that blend in with the content and background of the web page. Chat graphics should be eye-catching and pop from the page so consumers take note of their location and availability. These graphics can help promote your brand, but should be quickly noticeable too! Place chat buttons on the header of each web page. If chat buttons are placed at the top of the page, they are more quickly and easily recognized by consumers. Our data shows the higher the button s placement on the page, the higher the conversion rate of visitors to chats for your website. Make sure the placement and design of chat graphics are consistent on all pages. Consistency allows users to easily recall chat button locations and readily engage in chat without having to search the website. Keep visitors on your site while they engage with your social media. A connectivity toolbar on each Webpage will create an integrated social shopping experience for website visitors by allowing them to engage with your social content without leaving your site. When used in conjunction with proactive invitations, connectivity toolbars achieve the highest conversion rate on non-inventory pages. 8

9 24/7 Chat Does Not Work As alluring as having live chat available on your dealership website 24/7 is, the hard reality is it is not practical for a dealership unless their physical store hours mirror 24/7. Some of the reasons for this are similar to why your dealership is not staffed and open 24/7. 1. Chat reps that work the night shift are not automotive specialists Hiring and training staff to work the graveyard shift is one of the most difficult things to accomplish. The companies that offer 24/7 chat coverage most likely outsource the service to a call center and this brings into question the level of customer care and training the call center reps have received. Are you prepared to entrust your website shoppers to non-automotive, untrained call center reps? 2. Late night chats fail to solve shoppers problems or satisfy their needs If someone goes to chat on your dealership website in the middle of the night, what can the rep actually accomplish for them? They can t have someone call them right back with pricing or availability since it is 3:00AM. Ultimately, they can t meet their needs, further frustrating a prospective customer. 3. Less than 10% of your monthly website visitors are on your site between 12am & 8am We have tested chat in the wee hours of the Night Crawlers and received so few chats that it wasn t worth having highly trained automotive product specialists waiting for the morning dew. There is almost zero traffic on your site from midnight to 8:00AM! What are you really worried about? Less than 10% of your total traffic occurs during this time frame. Essentially, you are paying for a call center/chat company to watch your website and chat with less than one person per night <1 Live chat for your dealership is about offering a real-time, instant communication tool for your shoppers who are on your site looking for answers to their questions. 24/7 chat is not beneficial to either your web visitors or your dealership. ActivEngage s philosophy has always been to mirror the dealership s hours to ensure the highest level of customer care during each chat experience, and if necessary, immediately connect the shopper with the appropriate person at the dealership. Dealership Visitors per month <10% of your visitors are on at 12am-8am 3% engage in chat per month Visitor per night 9

10 What Automotive Industry Experts Say You may ask yourself, How can your chatters be better than my salespeople or Internet staff? All chat vendors do for a client is chat. Professional chat representatives don t take phone calls or send s. They only chat. Internet managers are overwhelmed with all that is required of them to run a successful department in today s marketplace. CRM management, phone skills training, response times, website management, SEO, and SEM are just a few of the average Internet manager s daily tasks. To put live chat on a dealerships plate for them to handle is just unfair and inefficient. Todd Smith CEO and Co-Founder of ActivEngage, Inc We are convinced that live chat on a website is essential to providing exceptional engagement for your website visitors. Our clients that are excellent in managing live chat in-house see great benefit but if you cannot provide this level of service we recommend dealers employ the services of a managed chat solution like ActivEngage. David Kain Internet Sales Trainer and Digital Marketing Specialist Kain Automotive If you want to sell cars to today s automotive consumer, you have to have well-honed written communication skills to engage customers on the Internet, Jerry said in a recent interview. However, most automotive salesmen do not have the highly refined skills necessary to manage live chat. Jerry Thibeau Founder and President PhoneNinjas 10

11 Why ActivEngage? With more than 80% of today s automotive consumers conducting part of their vehicle shopping process online, your website s ability to engage automotive shoppers and convert them to leads is critical to the success of your dealership. Hopefully, after reading this ebook you ve gained all the facts you need in order to confidently choose an in-house or a managed chat solution that is right for your dealership. At ActivEngage, we offer both managed chat and an in-house solution that will meet your dealership s needs. When you choose ActivEngage to manage your chat solution, you can rest assured our highly trained Virtual Sales Associates will be readily available to answer chats and deliver qualified leads into your dealership. Or, if managing your own chat solution is right for you, ActivEngage has unrivaled software and analytics available to help increase your Internet leads and develop your digital showroom. Either way, ActivEngage will be there for you with highly trained staff and industry experts to guide you through every step of the chatting process. Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved. 11

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