It is an uncertain time for automotive dealerships in North America. With new competition from online and social-media based marketplaces eating up market share, and a stagnant sales outlook for 2018 in the United States, the long term future of the industry is unclear. What is clear is that dealerships will need to make the most of new technologies to appeal to younger customers if they want to remain competitive.
One of the most notable new ways dealerships are using online tools to boost sales is via live chat software, which helps dealers harness the power of the Internet to retain and grow their customer base through innovative uses of social media technology.
What can live chat software offer you
You can learn about auto chat software for your dealership by exploring the work of some of the providers who are leading the way in development. These companies are showing how live chat software can drive real leads for dealerships. Florida-based Gubagoo, whose B.E.A.S.T. behavioural analytics software leverages data generated by web traffic to study shoppers’ search patterns. Behavioural analytics allows sales representatives to enter a conversation with potential customers equipped with a profile detailing their preferences and budget range.
At the same time, Gubagoo’s ChatSmart software gives potential buyers a chance to access customer support while browsing inventory, and allows them to submit credit applications and book test drives and service appointments from their home computer or mobile device.
The live chat model is based on the principle that customers are much more likely to consider purchasing a car if they have contact with a friendly salesperson early in the process. Because the overwhelming majority of shoppers in the market for a new or pre-owned car will start their search on the web, trying to contact them while they are visiting a dealership website, or browsing car advertisements on an online marketplace is the logical place to generate new leads.
Live chat enhances buying experience
Research shows that buyers still very much value the experience of purchasing a new car from a dealer, and while much has been made of the online shopping habits of the “digital natives” of the Millennial generation, this is also a demographic that values personal contact, transparency, and trustworthiness, and tends to be pretty savvy about the way online marketplaces can become a haven for scammers. If dealerships are able to reach Millennials in the digital spaces where they are most comfortable, there is every chance they can develop good relationships with younger buyers.
The dealerships that have seen the most impact from live chat software are the ones that have turned to providers that offer support staff, so salespeople at the dealership aren’t burdened with responding to every query themselves. Not every kind of live chat software offers a division of labour that allows support staff to cultivate leads and hand them off to dealership staff only when they are ready for a sale, but all indicators suggest that the most successful software is that which uses the time of dealership sales staff efficiently.
The Internet has completely changed how we shop for just about everything, and forward thinking auto dealers, this can be cause for excitement instead of concern. The same technologies that threaten traditional ways of doing business can provide powerful new tools for unlocking new marketplaces and reaching new customers.