Ten years ago, we used to say that customers preferred submitting email leads rather than walking into the store because it gave them instant gratification. They could have their questions answered immediately.
Nowadays, we all know this was a joke because the average response time took forever and still to this day in the industry it is well over an hour (and over 4 hours in some locations). Live chat (and, in some lesser cases, mobile) has overtaken email as a way to be instantly gratified with information.
However, if you are outsourcing your chat, know that the person representing your dealership does not have the ability (or knowledge or authority) to answer many of the customers’ questions. Moreover, what makes their BDC any better than yours? Be careful whom you get into bed with when it comes to outsourcing your chat.
Here is just one example from one of my dealer clients of an outsourced chat company and their inability to work with the customer. (The exchange below has not been altered except for removal of the dealership name and number.)
John: It’s a great day at [Dealer Name]! How may I help you?
Visitor195794: Im looking at the 2008 volkswagon jetta. do you have a cash out the door price?
John: Let me check that for you.
John: May I have your full name please?
John: Nice to have you with us, Brett.
John: One of our sales representative are the best person to discuss pricing with.
John: Let me have one get back to you.
John: For that may I have you email address and contact number please?
Visitor195794: I cant get that info from you ?
John: I’m sorry, I’m not authorized to discuss pricing. Let me have a sales representative get back to you on this and hopefully work something out with you.
John: May I have your email address and phone number please?
Visitor195794: dont understand why that cant be discussed?
Visitor195794: thats how i purchased my last car
John: Because I’m not the right person to discuss the pricing.
John: However you may contact at 866-555-5555 regarding prices.
John: Is there anything else I may help you with?
Visitor195794: guess not
John: We appreciate you considering (Dealer Name). As soon as we have the exact information you are looking for, we will get back in touch with you promptly. Thanks and have a great day!
Visitor195794: no sence in having the chat feature. if you cant discuss price
I couldn’t agree with the customer more. Now, understand that if you don’t have a dedicated BDC or Internet team sitting in front of their desktops all day long, then handling live chat yourself isn’t an option. In that instance, an outsourced chat provider is the ONLY direction you can go, rather than frustrate the customer by continually ignoring and missing their chat requests. But if you DO have that team structure in place, I strongly recommend that you hand chat over to your team.
A good chat should be handled like a good phone call. You must validate the customer’s question, thank them for contacting you through the medium, give them a personal benefit for handing over their contact information to you, capture the info, and answer their questions as quickly as possible while setting up the upcoming call/email/appt with the customer. Who better to handle chat for your dealership than the BDC that handles the inbound phone leads?
Essentially, outsourcing your live chat has the potential to go against everything the medium supposedly offers to the consumer – instant gratification.