Meeting ‘Right here, Right Now’ Car Shopper Needs

By Aaron Hassen

We live in the age of instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion. (Admit it — you’re irri­tat­ed when a Web page takes longer than two sec­onds to load.) Every­one wants answers right here, right now, includ­ing the car shop­per. And if you can’t give them, you’ll “lose the race,” as Chris Hill, E-Com­merce Direc­tor for Bill Jacobs Auto Group, states.

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing Val­ue
“Cus­tomers are shop­ping online for vehi­cles, parts and ser­vice long before buy­ing them in per­son,” says Hill. “But beyond price, they still want to know if a deal­er­ship is rep­utable, if the car you’re sell­ing is good, even how avail­able you are if some­thing comes up.”

How do you show all that? Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key; it helps online shop­pers trust and get a feel for your busi­ness. That’s why Hill’s deal­er­ship uses a vari­ety of com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods to solid­i­fy them­selves as the easy-to-deal-with deal­er­ship. In fact, though based in Illi­nois, they con­sis­tent­ly bring in sales from Wis­con­sin, Indi­ana, etc.

“Maybe that’s due to the prices, but I think a lot of it is cus­tomers know­ing we’ll be there to talk with and help them,” Hill explains. “We’re reach­ing cus­tomers on a lev­el few oth­ers do because we’re every­where. If they are com­fort­able tex­ting, chat­ting, call­ing, email­ing or walk­ing in the door, they can do it and get fast, con­sis­tent ser­vice.”

Using Deal­er Chat to Tip the Scales
Being avail­able helps increase leads so you can “take more swings,” as Hill puts it. “If you’re hit­ting 5 out of 10, wouldn’t you rather be hit­ting 25 out of 50?” Answer­ing chats is one way his deal­er­ship has added to those sales oppor­tu­ni­ties. (Thanks to Inter­net chat leads, his sales­peo­ple start­ed sell­ing about 8–9 more cars/month than they were before.)

Chat is right here, right now; it’s a direct feed to the cus­tomer,” Hill adds. And with deal­er chat on their web­sites and online ads, he says they are bet­ter able to engage busy pro­fes­sion­als and oth­ers who just don’t want to talk on the phone. They can also stream­line the process for answer­ing ques­tions, make peo­ple feel more com­fort­able about doing busi­ness with them, and even col­lect quite a bit of cus­tomer data.

Now, Hill notes you can sur­vive with­out chat. He won­ders, though, whether you’ll be able to com­pete if the deal­er­ship down the street starts com­mu­ni­cat­ing in the way many shop­pers pre­fer. “If you’re not on board with this chat tech­nol­o­gy soon, you’ll be rac­ing to catch up,” he says. “Plus, your chat process­es and tech­niques won’t be as honed as some­one who’s been using it for years. Who wants to be behind like that?”

Aaron Has­sen is Chat Evan­ge­list at Con­tact at Once! Vis­it the auto deal­er chat site at Con­tact at Once! for more help­ful infor­ma­tion.




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