Contact At Once! Blog

Acton Toyota: The One Change That Improved Our Online Customer Experience

Justin Brun

Any change in the “way things are done” can seem daunting at first. Trying a new technology or switching up your lead process, getting everyone bought in and up to speed…it can feel like lot of extra work. So why do it? As Justin Brun, Director of Marketing and Ecommerce for Acton Toyota and co-founder of Dynamic Beacon, put it: “It’s all about convenience and a better user experience.

See how that focus on experience played into Acton Toyota’s switch to Contact At Once!’s co-managed chat and text.

Q: You feel strongly about user experience. How do you feel chat and text play into that?

Justin Brun: Everyone’s time-starved and looking for convenience. Fewer people are submitting leads, but phone calls are on the rise and so are chats and texts, in my opinion. I think of chats and texts like additional amenities for our customers: available if they want it. And they’re important amenities. After all, as a consumer, I don’t want to be funneled into a CRM; I want a conversation on my own terms and time. We’ve even had people chat with us as they’re on their way to the dealership.

Q: So what caused your team to eventually turn to Contact At Once!?

JB: I’m always thinking about user experience. Whatever we promote, we want to ensure it’s consistent across channels, from TV to website, display ads to in-store messaging. This consistency provides trust and a better user experience. With that in mind, one of the things I like about Contact At Once! is that their software is continually being developed to make it easier for dealerships and consumers to communicate: chat and text, online and mobile.

Q: That said, there are always challenges to trying something new. What are some that you faced?

JB: One challenge was moving away from a fully managed solution to one where we answer with backup. It was our first time answering chats off our own website (which gets about 60,000 visitors/month), and we were a little worried about opening the floodgates! However, Contact At Once! worked hand-in-hand with us to get everything installed, get everyone trained, fine-tune how many seconds to give our team to answer before the Virtual Receptionist team steps in…and it’s working extremely well. I couldn’t be happier.

Q: How did you encourage your team to answer those chats and texts?

JB: It does seem as though some salespeople have a lower perceived value for incoming chats (and texts), at least at first. I see them just as valuable as phone calls, but the key is getting the sales rep to see it. Naturally, what works best is having the rep actually USE chat and text to generate a lead that turns into a sale. They need to see firsthand that it works. And to get to that point, you can always incent the sales reps, offering $5 or $10 for every chat that is completed and sent to the CRM with lead information!

Q: What do you like best about Contact At Once! now that a few months have gone by?

JB: I really like how Contact At Once! ties everything together: robust reporting, texting, chat, answering options and a mobile app so our sales reps have the opportunity to engage with customers even during off time (and they do). Plus, it’s a DDC certified provider, works with Toyota Certified and other third-party ad listing sites—it truly is an all-in-one solution.

Q: What would you say to a dealership hesitant about chatting or texting with their customers?

JB: A lot of dealers spend thousands of dollars each month cleaning and maintaining their dealerships. Yet a customer’s first impression is often the dealership website, desktop and mobile (nearly half of our site visitors come from mobile devices). So don’t neglect your digital brick-and-mortar. Your website is a living document that needs to stay fresh and relevant so you can educate and engage the consumer…and become a trusted authority. Chat and text can help, as they make it simple, convenient and seamless for such consumers to connect with you, resulting in a better all-around experience.

Written by: Aaron Hassen on June 2 2015