Ever feel like you could get so much more accomplished if you just had the time and support? Kurtis Anderson, Internet Manager for Crestview Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, has been there too. With the industry changing so quickly and shoppers wanting answers faster than ever, here’s how (and why) his dealership is meeting demands with Contact At Once! automotive chat and mobile text:
KA: We may be a little further behind technology-wise here in Saskatchewan, Canada, but our dealer principal is an early adopter. Because of that, we’ve been able to focus on digital efforts more than most. Our goal is to be ready on the cutting edge for online, mobile customers without alienating those who are not quite there yet. Adding automotive chat and text to our traditional contact options makes that possible.
KA: For one, they were highly recommended by Dealer Inspire, our website provider. As a member of DrivingSales University, I also pay attention to their vendor ratings—and Contact At Once! has been the highest rated chat provider for four years now. Then I spoke to those in my NADA 20 Group who were already using Contact At Once! solutions and received similarly positive feedback. It’s even compatible with our Dealer.com secondary site, so we jumped on the pilot Contact At Once! was doing with Dealer.com and Chrysler Canada as well.
KA: What I’m finding is that those who provide lead information in chats—whether they talk to our sales team or the outsourced chat receptionists—are not typically submitting multiple leads. They’re not emailing; they’re not in our system. They only engage by chat. From the time we launched chat to now, we’ve had a minimum of 2 sales per month directly correlated to chats (with the same gross profit as every other sale). That’s an extra $10,000 or $12,000 a month for minimal investment.
KA: The sales team and I currently answer chats and texts when we can. The Contact At Once! mobile app helps. Some sales managers even use it when sitting at home on Sunday because they can grab an extra lead by responding if a customer chats in. Contact At Once!’s Chat Receptionist (or managed chat service) answers for us after hours or when we can’t. We sold 3 cars from chats in our first month of use without Chat Receptionist. But the first month we added answering support, we had 2 additional sales from after-hours chats alone!
KA: Metrics tell us that a lot of shoppers are at work when they reach out, and it’s much easier for them to have a chat conversation than pick up the phone. Also, people are impressed that they can actually converse with someone outside of business hours.
KA: What’s your concern? Why would you not want to provide customers with answers and multiple ways to contact you? About 10% of our 25-30 Internet sales come from chats, and I expect that to grow as people become less and less willing to fill out forms or call. Look at it this way: There was a time when dealerships didn’t have an Internet department. Now that one department is responsible for about 25% of the entire dealership’s sales. Instead of ignoring it, adopt it in a way that works for your team.
Written by: Aaron Hassen on January 7 2015