Contact At Once!

Archive for the ‘Answering’ Category

Pump Up the Volume: How to Increase Consumer Engagement

You’ve been chatting and/or texting with customers for a while now, and you’re loving it. You’re one of the thousands who have discovered your customers would rather message than call or email! In fact, messaging is their #1 choice for communicating with brands (more than 75% preferred it over phone or email in this survey).

So how do you pump up the customer conversation volume to get even MORE incoming messages?

Check out these ideas on encouraging engagement—and hopefully close more deals as a result:

#1 – Be “Present”

Before consumers can reach out via messaging, they have to know the option is there. Then they need someone to respond when they do chat or text. Aiming for always-on presence can help you with both!

The goal is to have someone available to message with customers on your company’s behalf whenever they reach out. (Hint: our co-managed or fully managed options make this easy!) Not only is immediate availability the best customer experience—which can encourage more use—it can also mean that your chat invitations are delivered to more people, boosting potential volume. At least, that’s the case if you use presence-aware chat invitations, which only display if someone is there to respond instantly, reducing consumer frustration.

#2 – Connect on Shopping Sites & Google My Business

You can also increase messaging volume by deploying chat and text options beyond your website. If you list inventory on Autotrader.com, Cars.com, CycleTrader.com, NewHomeSource.com, etc., take advantage of the ad packages that include chat and text. Extend your messaging to Google My Business while you’re at it—we can even activate it for you. After all, the more connections you make, the more sales conversations you can have!

Not sure if the classifieds site you use offers messaging? Ask! Many of them do, and you’ll likely use Contact At Once! to manage all the resulting conversations.

#3 – Enhance & Expand Messaging with Our Partners

Take a look at Contact At Once!’s partner integrations, too. Many of these tech partners integrate our chat into their products, so if you’re a mutual customer, you could engage consumers in more places! For example, one integration helps you manage Facebook Messenger, another lets you add chat links Digital Air Strike’s ResponseLogix SmartQuote™, and yet another adds chat options to eLEND Solutions’ CreditPlus program.

#4 – Add Text Messaging Everywhere

Take the Mobile Text Connect number you get with Contact At Once! and put it…well, everywhere! You’re not stuck with a tap-to-text button on mobile or desktop sites. You can put the number on print/TV/radio ads, billboards or window stickers, promote it at the front desk and add it to your pay-per-click campaigns (Google AdWords). The more places you add text, the better your chances at reaching the shoppers who are ready to take action that way.

Hint: You can even purchase additional text numbers and dedicate them to different advertising campaigns for better attribution.

#5 – Consider the Look, Feel & Placement

Along with adding messaging in more places, double-check the calls to action on your own desktop/mobile site: Have you checked to ensure you’re using the latest, most updated options from your provider? Is the invitation to chat or text appearing in the right location (and in the right color) to attract clicks?

The following designer advice may come in handy:

  • Position smartly. Bottom right is where the eye naturally lands (for the Western world), so invitations that appear in that position seem to get more attention.
  • Less is more. You might think flashy animation looks cool; however, animation can sometimes come across as a pop-up ad. Be subtle so the engagement feels more like a natural part of the website experience.
  • Try to blend with your website colors. For example, use a contrasting (or accent color) to grab more attention. You want the call to chat or text to stand out while still being a part of site design.
  • Photos are key (even if subconsciously)! People often feel more comfortable asking questions when they can see who they’re talking to on the other end.

After all, even though most consumers prefer to message, we have to make that action easily noticeable and accessible wherever they are! Are you ready to turn up the volume and get more from your messaging?

 

Hot Opportunity Transfer: Are You “Hot” or Not?

Will all the HOT dealers please stand up? No, I’m not talking about who looks good today (I promise).

I’m talking about those who’ve taken advantage of our Hot Opportunity Transfer (HOT) capability, a standard feature for dealerships on our Professional package. The combination of chat, text and a co-managed implementation allows Contact At Once! messaging experts to connect customers who are giving purchase-ready signals directly to HOT-enabled sales reps at the dealership. Basically, our team weeds out the tire-kickers and introduces the serious buyers to your serious sellers.

For the most effectiveness, though, you want to set up the right HOT team. And we’re here to help!

Who Is HOT Material?

Not everyone gets to be a “designated hottie,” so to speak. Some dealerships only set up their hungriest sales reps because handling HOT leads is a big responsibility. These people will receive push notifications about a serious buyer from the Contact At Once! mobile app, pick up the text conversation ASAP, and hopefully seal the deal. And they’ll get more chances to do so!

But as I mentioned, with great power comes great responsibility: You have to be ready to answer those consumers anytime, anywhere. In other words, the best HOT agent is…

  • A go-getter.
  • An intelligent and excellent closer.
  • A tech-savvy salesperson who takes advantage of Contact At Once! and uses our mobile app wherever he/she can.

How to Designate a “Hottie”

Let’s say you’re a Contact At Once! admin. Once you or your director identify your best, hungriest closers, it’s your job to officially designate them as hotties (HOT agents):

  1. Log into the Contact At Once! portal.
  2. Click “Provisioning” and tap “Provision Agent.”
  3. From here, you can edit the agent you want to identify as HOT.
  4. Simply open that agent’s profile, and click the “Hot Leads” option toward the bottom.
  5. Click “Save,” and you’ve just designated your first HOT agent!

OK, You’re HOT. Now What?

If you’ve been tapped as a HOT agent, it’s an honor. You’re going to be trusted with the more serious potential buyers, people who need your dealership expertise. And that means you’ll get more opportunities to sell vehicles! Here are three best practices to make the most of it:

  • Always use the latest version of the Contact At Once! mobile app. (Keep a close eye on your app store.)
  • Be attentive. You may get a push notification in the middle of the day or at night, whenever a HOT lead is identified. That’s the perfect chance to wow the buyer with speedy responses and convince them to come in.
  • Read the transcript before responding. You can see what the buyer and the Contact At Once! messaging expert were chatting about earlier right in the app. (It’s part of the text conversation you’re now replying to, just in a darker color.) This will let you continue the conversation without making the buyer repeat anything!

With Contact At Once! as the front lines and the right team of HOT dealer agents ready to seal the deal, your dealership can set a scorching record this summer.

Got more HOT questions? Chat or text with us below!

In Apartment Messaging, Showing Up Is Only Half the Battle…

 

Attention spans are shortening daily, and prospects expect information and responses as quickly as possible (as do we all). This is why mobile messaging is becoming so popular for businesses. From a 30-second chat to a 4-hour text conversation that plays out in bits and pieces while the apartment hunter (or homebuyer) goes about her day, messaging helps people act when they’re ready.

Of course, it’s not enough to slap a “Chat Now” or “Text Now” button on your site. Showing up is only half the battle. To win the hearts and minds of prospects, your responses have to be on point.

Step 1: Quicken the Initial Response

Sure, you could handle all the chat or text messages yourself, but do busy leasing professionals or managers have the time? That’s why the majority of our property management companies choose fully managed or co-managed messaging options to ensure the swiftest responses:

  • Fully Managed – Our Fair Housing trained team answers all chats and texts for you, and your staff follows up on the leads.
  • Co-Managed (backup) – This hybrid option enables your team to answer when they’re available and provide their expertise; but if they can’t, our team answers on your behalf.

Step 2: Follow Up to Seal the Deal

Ok, you’ve got our customer care messaging experts handling chat and text inquiries (even from Google click-to-message ads). Great! Now it’s time to take a hard look at how quickly your team follows up on those messaging leads. Be honest: How many potentials turn cold because you or your team weren’t able to act fast enough?

You might be able to capture more of those opportunities simply by being more aware of them:

  • Know how to pick out chat/text leads – If Contact At Once! messaging leads are sent to your lead management / property management system, know what to look for. This will help you prioritize follow-up. (Not sure how? Ask Support!)
  • Check consistently – Look for such leads at least twice a day (everyday!), morning and noon.
  • Read your Performance Summary Report – Use this to double-check how many leads you should be following up on, etc. The Contact At Once! Admin at your company can pull this from the portal.
  • Have leads emailed to you – If you’re the Contact At Once! Admin, you can set up these leads to be emailed to you, too! It can be a handy backup in case you forget to check your lead management software.

The sooner you see that qualified lead waiting for you, the faster you can follow up. And the faster you follow up, the better your chances of winning the “war” for that housing decision. After all, there’s a reason these consumers reach out via chat or text. They want help, and they don’t like to wait.

Good luck!

6 FAQs About the New Contact At Once! Mobile App

Contact At Once! new mobile chat app screen examples

If you answer chats and texts for your company at least part of the time, you likely know we released a significant update to the Contact At Once! mobile app (watch a quick video here). Our mission is to create a better user experience for you; we even squashed a few more bugs with the Dec. 10 update!

Of course, as with any software update, it can take a second or two to reorient yourself. That’s why we asked two support gurus to share—and answer—the most common questions Contact At Once! clients have been asking about the new mobile app.

1.) How do I get chats forwarded to my phone on the new mobile app?

This feature hasn’t really changed. If you start chatting with a consumer from your Contact At Once! desktop app, you can click a button and continue that chat on your mobile device (and vice versa):

  1. Click “GoMo” in the top right corner of the desktop chat window.
  2. Accept the mobile app notification that will pop up on your smartphone.
  3. From there, you can continue the conversation on your mobile app.

If you ever want to return the conversation from the new mobile app back to the desktop app:

  1. Select the action menu in the top right corner of the mobile app (the 3 vertical dots).
  2. Choose the option that says “Forward to desktop.”
  3. Continue the conversation via your desktop app.

2.) How can I make the mobile app notifications more insistent, so I don’t risk missing a conversation?

While you can’t currently change the native audible alert sound (stay tuned for future updates, though!), you may want to double-check a few settings.

On Apple devices:

  1. In Settings, go to Notifications.
  2. Select the Contact At Once! name from the list.
  3. Ensure the option to Allow Notifications is marked as On (and that every option is set to On)
  4. Consider setting the Alert Style (at the bottom of that screen) to Alerts, which will require you to take action on any incoming notification before doing anything else.

On Android devices:

  1. In Settings, go to Notifications.
  2. Select the Contact At Once! name from the list.
  3. Ensure Notifications is set to On.
  4. Make sure device sounds are turned all the way up.

3.) How can I transfer chat requests to another staff member if I’m out of the office?

Chats are automatically directed to whichever agents are online, so it can be as simple as making sure that you’re logged out of the mobile app. Just slide the app screen to the right and click Offline (an option under your profile picture).

However, if there’s a special case and you want to ensure no chat or text requests come in while you’re out, we can help! Reach out to our Support Team to set you up as a “forward only” agent for a specific time. When you’re ready to go back your normal settings, let Support know again.

4.) How do I insert pictures or videos from my phone into a chat (or text) with the new mobile app?

This is super-simple! If it’s your first time using this feature, the app may ask your permission to access your Camera Roll. Other than that, follow these steps:

  1. While engaged in a chat or text, click on the “+” symbol in the bottom left of the mobile app screen.
  2. Select Photo Library (or Video Library) from the list, then select the picture or video you want to use.
  3. Click Send.

5.) How can I set up a live video chat from an iOS device?

With the Contact At Once! mobile app, you can easily stream live video to a consumer via their chat window. (Note: It’s not the same as FaceTime; this is more of a one-way video view that can be less intimidating for those who aren’t comfortable showing you their faces.) Here’s how you share such videos in a chat conversation:

  1. Click on the “+” symbol in bottom left side of your mobile app screen.
  2. Click Start Live Video. (And remember: The consumer can see and hear!)
  3. Click the red “x” button when done.

6.) How do I change the password for my Contact At Once! mobile app?

If you’re the Contact At Once! admin for your company, you can update your password in the Contact At Once! Portal (in the Settings tab). However, agents—those who are set up to chat/text with consumers—can’t update their IDs or passwords because those login credentials are system-generated. Don’t worry if that password is too difficult to remember, though: Once you register your mobile app, it will recognize you every time you open it!

Keep those questions coming! If you’re curious how to do something with Contact At Once!, we’re here to help you get it done.

Many thanks to Karim Peters and Christopher Knight for sharing their product know-how with us all. And remember: You can find more Contact At Once! how-to’s in our Quick Tips blog section.

10 Text & Chat Tips for the Best Digital Interactions

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Chatting or texting with friends and family is second nature to most of us. But throw it into a business context, and we all tend to have a question or two about the best way to handle various situations. It’s common! In fact, we’ve gathered some of the most frequently asked questions right here…with advice from leaders in our customer care team (the Professional Messaging Experts).

1. How should we prepare for chatting and texting with consumers?

Along with getting official training on how to use your text and live chat software, consider approaching the conversation as if you were on the phone or talking in person. Set the tone from the beginning and add personality (i.e., be human). Because “it’s not cheesy in chat,” you can insert semi-formal speech if it fits your brand and, when appropriate, emojis. 🙂

2. What’s the single best piece of advice for overcoming objections during a chat or text conversation?

Make a genuine connection no matter what, even if the conversation doesn’t convert to a lead. Objections may be raised, they may not be pleased with a certain piece of information or they may end that particular conversation, but you’ve got a better chance that they’ll return if you’ve established a positive relationship. (Check out words of wisdom shared by customers like you on how they overcome sales objections in automotive and multifamily situations.)

3. What is the best way to convert a chat to an appointment?

Like an in-person conversation, wait until the appropriate time (which is usually not the moment the chat or text conversations starts). An important phrase to ask is, “So when are you looking to make a purchase?” or “When are you looking to rent?” This allows you to judge whether or not the person you’re speaking with is ready to provide more detailed information and if you should start gathering contact information. For example, Contact At Once! messaging experts are trained to recognize buying signals for HOT leads and help them move forward in the process.

4. How do you handle a customer who seems to be just wasting your time?

Although frustrating at times, try to treat every person who messages with your company like a valued customer. Just because they’re not be willing to commit to moving forward today doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. So don’t burn bridges! Follow through the conversation as diligently as possibly. (That said, there are times when it may be appropriate to blacklist people from messaging: excessive profanity, rude commentary, etc. Determine what your blacklist criteria are and reach out if you have questions about how to block them.)

5. How do you properly guide a chat conversation?

Consumers can sometimes go off topic when chatting or texting. While it can help you deepen the relationship, don’t forget to gently redirect the conversation back to business. Make sure you are polite and listen to them; hear their concerns. But look for a good place to insert a question, from “What kind of car would you like?” to “When were you looking to move?” You could also offer them something additional to encourage information gathering: “Where may I send more information?” or “Would you like to be notified when something like that becomes available?”

6. What is the best way to keep the consumer on the chat?

Be responsive. In messaging, 30 seconds can feel like 5 minutes, so if you need to look something up, let the person on the other end know! Tell them you’re working on their question, gathering the information and will get back to them as quickly as possible. (Hint: You can use a shortcut in those instances!)

7. What should you do when you’re chatting with one consumer and another walks into the business?

Not to worry! You can either forward the chat or text to another person on your team or push the conversation to your mobile device so you can continue to help both parties. (The latter, of course, depends on your level of comfort.) You can also use this as an opportunity to promote the texting option. Consider creating a shortcut message that asks for permission to text the consumer more details in case they don’t have time to sit on the chat while you assist the person who walked in.

8. How do you address a shopper’s concerns about the item of interest if it is no longer available?

Messaging is all about connections. Simply put, respond like you would if you were on the phone. Make sure to apologize, but offer an alternative as well. By suggesting a possible solution, you show you’re trying to address their concerns thoroughly, which can lead to a better consumer experience.

9. When is it ok to end a live chat conversation with a customer?

Usually, the consumer will let you know when to end the conversation (and they often will end it themselves). In the few cases where you’re unsure, just approach it naturally. Perhaps you could add, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” Whatever you choose, type with a smile; it does make a difference.

10. What do we do if someone abandons the chat prior to sharing their name or contact info?

Sometimes consumers prefer to remain anonymous, and we suggest respecting that (the benefits of the convenience and great service you offer can go far!). You can, however, also add in conversation prompts that require certain information before the chat or text conversation starts. Just be mindful that the more fields you require, the fewer conversations you’ll get…decreasing your opportunity to provide a great experience and possibly earn leads and future deals.

From preparation to the close of the chat or text, digital conversations aren’t really all that different from any other conversation. They just happen in a different format!

Did we address your question? Have something to add to these FAQs? Pass them along: marketing@contactatonce.com.

Meet Your New Mobile App: How to Download, Set Up & Go

 

One of the biggest benefits of mobile messaging, from chat to text, is how convenient it is for the consumer. And it can be just as convenient for your team, even if you answer some or all of those conversations in-house. That’s why we completely redesigned Contact At Once!’s mobile app!

With a streamlined interface, improved live chat video streaming and multiple performance enhancements, this is an app update you don’t want to miss.

Get the Updated App Now

If you already use our mobile app, you’ll probably get a notification about the update from your respective app store. Here are a few steps to remember in case you’re new to it, though!

  • Download Locations – Apple App Store or Android Google Play Store
  • Push Notifications – When asked, allow push notifications from the app. This is how you’ll be notified of any incoming chat or text conversations from consumers.
  • Registration – The first time you download, you’ll likely have to register your device to your company’s Contact At Once! account. Follow the prompts and use your email address or the user ID and password (from the Contact At Once! installation email).
  • “Online” Availability – Slide the app to the right, click“Settings” and select “Default Online Time.” Choose how long you want to stay logged in, so you can receive chat or text requests from consumers while the app runs in the background. (Note: You can stay logged in as long as you want, so you never miss an opportunity!)
  • Video & Image Sharing – The first time you use these capabilities, you’ll see a pop-up that requests access to your phone’s camera and/or microphone. Allow it, so you can record and send videos (or take and send a picture) to the consumer.
  • Update Consumer Profiles – The app is a seamless match to your Contact At Once! account, which can be integrated with your company’s CRM or other lead management system. After each conversation, you can update the consumer profile with anything new you learned…just remember to click “Update!”

This latest app version is one more way we’re making messaging the easy part of your job, and we’ll never stop improving.

Happy messaging!

The “Magic” Formula for Overcoming Auto Shoppers’ Objections

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Psych! There is no magic formula to win every customer’s heart, much as we may wish for one. But don’t just give up at the first sign of contention. Consider steps you can take to appeal to those who raise objections or have doubts during the selling process, especially during a chat or text conversation (tips courtesy of our Contact At Once! dealer community).

Be Relatable

More than 3 in 5 consumers feel like they’re being taken advantage of at a dealership, according to a new Beepi / Harris Poll study. So this first tip is essential when speaking with any prospective buyer: Relate to them. David Bardeen of Mazda West Ridge says, “I do my best to remind the customer that I am one, too. I understand where they are coming from.” This helps people let their guard down a bit and be more open and forthcoming about any concerns that may arise in the midst of the conversation. When you know the objection, you can address it!

Stay Focused on Their End Goal

Another part of empathizing is to stay focused on what the customer wants. In other words, help them find the vehicle that meets their end goal. Dig into what that really means to each individual consumer—which can prepare you for potential conflict too—and look for ways to make the purchase process more convenient and simple (saving time is always a plus!).

Acknowledge the Objection

Don’t forget to respect the consumer’s opinion by acknowledging the issue they’ve raised, either. This way they know you’re listening to them. In other words, don’t just push ahead with your points as to why they’re “wrong” and why your vehicle and dealership are “right.” If they say they’re just browsing or researching, maybe you mention how smart it is to do that kind of research…and then offer some suggestions of what to look for.

Rephrase the Question or Objection

After acknowledging the objection, try rephrasing the original question or point.

  • Scenario 1 – Let’s put this in the frame of a chat conversation where the consumer doesn’t want to provide contact information, which means the chat won’t be considered a valid lead. If the consumer is legitimately interested in what you have to offer, asking for contact information to make an appointment (test drive, etc.) tends to have a high success rate. The key is being genuine in the ask, not just hounding them for information like a human form field.
  • Scenario 2 – Another common objection centers around pricing, which we all know can be tricky to handle. Many chat/text users try to avoid such discussions if possible because tension and miscommunication easily happen while discussing the price of a vehicle. If someone chats or texts and really wants to know the price, a good alternative might be sharing the base price that’s already listed online…and reminding the shopper about the many other factors to consider that might be better discussed in person, from trade-ins to credit history, etc. Denise Jackson of Fowler Toyota adds, “If [the objection] is money, I say everything is negotiable in person.”

Provide Good Service

All things considered, the secret to overcoming auto shoppers’ initial objections may often be as “simple” as providing really good service during that chat or text conversation. Listen and address their concerns. Be friendly, seek to answer all their questions, guide their next steps and follow up swiftly. If an issue can’t be resolved over chat or text, let consumers know why and reassure them that you’re getting them the help they need.

The above tips could turn your sales interactions—both digital (chat, text, etc.) and in-person—into better experiences for all involved.

5 Things That Make a Live Chat Conversation Successful

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A good sales conversation has similar components regardless of how it takes place: Phone call, in-person meeting, chat, text, etc. Just take a look at this real-life example, a chat that came in from our own website at 9:32 p.m. a few weeks ago.

Can you pick out what the sales agent does to make this chat successful?


Sales Agent:
Hi this is _________, how may I help you?
Customer: My name is XXX XXXXX, internet director for _______, [phone number]
Sales Agent: Hi XXX, I know that XXXX has been working on your account. What’s up?
Customer: We have chat on our website and it works well. What other services do you offer?
Sales Agent: We have an integrated text messaging product, some telephony, messaging, and all can be co-managed on your site + network providers and OEMs
Customer: Can you have XXXX E/M tomorrow, I’m interested: [email address]
Sales Agent: What’s a good time for you? I can join him on the call … Bad time for us is 2 PM Eastern.
Sales Agent: Here’s my info [contact info]
Customer: I have a meeting at 2 Pacific.
Sales Agent: How about 3 Pacific?
Customer: 3 Pacific works.
Sales Agent: OK. 3 Pacific. Should I dial the # you provided?
Customer: Yes
Sales Agent: Got it. See you tomorrow.
Customer: Deal
Sales Agent: Virtually, that is. G’nite

Success #1 – Being There When Needed

The sales agent was there to help, even at 9:32 p.m. Would we have gotten this appointment otherwise? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But if we weren’t ready to talk when she was, that customer wouldn’t have had a very satisfying experience (and the sales conversation would have started later…if at all). As you might imagine, this timeliness is even more essential when it comes to consumer inquiries, from vehicles to property leases, homes, etc.

TIP: Our sales agent was at home, using his mobile app. If you answer chats/texts in-house, make sure your team downloads the Contact At Once! mobile app too! You can also use our professional messaging experts to manage those after-hours chats or texts (or any of your mobile messaging).

Success #2 – Establishing the Relationship

Never underestimate the power of reassuring consumers that they’re more than a number! In this situation, a current customer was inquiring about upgrade opportunities. The sales agent knew who the customer was—even before she mentioned use of our solution—because he pulled up customer details and used them to make the conversation more personal. It gives the feeling of: “I know you. You’re important. How can I help?”

TIP: Learn how to quickly find records of a consumer’s previous interactions in both the Contact At Once! platform and your integrated CRM. This will help you better guide conversations (and build on existing relationships), rather than making them repeat information like they’re at the doctor’s office.

Success #3 – Being Helpful

The sales agent took the time to answer all the questions he could, even though it wasn’t his account. And that’s important. Maybe it’s “not your job” per se, but helping consumers should be everyone’s responsibility if the opportunity arises…even if all you can do is get them in touch with someone else who knows the answer.

TIP: Ensure that your sales / service training includes how to be helpful in situations like this. What’s the follow-up process needed, and what will give the customer the best experience? Check out these tips for other ideas.

Success #4 – Setting Up the Next Step

The agent could have taken the easy way out, passing on the customer’s request for an email follow-up to his teammate. But he went a step beyond. He took the initiative to escalate the email into a set phone meeting at a specific date and time. This makes the next step simple and saves both customer and the sales rep time (because that appointment is likely what the first email would be about).

TIP: Try to set up appointments (or next steps) while they’re engaged with you in a chat conversation. Make sure your team knows how, whether it’s using a shared team calendar to book for others when necessary or something else.

Success #5 – Being Human

Although the conversation happened after-hours, it wasn’t a robot who answered the chat. And the sales agent showed it! He double-checked information, offered an alternative meeting option, made a little joke at the end, etc. He was professional and personable at the same time, which can make the interaction more memorable (in a good way).

TIP: Take a look at these additional tips for making a real connection with people when they chat or text with you.

In other words, when consumers reach out via chat or text, don’t forget the basics! Be available, personalize (and humanize) the conversation, be helpful, make the next step super simple—all are essential if you want good sales results no matter the channel or medium used.

The “Magic” Formula to Overcome Objections & Resonate with Prospects

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I wish! Sadly, there is no magic formula or secret handshake to win over every consumer’s heart. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up hope of a tour or lease at the first sign of prospect doubt.

Instead, successful leasing associates (and salespeople of all ilk) should be “genuinely interested in other people and capable of adapting their tone and style to match what resonates best with each individual prospect,” per this Multifamily Executive post.

With that in mind, we gathered some ideas on how to adjust to your prospects during chats or texts (or in person)…and maybe even save a leasing opportunity or two.

#1: Be Relatable

This first tip is essential when speaking with any prospective resident: Relate to them. One Contact At Once! user says, “I do my best to remind the customer that I am one, too. I understand where they are coming from.” This approach encourages people to let down their guard and be more open about any concerns that may arise. (The sooner you know what the issue may be, the faster you can address it!)

#2: Stay Focused on Them

Part of empathizing is staying focused on the prospect’s end goal, like what they want in a place to call home. So dig into what that really means to each individual consumer: Do they want to customize certain aspects? Do they have pets or kids (or do they want them)? Are they busy and searching for apartments in the little spare time they have?

This exercise can prepare you for potential “conflict” so you can better guide them through it…like explaining how your community makes the leasing process more convenient.

#3: Acknowledge the Objection

When people raise issues, don’t forget to respect their opinion by acknowledging it. In other words, don’t just push ahead with your points as to why they’re “wrong” and your community is “right.” If they say they’re just browsing, maybe you mention how smart it is to do that kind of research…and then offer some tips on what to look for or avoid. Become part of their team!

#4: Rephrase

Once an objection is made, try to rephrase the point. Sometimes it’s a simple misunderstanding!

For instance, imagine you’re having a chat conversation where the consumer doesn’t want to provide contact information. It’s not an ideal situation for you because that chat conversation likely won’t result in a valid or qualified lead (let alone a tour). But if the consumer is legitimately interested in your community, asking for contact information to schedule a tour or share additional details (like texting a video) tends to have a high success rate. The key is being genuine in the ask, not just hounding them for information like a human form field. (Here are more ways to overcome that particular objection.)

#5 – Provide Amazing Service

All things considered, the secret to overcoming objections may often be as “simple” as providing really good service in the most convenient way. Listen and address their concerns. Be friendly, seek to answer all their questions, guide their next steps and follow up swiftly. If an issue can’t be resolved over chat or text, let prospects know why and reassure them that you’re getting them the help they need; then make sure it actually happens.

The above tips could turn your leasing interactions—both digital (chat, text, etc.) and in-person—into better experiences for all involved.

The Good & Bad of Chatbots (& What They Mean for Your Business)

Robot-Woman

I’m sure you’ve eaten fast food while on the road: It fills you up, but it can’t compare to a home-cooked meal like your mom’s or grandma’s. Well, that’s how I feel about chatbots. Like fast food, bots serve a purpose, but they’re not a satisfying replacement for the real thing. (And they even may do some harm to your bottom line, just like that double-bacon cheeseburger.)

Keep the following in mind so you can make the healthiest choice for your business.

Good Bot, Bad Bot

With technology improving, it may feel like we’re living in a sci-fi movie where robots can handle almost everything. There are many examples of how bots can automate simple processes and complete basic tasks—even answer some customer questions via mobile messaging—helping increase productivity and save time and money. Amazon, for example, has a warehouse where robots help ensure their famed efficiency. And you’ve probably heard the buzz about Facebook Messenger and all the new bots being created to help businesses with those digital conversations.

These are all steps in the right direction: technology making our lives a little easier. The danger comes when businesses rely too much on automation, especially when communicating with consumers. Here’s why:

  • Bots have a higher rate of error – They’re machines and often can’t capture the nuance of human conversation. This can lead to feelings of frustration and inconvenience (never a good thing with today’s consumers).
  • Bots don’t put people first – They are focused on capturing data, which can be a major issue when dealing with customers whose needs may not fit the pre-scripted set of responses.
  • Bots are limited in their capabilities – At some point, humans would have to get involved in the process anyway.

Human-Powered Connections for the Win

In other words, bots aren’t empathetic. They can’t connect in a way that establishes trust with customers, especially those who need help with unique issues or are making a big decision like leasing an apartment or buying a car. No wonder 83% of consumers prefer to interact with real people to ensure good service. Human agents are able to adapt more quickly and tailor the experience to each individual for a better overall experience.

So for the foreseeable future, the secret sauce is a combo of mobile messaging, chatbots AND humans. LivePerson and Contact At Once! are finding ways to help businesses use the convenience of messaging and bots while enabling human-to-human connections in every moment of need. That’s the type of service that makes you look good all the way around.

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