How This Digital Manager Uses Car Dealer Chat to Maximize Opportunity

Technology is a wonderful thing…when it’s put in context for your needs. The sad fact is that many dealership tech investments get used for a little while, then forgotten in the rush. Not so at Stoneacre Motor Group.

We chatted with Sasha Miller, Stoneacre’s Digital Manager, tasked with ensuring the group actually uses and makes the most of their digital investments like car dealer chat.

“It can be a hard transition to change a team’s mindset to match the consumer’s and channel the tech investment to match, but we have to try new things,” she says. “Our customers are changing every day. When I first started, it was telephone communication; now, it’s text or chat. If there are any points we can identify to connect with the customer, we need to be there and be constantly reviewing it.”

Here’s what has her so excited about their current chat partner and consumer-to-business messaging in general.

Q: Why is messaging like chat an important communication option to have?

Sasha Miller: Offering chat gives us more opportunities to engage. Some people do prefer this type of communication, some are at work or home with children and sending a quick chat is more convenient. Why not be there to communicate at that point when the customer is ready? Customer service is the forefront of my aim because without the customer, where would we be?

This customer-centric approach isn’t felt just in offering new communication options. It’s obviously a theme throughout their company: 92% of their customers would recommend Stoneacre to a friend!

Q: What do you like about using Contact At Once! messaging?

SM: Contact At Once! presented a lot of data for us to consider, and we ended up switching chat providers. As far as what I like best, there are three big areas where they’ve helped us already:

  1. Constant, two-way communication – We use their managed chat services, and we can call with quick updates. We even share ideas to see what the managed chat team suggests vs. what we see. This makes resolving any issues easy and quick!
  2. Ability to identify areas of improvement – We use their tech to identify where we’ve fallen short in the past without Contact At Once!, and that is helping us grow in the digital sales department. The insight into real-time areas where we maybe aren’t performing the best (like response times or after-hours availability) allows us to correct and improve it (like adding managed chat).
  3. Ability to use one tool to manage messaging in multiple places – We need to deal with shoppers where they want to deal with us…but we’ve never had the technology before to do that beyond our website. Now we can manage messaging from our site, listings, even chats that might arrive via Volvo Seleckt and Nissan sites. We were missing sales opportunities, and we didn’t realize it!

Q: How do you use the managed chat component you mentioned?

SM: When my team leaves at 8:00pm, our managed team of Live Advisors from Contact At Once! logs in and handles every conversation after hours, 8:00pm to 8:00am. Plus, if none of my agents are available during the day, the chats can roll over to these Live Advisors again. We identified that this extra availability is needed: Those customers were being missed without it.

Q: You talked about growing sales. Are there any numbers you’d like to share?

SM: One of the joys in my work is yielding results—maximizing opportunities for the entire company, not just my sales team. We definitely see an uplift in sales conversations when we shifted to Contact At Once!, added AutoTrader messaging and after-hours support. Even though our chat department is small, we can attribute 5% of our total April sales due to this technology after hours. And within operational hours, the technology has contributed to a success of more than 20% lead-to-deal conversion.

I believe part of our success is because we can now be available wherever (and whenever) the consumer is in the buying journey. I’m keen to keep watching the data and use it and this technology to constantly improve how we respond to car shoppers!