It's very easy for those of us who have been on both the retail and vendor side of the automotive industry to focus all of our efforts on generating leads and driving sales. It's natural. We all want to sell more cars and leads are often the best path to making that happen.
We've seen incredible results for clients when it comes to increasing website leads, but there's so much more to chat than what goes into your CRM. Chat is the ultimate customer service tool on your website. There are always going to be questions that your website visitors will want to ask that shouldn't require a contact form. Moreover, the phone simply cannot be always-on the way that chat is if you have a 24-hour chat service, not to mention that some people simply don't want to call a dealership with many of the basic questions.
Our industry is one that thrives on trust. If a potential customer trusts a dealership, there's a much better chance that they'll be willing to buy a vehicle or have their current vehicles serviced there. That's where chat comes in. I've told the story before but it's worth repeating. There was a customer who dropped her Jeep off at a dealership that was pretty far away. She drove past a few other Jeep dealers to get to this one because they were there when she needed them. She was surfing dealer websites the night before and wanted to see how early she could drop her Jeep off for tires. She needed to arrange a ride and it was important that she could drop it off very early. The closer dealerships did not have chat and obviously didn't answer the phone late at night, so she couldn't be certain. When she came across our client and engaged through chat, she was assured that someone would be there early in the morning to receive her car and get her on her way quickly.
The funny part is that she could have dropped it off at any of the closer dealerships. They, too, were open, but there was nobody there via chat to confirm this for her. Dealers would be surprised about how often this happens. There are plenty of people out there who prefer the real-time interaction of chat rather than filling out a form. There are others who don't want to engage in a phone conversation. Chat is the place where real-time conversations happen the way that many of your prospective customers want.
Leads are important, but they're not everything. Good customer service, attentive website interaction, and valuing the perspectives of your customers can make an impact on your business in ways that you may never know but that you can definitely feel in your numbers.