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Auto Trader’s Live Chat top tips

Time 8 years ago

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 13.40.54If salesman is friendly and helpful it is likely a potential buyer will follow up, says Nathan Coe

LIVE Chat, the online messaging service that instantly connects potential customers who are ready to talk with sales staff at a click of a button, gives dealers the best chance of turning a preliminary call into a good chance of selling a car.

Auto Trader’s Live Chat, introduced in January 2012, has already hosted more than 120,000 consumer conversations with 400 dealers, resulting in nearly 60,000 leads. This direct, real-time interaction allows dealers to influence consumers’ purchase decisions by engaging in a dialogue at the earliest possible opportunity in the buying process.


It provides the opportunity for a dealer to develop a relationship in a way that static online web pages or social media alone cannot achieve. And unlike telephone calls and face-to-face conversations which can only occur one at a time, Live Chat enables dealers to have several ‘conversations’ at the same time and at any time of the day.

The success of Live Chat depends on the way it is used. Auto Trader’s Live Chat top tips are:

  •  Answer chat requests immediately. This medium demands instant response to ensure a good consumer experience. If you’re late they may already be talking to a competitor.
  • Always ensure someone is available to answer the chats during working hours and remember that customers will use Live Chat outside normal business hours. Developing a process for answering these chats will maximise the lead opportunity.
  • Use friendly introductions. Introduce yourself and assure the customer that you’re happy to answer any questions about the vehicle.
  • Don’t demand customer contact details in return for information. That’s the quickest way to end a conversation!
  • Don’t ask for contact details straight away. Introduce this into the conversation as you go. Remember, if they wanted to speak to you, they’d have called.
  • Be mindful that the customer may be at work. Pushing for a call won’t work. Build up rapport and exchange details for later conversations.
  • Always suggest the customer visits the dealership to take a test drive. It’s a great opportunity to provide your dealership contact details, address and opening times.
  • If they seem keen to talk prices, suggest a quick chat and ask for their contact details. But don’t delay in calling them.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question then tell them you will find out and get back to them (ask them how they would prefer to be informed – email, text or call).
  • Once you’ve engaged with a customer, stay in touch. Just because a customer wants to end a conversation doesn’t mean they are gone for good. More often they’ll return to those dealers who they find friendly and helpful. Dealers with properly implemented Live Chat are getting leads in most cases in addition to the leads they had already.
Nathan Coe's avatar

Nathan is group director of Auto Trader, the UK’s number one digital marketplace for new and used cars.

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