Right Click

Right Click: Live Chat could bag you leads

Time 11 years ago

livechat01Amazingly, less than 10 per cent of dealer websites feature the most effective forms of customer conversion tools, such as Live Chat.

Websites that offer visitors the chance to converse in real-time are proven to convert up to four times as many leads. However, according to a new survey from web marketing experts GForces, only 16 of the Top 200 UK dealer websites offered visitors this form of interactive communication.

It’s important to talk with potential customers immediately these days. Any delay or unanswered questions about a car, part, accessory or service booking will lead to people clicking away from your site faster than you might think.


People who engage with a business through Live Chat are 4.1 times more likely to convert than visitors who don’t.

This is thanks largely to the speed with which they can have their questions answered. Given the challenges facing auto retailers, can anyone really afford not to be communicating with potential customers in every way possible?

As well as boosting lead conversion, Live Chat also lets dealers keep track of stock enquiries and see how well it is serving visitors. Live support allows you to assist people in completing sales by walking them through the process, which will hopefully stop them clicking off your site before buying. You can also search for and view transcripts, see your own chat history and those of repeat visitors.

Despite these obvious benefits, simply adding Live Chat on your site isn’t enough. There also needs to be a qualified individual on hand to deal with the enquiries as they come in as a recent MIT survey published ‘the odds of qualifying a lead in five minutes versus 30 minutes dropped 21 times, and the odds of contracting a lead if called in five minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times.’

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One dealer doing just this is Peter Vardy in Glasgow. When they added Live Chat to their site they also hired new staff to deal with the online questions generated by the feature.  Just as well, as the leads generated practically doubled within a month of integrating the feature.


Internet sales manager at Peter Vardy Euan Cameron said: ‘I can safely say that I cannot imagine our business without Live Chat now. It allows us to interact immediately with a customer and instigate an information exchange straight away.

‘It can often take days to obtain the same amount of information and rapport with the customer using email, during which time the car being discussed may well have been sold. This is a facility I now consider integral to our overall online strategy.’

Additionally, Loads of Vans in Surrey utilise live chat effectively by maximising the presence icons have on the site. Using such features as a live chat drop down and flash animation on the used car listings page has increased their interaction with customers exceptionally.

Sales executive and van sales supervisor Robert Lee at Loads of Vans said: ‘Contact at Once is an essential part of our sales process because it allows us to provide valuable information to customers during the initial stages of the sales process.

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‘At Loads of Vans we recognise that it’s not always convenient for customers to speak to our sales team, so this tool allows us to liaise with customers in a way which is cheap, easy and fast for them.’

Any edge in service you have over your competitors can make the difference in whether you gain or lose a sale. In this world of automated touch-tone systems, having a human being available to help a customer any time of day or night will give your dealership an advantage over the competition.

by Tim Smith, Gforces.co.uk

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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