Car Dealer Live

Why dealers must embrace the next generation of live chat – the chatbot

Time 11:56 am, April 20, 2021

It’s a well-known fact in the motor trade that if customers don’t get the answers they need to buy their next car from your business, they’ll go elsewhere.

People wanting immediate answers to their questions has arguably been an issue since dealers’ websites became an all-encompassing shop front rather than just a place for contact details about a decade ago.

However, the expectation levels among customers for immediate responses to their queries has stepped up a gear in the past 12 months, thanks to Covid-19.

With buyers forced into making purchasing decisions and transacting online, the need for effective communication tools such as live chat between the dealer and the customer has never been so important.

But how can dealers provide a live chat tool that delivers a faultless service without investing in a 24-hour operation and a fully trained team? Go the chat bot route, says Ripley Chat.

Speaking to Car Dealer Live, Ripley Chat’s Andrew Fulton explained how the next generation of live chat was computer-generated or ‘bot’ (short for robot) systems that were proving to be very successful.

‘Ripley Chat is a lead-generation chatbot that will appear on car marketplaces or dealer websites,’ he said in the video, which you can watch at the top of this story.

‘Everyone’s familiar with live chat, which has become very popular over the last 10 years in all industries, but in particular in car classifieds, car marketplaces and dealer websites. It produces high-quality leads that are really rich and contextual.’

Ripley Chat

But why have industries, including the motor trade, turned to chatbots to deal with customer requests and generate leads? It comes down to cost versus quality of service, explains Fulton.

‘We saw an opportunity in the market about four years ago, which was live chat was very effective in terms of lead conversion versus phone calls or email inquiries, but it’s expensive on a cost-per-lead basis. You need a contact centre and staff that are 24/7.

‘We’ve produced this in a chatbot format that has all the buzzwords, artificial intelligence and machine learning as you’d expect.’

Chatbot doesn’t get sick, it can enter as many conversations as you want and there’s really no cost of scale.

Fulton continues: ‘If you take live chat – whereby you have a business contact centre with lots and lots of people having to answer queries 24/7 – it can typically only answer six concurrent conversations at any one time, then there’s a speed of response issue, and then finally it’s quite a high-turning role.

‘The advantages of a chatbot in general – not just ours – is that you mitigate all those risks in terms of the chatbot.

‘It doesn’t get sick, it can enter as many conversations as you want at any one time and, more importantly, there’s really no cost of scale – to answer one question or a 100 million questions, you don’t have to have any extra people.’

Ripley Chat is a big name in this area, and while rival firms provide live chat services across many industries, Ripley Chat is focused on the automotive sector.

‘We are really focused on not making a broad chatbot but one that’s just focused on the car industry,’ explains Fulton. ‘We try to compete on cost by focusing purely on the sector with very low cost of service.

‘When cost-per-lead is becoming a bigger and bigger issue for car dealers and customer acquisition costs are skyrocketing, this is a way of keeping those acquisition costs really low.’

In the video, Fulton also talks about:

  • Younger customers who want to live chat before they transact
  • Why dealers of all sizes need to embrace bot lead generation now
  • How the past 12 months have transformed customers’ expectations and requirements

Click the video to learn more

For more information call 07559 902344 or visit


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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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