A few years ago when chat was relatively new to the automotive industry, it was rare to find a dealership’s website that had it. Today, thousands of dealers have chat on their websites, but it’s not enough. As a consumer, I can say with confidence that chat is something I look for when shopping for a car. It’s the communication method I prefer.
Chances are slim that I would ever fill out a “lead form” on a website. There’s too much baggage that’s associated with leaving all of my contact information just to ask a simple question about whether a vehicle is still available or what time the parts department closes. I’ll pick up the phone if I’m ready; once I know that I’m interested in a vehicle, that’s the time to call. However, there are many times during the hours of research that I do on vehicles when I want a quick and simple answer. Forms and phone won’t do that for me very easily.
Chat does. Chat is the easiest way to have a real time conversation with someone who has the answers I need without having to give over every bit of information about me. It’s an invaluable tool for consumers, particularly if I’m on my mobile device at the time the question arises.
“Now that everything’s going digital, it’s a big mistake to not have chat on your website,” said Jeff Sterns, VP of Sales at CarChat24. “It’s not just because I work at a chat provider. I can put my old dealer hat on and say the exact same thing. Communication is too important in the digital age to ignore it.”
Sterns and his company have a booth at the 18th Digital Dealer Conference in Tampa next week to try to spread the word about chat.
There’s a shift that’s occurring in the way that we do business. So much of it happens online and in real time. Buying a car should be no different.