In a recent discussion with the team at CarChat24, we discovered something that is rarely seen in the automotive industry when it comes to marketing solutions. We found science.
The most compelling element we found in their solution for car dealers was an intense level of testing and improvement. There is a certain psychology associated with engaging in chat on websites, both from a proactive prompting perspective as well as the online conversation itself. What we witnessed from the team greatly exceeded what we had found with other chat providers.
First, they apply science to the task of initiating the chat in the first place. Lead forms and other calls to action are important on dealership websites, but phone calls and chats are the two most important methods of communication because they happen in real time. People with questions usually want them answered immediately, making the lead form and email methods as secondary methods of communication under many circumstances.
Chat is an excellent alternative to the phone call. Not everyone wants to talk on the phone and as millennials continue to emerge into the car buying market, the phone is falling as a preferred method. This is what makes strong and constant chat so important and it’s one of the components of CarChat24’s solution that made a difference for us.
They track, test, and adjust everything:
- Colors on the interface that match the website colors… or not
- Sizes, placement, and calls to action of the chat widgets
- Styles and durations of chat prompts
- Images of the operators
- Names of the operators
Yes, the team tracked the names and faces used in their chat prompts to determine which ones were better and which ones performed worse. The example used in the presentation we saw showed that “Carli” outperformed “Carly”, for example.
The second component of science applied to the training and word tracks used by the operators themselves. Rather than typing the responses and allowing for errors and nuances that could damage the quality of the chat, they use friendly and professional answer sets that were tested to be more likely to generate a positive chat experience.
The team of operators go through 45 days of training at a minimum, but more importantly they are reviewed constantly for their choices during chat. A coach reviews their chats and instructs them based upon the choices they selected. Were there better responses to the questions?
Lastly, the operators are graded and even paid based upon their level of success. In the CarChat24 world, success is measured from both a customer service as well as a lead generation perspective. It’s not realistic to generate a sales lead from someone who is asking when the parts department closes, but great customers service can be delivered in that circumstance. Conversely, when someone on chat is indicating their desire to learn about vehicles or have sales-related questions, the team is trained on taking them down the road to the lead/appointment.
They are one of a handful of chat providers who do not put up a contact information wall prior to chat for this reason. They trust their operators to be able to get the information to generate a lead rather than lose people by blocking them from entering into chat in the first place if they won’t give their information. This is ideal.
Overall, we were impressed with what we found from CarChat24. The mentality of constantly improving their product based upon data rather than gut feeling is an important distinction in the ultra-competitive automotive space.