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Video: Live Web Chat in the Automotive Industry: The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing

As more car buyers head online to research and even buy their new vehicle, more automotive companies than ever before are using web chat, web and video calling and cobrowsing to connect with their online customers.

The service offered to physical customers in a car dealership is highly tailored to each individual customer's needs. After all, cars are expensive and complex products, so it's important that the customer feels confident they've made the right decision before driving off the forecourt. Web chat means that dealerships can provide the same level of service to online customers, but answering their questions and giving helpful advice.

Here's the snag: is it better to manage web chats in-house, or to outsource?

In this video, we delve into the biggest pros and cons of choosing to outsource your car dealership's web chat queries. Which is best? That depends on what you want for your customers.

The Pros

1. Outsourcing alleviates pressure from in-house staff

Being chained to the dealership’s website can be inconvenient for consultants, particularly if the computer isn’t easily accessible. Constantly having to check on the website for queries is inefficient, and means that the consultant has to split their time between web queries and showroom customers. Ultimately, this could leave one or the other waiting while the consultant tries to manage both. Outsourcing means that agents can handle web chat enquires whilst showroom consultants can look after walk-ins. Win-win.

2. Allows you to provide 24/7 live web chat support

Dealerships are often only open during business hours, but our research shows that 50% of all web chat enquiries come through outside of office hours. Handling web chat queries solely in house means that you’ll miss key opportunities to answer interested potential customers, because people aren’t physically available to chat to them. Specialist automotive agents are on hand to respond immediately which improves UX for the customer- their questions are answered quickly and accurately, which keeps everyone happy.

3. Increase sales and conversions for your car dealership without additional resources

If it’s not clear by now, I’ll make it plain and simple. Web chat isn’t just for support; it’s an excellent sales tool too. If a website visitor is engaging in a web chat, they are probably quite serious to learn more about your cars. What does that mean? These people are looking to buy, and if it’s not from you, it will be from someone else. Considering the average web chat conversation lasts for 17 minutes, that provides a huge sales opportunity. By outsourcing the web chats, agents can dedicate as much time as is needed to build the best possible experience for the customer, making them much more inclined to buy from you.


1. Outsourcing might break continuity for the customer

If it’s important to your strategy that your customer is handled by the same person throughout their customer journey, then you might want to think about outsourcing carefully. One benefit of keeping web chat management in house is that you can provide a more seamless customer journey, by ensuring that one agent deals with one customer throughout.

2. Proactively share offers with the outsourced team

Another downside to outsourcing is that you need to be more proactive in keeping the outsourced team up to date with any promotions or deals you may be offering in the dealership. If you outsource, it adds an extra item on your to-do list to ensure that the outsourced team are aware of any promotions. If you drop the ball on this, your agents won’t be able to communicate these to website visitors and you could potentially miss out on leads.

3. Outsourced automotive agents could be based anywhere in the world

Many companies use global outsource teams for their web chat handling, which may not be ideal if this doesn’t match your company’s message. For example, if a flagship company value is to promote local goods or services, outsourcing your customer services team won’t reflect this. It’s also worth bearing in mind that over the last few years, overseas call centres have been increasingly viewed as negative by the public, who tend to prefer local support teams.

Patsy Nearkhou

Patsy Nearkhou

Patsy Nearkhou is a Content and Digital Marketing Executive at Talkative. She is passionate about creating content, keeping the human touch in tech and all things digital marketing!

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