Online chat for dealer websites is SERIOUSLY being held back by a lack of standard, industry-wide metrics – that get to the heart of actual performance and ROI. This lack of meaningful chat metrics is a key reason that a majority of dealerships haven’t adopted a chat platform. And a key reason that those that have are totally confused about what they’re paying for.
Maybe some of you who have used other chat providers know what I’m talking about. Many will fill their monthly performance reports with metrics like “total number of chats.” Why is this essentially a useless metric? Because much of what they’re “counting” as chats or “conversions” goes like this: Chat operator: “Hi! Can I help you? Visitor: “No thanks.” Or, operator: “Hi, we have a great $19.99 oil change deal. Can I tell you about it? “ Visitor: “No, I’m looking at new cars.” These are dead, go nowhere non-conversations. And it’s this tallying of “number of chats” that leads to another false, inflated chat metric that’s thrown at dealers: “visitor-to chat” rates – with companies claiming absurd numbers like 80%.
And then there are all those other vague but important sounding measures around “engagement.”
You and I both know that these metrics have nothing to do with measuring what a dealer cares about: leads that are captured and can be followed up with – which lead to more sales!
So, I am throwing down the gauntlet to the chat industry. Every vendor in this space should base their performance on – and make public to dealers – ONE, key, performance metric: actionable leads generated. Because a zillion chats, without leads captured/generated, is nothing but empty, idle chat. What is a website or chat generated lead? It means, at the very minimum, getting that site visitor’s name, and either email or phone number, recorded and poured into the CRM. Whether that person’s key contact info got captured during an online chat, by filling out a form to redeem a published offer, or at the call center.
A lead means capturing real contact info so follow-up can happen.
At Gubagoo we go way farther: our chat agents and analytics technology aims to provide 27 (!) information points for every lead: yes, name and phone and email – but also key info points from what vehicle make/model/year they expressed interest in – to what exact pages they viewed – to a complete transcript of the chat. A chat platform must drive leads, and then populate that lead with rich info that makes follow-up communications relevant and personal – so high converting. And we make sure a service lead goes to the service department, and a used-vehicle lead to that department, because, doesn’t that make sense?
Every marketing investment a dealer makes deserves clear, meaningful metrics, so they can judge vendors against each other. And the metric that matters to dealers is LEADS and SALES.
Insist on a new chat metric: real leads.
Not so hard, right? That’s what we expect our customers to measure us on. And every dealer has the right ask that from our competitors.
Stay tuned…we plan to make some noise about this in the months ahead!
Brad Title, CEO Gubagoo