When Glen Demetrioff mystery shopped U.S dealers through their chat functions, he wasn’t too impressed with the online customer experience.
“We found the majority of the time the people behind the keyboard of those [chat] providers didn’t really pick up on some of the keywords that a real salesperson would,” said Demetrioff, President and CEO of DMT Development Systems Group Inc., in an interview with Canadian auto dealer at its Markham offices.
Demetrioff vowed to find a better way to make chat work, just as the Winnipeg-based company had done with its popular eLead management tool, RAPID! Response.
After years of research, software development and a pilot program in dozens of Canadian dealerships, DMT’s new online chat solution was released in July.
DIGITAL! Interview connects prospects online directly to a salesperson on the showroom floor — all in real time.
It replicates the conversation that would happen when a prospect walks into a dealership. The only difference is that it’s done electronically.
As soon as the customer engages with the chat function, DMT’s Winnipeg-based concierge team will gather some information from the contact, including their name and email address, before notifying the sales staff via email or SMS about the lead.
Whoever responds first —and is available— jumps on the chat, said Demetrioff. The concierge will then transfer the customer to the salesperson, and the conversation goes from there.
“We know salespeople are the best equipped to sell a car,” said Demetrioff, and added the role of the concierge is to “hold and nurture that customer and wait for that salesperson to be free or determine if they need to take a message.”
The product was designed to work on any modern device, with no app to download. “As long as you can receive a text, it works,” said Demetrioff. Salespeople will be able to transfer from one interface to another, without disrupting the chat while maintaining the same functionality.
The product is even equipped with what Demetrioff calls the “tool box” salespeople would need when a prospect walks into the showroom. Assets are pre-loaded into the system and include brochures, GPS driving directions to the dealership and photo and video capabilities, all of which can be pushed out during the conversation via text messaging.
The salesperson will have full visibility throughout the conversation, and will know when the customer is viewing the assets.
Once the conversation is over, the customer can opt to receive a transcript of the conversation, helping to build trust and transparency. Transcripts can be reviewed by general managers and dealer principals for performance and to ensure the messaging to customers is up to scratch.
Salespeople can also opt to send a customized thank you note to the customer to solidify the relationship.
Any information about the prospect gathered during the conversation will be automatically loaded into the dealership’s CRM tool, Demetrioff added. Dealers will need to be on the RAPID! Response platform to be able to fully integrate the chat leads into their customer follow up programs.
Feedback based on the pilot program has been great, said Demetrioff. “We’re breaking the boundaries that have been there before.”
Look for more in-depth coverage of DIGITAL! Interview in the August/September issue of Canadian auto dealer.