If your website isn’t converting visitors into leads, then it’s not doing its job. Think about your own experience searching for a product or service online. You start with Google, click on a search result that looks promising, and when you get to the website, you can’t find the information you’re looking for. So you leave and move on to the next search result. Your auto repair shop can engage these visitors, and turn them into leads, by adding a free online mechanic chat to your website.
Curious visitors can ask for free advice, get a repair estimate, or even schedule a service appointment right from your website! Empowering website visitors with information moves them closer to choosing you as their preferred auto repair shop.
Plus, online customers prefer to use chat as a communication tool! J.D. Power found that 42% of customers prefer live chat to email or social media when contacting a company. And live chat has the highest satisfaction levels of any customer service channel at 73%.
This simple addition to your website can drastically increase your lead generation and improve customer satisfaction. It’s a win-win for everyone!
What Types of Online Chat Can I Add to My Website?
There are two primary types of chat services available: live chat and chatbots.
1. Live Chat
Just as it sounds, this type of chat service requires a real human being behind the screen. Website visitors type in a message. and a person responds. Simple.
However, to ensure that your potential customers receive a stellar experience, you need to make sure that a person is monitoring the chat consistently. There is almost nothing as annoying as typing in a question to a seemingly “live” chat and getting a “your agent is unavailable” response. If I wanted to be ignored, I’d talk to my husband while he’s playing video games.
The benefits of live chat are that, well, it’s live! You have a magnificent, intelligent human brain engaging in a real conversation with your website visitors.
However, if you can’t realistically have an employee sit and reply to incoming messages immediately, you should look at option #2.
In some ways, a sophisticated version of Live Chat (and yet dumber as well), chatbots are automated responses that guide website visitors through a series of questions. Along the way, the bot can collect information such as email, phone number, and make/model of the vehicle.
Check out this chatbot from CarMechanic.
Chatbots require more involvement to setup than Live Chat. You need to plan out the flow (i.e., when a customer asks X, respond with Y) and make sure your flow drives prospects to a conversion. In the below example, the chatbot is leading the prospect to schedule an appointment.
Chatbot (CB): Welcome! Before we get started, what’s your name?
CB: Thanks, Anna. Can I get your email in case we get disconnected?
CB: Thanks! Let’s get started. What is the make/model/year of your car?
User: 2010 Chevy Sonic
CB: Are you experiencing a problem, or are you looking to schedule a routine service?
(Choose from “Experiencing a Problem” or “Schedule Routine Service”)
User: Experiencing a Problem
CB: Please select the problem you’re experiencing.
(Choose from A/C, Brakes, Steering, Engine)
CB: How long has you’re A/C problem been occurring?
(Choose from Less than 6 Months, 6 Months – 1 Year, 1 Year+)
User: 1 Year+
CB: To keep you safe and your vehicle running for a long time, we want to get you in the shop as soon as possible. Anything else you want the team to know before we schedule your appointment?
CB: Got it! Please select your preferred date and time of appointment.
User: 09/15/2020 at 8:00 am
CB: Great! This is confirmation that your 2010 Chevy Sonic is scheduled for an appointment on 09/15/2020 at 8:00 am to fix you’re A/C. You will receive an email confirmation shortly. See you soon!
You’ll notice that the website visitor can choose from pre-determined options, each of which leads to the same end goal!
You can copy and paste this template or customize it to fit the needs of your local drivers.
How to Make a Free Online Mechanic Chat Work for Your Site
- Choose a service that allows you to create the chat in 10 minutes or less
- Make sure the chat integrates with your CRM system
- Create a user experience that is engaging, but not annoying
- Determine the number of agents needed to handle the chat
- Personalize the chat with your mechanic’s name and company branding
- Use chat history to inspire your marketing
Ease of Use to Create the Chat
Creating a chatbot from scratch requires a lot of time. While the general concept is easy, each online chat service has its own platform and creation style. For example, VideoAsk has a guided, short-and-sweet style creator, while ChatBot’s more complex features require a long, intensive tutorial to get started.
Some services will allow you to pick from a pre-written template. These can be by industry or by goal (fill out a form, schedule an appointment, etc.). Once you’ve selected a template, you can customize the text to fit your business and have a chat ready to go in minutes!
Our recommendation? Sign up for a few free trials. If you can’t figure out how to create a chat (or use the template) within 10 minutes, it’s too complicated! Move on to the next one.
Before purchasing any chat tool, you need to ask this crucial question, “How will the chat tool capture leads?” After all, that is the ultimate purpose of adding an online chat to your website. Some chat services will come with a CRM. This is a great option for auto repair shops that don’t already have a system to manage leads. But for those not in that camp, make sure your chat service can integrate with the CRM system you already use. You don’t want to spend hours each week manually moving leads from one system to another!
If you’re going to add a new feature on your website, make sure that it will enhance your website visitors’ experience. Does the chat window load quickly? Can visitors access it through desktop, mobile, and tablet? By the same token, make sure your bot isn’t too aggressive! Visitors shouldn’t have to constantly close your chat window to get to the information they’re looking for. If the experience is painful, annoying, or unattainable, it will be a turn-off for potential customers.
Number of Agents
How many employees (aka, agents) do you expect to use the software? When evaluating potential providers, check how many users are included in the base price. Single-location auto repair shops may only need one agent, but multi-location shops may want an agent license for each location.
Keep in mind, you can use chat to communicate with more than one person at a time. So while you would need 2-3 technicians to have a phone call with 2-3 customers, one employee could manage numerous chat conversations at a time.
Branding & Personalization
One of the great things about chat is that it can be customized to match your brand. This creates a seamless look and feel on your website.
You can also personalize the information of the agent. After all, the purpose of your chatbot is to provide free advice from a mechanic. If the chatbot is titled “Front Desk Manager,” website visitors may not take the feedback seriously. Instead, add details such as certifications and years of experience to show your website visitors that they are chatting with a qualified technician.
Look for services that include chat history if you want to use your chat tool as a source for research. Knowing what the most frequently asked questions are can be a marketing gold mine! Are they trying to do repairs themselves but can’t get it right? Do most questions relate to a specific area of the car? A service that provides chat history allows you to review the conversations held through your chat service and look for repeating patterns. You can then turn frequently asked questions into blog posts, video tutorials, or even email campaigns.
Adding a free online mechanic chat to your website can have impressive positive effects on your website visitors. Not only does it help you capture leads, but it provides a more exciting and satisfying experience for potential customers.