Having a managed chat service for your dealership is an excellent way to communicate with clients and make it easy for them to reach you. However, as you set up your managed chat, you want to keep various best practices in mind.

The following best practices will let you make the most of your managed sales chat. 

What is a managed chat?

Managed chatting involves a live chat or web chat that your company offers on its website. The key distinction of a managed chat is that you outsource responding to the messages. In other words, when a customer sends your dealership a message over a live chat, a team of customer service professionals answers for you. This frees up your dealership staff to focus on other tasks.

In some cases, the service may even be able to move the chat to text messages after it starts on your website. This unique feature lets you talk to customers via their preferred method of communication. 

Why you should have live chat managed

If you are unsure whether you should have a managed chat auto dealership service, the following reasons should help convince you. 


Using a managed chat service will save your team time and money.

Your team can focus on their most important tasks, such as interacting with customers who are physically on your lot. This lets them deliver better customer service in person. It also improves their efficiency at the dealership, as tasks are not constantly interrupted by responding to a live chat.

Your team can focus on their primary tasks, leading to money savings. After all, they typically earn your company more than you spend on the managed chat agents.

While your team will still interact with some customers over a live chat, texting, or on the phone, this will only be with people who are actually interested. Essentially, a managed service lets you weed out those who have common questions or aren’t interested. Your team can focus their efforts and time on those more likely to convert.

Managed chat services are also advanced enough to let you use the same number no matter who responds to the chat. This means that it will appear as the same number whether customers are talking to the outsourced person or someone at your dealership. 


The most significant disadvantage of managed chat is that the person managing the conversation may not know the answer to questions. This can lead to a delay as they search for the answer or contact someone to get it. However, you can easily overcome this by providing your managed chat agents with the information they will most likely need to provide.

The other issue is that if someone does convert, they will have to talk to multiple people throughout their journey. This can reduce the cohesiveness of the customer journey. 

cars lined up at automotive dealership

9 Best practices for an automotive managed sales chat

As outlined above, the pros of managed conversations far outweigh the cons for most auto dealerships. But to make the most out of this service, you need to follow some crucial best practices. 

Have a real person responding to chats

One of the best things you can do for your sales chat is to make sure that a real person responds. Yes, chatbots can make things easy and offer 24/7 support. But they will hurt the customer experience. Most people who reach out over live chat will strongly prefer to talk to a real person.

Talking to a real person improves the customer experience and helps you connect with clients. This, in turn, helps your dealership build a relationship with them. Once you have a relationship with a customer, they are more likely to return to your dealership in the future, whether for their next car or auto maintenance. They are also more likely to recommend you to others and leave positive reviews.

As part of this, encourage your managed agents to talk like real people. They should have the information they need available and have the freedom to stray from the script if necessary. They should be encouraged to put things into their own words at times. This helps them seem human.

Set guidelines for conversations

While you want the live chat agents to have some freedom over the phrasing, you also want to have guidelines. A script can feel robotic, but you don’t want the agent to ramble or be negative.

Some good guidelines include:

  • Be concise
  • Be empathic
  • Use positive language
  • Use bottom line up front (BLUF)
  • Stay natural and include contractions
  • Encourage personalization
  • Ask if customers have any other questions before ending the chat 

Create a flow so that interested people can contact someone on the lot

The main goal of using a managed chat service instead of having your dealership team answer is to save time and money. You want them to focus on more important responsibilities, such as talking to customers who are going to convert.

As part of this, you need to ensure that you have a process for genuinely interested people to reach your team. This will likely include an initial discussion with one managed service agent before being transferred to your team. Or maybe you will want to offer a way for people to reach your dealership directly.

In either case, you need to clearly define when someone on the lot will be contacted and how. Additionally, the person who will be contacted needs to know to expect communications from that source. This way, they can keep an eye out for incoming messages and respond promptly. 

automotive dealership

Provide the person managing the chat with answers to FAQs

One of the most important things is to ensure that the person handling your chat has access to answers to the FAQs. One of the cons of managed chats is that the person is not on the lot, so they won’t have as much knowledge. But we also mentioned that this is easy to overcome by providing them with enough information.

The exact information that you will need to provide them with will vary based on your dealership and the services you offer. It will also depend on how much you want the agent to handle and when you want them to forward the conversation to someone at your dealership. Some FAQs to consider include:

  • What is your dealership address?
  • How do customers get to your dealership?
  • What is your dealership’s phone number? Does the service center have a different number?
  • What hours is your dealership open? (When are the sales team in? When is the finance department in? When is the service center open?)
  • Can customers apply for financing online?
  • Does your financing have a minimum credit score requirement?
  • Do you accept trade-ins?
  • How do you evaluate the price of a trade-in? 

Put the chat window where customers expect (the lower right corner)

Placing your webchat in the bottom right corner of your website is the industry standard. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd or get creative. Instead, put the chat window exactly where customers expect to see it. This will streamline the customer experience.

Make the live chat accessible

Don’t just place the live chat in the lower right corner of your home page. Do it on every page. On top of that, have the icon remain in position as website visitors scroll. This will take up minimal room on your website but make a significant difference.

The goal with this is for your customers to always be able to access your live chat easily.

Consider a proactive, automated greeting

The point of a managed chat service is that you don’t have to use automation during the conversation, but there is still a place for automation in the chat. Specifically, you want to encourage website visitors to start the chat via automation.

To do this, have an automated greeting message appear from the live chat when customers load your website. This is called a proactive live chat, and you can even choose a different message for various pages of your website.

Consider pre-chat forms

You may want to include pre-chat forms. These are designed to give your agent an idea of what the web visitor wants to talk about before starting the conversation. Some companies use these to better direct customers to a specific agent. Others prefer to avoid the forms to create a less automated experience and deliver more connection.

Get feedback after the chat

Ask customers to answer a short survey after the chat. This is an excellent way to get feedback and confirm that your web chat experience is as effective as you want it to be. 

Conclusion: Why a managed sales chat is relevant to your dealership

With a managed sales chat, your team can focus on their other tasks at your dealership such as marketing, sales, etc.. At the same time, you get to deliver an excellent customer experience. Managed chats can save you time and money while improving the customer journey and loyalty. 

Isaiah Rendorio
Isaiah Rendorio Product Marketing Manager, Campaigns

Isaiah Rendorio is the Product Marketing Manager for Podium Campaigns—helping local businesses tap into the power of SMS marketing to strengthen customer relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more revenue.

Adapt the way you do business. Press send.