Cars.com dealers using the company's free online chat functionality can now communicate with customers from their Internet-enabled smartphones. The company added on-the-go access to its chat platform to create new opportunities for dealers to connect with buyers.
"Mobile chat allows salespeople to be more responsive to shoppers' inquiries, even if they've stepped away from their desk," said Michael Page, Cars.com vice president of advertising products. "Dealers can respond at shoppers' convenience, giving them the information they need to take the next step toward a purchase. With the popularity of smartphones in the store, dealers can use this capability to enhance their customer service and sell more cars."
At Buster Miles Chevrolet Dealership in Heflin, Ala., sales consultant Phil Amason said he appreciates the immediacy of chat. "It's definitely been a plus for our store. It's a better way for customers to reach us live and for us to respond. They get immediate access to the information they need, and I think that's really key."
Amason, who added online chat approximately a year ago, reported an increase in business after he began testing the new mobile chat enhancement. "I was able to accept two chats last month that I would not have been available for if it weren't for mobile chat. I know this resulted in two sales. They were two hard, trackable sales," he said. "In my experience, appointment rates are higher with live chat compared to traditional email and phone appointments. There seems to be a better quality interaction because of minimal delay in response."
Dealers interested in adding chat functionality to their online advertising package can contact their sales representative. To help dealership sales teams incorporate chat into their sales process, Cars.com presented "Chat Up Your Inventory: Leverage Chat to Reach In-Market Shoppers and Win Sales" through its DealerADvantage Live webinar series. A recording of the free workshop is available at http://dealers.cars.com/live.
Cars.com launched online chat for its customers in January 2009 at no additional charge as a way to help dealers connect with more online shoppers. The technology is delivered through a partnership with Contact At Once!. Mobile chat capabilities are made available as part of a renewed agreement, also announced today, between the two companies.
Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their websites, Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 1.8 million vehicles from 12,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Recently selected by Forbes.com as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).