Shut Down the Chat Boxes on your Website

Today's Environment

Do you ever get fed up with the chatbots that keep appearing on websites even after you have shut them down?  Well, many websites could use some chatbot best practices! That is just one of several things I find that need to be fixed on dealer websites to improve the consumer experience.


I don't know how many of you have gone and tried to navigate your dealer website. In many cases it is confusing and an absolute nightmare. It is important to realize that most consumers now access websites on their mobile phones. So, the real estate on your website is extremely valuable!


There's an easy trick you can use to see how it would appear if you were looking at the website on your mobile. One method is to access your website using your mobile phone, but if you are on your desktop, and are using Chrome, you can right-click anywhere on the website and select Inspect. Then, on the top left-hand corner, you'll see an icon with two small rectangles, one on top of the other. When you click on this icon you can simulate mobile websites and cycle through many different iPhone and Android phones!


Anything that pops on the desktop screen is hard to present on a mobile device and is likely to confuse the consumer.

What has history taught us?

I don't know if you all are old enough to remember how Google initially displaced Yahoo as the leading search engine. Look at the images below.


Consumers who grew up with Google’s website knew they only had a few choices and doing searches was super quick and easy.  By contrast, the leader's, (Yahoo) website was cluttered and not very functional.  In this new day and age with COVID-19 and an emphasis on digital interactions, my recommendation is that we need to take a radical approach and de-clutter our websites.  I would urge the Dealer Advisory Councils to advise their manufacturers that the new look and feel of dealership websites needs to be simple and very functional, as there are only three things that a customer wants to do when they visit:


  1. Buy a new/used car
  2. Create an appointment for service
  3. Talk to the dealer staff for anything else.  


If not, sites like Carvana (see below) will be the consumers' choice for buying cars and in the future, these retailers will expand into service too. Notice how Carvana gives you only 2 choices and for everything else they allow you to chat with them.  This is where a chat box on the website does make sense!


If you look at their mobile website, it seems that their site is truly Responsive. This term describes a website that will rearrange the panels when you go from a desktop to a mobile phone, so the website does not need to be built twice. For the modern consumer, your website has to be Responsive.

One idea for the future:

If you do want to put communications options on your website, make sure that the communications are context-aware. So, if you are on a card for a new vehicle, and you click on Call or Chat, the context of where you are on the website should be totally clear to the recipient of the call or the chat. Look at the image below. Again, I urge dealers to de-content their website and leave only those things that are absolutely necessary to bring the customer closer to you.


Moral of the story: “Make it easy for the customer!!”


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