Best Practices Manual
Revised: March 3rd, 2008
Questions regarding this document should be directed to email@example.com
This document has been written to help you get the maximum benefit from the Real-e-Live People system. Weíve tried to keep everything as simple and non-technical as possible, but youíll need to pay special attention to some sections which cover technical details of using the system. Itís assumed that youíve at least skimmed the ReLP User Manual.
If you are really raring to get started, you can probably get away with reading this manual alone, but youíll want to check out the ReLP User Manual at some point to get a better understanding of how everything works together.
By following these best practices, and adapting them to work with your business, youíll be able to extract huge benefits from ReLP. If you are a salesperson, youíll be able to tap into a previously inaccessible pool of potential customers. If you are a customer service provider, you can help your clients in new ways, and impress them with how fast and attentive your service is. Youíll even find that you can convert those service calls into sales, which will make your boss happy. And by using ReLP effectively, you can greatly reduce the effort required to get those results. Youíll find out how to multitask, instead of spending hours staring at your traffic display.
Remember, the best practices here are to be used as a starting point for your own unique ReLP approach. Each business is different, and youíll have to tune your activity to determine what works best for you and your customers. If you figure out a new technique, weíd love to hear about it!
This manual is broken up into sections. Youíre welcome to skip around if you want, but itís assumed that youíll read through in order.
Letís start at the beginning.
There are two groups of people using ReLP: Agents and Visitors.
Agents are people like you. Youíre motivated by a few things:
- Making sales to your visitors (or supporting those who do)
- Increasing the happiness and satisfaction of your visitors
- Answering the questions of your visitors
- Making visitors choose you over your competition
Visitors are the people who browse onto your website. Theyíre looking for information; thatís what your website is for. There are 3 different kinds of information they might be after:
- Information to support a purchase.
They might be:
o Öcomparing the features of your sports coupes with all your competitors, with the intention of buying in the next 3 months.
o †Ötrying to find a roof rack to fit the new SUV they just purchased.
o Ösearching for a price list on your website to price match at a competitorís location.
- Information about your company.
They might be:
o Öa customer of yours, whose recent purchase just stopped working. Theyíre looking for information about the warranty and how to arrange repairs.
o Öyour competitor down the street, checking to see if your prices are better than theirs.
o Öa potential business partner, scoping out your products to see if there are any other companies associated with them.
- Information that isnít really relevant to your business.
They might be:
o Öa student doing research on your field for a report.
o Öa casual surfer who clicked a link to your website and is killing time.
o Öa car enthusiast looking for a new desktop wallpaper.
So what motivates your visitors? How can you give them what they want so you get what you want?
Each visitor is different, and each website brings different visitors with different needs. There are a few common points you can use to give each visitor the star treatment:
1. Give them the information they are looking for.
This is a HUGE point that many new ReLP Agents miss. Your visitor is using your website because they are after information. Internet users expect information to come freely and quickly, and if it isnít delivered theyíll be gone in seconds. Answer their questions quickly and thoroughly and they will be back for more.
2. Treat them the way youíd treat a customer walking into your store.
ReLP gives you a unique view of your website. The average website is a static brochure: you make it available, and have no way of knowing who looks at it or when. With ReLP, that brochure becomes a virtual storefront, and you can see visitors come in the door and look at your products.
This is a critical advantage! Customers donít expect it, and youíve got a real opportunity to impress them.
o Be polite
o Establish a rapport
o Show an interest in their needs
o Express a desire to help them find what they are looking for
o Treat them with respect
o Donít harass them
3. Donít scare them.
Just because you know which pages theyíve been browsing on doesnít mean you should act like it. Privacy is a real concern in this day and age, and it is very easy to set off alarm bells in a visitorís head. Gauge your visitorís paranoia level before using your inside knowledge in a conversation.
Youíve got a username and password, youíve gone through the training and youíre ready to get ReLPing. Howís it going to go?
Many agents are disappointed when they log in the first time and only see one or two visitors on their site. The web statistics show 2000 visitors a week, where are they?
Theyíre all there, just not all at the same time. The difference with ReLP is that you are looking at a snapshot in time, rather than a weekly total. Even a busy, popular website will usually have fewer than 10 visitors at any given time.† Another thing to remember is that your website doesnít stop working at 5 PM. Hereís a graph of the traffic volume recorded by ReLP in January 2008, broken down by hour:
As you can see, traffic stays strong well into the night. A lot of this traffic is from potential customers checking out your products from home; these are great prospects!
Later on, weíll go over a few things you can do to increase the traffic showing in ReLP.
Chat Volume and Success Rate
Traffic is fun to watch, but chats pay the bills. Chat volume is the most important factor determining how successful ReLP will be for you. Luckily, itís also the statistic you have the most control over!
There are two kinds of chat request that ReLP handles:
Inbound Chats: 37% of successful chats
These are initiated by the visitor clicking on a ďLetís ChatĒ button on your website. Inbound chats are great; your customer is interested enough that they are willing to start the conversation! Half your work is done for you the instant the chat request shows up on your screen.
Outbound Chats: 63% of successful chats
These come from you sending chat requests to visitors on your website. Youíll find that you send far more chat requests than you receive, and most of the time the visitors will choose to ignore or decline your chat requests. Thatís normal! A successful ReLP agent will typically have an outbound success rate between 10% and 20%; that means for every successful chat you have, youíll have nine who say no. Keep sending those chat requests!
The Chat-o-Matic feature is a great way to keep chat requests going. Set up your rules on who youíd like to talk to, turn on the Chat-o-Matic, and itíll watch your website for you. All you need to do is jump in when a visitor is ready to chat.
Disconnections and Lag
ReLP needs a good, solid Internet connection to work properly. Most broadband connections will work fine with ReLP, as long as they are a persistent connection. New ReLP users are often surprised by how often their connection drops out. In reality, their connection has always been intermittent and their web browsing activity hadnít exposed the problem.
†ReLP has a number of backup features built in that will recover from connection drop outs and lag, but if you notice problems with video lag, chats dropping or traffic not updating the first place to look is your connection.
To understand the activity on your website, youíll need to learn how to read the Traffic Display.
Hereís a sample visitor:
Hereís the information you need to look for:
1. Time on Page (bottom right)
The time the visitor has spent on the page is a good way to tell if they are ready to chat. Donít chat too soon, but donít wait till they lose interest or walk away from the computer.
2. Time in Session (bottom center)
The time the visitor has spent on the site is also important. Youíll want to make sure your visitors get a chance to settle in and develop interest in the site. Do NOT jump on them 10 seconds after they arrive!
3. Number of Sessions (bottom center)
Each time a visitor browses your site, ReLP will group their browsing activity into sessions. The number of sessions refers to the number of separate browsing sessions. A visitor on their first browsing session will likely have a lot of questions to ask; conversely, a visitor on their fourth visit to your site is definitely interested in your products.
4. Current URL (top right)
For most auto dealers, hot spots to watch are:
o New vehicle information pages
o Used vehicle listings
o Financing information pages
5. Geographic Location (center left)
ReLP uses the IP Address of each visitor to make an educated guess at their location. This information is correct within 100km about 95% of the time. For those who sell their products locally, knowing that a visitor is within an hour drive of you is crucial information!
6. Referrer and Search information (center right)
If a visitor clicked on a link to get to your site, ReLP is able to pick that information up. If the referrer is a search engine, itís even possible to grab the exact search phrase they typed in to find your site. This is extremely valuable information! Keeping an eye on what your visitors are searching for will help you maximize your advertising dollars, and is handy to have in a chat. You wonít want to tell them you know what they typed into Google though; thatís creepy.
As you saw above, thereís a lot to keep track of. Luckily, there are a few tools that ReLP provides to help you focus on the people you want to talk to.
Visitor Types and Ratings
ReLP analyses the browsing habits of each visitor who appears in your Website Activity and assigns them a visitor type. Each visitor type also has a rating from 0 to 5 stars; this corresponds to how valuable ReLP thinks the visitor is.
Here are the visitor types that ReLP recognizes, and what they mean:
Using TrafficAlerts, you can change how ReLP assigns visitors and ratings. Weíll go over that later.
Traffic Filtering and Sorting
Above the Website Activity display are 2 dropdown boxes:
The Filter Visitors dropdown sets the minimum visitor rating you want to see. Visitors with a rating below the setting in this box will be greyed out and wonít set off TrafficAlerts. By default, itíll show every visitor.
The Sort by dropdown controls how visitors are ordered in the Website Activity display. There are the following options:
- Rating (highest first)
- Hit Time (newest first)
- Hit Time (oldest first)
- Session Time (shortest first)
- Session Time (longest first)
The default setting is Rating, which will make higher rated visitors appear at the top of the list. This can mean that new visitors will appear below ones that you have already seen. If you want to have new visitors show up at the top instead, choose Hit Time (newest first).
TrafficAlerts are probably the most underutilized feature that ReLP has. With effective use of TrafficAlerts, youíll be able to make ReLP notify you with sound and messages when a visitor appears that you want to know about. You can also use TrafficAlerts to change the display of visitors in the Website Activity display; for example, you could make all visitors who are on their second session bright green.
TrafficAlerts are incredibly versatile; you can set up a TrafficAlert to play a sound when any visitor appears, or you could set it up so it will only go off for visitors in your province who have spent 5 minutes looking at a vehicle. You can even make TrafficAlerts send a text message to your phone, which is a great option for those who have to walk the sales floor and canít be tied to their computer at all times.
A good starting point is to create a TrafficAlert that beeps whenever a visitor appears on your website, to give you a feel for the volume of traffic. Itís a bit dry and technical, but you owe it to yourself to read the section of the manual relating to TrafficAlerts.
Who to chat with
As mentioned earlier in the guide, youíll want to be sending lots of outbound chat requests. Itís up to you how much you want to cherry pick the visitors you chat with; however, some of the most successful ReLP agents will send a chat request to anything that moves. This is an effective strategy, as long as it doesnít turn into harassment of your website visitors. If a visitor says no, itís usually a good idea to leave them alone.
When deciding who to chat with, donít be too picky! That visitor who is browsing your site from Europe might just be moving to your location soon, and is ready to put down a deposit on a new vehicle.
ReLP lets you send a personal message along with each chat request. This can be a very powerful way to overcome a visitorís natural resistance to a popup window.† Your chat invitation message is the most powerful tool you have to persuade the visitor to click ďLetís Chat!Ē
You can type a custom message for each chat request, or you can use a saved invitation message instead. We recommend that you experiment with many different invitation messages to find what works best for your site, and save the most successful ones for later use. Saving your messages lets ReLP track their success rate, and rates them to identify which ones are working best.
An effective chat invitation message will vary from site to site; it depends on your siteís content, how qualified your visitors are, and your own personal style. Here are a few that have been successful:
- †Hi, welcome to _________. I noticed you browsing our website. My name is ________, is there anything I can help you with?
- Hello. Some of our cars are not on the website yet. Can I help you find what you are looking for?
- Hi, welcome to ________. Just click ďLetís ChatĒ and you will be able to see and hear me live. I am here to assist you with any questions you may have.
A very effective strategy is to tailor your message to correspond to any promotions you are currently running. You want to give the visitor an expectation of value from the chat; by clicking yes, they should be getting something special they wouldnít otherwise get!
Your objectives for a chat invitation message are:
1. Make the visitor think that there is a real benefit to the chat; something they wouldnít get anywhere else
2. Show the visitor that you want to help them
3. Convince the visitor that you are a real person, not a machine or advertisement
The next most important component of a chat invitation is the snapshot. This is the picture of your smiling face that appears next to your name and message. The purpose of the snapshot is to drive home the fact that you are a real person who wants to talk to them, not an automated advertisement.
Make sure your snapshot conveys who you are! Let your personality show through; if you like to have fun with your chats, make your snapshot look like a fun person. If you are a buttoned down business person in a suit, thatís ok too. Itís ok if you donít look like a model; a picture that looks like a real person will be much more successful than a stock picture of a model.
Managing your Chat Requests
When sending a chat request, you can leave the chat request window up for instant feedback on whether they accept or deny your request. The downside of this is that keeps you from doing anything else until they get back to you. To bypass that, click the Minimize button to hide the chat request.
Once you have minimized your chat requests, you can check on them later using the Chat Request tab in the lower section of the Agent interface. Itís a good idea to cancel any requests that sit idle for more than 10-15 minutes, otherwise they may be answered when you arenít expecting it.
Chatting on ReLP is simple enough that anybody can do it. Unfortunately, using those chats to further your business goals isnít quite as simple. Planning and practice are required for you to develop a winning formula that achieves your objectives consistently.
The first thing to do is consider what your goals are, and what your role in the business is. Most ReLP users are salespeople, and use ReLP as a direct sales tool; you are contacting visitors with the intention of selling them something. Other ReLP users act as support personnel and contact visitors to assist them with getting information from the website. Each role must take a different tack when dealing with visitors.
Hereís a quick summary of the differences between these two roles:
o Want to sell something directly to the visitor
o Approaches visitors who seem likely to buy
o Aggressive approach
o Compensation is based on sales results
o A successful chat is one that
ß Makes a sale
ß Arranges an in-store sales appointment
ß Gets contact information
- Support Personnel
o Want to help the customer with something
o Approaches visitors who might want help or are in danger of leaving site
o Friendly, low pressure approach
o Compensation is based on customer satisfaction and chat volume
o A successful chat is one that
ß Answers the customerís questions
ß Arranges an in-store consultation for further assistance
All ReLP users will want to adjust their techniques to fit with the policies of their employers. Many dealerships have ďno haggleĒ policies and varying rules on how much information can be given out on the Internet. Make sure to discuss with your sales manager what kind of an atmosphere your dealership wants to create for visitors. Prepare information that will help you answer likely questions, to put you in the best position to answer visitor questions quickly.
Common questions include:
- How much would my payments be on this vehicle?
- What is my trade in worth?
- I have an offer for ______ from another dealership, will you match it?
- What does the warranty cover on this vehicle?
- Will you accept my credit application?
- I havenít heard back from _____ about my vehicle, whatís going on?
- Will this vehicle be able to pull my RV?
Sometimes the ReLP agent doesnít have access to the same information that other sales/support personnel have. This can be because they are located offsite, or have to be at the computer and arenít able to leave and discuss questions with management. In these cases, donít let on that you arenít able to answer the question! If the visitor believes they are talking to the wrong person, then theyíll end the chat right away and be annoyed at having their time wasted. Instead, get contact information for the visitor, and tell them that youíll get back to them right away. Never tell the visitor that you arenít located at the dealership.
Directing the Chat
When a visitor jumps into a chat with you, they are inherently at a disadvantage. Youíve done this before, while they are seeing all this for the first time. In many cases they are still recovering from the surprise of having somebody jump out of the website at them! The agent needs to take control of the conversation and guide it towards their goals by asking questions and providing leading answers. If you force the visitor to ďpullĒ information out of you, or leave them with dead air, you make the experience less enjoyable for the visitor. A visitor who isnít enjoying the chat will not stick around, and it is very easy for them to close the window and forget about you.
Start off on the right foot as soon as the visitor enters the chat. There are three ways they can enter the chat:
1. Agent Initiated Chat
o You ask the first question of the visitor in your chat invitation message
o You enter the chat a few seconds before the visitor does
o You are prepared for the chat
o The visitor is unprepared for the chat
2. Guest Initiated Chat
o The guest asks the first question of you
o You enter the chat at the same time as the visitor
o You are unprepared for the chat
o The visitor is prepared for the chat
3. Chat-o-Matic Initiated Chat
o Chat-o-Matic initiates the chat
o You ask the first question of the visitor in your chat invitation message
o The guest has an opportunity to ask a question of you when they enter the chat
o You enter the chat at the same time as the visitor
o You are somewhat prepared for the chat
o The visitor is somewhat prepared for the chat
The first situation, Agent Initiated Chat, is the easiest one to handle. You start off in control right from the start, and can initiate the conversation as you choose. The other two situations are harder to control, because the guest gets the first word in. This is especially problematic when the guest asks a very specific question right at the beginning, since the answer may be time consuming or difficult to get. It also gives the agent very little room to maneuver in the conversation. A smart agent will give the visitor some incentive to stay in the chat after the initial question is answered, usually by asking questions of the visitor or offering a better deal or inside information.
The AutoChat feature can streamline chatting for you. AutoChat lets you save canned greetings, responses and questions and send them to a visitor in the chat with the click of a button, saving you from having to retype the same messages over and over. If you find yourself saying the same thing more than once, it might be easier to put it in AutoText and let ReLP type it for you.
Finally, a very powerful but underused technique is sending web page links through the chat. You can enter any URL you wish into the chat window and itíll automatically become a clickable link. Itís a great way to direct a visitor to other vehicles you wish to show them, with minimal effort required from the visitor. Itís even more powerful when combined with special features on your website, such as Vehicle Comparisons.
Making the Contact
Most of the time, you wonít be making sales transactions through ReLP. The objective of most chats involves making a contact or booking an appointment.
Donít be shy about it! If youíre a salesperson, donít dance around the issue; ask for the sale. You have no guarantee that the visitor wonít get bored and leave, so you need to be proactive in getting things rolling your way. To check if the visitor entered their information when they entered the chat, click their picture in their Visitor Detail Report (the section below the chat). Another good technique is to ask for contact information early in the conversation, in case you do get disconnected.
It should go without saying, but be polite and friendly. Greet the visitor, and ask them how they are doing today. Say please and thank you. Type in proper English, and avoid unprofessional abbreviations like ďurĒ.
Remember, youíre selling yourself as much as you are selling your company or products, so make yourself as appealing as you can. Treat your visitor nicely and theyíll have nothing but good things to say about you when they purchase!
Hereís a list of habits that most successful ReLP users share. These are key points to incorporate into your own use of the system.
1. Logging in
The number one reason for failure in ReLP is failing to log in and use the system. ReLP is a great way to increase your sales and get an edge on your competition, but you have to invest the time in it. Log in to ReLP at the beginning of the day, keep sending those chat requests and honing your techniques and you will succeed.
2. Responding quickly
You need to be attentive to your visitorsí needs. If a chat request comes in, you have a maximum of 30 seconds to answer before they lose interest. When chatting, answer questions quickly and efficiently or your visitor may become frustrated and close the chat.
3. Identifying high value visitors and catching them before they browse away
Be smart about your traffic, and make sure to contact visitors who are likely to purchase. You only get one chance to catch them, use it! If you make personal contact with them, you increase your chances of getting a sale from them exponentially.
4. Effective use of video and audio
ReLP has fast, high quality video and audio chat capabilities built in. By using them, you make yourself stand out from the competition and greatly improve your rapport with the visitor. Theyíll also know who you are and recognize you when they arrive in person. Even if you leave audio turned off and simply type to the visitor, you still drive home the point that you are a real person talking to them.
5. Use the tools
Donít do things the hard way. Rather than spending time scanning your traffic for visitors to your new showroom, spend two minutes creating a TrafficAlert to make those visitors bright red. Rather than spending all your time waiting for traffic to chat with, set up the Chat-o-Matic and work on something else while it watches for you.
6. Directing the conversation
You need to be the dominant party in the conversation. Remember, you are the professional here, and your role is to provide them with information. By making the customer initiate the discussion and ďpullĒ information from you, you increase the effort required from them and make the experience less pleasant. If your goal is a sale, youíll need to drive the chat in that direction and address their objections effectively.
7. Making the sales contact
Having a chat with a website visitor is a great step forward, but unless you make a sales contact from that chat you wonít be making any sales. Always get contact information from the other party, either through the contact info form built into ReLP or simply by asking them for their cell phone number. If possible, set up an appointment for them to come in. If they seem serious enough, donít be shy about asking for the sale and seeking results.