“Video Chat” is Not Chat

video chat is not really chat
I don’t often like to get into arguments about semantics, but I think this one cannot be ignored. There’s a term out there that chat providers are using, and they are misusing it. What’s the term they are using? It’s “Video Chat.”

“Video Chat” is improperly named. It’s not chatting at all. It’s a video call.

How is “Video Chat” Different from Text-Based Live Chat?

Helping Only One Person at a Time

In a video chat, you are limited to a single, one-on-one conversation. It’s just like a phone call in that way. You cannot chat with many shoppers at once on a video chat.

On the other hand, with text-based live chat, one of the benefits is that your customers don’t know how many people you are helping at any given time. Your chat reps can multitask, speak with more than one shopper at once, and ultimately gain more leads for your store at less cost.

Tone of Voice and Physical Appearance Matter

Another difference between video chat and text-based chat is the different communication skills required.

With video chat, your chat representatives need to have the best speaking skills. They need to know how tone and body language affect a shopper’s perception of the dealership.

In a previous blog, I also mentioned how video chat reps have to pay particular attention to how they dress and behave while on camera. But with text-based chat, there’s less of a demand for the chat rep to be physically appealing, and more focus on how knowledgeable they are and whether or not they can empathize with a shopper via words.

Writing skills are a must with text-based chat. It requires knowledge of how punctuation affects a shopper’s emotions. It also demands fast typing expertise and accuracy. With text-based chat, it’s also harder to make a mistake in the communication – since a chat representative has more time to think and formulate a response.

How Does Video Chat Impact your Dealership Customers?

Video Chat Intimidates Anonymous Visitors

When considering a live chat option for your website, it’s important to realize that a lot of online shoppers want to remain anonymous. They don’t want to show their face to you until they are ready to come into the dealership.

In fact, that’s part of the reason they chat – it’s a test! They want to see if you can answer their questions if you are knowledgeable enough about their car and your products and if you are the right fit for them. And they want to do all of this without revealing their identity.

With text-based chat, all of this is possible. Shoppers can remain anonymous, get the information they need impersonally, and decide when they are ready to reveal themselves.

However, video chat intimidates these shoppers. It moves them too quickly from anonymous to known. It’s uncomfortable, and they won’t use it. If video chat is the only method online that you offer, they’ll go to another dealership that offers anonymous text-based chat instead.

You Can’t Have a Video Chat at Work

Along the same lines as wanting to stay anonymous, many shoppers want to message you at work. (Yes, people are devious multitaskers!) But using video chat will not allow them to quietly receive the answers they need about a car or service without their boss knowing.

Shoppers can use text-based chat on a desktop or mobile devices without a peep. However, it would be awkward to sit at your desk or walk around the office or retail store, while having a video chat that everyone can hear.

Text-based chat allows shoppers to be sly about their research – no noise and no need to be chained to their desk. They can get their answers in the morning at work, and travel to your dealership on their lunch break.

Text-based chat is simply a more effective research sidekick at work.

Sorry, Video Chat, you’re not chat…and you’re not Batman’s Robin either.