Frequently Asked Questions about online chat, chatbots, and advanced chat platforms for auto repair and service shops and businesses

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about online chat, chatbots, and advanced chat platforms for auto repair and service shops and businesses

What is online chat for automotive repair and maintenance businesses?

Online chat is software that installs on a business website and offers a way for consumers and customers to communicate with an automotive service business in real time and in a conversational-like manner. Online chat takes the form of a messaging app that you would typically find on a mobile phone.

What is an online chatbot for automotive repair shops?

A chatbot is similar to online chat platforms in how it takes the form of software that installs on an automotive repair website and offers two way communication between an individual and the business. Where chatbots differ is their ability to simulate human conversation through either a menu driven system or natural language processing or both. Chatbots are automated, operate in real-time and do not rely on a shop staff member to monitor a conversation. The benefit of a chatbot is a business owner can program the chatbot to respond to with answers to questions unique to their business. For example, if a consumer initiates a conversation and asks, “do you service air conditioning systems for Honda,” the chatbot can be programmed to recognize this question and respond with a pre-determined answer, “Yes, we service air conditioning systems for Honda. Would you like to come in for service?”

What is an advanced chat platform for automotive repair and service businesses?

Advanced chat platforms are automated and typically driven by AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning technology. Unlike typical online chat platforms, an internal resource or staff member is not required to monitor and manage conversations with website visitors. Advanced chat platforms are integrated with unique and automotive-specific data sets such as: automotive parts data, service time data, shop pricing information, business information, tire fitment data, and more, delivering answers to a wide range of questions posed by the website visitor. Combined, these data sets provide service estimates, tire pricing and availability, appointment scheduling and general business information, all in real-time.

What are some of the consumer or customer benefits of having online chat for automotive repair and service businesses?

Most website visitors will access the website from a mobile device, therefore navigating menus on a website or filling out a form requesting information using a mobile device can be cumbersome. Chat platforms are easily recognizable on a mobile phone when the visitor first lands on the website. They emulate messaging platforms such as texting that consumers are familiar with and have predetermined expectations on how they operate. Some chat platforms jump into action (pop-up) and are ready to deliver personalized information in real-time satisfying the needs of the person requesting the information.

What are some of the business benefits of having online chat for automotive repair and service businesses?

Now, more than ever, consumers shopping for automotive service and repair are “digital-first”. They seek information online about how and where they can find a business to service their vehicle (think Google) and then select a business that meets their needs. An automotive service website must be in alignment with the expectations of this modern-day consumer — personalized and accurate information delivered in near real-time.

  • Service more vehicles. Convert more website visitors into paying customers — today’s consumer is all about speed and convenience. If a business is delivering accurate information that satisfies the need of the inquiring individual, chances are high they’ll convert to a customer.
  • 24/7 is important. Meeting the information needs of website visitors on their timeline is important no matter the time of the day or day of the week to include holidays. Having answers could be the deciding factor in a business getting the service sale or the competition down the street picking up a new customer.
  • Make it personal. Chatbots and advanced online chat platforms will answer common questions such as, “do you service BMW” and “are you open this Saturday.” Advanced chat platforms are able to answer complex questions, for example, “what is pricing for front brake pads and rotors for my 2011 Honda Accord.” The ability for chat to respond with personalized information makes the visitor feel special and increases chances of conversion to a customer.
  • Capture more leads. Advanced online chat and chatbots have the ability to ask for customer information to include their preference on how they want to communicate; text, email or call (notice the order). The ability to capture more lead information allows marketing teams more prospective customers to target.
  • 15 more business benefits of online chat for automotive service businesses

Can a business add custom answers to questions to a chatbot or an advanced chat platform?

Most chatbots allow businesses to add a custom “answers” or “triggers” allowing unique information to be presented to the individual requesting the information. For example, if the business specializes in automotive transmission service and has a web page devoted to services offered for transmission service, the chat platform can deliver a link pointing to the respective web page. Additionally, the business can program certain keywords such as “promo” or “coupon” to point the individual to the web page containing coupons.

Where can I find vendors that offer an advanced chat platform for automotive repair and service centers?

Openbay offers an advanced chat platform called Otis. Otis installs on all the leading website providers in the automotive service industry to include AutoShop Solutions, Kukui, Net Driven, OSM, Repair Shop Websites, TCS, TireGuru, and more.

Openbay has helped many automotive service businesses gain consumers and grow service revenue. To learn more about Openbay Otis, Openbay’s advanced chat platform that operates like a Virtual Service Advisor, contact us at or call (617) 315–8027



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