How May I Help You

Lets talk about “chat-speak” for the modern day consumer. Chat has been around for almost 20 years and in that time there are a few phrases that have become staples. “How may I help you?” (a question that is as old as retail) is one of these phrases and is the most common way to start a conversation.

Lets take a look at 3 reasons to stay away from classic chat phrases and then lets look at suggestions for other messaging that is more effective.

1. Show your Self: “How may I help you?” or “I am here to answer your questions” have been used so much that people now associate them with a scripted or automated chat operator. Make the customer feel that you are sitting at the store and that you could say hello when they stop by the store (because you can!). Be human and personable, its even ok to make some typos no and then.
2. Be the Expert: Instead of asking what the customer needs help with, observe their behavior and use a tailored phrase: “I could show you some more SUVs if you’re interested!” Listen to the response and share your knowledge- customers are looking to learn and if you are their teacher then they will be drawn to your dealership. With so many choices, today’s sale is about consulting for the customer and providing him/her with knowledge so that you can set yourself aside as an expert (instead of sounding like everyone else).
3. Make a Friend: Think of the customer as someone you want to get to know. Ask questions about tastes and preferences. A genuine interest in the customer is the best way to move the sale forward because it establishes trust and allows you to tailor your pitch. A hidden benefit of this approach is that its fun! Getting to know new people from around the country who are interested in your store is not a bad way to pass the time.
So what can we use instead of “How may I help you?”. Here are a number of suggestions that can be modified to fit your needs (both during the chat as well as to start the conversation):
  • I’d be happy to show you around our website!
  • Would you like to check out some other sedans?
  • That’s a great choice- happy to show you some others you may be interested in.
  • Sitting right here at our store, would you like to talk about that car?
  • What’s the most important feature that you are looking for?
  • Have you looked at some of our other SUVs?
  • What is your favorite thing about that model?
  • What other models are you thinking about?