Bilia: The role of chat is growing in today's car sales

Bilia Oy Ab is a prestigious Finnish Volvo car dealership founded in 1990 and operating under Volvo Car Finland. Bilia sells cars, spare parts, and merchandise, and offers repair services in three differen locations in the Helsinki area. The headquarters of the company is located in Kaivoksela, Vantaa, and the other two locations are Olari, Espoo, and Herttoniemi, Helsinki. In addition to selling and repairing Volvo cars, Bilia serves Renault owners and sells used cars in all brands. Currently, Bilia employs around 250 people and has an annual business revenue of around 162,000,00 euros.

Minna Hjelm, Marketing Director at Bilia, emphasizes the meaning of the website and online business not only to Bilia, but to car dealerships today in general: “Strategy-wise, the Bilia website can be described as one of our showrooms. We get both sales and service leads directly through the website. Today, a customer interested in buying a new car does the research and compares the options online before walking into an actual showroom. Then, when the customer actually enters a physical dealership, the customer usually only has one or two options left in mind to choose from”, Minna says.

The website offers a full customer experience

“All of our services are available also online. A customer can leave us a contact request in a number of ways, in addition to which they can make online service and repair reservations or, for example, book a test ride on a car they are thinking about buying. Since this May, we have also been offering online customer service by Smilee on our site. Our goal with online customer service is to both receive customer feedback on our website – as what the customers ask about is often what needs to be fixed on the site – and get new customer leads through the chat conversations. Online customer service enables contact with the customers that might otherwise not find a channel for taking contact with us”, Minna states.

What do Bilia’s customers use the chat for?

  • Making contact requests
  • Scheduling service times and test drives
  • Making inquiries on spare parts and services
  • Giving feedback
  • Receiving further information about interesting cars, campaigns, etc.

“The number of chats on our site is constantly increasing”

“In my opinion, the deployment of Smilee online customer service on our website happened very smoothly”, Minna says about the beginning of the cooperation with Smilee as Bilia’s online customer service partner. “The kick-off was fast and yet the Smilee online team was thoroughly trained with our business as well as our website content. We receive weekly reports on the customer service, in addition to which the Smilee online team communicates with our own employees on a daily basis. Our online customers are being served well and also the feedback from the customers has been mainly very positive.”

“The number of chats on our site is constantly increasing”, Minna says. The increase can be explained both by the seasonal changes in the behavior of car dealerships and in the customers becoming more and more familiar with using online customer services. The more customer service is offered also online, the more the customers use it”, Minna suggests.

“Most of the chats are about service reservations and spare part requests, which can be seen in an increase in service reservations and service- and spare-part-related contact requests through our website. Also our sales department is receiving leads from the online customer service team, which is why also our sales leads are happy with having customer service on the site. Personally, I have also been positively surprised especially by the number of sales leads generated through the chat. To sum up, I’d say our organization has a good feeling about online customer service – both now and in the future!”, Minna finishes.

“For me, it has been a pleasure to notice especially the number of sales leads we have received with the help of the online customer service team.”

Minna Hjelm, Marketing Director, Bilia Oy Ab

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