Customers browsing inventory aren't met with a traditional lead form on Rydell Auto Center of Grand Forks' website.
Instead, beneath a payment calculator is a black button with the words: "Ask an expert." Click on it, and a chat window pops up, prompting customers to choose the dealership department they're looking for and telling them that the usual response time is a few minutes.
A live employee responds on average in less than a minute, said Morgan Hibma, marketing director of the three-store group in North Dakota. A lead form is still there, tucked away on a contact page. But Hibma said it's being phased out, and shoppers won't find it when checking out the detail page for a new Chevrolet Blazer.