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A July 2014 Automotive News article sang the praises of phone calls over email and form leads, citing faster responses and ease of use via mobile. What it didn't point out, though, is that text-based, one-to-one messaging is worthy of a verse or two as well.
Don't get me wrong...phone calls are a vital part of your dealership (and super easy to initiate on smartphones), but a recent 2014 Marchex study says only 14% of calls are about new or used vehicles; the vast majority are service oriented. Many shoppers seem to put off calling in the research phase, perhaps because car shopping tends to be done in spare moments when they can't make a call or don't want to.
With that in mind, offering an alternative way to get information-something faster and easier to do on a smartphone than emails, but less hassle than sitting on a call-might get you in touch with consumers earlier in the shopping process.
Considering today's mobile-oriented society, texting definitely deserves your attention as that alternate.
Texting's rising popularity as a consumer-to-business communication isn’t all that surprising when you consider it's native to the phone that likely follows you from bed to work, school or play, and home again. Here’s how some dealers are tapping in, according to Contact At Once!'s recently released 2014 Dealer Survey results:
Just keep in mind that while one-to-one texting can be a great way to interact with customers, there are still regulations businesses have to follow. For example, if you don't have a way to track those texts conversations or ensure proper opt-in, opt-out and permission procedures, your risks of potential non-compliance with TPCA regulations rise significantly.
With the right texting solution, though, your dealership can start to address those issues and begin reaping the benefits, from texts’ inherent mobile convenience to their follow-up and conversion potential. (Almost 1 in 4 identifiable shoppers who texted with a dealership ultimately purchased a vehicle, per a 2014 IHS Automotive analysis.)
An additional way to encourage shopper interactions and give your sales team more opportunities? Yes, please.