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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Mobile Click-to-Call vs. Tap-to-Text: Controversial or Complementary?

46f7aedbf2eb0d559c8d25d55e8618da.jpg?t=1​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.

Going Beyond Click-to-Call

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.

Tapping into Dealer Text

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:

  • 92% of salespeople who took the survey say they personally text with customers.
  • 94% of respondents who expressed an opinion say they’d miss opportunities if they didn’t use SMS texting to communicate with customers.
  • 75% say they’re more likely to get a response from a lead when they follow up via SMS vs. a phone call.

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.

Carl Maeda
This is right on and don't forget about chat either. The younger Gen Y prefers text messaging. The one big drawback to text messaging is all the legal regulations. You have to have a policy in place to control the texting if you want to limit your liability. Or you can have a software solution in place that doesn't give out the customers phone number to your sales people. Everything can go through your texting platform and you can turn off access when you want to.
Aaron Hassen
Thanks for responding, Carl. Yes, you cannot forget about chat - which is also available on mobile devices. It's so important for dealers to offer multiple options of contact to meet shopper preferences. The trend on mobile is clearly instant messaging as email and lead forms continue to decline. It's not that phone calls compete with instant communication on mobile devices, its just that texting (for instance) is efficient, convenient and less of a commitment for many.
Grant Gooley
Love the post! Texting is becoming more and more comfortable for people. A CTA for texting makes a ton of sense. Love the phrase as well "Tap-to-text".
Thomas Ieracitano
I love the 'Tap to Test' as well. I am just a little reluctant to go to a mass text platform due to the regulations.
Robert Karbaum
There is a window of opportunity to harness the power of "Text" software, while avoiding SMS legislation. I may be wrong, but I believe aps like "WeChat" are outside the law in terms of txt messaging because they are not actually using a SMS (Short Message Service). It's just a concept, but I'd love to see some research on the viability.

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