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Jared Hamilton
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4 Reasons Dealerships Cannot Ignore Texting

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With the mobile evolution in consumers’ shopping and research behaviors, it’s only natural that their communication preferences change as well. That’s where mobile text comes into play. Here are four quick reasons texting is a business practice no dealership should ignore for much longer:
 
1. Our Changing Customer Base Demands It
You already know about the growing importance of the millennial generation and how they grew up with digital tools. Well, this means they tend to expect mobile conveniences and a more personalized, instantly responsive interaction even when buying a car (which texting can help you provide).
 
This expectation isn’t limited to millennials, either. It’s a mindset that many of today’s mobile-savvy shoppers have.
 
2. Compared to Email, These Open Rates Rock 
Why not just email customers? There’s nothing wrong with emailing, but you probably know it’s an effort with unreliable returns. According to Campaign Monitor, the open rate for any list depends on many factors, including how it was measured, when it was sent, the size of the list, etc. If your open rates are 20 - 40 %, though, you are probably about average.
 
Text message open rates blow that out of the water. With texts, 98% of sent messages are opened—more than three times the open rate of emails!
 
3. Many Now Prefer It to Calling 
Text messaging often can achieve the same goals as a phone call through a distribution channel that many consumers and employees prefer. In fact, the average number of text messages per month were almost five times the number of calls when Nielsen published its 2013 Mobile Consumer Report. Obviously, calls are still important, but global enterprises increasingly relied on text messaging in 2014. Wired.com notes texting’s ubiquity, reach, and ease of use as reasons for this communication’s rise in business.
 
4. Faster Responses For All
As Automotive News reported in 2013, the faster you respond to a shopper, the more likely you are to influence her or him. Keep in mind, then, that emails are read within an average of 6.5 hours, and people often ignore phone calls from numbers they don’t know. On the other hand, text messages are read within three minutes of arrival on mobile phones. Plus, dealership personnel can send those text messages to customers anytime, anywhere!
 
So Texting Is Good for Your Dealership...What Now?
Just a quick reminder: Texting presents a huge opportunity for a dealership to keep customers engaged in the buying process and throughout the owning process...if it’s done right. So before implementing any solution to enable such text conversations, you need a strategy:

  • How can texting work into your teams’ current processes in the most efficient, effective manner?
  • Can you text while staying compliant with privacy regulations like TCPA?
  • Do you have a way to both respond to shoppers’ texts and initiate texts to unresponsive customers?
  • What policies do you need to set at your dealership if you’re going to text customers?

These are just a few questions that really should be answered if you want texting to bring you success, not headaches. Make sure you know what your business really needs—and what you’ll get—from vendors (because texting is so popular, many solutions are popping up in the market). 

If you’re interested in learning more, check out the “Guide to Texting at Your Dealership” where we delve into pitfalls to avoid and seven implementation steps.

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