The market for texting is still widely unknown, and what is known is held by the dealers who are either allowing their consultants to use their devices or a texting tool within the CRM. This is all largely without the OEM’s influence or offerings as to how to integrate texting into everyday communications with prospective or current customers. In fact, I have yet to see a training guide or material offering what the best practices are, i.e., opt-out rates, texts per customer, best opt-in messages, seriously anything!
Last August, I touched on “Texting - The Good, Bad & Ugly which offers that texting is relevant to our industry. The idea that dealers have to evolve finding new means of connecting with the customer. That while texting is not by any means replacing emails or phone calls - It is adding relevance in the way we communicate. In so far as the customer will read the text whether they want to or not! Not to mention, as mentioned previously 98% of the customers read a text within 2 minutes.
Think about it for a minute. With less than 60% of emails getting opened (referring to email campaigns: not correspondence. Big difference.) it means that 40%+ of the customers you are trying to connect with don't even open your email! If this is not a wake-up call, I am not sure what it is?!
Imagine your message getting viewed by 98% of your customer database!
That said, here are some ways to get in the texting arena if you haven’t already:
Text Service & Sales Appointment Reminders
A reminder never hurt anyone. In fact, more and more companies are starting to text their customers reminding them of their appointments. This is extremely valuable. Who would not want to see how many appointments are confirmed for the day? As it allows you to forecast the day. Not to mention, those customers who have to make a change are more likely to schedule a new appointment on the text versus not communicating to then just showing up as a walk-in.
OEM Service Retention
Almost every dealer has a rewards program to assist with your OEM service retention. That said, why get lost in the mix with the thousands of emails that get sent with their account information; or that they are due for a service visit? Out of sight out of mind. That simple. But what if they got a “text,” which reminded them of their account balance near their service retention date?
Using texting could also assist in eliminating the need to offer steep discounts and coupons to everyone. Why give an insane coupon to a customer who is loyal and will continue to come back. You really think they are coming back just because of a coupon?
Service Due - OEM Maintenance Guide
Ever get in your car, and the dash lights up saying “service xyz” due? Pretty much when it is due? You most likely have! The problem is that the light becomes a blur, BUT what if we got a text a few weeks in advance offering that is time for our service appointment? To which you could add a click-through the link and book your appointment?
Think about this for a moment. You ever shop on Amazon and use one-click purchase? A button so powerful you just click it and BAM order in and done? This is the same concept. By offering the most relevant call to action items within a text with a *reason* to move forward it is much harder to ignore following through! Seriously, try it out! Where are our Dash buttons (no pun intended)?
We all know that the OEM sends 3-4 emails regarding a survey or reviews. It is overkill. Why hasn’t texting been considered? The customer gets a text once the R/O closes. Sending a survey a week or so out for a service visit isn’t as nearly as effective. First off, its a service visit not a purchase.
Second, texting the customer right away has a much better chance of capturing their experience with everything from the meet & greet to the transaction at the cashier's desk or for those who are more progressive offering payment at the service advisors desk! A delayed survey forces the customer to recall the scenario in which case they can (in some cases) perceive an entirely different experience.
Not much has changed since August regarding texting. There is still confusion as to what texting offers, what it counts for, and most importantly how to navigate the reporting, which does not seem to exist. Other than of what the CRM provides for those using a tool connected showing how many texts were sent etc. It's as exciting as looking at a phone bill or for those of us who used T9 texting and got a message showing how many we had sent!
This year, I challenge you to add texting to one or more facets of your business. And I assure that you will not just see results, but a shift in the way you handle customer correspondence.
Have you been texting?