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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

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We already know that text messaging is the most desired method of communication for most service customers. It’s trending in the right direction with dealership service departments engaging customers by text more consistently, although there’s much room for growth.

But when the service advisor needs to make an upsell or report on a vehicle’s condition, a text message often doesn’t convey the same authority. It also makes it easy for a customer to respond with “not this time” or an outright “no”.

It’s also well documented that a visual is more persuasive than just words. Embedding explainer videos in a text message exchange with a customer prods them toward a positive decision when it’s done right.

Here’s how you can employ and effective text messaging strategy for your service advisors to engage customers better.

Create the Content

Manufacturers often have videos on the owner’s portion of their websites explaining why certain services are needed and how they’re done. Use them if you can, but you’ll want them all in one space such as YouTube.

But it’s guaranteed you’ll need to create at least some of your own content, and it needs to be professional quality. Hire a videographer for a day and create common service videos. Plan ahead with the parts and vehicles you’ll need. Common services you should include are timing belt replacement, transmission services and all other fluid flushes, brake pad and rotor replacement, common front end components, and wheel alignment.

Clips should be quick – 60 seconds or less if you can. Give a brief explanation of what the component does, why it needs service or repair, and how it’s done.

Create a Playlist

Assemble all of your videos in one location. The obvious and easy place is YouTube, however, if you can host your own videos somewhere that’s even better. This playlist should take only seconds for your service advisors to find and link.

Provide Templates

In text messaging, it’s tough to convey urgency or tone well, and it’s easy to misconstrue a message. Each word matters. So, for common services that your advisors will be messaging customers about, write templates that they can send to customers. And to ensure videos are sent to support the message, have the link embedded in the template already.

Responses to templated messages must still come from the service advisor, but it takes some of the burden off.

Train on Implementation

As always, it doesn’t make a lick of a difference to have the tools if they aren’t used. Show your service advisors how to use videos in text messaging properly. The desired effect of a video clip is as authoritative support, not just another gimmick or system that some manager thought would be a good idea.

Text messaging isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Why not use it effectively in the service department. A word of caution, though: you still need to always ask the customer their preferred method of communication.

Lexie Rist

What services would you suggest talking about? I am interested in doing this for our service department.

Chris K Leslie

Do you suggest that this come from the CRM's or some other software? 

Jason Unrau

Lexie, thanks for your question.

I'd suggest talking about common services like transmission service, brake pad replacement, timing belt replacement, and fluid flushes. Focus on the services that your service advisors tend to experience the most pushback against - things customers might view as unnecessary. 

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