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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

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It’s Official: Texting Boosts Service Satisfaction Scores!

The 2019 U.S. Customer Service Index Study results by J.D. Power have been published. You’ve seen the report before, but it should be more than just information for any dealership. It should provide valuable feedback on how to better serve and connect with your customers.

For 2019, a key indicator from the US CSI Study is about communication with customers in the most appropriate way. It’s not about how YOU want to communicate, but rather what resonates best with your customers.

This is directly from the J.D. Power press release:

“Satisfaction is 75 points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) among customers who have an all-digital experience compared with one that is all analog, preferring to schedule service via the internet and communicate with the dealer through text messages, rather than doing those tasks via phone. Satisfaction increases further when a service advisor uses a tablet during the service visit.”

Let’s spell that out very clearly. Customers value text messaging and the use of technology in the service experience. You’ll find the proof in the 2019 CSI Study.

Why Don’t Dealers Act On It?

Perhaps your service department is among the elite who text regularly and integrate iPads in the service walkaround. From the statistics, the vast majority do not.

Chris Sutton, Vice President of U.S. Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power, says, “For example, 34% of customers indicate they prefer to communicate via text message—but this only occurs 9% of the time! There’s no reason why this isn’t a more widely adopted practice across the industry.

“Dealers have easy access to these tools, so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Technology not only improves efficiency but also the more satisfied a customer is with their overall service experience, the more likely they are to return to the dealership for service and to recommend the dealership to friends and family members.”

Let’s make those numbers even more real. 34 percent want to communicate by text message, so approximately every third customer that enters your store. 34 out of 100 customers. Of those 34, only 9 – that’s right, 9! – receive communication in the way they prefer. For customers who expect text messaging as the communication method, only 1 in 4 gets the experience they want.

A Way to Differentiate

The gap in CSI ranking scores between first and last are narrowing (save for one or two outliers). A boost of 75 points on that 1,000-point scale makes a major difference in ranking. One single approach such as text messaging can have rather significant implications. Customers have spoken, and it’s what they want from you, the servicing dealer.

Without taking from all the other things you’ve been doing well, it’s time to make the customer’s preferred method of communication a priority for the service department. It might require DMS-integrated SMS texting. There’s a webinar through DrivingSales on March 28th by LivePerson Automotive on that very topic.

Your customers are telling you what they want. Time to deliver.

Carl  Nyman

As pointed out, the customer wants it, it saves time for the advisor, yet some major vendors do not offer this with their service application.  This was the reason given for no text capability when I took my car in for service.  30 dealership group in a major metro area....hmmm.

Carolin Petterson

a good read

Derrick Woolfson

Great post, Jason! I also believe that it gives the customer a chance to voice their concerns before the OEM survey hits, and that has certainly helped us. 

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