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In today’s world where everyone is going 120mph, people are more interested in convenience than ever before. Is it because time is so limited in our hectic schedules or is it because we’ve become accustomed to taking the shortest route possible to achieve the same end result? For example, when cooking dinner, do you take the time to buy, cut and combine all the fresh ingredients to make a colorful, well-put-together salad, or do you grab the pre-packaged bag with all the ingredients provided; tearing it open and dumping the provided contents into a bowl to make that Caesar salad in 30 seconds flat? My wife who helps keep our busy household of 5 to 7 (depending on who is home for dinner) running smoothly would say it’s an ingenious way to keep things moving forward without missing a beat.
So how can we apply similar logic in our service departments? Provide quick information that is timely and isn’t slowing the process down, but in fact is creating opportunity to reach more customers in a manner that suits them. In an era where technology seems to be everywhere, and can in some cases out number basic services, such as operating plumbing, we should be reaching out to our customers using the methods that appeal to them the most, such as mobile phones and text messaging.
As of November 2012, 75% of cell phone owners utilize the text-messaging feature on their cell phones. In addition, many people prefer sending and receiving text messages as opposed to leaving or listening to voice mails. With the popularity of text messages, carriers have purposely designed cell phone interfaces to be text reading friendly with quick and simple access to reading those said messages. It’s faster, more convenient and, in today’s world of “unlimited” calling plans… free.
Integrating text messaging into your service department allows you to communicate instantly with consumers when needed. Whether you want to talk to them about additional repairs, or simply notify them that their vehicle is ready to pick up, it frees up your service counter from having to make and receive numerous phone calls. Many calls that clog up the service department throughout the day could be handled much more efficiently via text. Because every cell plan is different, it’s important to get the customer’s permission to text message them about their car. Most customers will appreciate the courtesy request and will permit you to text with them for these types of notifications.
Another way to leverage service department text messaging is to use it to send service due notifications, appointment reminders and to present coupons and service offers to your existing customers. Many consumers will welcome these types of text messages as long as you don’t go overboard and limit the messages to the types you promised.
Text messages are a great additional tool for staying in contact with your customers. It’s convenient for both the customer and the dealership. Texting is another way you can effectively market yourself and communicate with your customer, while freeing up your staff to do other things. That, alone, is built in ROI.