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Shawn Ryder

Shawn Ryder Director, Automotive Works with OEMs and Dealers to Automate, Inform and Engage

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Text Messaging: Convenient for Customers and Effective for Dealers

What sets a great dealership apart from a good dealership? Excellent customer service, convenience, and providing customers with services to improve their customer experience and keep them coming back. One of the simplest, most effective ways to reach these goals is by offering your customers personalized Text messages.

Text is a quick, personal way to send notifications and reminders to customers. Most people carry a mobile phone with them at all times, which makes text messaging a convenient way for customers to receive updates. Automation software has made Text messaging a simple, time-saving tool which allows busy dealerships to connect personally with each customer.

Customers appreciate convenience. When you can make a customer's day easier, it contributes to a loyal, lasting relationship. Let's say a customer's vehicle is in the shop for maintenance. The customer is eager to get their vehicle back as soon as possible. With one click, send a message to the customer the moment the vehicle is finished. The customer receives the message and can come in right away to pick up their vehicle. Quick and easy. Customers can be notified in the same way when a required part arrives for their vehicle.

Text messaging is also useful when suggesting additional maintenance that a vehicle may need. If a customer's vehicle is receiving a routine checkup, for example, the technician may discover that there is a crack in the windshield. A quick text message updates the customer, and they can reply right away to let the technician know whether or not they would like the suggested service performed.

Text is not only an easy and efficient way to contact customers, it can also increase profit by reducing no-shows for service appointments. Text message reminders have been shown to be highly effective at increasing the number of customers who come in for their scheduled appointments. Often, customers simply forget they have an appointment that day, or cannot remember the time. A prompt Text message lets them know the exact details of their appointment. These messages are sent automatically, based on appointment dates in the dealership data system, saving time for the dealership staff.

Personalized messages based on customers' individual needs also help to build the sense of a dedicated dealership that is looking out for each of its many customers. Here again, automation software provides the ideal solution. Each customers' unique data and dates specific to their vehicle are already in the dealership system, so messages can be sent out automatically, based on that data.

Here's an example of how an automated personalized text message can be convenient for a customer, while also encouraging them to visit the dealership for service. “Hi Cindy, we noticed it is almost time for your vehicle's recommended brake job. Your continued safety is important to us, so we have included several times when we could fit you in for this service. Please let us know which (if any) of these times work for you.” Cindy is reminded that her vehicle needs work and can easily respond to the text message to book her appointment.

With automation software, it is simple to update your customers with the click of a button. Yet Text messaging offers even more to customers and dealerships alike. Text promotions can also be used with great success to offer customers special deals and sales based on their individual needs and vehicle history. Drive business back to your dealership by sending out regular and seasonal text message promotions.

Text is an effective way to engage your customers and maintain strong relationships. It allows your dealership to offer more than the competition, while also saving you time. Automation software makes it possible to reach out to each customer with automated text messages based on their unique needs and vehicle history. Take advantage of a great opportunity to bring more business to your dealership and help create loyal, satisfied customers.

Johnny Knox
Text messaging seems as a quite efficient way for customer service. Excellent points, Shawn.
Glenn Pasch
Shawn great points but one thing dealers have to make sure of is that their customers opt into receiving the texts and they make sure to respect any that opt out. There have been issues in the past where dealers think texting is a way to market to their customers and then begin to bomb people's phones with offers etc. This will get them fined based on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). You can read Dennis Galbraith's article on how Lithia Motors agreed to pay a $2.5 M fine for a texting mistake here .http://bit.ly/rZW26x. I personally like receiving a text from my service dept. It makes my life easier but remember, one mistake can cost your dealership a lot of $$$.
Shawn Ryder
Great points Glenn! It is obviously important to ensure all CAN-SPAM Act is followed, here is some great information: http://usedcaruniversity.com/new-telephone-communication-protection-act-enforcement-begins/ Our automated solution at SimplyCast follows those standards and more to meet the regulations. For example should the recipient write back "Stop" they are removed from any future mailings. This allows for each removal and builds on the customer engagement, while providing updates to the customer based on vehicle needs.
Bob Bentz
Auto dealers should also be aware of the new TCPA Rules which came into effect on October 16, 2013. You can learn more about what you need to do to adhere to the regulations at this link: http://www.84444.com/blog/tcpa-laws/
John Possumato
Truer words have never been spoken. I recently implemented this type of service for both Fixed Operations and Sales in numerous dealers with outstanding success and adoption rate. We instruct dealers always to have their service reps confirm an "opt-in" message and the rest is the best!

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