Leveraging the Power of Text Messages for Car Dealerships
by Dominique Conti, Marketing Director, Kimoby
The car industry is changing at an accelerated pace, with retail store consolidation, compressed margins, aggressive competition from independent service shops and difficulty in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel.
Another major shift in the auto sector may actually help to mitigate these challenges: digital retailing and servicing. As new generations of tech-savvy consumers hit the market for vehicles, tune-ups and repairs, car dealers are increasingly buying into solutions that offer a complete digital experience, with a seamless transition to offline to online, in order to keep customers happy.
One such solution is digital communication, especially business text messaging. J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Satisfaction Index (SSI) Survey polled nearly 26,000 car buyers to identify their customer satisfaction. The results of the survey were compelling, to say the least. According to the results:
Sales satisfaction is markedly higher among buyers who text before visiting a dealership (850) than the industry average (823).
Text follow-ups after vehicle delivery enhance sales satisfaction by 38 points, but the study finds dealerships contact customers only 79% of the time to make sure that the sales process was satisfactory.
It stands to reason that car dealerships are jumping on the text messaging bandwagon. A recent Nielsen report indicates that 93% of U.S. consumers enjoy texting and texting is the most widely used application on smartphones. This is across the board and regardless of generations. Furthermore, studies found several reasons why consumers like text messaging with businesses: two-way communication, trust, speed, convenience, little disturbance and mobility are just some of the reasons.
Car dealerships are catching on thanks to the tremendous performance levels text messages can afford. Text messages have unprecedented open rates, answer rates and response times, compared with traditional communications channels.
There are several types of messages car dealerships can send via text to increase sales and boost operational performance. Here are just a few examples.
1. Accelerating the marketing and sales process
Thanks to texting, car dealerships can easily send product and service recommendations to customers based on interests and past purchases. Imagine, in just a few clicks, being able to notify customers about new product arrivals, hot deals and seasonal specials. This is an extremely cost-effective and efficient means to sell, upsell and cross-sell leads and existing clients once they’re in your funnel.
In addition, with text messaging, a dealer’s sales and credit teams can ensure timely communication with buyers regarding trade-in appraisals, credit pre-approvals, vehicle deliveries, service timeframes and customer satisfaction. These types of alerts enhance the buying experience and entice customers to do business with one dealership over another.
2. Simplifying appointments and transactions
Text messaging takes the hassle out of scheduling and confirming appointments with customers. Rather than endure ping-pong telephone calls, appointment agents can easily reach customers to ensure that required vehicle maintenance or manufacturer recalls are carried out, and reduce no-show appointments.
Another benefit of text messaging is the ability to carry out transactions. Customers can make payments through texts and receive alerts regarding processed payments or updated financial statements. Transactional text messages can therefore greatly reduce the time customers spend waiting at the checkout counter, as well as improve dealers’ service profitability thanks to limited overhead.
3. Improving customer support
Today’s time-strapped customers don’t have the time or patience to deal with cumbersome customer support processes. In fact, surveys indicate that 75% of consumers would rather text a customer support agent rather than using other available options. In other words, consumers would gladly skip line-ups and wait times on the phone by allowing an agent to text them back. Contrary to traditional phone calls, text messages can also include links and content that customers can instantly access.
Text messaging is also good for a dealership’s bottom line. Did you know that sending text messages are 400-600% cheaper than telephone calls? For one, people don’t pick up their phones anymore, with about 84% of calls and voicemails never being heard. That’s a lot of time and effort trying to repeatedly connect with customers, which inevitably leads to increased costs and decreased productivity.
On the other hand, the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds. How is that for fast?
To learn more about the use of text messaging, its performance and the best practices, read our eBook, Mastering Text Messaging for Business.
Car dealerships that tap into the potential and performance of text messaging for their businesses are the ones that will outpace competitors and keep their profits in check. If you aren’t using texting for your dealership today, you may want to start looking for the best solution to meet with your goals. Take a look at the Kimoby platform today.