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5 Reasons Why You Should Text Service Customers

Article Highlights:

  • People read text messages more frequently.
  • Make sure customers know you offer this service to build loyalty.

Automotive News has published many articles about service departments turning to text messaging over the past few years. One article noted customers who made an appointment and received a text about it were more likely to show up. Now, texting doesn’t simply apply to service appointments—but also for job approval and repair order completion.

Customers prefer to communicate via text, and this preference is growing. Your customers are no longer asking for a modern experience—they’re expecting it. The question is—does your dealership offer it? Here are five reasons why you should be using text messaging in service:

1. People Read Text Messages More Frequently

Ninety-five percent of text messages are read within three minutes of being sent.1 The average open rate of emails is about 20%.2 Consider your own habits—see how many unread texts you currently have. Probably none, right? A crucial part of our modern communication methods is the ability to exchange information quickly, and text messages are leading the way.

2. Speed Up Service Processes

The average response time for a text is 90 seconds.3 Communicating job approval or pickup availability with a customer through text allows for a more immediate response versus a phone call. For instance, when a drop-off customer leaves to run errands while his vehicle is in service, and you must advise of a simple oil filter replacement, a text message is typically the fastest way of gaining approval.

3. Text Messaging Isn’t Only for Young People

Adults 25-34 send and receive over 75 texts a day; adults 35-44 send and receive about 52 texts a day; and adults 45-54 send and receive 33 texts a day.4 These customers likely want to receive texts from your dealership—you may simply need to let them know it’s available. Have service advisors mention the capability during write-up, or have cashiers mention texting during payment. Customers will appreciate your modern capabilities in service, and it can help boost CSI.

4. Enhance Your Brand Loyalty

Customers who communicate with you more frequently develop stronger loyalty to your brand. Sending communications via a variety of methods also helps to improve brand recognition. I do recommend a blend of email and text to get in touch with customers. Email can reinforce a dealership brand’s look and feel, while also communicating things too complicated or verbose for a simple text. Regardless of the scenario—consider the appropriate time to send emails and texts for an enhanced experience. Pro tip: be sure your text message solution has a built-in opt-out clause so you maintain compliance. People prefer to control how they are contacted, so making it easier for customers to manage communications helps boost CSI and brand loyalty.

5. Give Your Service Department Attention

The recent trend of declining profit margins means your service department needs to pick up absorption to cover front end shortfalls. Text messaging can increase the attention your service department is getting. Make sure the service appointments section on your website mentions you offer texting as a convenience. Word of mouth can also be a powerful force—if word spreads about how your dealership is modernizing and streamlining service processes by implementing text messaging—think of what that could do for your service business (and front end sales).

Conclusion

In the end, text messaging is something all intelligent retailers are adopting. When you submit an online order for tickets to an event, often the most preferred option is to receive a digital version of the ticket via text message. This same concept is what your dealership can begin to do in service. Pro tip: make sure your text messaging solution is built to work with your DMS, so you can retain, track, and verify messages sent and received. This will ensure you don’t have a gap in communication with an important service customer.

Consider this scenario: you send a customer a text with an approval request or a hyperlink to her invoice—seconds later the job is approved, and your dealership is boosting efficiency and driving profitable retention. Does this sound good for your business? Well, what are you waiting for…opt-in.

1Text Request, 2016, 2Mail Chimp, 2017, 3Text Request, 2016, 4Text Request, 2016

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Product Planning, Reynolds and Reynolds

Adam Kirdzik is a Product Planning manager for Parts and Service applications at Reynolds and Reynolds.

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