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Laws To Follow When Texting in Service

Advisor reviewing updates with customer
Article Highlights:

  • Customers prefer a text from the service department.
  • Clear consent from customers is required before any texts can be sent.

How Texting Advances Your Service Department

In the last decade, the number of texts sent across the board has increased by 7000%. Used by people of all ages, texting has surpassed email and phone calls as the most used feature on a smartphone. With a 98% open rate, texting has proven to be an effective and efficient communication tool for businesses to contact their customers.

Customers want a text to let them know their vehicle is ready for pickup  more than any other communication method. Additionally, a recent JD Power study showed texting also increases customers’ loyalty and likelihood of returning.

Text notifications can also be used to increase upsells and improve internal communication. You have a greater chance of capturing upsells by alerting customers of repairs needed while their vehicle is still in the technician’s bay. Additionally, connecting service advisors, managers, and technicians through text messages speeds up the repair process by alerting the right person that action is needed on a repair order.

With so many reasons to implement a texting solution, its hard to argue now isn’t the right time.

Rules to Follow

As you start implementing texting in your service department, keep in mind the regulations and laws businesses need to follow. It is important that your dealership complies with all regulations stated in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), especially when getting consent from the customer. Before sending any text messages, the business must get the customer’s consent and provide clear information on what they’re signing up for. Companies that send texts to customers who never opted-in are liable to lawsuits.

The largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in the US, for example, settled a class-action lawsuit for $47 million after texting customers without consent. Using phone numbers that were available from previous invoices, they sent customers an offer for a discount on an oil change. None of the customers that received the offer had opted-in to the text messages – a simple, but costly, mistake. InstantCarOffer.com made a similar mistake when advertising to customers who received unsolicited texts from the company, resulting in a $1.45 million class action settlement. The main difference is the company used phone numbers taken from Craigslist ads the plaintiffs had previously posted. The common factor for both of these lawsuits goes back to violating simple consent rules set by the TCPA that can easily be followed.

Compliance is extremely important when implementing texting in your service department. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable; text messaging programs are available to help businesses stay compliant with laws and maintain professional communications.

Customers have made it clear to businesses that they prefer texting over other forms of communication, so now is the time to implement compliant and monitored texting in your dealership. With 67% of customers wanting texts, but only 3% of dealerships using texting in service, this simple feature could be your advantage over your competitors.

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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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