Communication Is Key
All forms of communication with customers can be useful but nothing beats text messaging. Customers are consistently more interested in messaging that is mobile and nothing is better than texting. Texts are short and reach people instantly. This makes it preferable to email, even though both can be received in any location through a mobile device.
So, why is an SMS message preferred beyond the fact that it’s short? Text isn’t as commonly known to be used for spam. At one time, the same was said of email but that is no longer the case. When someone opens their email inbox, in most cases, it’s filled with advertisements and spam messages. The emails that customers receive that matter are a small percentage. And some of them don’t even get seen.
Customers respond to text better because it’s viewed as an authentic form of communication. They also see text messages faster. Studies show that people, in general, will see an respond to text messages within three minutes. Have you ever been in a meeting and received a text message and read it… while still in the meeting? This is important to be aware of as a dealer. You should be utilizing text to communicate with customers. However, there’s more to the process than just “text customers.” You need to make sure you do it the right way, so you get responses and not just have a customer tap the delete button.
Most dealership employees enjoy having a quick button to press to send out text messages. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can be done all day, every day. The problem is that shooting out constant text messages may cause customers to stop reading them. It’s important to be strategic with your marketing, whether you’re using text, email, phone calls, or online methods.
The good news is that the FCC has put rules and regulations into place that have stopped many of the frustrating text blasts that customers do not enjoy. Since SMS was never allowed to reach the spam levels of email, customers still check their phones when an SMS message comes in. But if it’s not relevant and doesn’t answer their questions, they WILL respond with the dreaded “STOP” reply. And your most effective way of engagement just went up in flames.
When you offer relevant information, text is an excellent way to have a two-way conversation with people who might step into your business and add to your revenue. Another method for that is chat.
However, one of the issues is that many dealers do not have a way to respond to chat via phone that isn’t hard to use or difficult to navigate. This is another area where PSX excels by making chat an extension of your text program.
Many dealership salespeople spend most of their time in the office but, it can be cumbersome to handle all the activities that require someone to be at a desk. It’s essential to utilize technology that lets you receive chat messages as texts so they can be responded to immediately.
Do You Have The Right Tech?
The right technology solution can help you with chat, emails, phone calls, texts, and everything else that you need. However, it’s important to consider whether the solution you chose to use is giving you the functionality that matters.
Having a customer’s mobile number is now the goal, much like email is. Think about the fact that most people get around 150 emails a day. When you dig down into all of that, most of it is going to be nothing but spam to the customer. Sending your communication by email is a good way to ensure it isn’t seen. Using email isn’t out of bounds but it shouldn’t be the priority.
When you think about engagement metrics, the best and first way to speak with a lead is by phone call. However, there are numbers to be aware of here. Back in 2017, first connection rates by phone were at 74%. In 2021, that number had dropped to 66%. Email has seen similar drops. It was at 27% in 2017 and has now hit 13% as of 2021.
What Makes Text Different?
So, what makes text different? All you need to do is look at the numbers. In 2017, the average connection rate was as low as 36% but, since then, it has jumped a huge amount to 63%. In a few years, this number could easily surpass the 2017 numbers for phone calls and keep climbing.
For instance, think about how often you answer a call from a number you aren’t familiar with. A lot of people do not answer when the number is new. They look at their phone, see the number, and let it go to voicemail. While you can leave a message for them to listen to later, many people never listen to it. And with today’s technology, many cell phone carriers will identify the call as “potential spam” or even silence the call altogether.
Now that you see the benefits of text, remember that connecting with customers should take place on multiple channels. You can start the process by making a phone call and seeing if someone answers. Then you move to text and follow up with an email. This can lead to a 94% delivered message rate, which would be impossible if you had a different process.
Looking at the average CRM again, many of these engagements aren’t noted and tracked. When someone calls in, that likely isn’t being tracked. But depending on how salespeople call back, that may or may not be the case. Texting, which often occurs from an salesperson’s personal cell phone, never make it into the CRM leaving management blind. Email may or may not be a part of the CRM if a salesperson is responding via their cell phone so tracking that can be problematic too.
If you use this type of technology, all the things done outside of it need to be added to the CRM at some later time. Important information may never be recorded for use in the future. When that is the case, success of capturing the sale can be challenging or even impossible. A technology solution that can track and record every engagement with a customer is essential. If you’re using software that was made far in the past, it might be time to make a change.
Some solutions don’t have text, email, or even phone functionality depending on the provider. Others have added things on but aren’t as full featured as modern options. It’s important to factor in all conversion methods, something that is brought to the table by PSX. It’s not seen as an afterthought; it’s considered of utmost importance and a necessity.
Be open to changing technology solutions and your processes, and you will likely see some positive effects. Keep in mind that things constantly change, especially in the technology realm, so stay on top of what’s happening, and you’ll be ready for whatever the future brings to you.