By Jack Simmons
“Dealers sometimes don’t realize they can ask to text message customers, and they’re missing out on a huge opportunity,” shared Jack Simmons, Cars.com Dealer Training Manager. “If we get a phone call during a meeting or an email while spending time with friends or family, most of us aren’t going to answer it right away. But if we get a text, are we likely to look at it and even reply immediately? You bet.”
Even with consumers sending approximately 2.3 trillion text messages a year, many dealerships still wrestle with how to effectively use SMS as part of their customer follow-up process.
These guidelines and best practices can help serve as a framework for incorporating text into your customer contact strategy.
Ask before you text
• Before bombarding prospects and service customers with text messages, be sure to ask for consent.
• “By simply asking customers, ‘what smart-device is best for me to reach you on?’ you can casually get permission to send photos, video and text,” shared Simmons. “It’s that easy.”
• A good rule of thumb is to stop texting if the customer asks or is unresponsive to more than 3–5 messages, though laws in your area may vary – be sure to check that your dealership is in compliance.
Get them in the door with video
• Before hanging up with new prospects on the phone, ask if they’re calling from a smartphone. If they are, ask permission to send a short video-walk around after the call. Then, using your own smartphone, head out to the lot and take a short video (30 seconds is great) that quickly highlights key vehicle features to encourage the shopper to come in to learn more.
“A quick text that says, ‘watch this video’ helps the potential customer connect with the vehicle in way that’s incredibly convenient for them,” add Simmons. “You can almost guarantee they’ll watch it too.”
Read the entire article by Jack Simmons, Dealer Training Manager at Cars.com.