Texting tips: Engage with your customers

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.

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