Know Who & What You Text
#1: Do you use SMS ShortCode programs for blasting text messages out to a long list of mobile phone numbers (used for mass marketing specials, contests, etc.)?
While they can be effective, they’re probably the most heavily regulated type of texting. It’s also the type that got the Lithia group in big trouble a few years back, resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement. You may want to hit pause until checking with your vendor and attorney.
#2: Do you (or others at your dealership) text with customers?
If your employees text on behalf of the dealership from their personal cell numbers, you have a problem. You likely have no idea how employees got customers’ numbers and no record of their written consent to be texted. You also probably have no transcripts of the conversations and no control over opt-out messages. So while your dealership needed a system to manage and control one-to-one text messaging before the new TCPA regulations the need is truly urgent now.
#3: Do you have a process for gaining a customer’s express written consent to text?
It’s one of the new regulations as regards SMS text marketing, but it’s smart to apply it to any texting. So make it part of the process when capturing lead information. Keep a record of that written permission too, in case the customer challenges your dealership somewhere down the road.
#4: Do you tell customers that “message & data rates may apply” when they text with you?
Even if they aren’t signing up for text marketing, this is a best practice.
#5: Do you offer clear ways to opt out?
If marketing, you should include it in every message. If texting back and forth with customers (like about setting appointments), you should send it in the very first confirmation text message
#6: Do you have a process for those who opt out?
Ensure that no one at your dealership texts them again by mistake.
#7: Do you already use a vendor to help manage your dealership’s one-to-one text messaging?
See if your vendor is up to date on the latest TCPA details. Then, make sure their system integrates mobile leads into your CRM, includes opt-out procedures, and lets you monitor and track the conversations so you can ensure these texts are used the right way…to provide information and customer service, not unrelated marketing.
Keep on Texting!
Think that texting just isn’t worth this extra effort? Think again. Texts sent to your customers bypass clutter and get read—Adtruth says that people check their smartphones 150 times a day. And it’s in our interest to keep it that way. So while any rules change can be annoying, these TCPA changes can help prevent spammers from diluting a powerful communication channel.
Visit ContactAtOnce! to learn more about ensuring compliance!