Customer-Centric Strategy by Dominique Conti

Autosphere » Dealerships » Customer-Centric Strategy by Dominique Conti
Business texting; customer experience; reputation;
Already, car dealership franchises and independent dealers are looking for new ways to digitalize their marketing, sales, and service to enhance the overall customer experience—and get their bottom lines back on track. PHOTO Jérôme Gagné

Discover how business text messaging can help car dealerships build an online reputation, increase sales, and improve customer retention.

As foot traffic came to a halt earlier this year due to the ongoing pandemic and slow reopening of businesses, car dealerships have literally had to change how they market, sell, and service vehicles.

Business text messaging has proven to be an effective and efficient solution to build a dealership’s online reputation, increase sales, and improve customer retention.

Now, more than ever before, car dealerships must focus their efforts on boosting consumer confidence during a time of economic uncertainty.

Already, car dealership franchises and independent dealers are looking for new ways to digitalize their marketing, sales, and service to enhance the overall customer experience—and get their bottom lines back on track.

One way digital is transforming car dealership operations is through business text messaging. Building a customer-centric business, especially in today’s hyper-accelerated world, means answering customer requests as quickly as possible.

Whether you like it or not, they will judge your service on how fast they get answered.

Text messaging offers you an easy way to provide the level of service responsiveness customers expect. If a customer texts you a question, be sure to answer promptly. If the feedback comes in—either positive or negative—be sure to address it.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways business text messaging is changing the buyer’s journey within car dealerships.

Manage your online reputation

As car dealerships are increasingly noticing, car buyers don’t start at the dealership anymore. Whether researching for a new or used vehicle, trying to find answers to the issues they are having with their cars, or shopping for the best dealerships in their areas, buyers start online.

In particular, user reviews on third-party sites and social media are providing the social proof consumers need on whether to set foot into one dealership versus another.

How can a car dealership garner more positive online reviews? Imagine asking customers who have just bought a vehicle or had their car serviced for a review via text message.

Rather than use cumbersome—and often late-in-the-game—surveys, dealerships can automatically text customers once they leave, asking for a positive review on a Google or Facebook Business Profile or neutral website that features reviews about auto brands and dealers.

Communicate efficiently

There are many ways business text messaging can help a dealership communicate more efficiently with customers.

For example, when you anticipate your customers’ needs, a smart text messaging platform will give you the ability to send targeted campaigns to your customers, encouraging them to book appointments and come in for a recall, preventative maintenance, a warranty about to expire, oil change, etc.

Seasonal or timely promotions can also be seamlessly configured and sent via text-based on customer history, segmentation, and other customizable parameters.

In addition, you can simplify your appointment booking and management processes thanks to text messages.

Use texts to incite customers to book their regular maintenance and send gentle reminders so that they don’t forget to show up and take advantage of your complimentary shuttle, valet, or courtesy vehicle services.

Build trust

Business text messaging is a viable way to earn and build trust with your clientele; after all, texting using their personal cell phones ensures closer relationships with your customers. With text messages, you can send pictures of parts to be changed or share short videos of major repairs being carried out on a maintenance customer’s vehicle.

What’s more: digital inspection reports can be sent so that customers feel confident they received the appropriate level of service.

In these unprecedented times, it is also important to keep customers informed regarding the measures you are taking to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Proactively send text messages to let them know about changes to service hours, how you have reconfigured your dealership’s layout to keep people safe, sanitary measures, the addition of hand sanitizers, the addition of mobile payment options, etc.

It stands to reason that there is also considerable fear associated with surface contamination. Add surface disinfection to your vehicle-preparation workflows and send photos or videos of your employees disinfecting vehicles’ passenger compartments via your texting platform.

Offer contactless services

Contactless services are the new norm—and helping car dealership staff and customers practice safe physical distancing in these difficult times is a must.

Service staff can send images and videos via text to customers to get remote approval of work to be conducted; images and videos also mitigate any misunderstandings between your dealership and customers.

A text messaging platform enables you to make your customers’ payment experience easier and safer by sending payment requests via text from ongoing conversations.

Offer your customers the opportunity to view and pay their invoices from their own mobile phones, without having to touch your POS terminals.

When contactless mobile payments are conducted remotely or just before vehicle pick-up on-site, they mitigate unnecessary queues at the checkout and keep service foot traffic flowing optimally—and safely.

Text messaging is good for business

The right business text messaging platform can add significant value to a dealership’s touchpoints with customers as well as streamline operations.

Developing a sound business texting strategy will help a dealership enjoy a better online reputation, maintain—if not increase—its customer base—and slash unnecessary costs due to service no-shows or inefficient service workflows.


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