Today, we will talk about the four elements of a successful dealership texting solution but, more importantly, how to implement one at your dealership. COVID-19 is ushering a real need for conversational commerce as sales continue to shift further online with Digital Retailing. Today we will break down a few elements you need to have to make it work for you and your customers at the dealership.
Let’s first start with the reality that many dealerships struggle with organized texting as an additional channel to connect and communicate with potential shoppers. Yet the data shows that texting has enormous benefits. 95% of messages are read within 3 minutes compared to the dismal open rate of email at just 20%. Consumer preferences are changing, and it is time to meet the shopper where and how they want to engage the dealership. If you already have an automotive texting platform, that is a significant first step, but it will take more than just checking the box to drive real dealership revenue.
Suppose you don’t have a solution already in place or aren’t sure if the one you have is the right one for your dealership needs. Ask yourself these couple questions.
Is all of your customer messaging being completed using a safe and compliant automotive texting solution?
TCPA laws are essential to follow, yet many dealerships are operating outside of compliance with their sales team members texting from their personal smartphones instead of a platform with opt-in and out functionality. Another thing is ensuring your shoppers are opt-ing into the conversation and keeping a list of them for future audit reference. Also, remember your shopper needs to reply; otherwise, you have not met TCPA compliance. Continuing to send text messages through automated platforms to shoppers that aren’t opt-in and verified can put your dealership at risk. Your initial messaging to the shopper needs to have all the compliance pieces in place to be considered TCPA compliant. Check any messages going out of the system you are using.
What tools does your texting platform provide?
We have entered a world that requires fast, content-rich text responses to shoppers, including inventory, Carfax results, Monroney labels, emoji, pictures, videos, or even GIFs to keep your shopper engaged. Conversational commerce is about engaging your shoppers and walking them through a digital process, moving them closer to a sales transaction. At 360Converge, we believe we are going to see a flurry of new tools for your sales team to leverage to keep shoppers informed and engaged in the automotive purchasing process while speeding up the process of completing an automotive purchase all while delivering an outstanding consumer experience.
Is your automotive texting solution simple for your team to switch from texting on the desk to a mobile environment without losing anything?
We live in a world that our sales team is mostly on the go, and the need for messaging to be anyplace your team is while providing the critical tools needed to keep the shopper engaged. Technology is good, but what makes it great is ensuring adoption at your dealership. This means you need an easy to use tool that aligns with your team’s existing habits. If your technology forces massive processes changes or has limited functionality, your team will most likely revert to current habits of using their personal phone, which takes your dealership out of compliance and any insight into how effective your dealership follow up is going.
Another issue we see with dealerships attempting to use texting more at the dealerships is an effective solution for routing text messages to the proper salespeople. You want to put your best people right into the action to respond to the shopper and quickly share the appropriate information. Nothing is worse than shopper’s messages sitting in the CRM waiting to have responses sent.
Are you having a hard time getting your team to use a solution?
If you have sold cars for longer than five years, most likely it was trained into you over and over that email and phone are the core ways to engage Internet leads and set appointments. This was true but has quickly evolved as consumer shopping has also changed to continue to feel more in control during the process. Texting has now become a critical consumer channel for lead development and, ultimately for Digital Retailing. Automotive shoppers don’t care about channels. They care about getting their questions answered, and automotive texting is the fastest way to engage shoppers.
An interesting discovery at 360Converge has been a general fear of texting amongst the dealership staff. This is a common fear that we have seen with automotive salespeople when they attempt to use something new or are unsure of the best way to use it. We have seen salespeople default to email the shopper instead of missing a huge opportunity to connect faster and provide a real-time conversation instead of relying on email, which can get caught in SPAM traps or worse is never even opened. This comes down to giving your team an easy to use yet powerful system that helps them become confident and deliver results in more appointments and dealership sales.
Automotive texting at the dealership should be a cornerstone of your sales process. You will quickly see the results when you commit to meeting your shoppers when and where they want to communicate instead of relying on just the old forms of communication via phone and email.
In conclusion, take the time to review your current texting plan and see if you need to upgrade or improve your existing solution to engage more shoppers and deliver more sales. Especially now in the age of COVID-19, meeting your shoppers using collaboration is the way to grow your sales and achieve better experiences.