Improve Follow-Up Response Rates With Text Messaging
By Aaron Hassen
Live chat and mobile text have often been noted for their marketing and lead generation benefits, connecting dealerships with otherwise anonymous online shoppers. But did you know that they can also be used to complete more follow-up?
How Texting Benefits Follow-Up
Emails and voicemails (the usual follow-up methods) are easily ignored. It’s one of the more frustrating aspects of sales in general: Chasing down leads with messages you’re never quite sure they notice. Using dealer text may help bring more attention to your message faster. After all, Nielsen’s 2013 Mobile Consumer Report says that the average mobile user sends/receives 764.2 texts per month, compared to 164.5 calls. Plus, 97% read a text message within 15 minutes; 84% respond in an hour.
And consider this: The type of people who prefer to chat with dealerships at the beginning may prefer texting later in the relationship. It’s less intrusive and time-consuming than a phone call; faster and more noticeable than email…in other words, a win-win.
Live Chat Can Play a Role, Too
While live chat is best used to encourage initial contact and answer online shoppers’ questions, it can play a role in getting follow-up started. One could ask the chatting shopper if he’d like to be texted more information, a picture of the vehicle he’s interested in, etc.
Contact At Once! chat software can also work in conjunction with Mobile Text Connect, the Contact At Once! texting solution. For example, this software recognizes when a mobile number is used in a chat conversation (and inbound phone calls) and will notify the dealership’s personnel. That conversation can then be extended to a text.
Sounds Good, But Can It Help Sell Cars?
When dealerships have the right software and process in place, text follow-up has helped them sell more cars and build up customer relationships. Contact At Once! recently followed one such text conversation over 19 days.
When a salesperson (from Day Apollo Volkswagen Subaru in Pennsylvania) received no response to a follow-up email, she reached out via their texting software, asking if text was a better way to communicate. The customer responded the same day, and the salesperson was able to share new incentives, schedule a sales appointment, even explain how to get an option installed and schedule a service appointment after the sale.
The Perfect Combo: Smart Software & Service-Oriented Team
Choosing the right software and deciding how to implement text in your follow-up process will naturally differ for most dealerships. Here are a couple of points to keep in mind, though:
- Find software that provides the proper compliance and control pop over here. Sending texts can cause you more pain than gain if you’re not careful. So choose software that automates certain aspects like tracking text conversations (so you know what’s really being said), saving data in your CRM and keeping you compliant with privacy regulations (including giving consumers the ability to opt out of texting).
- Encourage your team to text with the customer experience in mind. When you text customers, you might continue a conversation over several days (or longer!). It’s the perfect opportunity to build a stronger relationship by not only answering follow-up questions, but also sending pictures or videos, offering advice and anything else you can do to make the dealership experience easy and enjoyable. (Cars.com offers additional suggestions.)
Making it easy for shoppers to communicate with your dealership has always been important. We’ve seen the benefit of doing so through the addition of live chat (increasing sales conversations by 25% or more). Texting may be the next best step for you to extend those conversations.