Dealerships need to embrace mobile technology to stay ahead of the competition
It’s become obvious that technology and mobile applications are running the world, and more importantly, the way businesses and consumers interact.
Consumers have grown to expect and rely on the instantaneous results and convenience of digital technology. Things have been drastically changing in the last decade in areas such as retail, the food industry, real estate and business. Now it’s time for the automotive world to catch up.
Stay ahead of the competition
In order to stay ahead of the competition, dealerships today need to fully embrace new innovations and adapt older processes to include these technologies. One of the most harmful phrases in business is “We’ve always done it this way.” Today’s rapidly changing business world is not the place for resistance. It's not productive to keep using old processes that have always worked ‘just fine’.
Dealerships need to graduate from some of the more antiquated processes that hold them back from improvement and modernization. How do you know if your dealership is stuck in the past? If your dealership still has dry erase boards with current sales pricing, out of date wall posters in service, is leaving voicemails that don’t get heard or calling around the dealership to see who needs a shuttle (to name a few), then you are guilty as charged.
Modernize with mobile technology
Modernizing your processes is the first step to building a better dealership. And building a better dealership means building a better customer experience. Embracing digital technology and mobile solutions will get your dealership to that level. Here are some common areas of frustration and delay at a dealership that can greatly be improved with new technology:
THE CHECK IN. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Welcome and inform your customers as soon as they enter your dealership with branded Appointment screens identifying their appointment time and assigned Advisor. Educate and help upsell your current specials with appropriate videos and promotional marketing on digital screens.
COMMUNICATION. Keep your customers in the loop throughout their service with text alerts for appointment reminders, progress of their vehicle or unforeseen repair issues. Give customers a quick and direct line of communication to their Advisor with text messaging to address any questions or concerns they may have.
SALES OPPORTUNITIES. Your sales team can receive details about customers regarding possible trade in or appraisal opportunities. Digital screens can display Pre-owned vehicle inventory to catch the attention of customers in the dealership.
TRANSPORTATION. Imagine knowing at all times where your Shuttle or loaner vehicles are. With the right technology you can provide scheduling and management of your transportation vehicles and loaner fleets to keep all staff informed and organized. Keep customers in the loop about their transportation requests with text confirmations and links to track shuttle location and arrival details.
THE CHECK OUT. Decrease wait times and frustration at the cashier’s window by providing a mobile payment option. Allow customers to pay quickly, securely and conveniently ahead of time, and from any location. Give customers the ability to safely provide deposits or payments for parts, vehicles or warranties without having to come down to the dealership or give out credit information.
BEFORE OR AFTER HOURS. Not every customer is able to work within your hours. Your dealership can provide convenient and secure before and after hours drop off and pick up kiosks. No more guessing what keys go with which vehicle. Customers can input specific details regarding their service needs to reduce delays in starting repairs.
Many new technologies to choose from
As you can see, there is a whole new world of technologies. Technology that can help increase productivity and customer service. Dealerships who embrace these digital and mobile technologies can improve in two major areas. First, it will make all of your dealership processes run more efficiently and profitably. Second, it will drastically improve the customer experience and let your customers know that your dealership is forward thinking.
Investing in your customers and improving their experiences with your dealership will ultimately benefit customer retention and loyalty across all your dealership departments. And that is a very good reason to embrace the digital and mobile future!
Ask yourself these 2 simple questions
In today’s technology-driven age, there seems to be a disconnect between how individuals communicate with each other and how businesses communicate with their customers. Can you guess what one of the biggest differences is? The answer is text messaging. If you’re like most people, the majority of your quick conversations with friends and family are via text message.
With 98% of smartphone owners using text messages on a regular basis, it’s very surprising to see that only 14 percent of businesses regularly use text messaging to communicate to their customers. Not surprisingly, a recent survey revealed that nearly 90 percent of consumers want to communicate with businesses via text.
Text messaging creates an opportunity for dealerships to share relevant information quickly with their customers. Communicating by text also differentiates dealerships by providing a direct two-way channel to drive added service upgrades, assist with sales increases and improve overall customer experiences.
Here are two key questions that dealerships should consider when evaluating whether to include text messaging in their customer communications.
1. Am I engaging with customers in their preferred method?
When asked which communications channel they preferred to use when engaging with a business, an overwhelming majority of consumers surveyed cited a preference for text messaging over other methods like email or voice/phone interactions. Text messaging was seen as being both more relevant and timely than email. Respondents noted they only opened roughly 25 percent of the emails they received from businesses, versus opening 90 percent of their text messages received from businesses.
Dealerships that still rely on email or voicemail to get time-sensitive information and offers to customers are falling behind and are not being heard. Consumers increasingly depend on and demand messaging services that let them interact with businesses in a fast and convenient manner.
2. What impact can text messaging have on my dealership?
There are a number of cases to be made for introducing text messaging into your dealership. Here are some important factors:
Sending appointment reminders by text can help cut down on no-show rates and late appointment cancellations, which can often have the single biggest effect on lost revenues. Not being able to adequately prepare for appointments coming in can also lead to staffing inefficiencies and overall operational performance challenges.
Texting can improve customer satisfaction and overall service experience by providing accurate ETA windows and real-time updates and delivery notifications. Giving your customers a direct line to communicate with their service advisor will provide a level of transparency and trust that your customers are looking for.
Providing images via text message can drastically increase your turn around time for repair authorization. People respond to visual elements, so being able to show what parts needs to be replaced or serviced far exceeds the impact of explaining it over the phone.
Post service follow ups are a powerful way to harness immediate feedback from your customers. Dealerships can send messages or short survey questions and receive a higher response rate and respond to any customer concerns or problems that may come up in real-time.
Time to make the change
Dealerships of all sizes are beginning to see the benefits of incorporating text messaging into their communication services and are finding that the transition is not a painful or difficult process, but a rewarding one. Those choosing not to support text messaging are not listening to their current customers and closing the door on potential customers who are actively seeking engagement and an increased level of customer service. As a result, these dealerships are inconveniencing customers and ignoring opportunities to build their brands, as well as falling behind in keeping up with their competition.
Find out more about autoTEXT by VenueVision and the benefits this powerful, centralized texting tool can provide to your Dealership.
Providing a Texting Solution can help your Service Advisors with unnecessary daily challenges
Your Service Advisors are part of the life blood of your Service Department. They are generally the first line of communication with your Service customers, and are expected to keep your customers informed and happy. Not to mention also being able to recommend additional services when needed and help increase the overall Service Department ROI.
Yet, every day, your busy Service Advisors are faced with a multitude of challenges that prevent them from fulfilling all of these duties to their best ability. Some of these daily challenges are:
- keeping customers informed throughout their repair process
- not being able to quickly reach a customer if they need a quick response
- missing customer calls if they have to step away from their desk
- not being able to easily inform customers of any unexpected or additional work that may come up
- dealing with inconvenienced or frustrated customers and customer complaints
Texting can address these challenges
Overcome all of these challenges by implementing a texting solution that all of your advisors can seamlessly use.
A texting platform will keep your customers informed throughout the entire repair process — from Service Reminder to check in, and service completion to Service Follow ups. Don’t get stuck playing phone tag or leaving voice messages that go unheard. Customers find it hard to take a phone call or check email if they are in meetings or hard at work. But they will be able to check a quick text message — 98% of the time to be exact! Over 98% of text messages are read, and 95% of those are read within 3 minutes. If you’re needing a quick response from our customer, texting is your best option.
Texting works both ways. If your customer has a quick question or note, they can easily reach you by texting you directly. You won’t miss their phone call. And they won’t get stuck on hold or routed to the wrong Advisor. With the addition of a texting platform, your advisors voice message inbox will decrease significantly! If unexpected repairs are needed, what better way to inform your customer then by sending a picture directly to their phone. Advisors can send images or videos of the damaged part or area that requires repair to let the customer instantly see what is needed. As the saying goes, ‘Seeing is believing’. This will allow them to make a timely decision and provide that needed repair approval to go ahead.
Additional benefits of adopting a texting platform
On top of relieving all of these above noted challenges, a texting solution also:
- saves advisors time by reducing the number of voicemails that they would need to send or check
- creates trust and customer satisfaction with the ability to provide frequent communication and transparency
- helps your dealership service more cars and service them faster as it significantly speeds up on hold time and turn around for customer approvals
- increases Service Department ROI for additional required work. Customers are more visual. The ability to send images instantly provides more confidence and trust then a verbal phone conversation would provide.
With texting, Advisors can provide that extra level of customer service greatly needed in today’s fast-past industry. Staying current and competitive is an absolute must! Integrating an effective texting solution will both reduce your Service Advisor’s frustration levels, making them a more productive and positive employee, AND increase your customer’s overall satisfaction and service experience. Now that’s a win-win for everyone!
VenueVision’s autoTEXT solution is designed specifically to address all of these Service Department challenges and more. If you’re looking to improve your overall communication and provide a greater level of Customer Service, contact VenueVision for a demo to see how autoTEXT can improve your Service Department.
It’s no new revelation — in today’s modern world the average person looks at their cell phone 46 times during the day. And that number is probably on the low end for a lot of busy people. Texting has quickly become the platform that people across all generations are accustomed to and comfortable with. Isn’t it time that you reach your customers where they want to be reached?
Nearly 90 percent of consumers prefer communicating via text messaging, but unfortunately only 48 percent of business currently offer text messaging services. Texting is the new standard for customer communication. If your dealership is not currently offering texting to your customers, you could be losing them to the competition.
Texting is a fast, effective way for service departments to communicate, receive faster approvals (and in turn, shorten the vehicle repair cycle), enhance customer satisfaction and shop productivity, and increase customer loyalty and retention. When used properly, it can even help you sell more services and repairs to mobile customers. It’s no secret that service retention is critical to dealership profitability. In turn, being able to provide enhanced customer service experiences will help generate long-term loyalty and customer revenue.
Texting can keep your Service Department current and competitive
VenueVision’s autoTEXT is an innovative text messaging tool for the automotive industry. Simplifying communication with customers and shortening the vehicle repair cycle, autoTEXT can increase your service department’s profitability and enhances your overall customer service experiences. And when combined with real-time DMS Integration it can be even more powerful. It can save your service advisor time as it allows them to pull up customer information details. The Dynamic Repair Status Link, unique to autoTEXT, provides your customers a direct real-time link to the repair status of their vehicle. Integration provides the ability to automatically text your customers at certain intervals throughout the service repair process. autoTEXT makes sure nothing is ever forgotten or overlooked. And with instant desktop and email alert notifications, your team will know immediately when a customer messages your dealership so you will never miss a message.
Top 10 benefits that autoTEXT can provide:
- Send automatic, personalized text messages to remind your customers about their upcoming service appointments, seasonal specials or manufacturer recalls.
- Send notifications about additional work needed, accompanied with images or quotes
- Receive faster approvals from busy customers, which will speed up your service repair times and free up your service bays
- Increase overall customer service experience with providing fast communication that works with your customer’s busy day when it is difficult to take phone calls or check emails
- Customer can directly text their Service Advisor for updates and questions and have a full 2-way text conversation
- Text customers to let them know their vehicle is complete and provide payment options
- Send follow up messages to thank customers for their business and provide short surveys to collect customer feedback
- All text conversations are date and time stamped and full conversation history is available to view, print or download
- Eliminate costly cell phone plans and purchase of work devices, autoTEXT is web-based and can be accessed on any desktop, tablet or mobile device
- Full transparency into conversations between all employees and customers to ensure optimum customer service
VenueVision, which provides high-impact, real-time digital media solutions to automotive dealerships, has just launched autoTEXT – a centralized texting solution that lets staff seamlessly connect with their customers, regardless of their Dealer Management System (DMS). This enables dealers to improve communication and service department productivity through more efficient and faster messaging.
Increasingly, customers don’t want phone calls. They want texts. According to J.D. Power’s Customer Service Index, 27% of customers with mass market brand vehicles, 42% of premium brand customers and 41% of younger customers want to communicate by text.
With autoTEXT, dealers don’t have to rely solely on staff mobile phones and costly cellular plans to communicate with customers. With autoTEXT, everyone has access to a centralized desktop system that sends and receives texts. Dealers can set a single number – or different numbers for each department – to manage texts from one place. Customers can text to request appointments or ask questions. Dealership staff can send service status updates, get repair authorizations, notify on service completions with payment options and more. Not only does the system streamline communication, it eliminates the cost of individual mobile phones and wireless plans.
TEXTING BUILDS RETENTION
Texting doesn’t just make communication better – it builds retention. In the J.D. Power study, only half of the customers contacted by phone said they would return. For those who received texts, that rate jumped to two-thirds.
“Poor customer communication remains the biggest obstacle for dealerships to overcome,” says Dave Hooper, President of VenueVision. “By improving the service experience, dealerships will also improve shop productivity exponentially and get full visibility on customer communications – this is a win-win for dealerships.”
Texts take a lot less time than repeated calls, phone conversations and voice mails. And it doesn’t just benefit service departments. Parts departments can use autoTEXT to notify on special order parts arrivals, and sales departments can create and confirm sales appointments or test drives, follow up with customer and answer questions.
autoTEXT packages start at $139/month per store, and are available to dealerships in Canada and the United States. Packages for unlimited users, unlimited data and optional payment capabilities through Mobile Cashier are also available. To start a trial or sign up for the starter package, visit http://www3.venuevision.com/automotive-solutions/autoTEXT. Dealers can try the 7-day trial by enrolling online and be up and running by the next business day.