Why you Should be Utilizing SMS/Texting, But Be Careful!

By Christopher Leedom

A dealer recently asked me what is the next “hottest thing” for independent auto dealers. I did not even have to hesitate when I answered “texting products and how you use them to interact with your existing and prospective customers.”

I have spent the past two years studying texting and how it can be properly utilized in a dealership environment. I have seen examples of the good the bad and the ugly. I know of dealers that have settled law suits based on violations of compliance issues related to texting. There is no question texting is how you efficiently reach customers today. When surveyed, over 80 percent of Americans would prefer to respond to a text message versus a phone call. So how do you implement and utilize this powerful tool to drive business and improve the profitability of your dealership?

Step one is to insure that you utilize a compliant product for your texting activity. Generally, this activity falls in to two key areas – communicating with your existing customers and marketing and promotion. There are slightly different requirements for these separate usages. For instance, I may be a BHPH customer and want automated reminders but not mass broadcast marketing info like specials on inventory or service. Conversely I may be a prospect on the lot that simply says “text me when you get more SUVs”. That requires a different type of consent. I am not going to attempt to summarize all of the compliance requirements and nuances of texting activity in this article. What I will do though is offer a white paper we authored on text messaging guidance that is based on hours of research and consultation with the leading experts and legal minds in the industry. If you would like that white paper you may visit www.textmaxxpro.com or email us at info@textmaxxpro.com for a copy.

What I will tell you is that once you understand the compliance issues and you have a product to use the possibilities are endless. Given that 93% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes think about how you can instantly communicate, without the restraints of a phone call or voice message, with your customer. Our data shows that, hands down, BHPH customers will resolve delinquency issues and communicate about an account via text tenfold times more frequently than a traditional collection call. What does this mean? You interact with your customer in a much more convenient way and your portfolio ultimately should perform better. We believe that within 5 years, texting will be your primary means of collecting payments vs. making phone calls.

Think about that retail customer who you can communicate an instant approval to as soon as you know it, thus having a chance to take them out of the market. Or that appointment reminder you can send from a BDC or salesperson that drives up your show percentage for appointments. Again, the possibilities are endless.

Chances are your employees are already using texting in your business, whether in collections or sales. But what happens when that employee leaves and you no longer have access to the device that was utilized for texting? Bottom line – they take your entire customer base they have been communicating with via text with them. Not so good! I suggest a policy of “no personal devices are used for texting with our customers for any reason.” This makes sense for a whole host of reasons and should be part of your electronic communications policy. By utilizing a texting program that you control you have all of the history of activity and record keeping that you need. You also must retain this communication information for a specific period of time.

Our TextMaxx Pro product is one way you can solve all of these issues. It is based on over two years of research as to how you maximize the use of SMS/texting in an auto dealer environment. After all, that is what our group is known for – best in class solutions for auto dealers. If you would like more information or a copy of the white paper providing guidance visit www.textmaxxpro.com or call or text “MIADA” to us at 866.367.6889. We would be happy to show you a demo of the product and get you started With the MIADA code we will give you 1,000 free texts and discounted package pricing. n