Dealers, Take Note: 89% of Customers Prefer Texting

During the pandemic, we have seen an uptick in equipment purchases, and with that comes an increased demand in service departments.

This can be a good thing, especially during slower months, but many dealers are now complaining about slower response times from customers, and a backlog in equipment being worked on.

According to a recent study, more than 88% of dealers said that they need to save time and be more efficient in their service department. Around 61% of dealers said that saving time in parts and service was their big focus on 2022.

One of the main issues we are seeing so far is centered around communication between customer and dealer.

New data shows that 89% of customers prefer to have businesses send a text rather than call. This is a trend that has been growing through the pandemic. Customers want simple and direct responses to get what they want.

We also found that 98% of all text messages sent to customers are opened, and customers are seven times more likely to text you back after getting a text, than call back after getting a voicemail. This means dealers don’t need to play phone tag with customers anymore, they can text and get a response within minutes.

Make sure you don’t wait for the customer to reach out to you. Send customers a quick text with updates even if they aren’t asking for it. Tell them what you are working on, and maybe tell them what they can do to improve their equipment.

This will significantly cut down on time in service departments. If you need approval to fix something, send the customer a text with an update. You will get a quick response, rather than waiting for the customer to call you back or return a voicemail.

In recent months, we found 95% percent of all text messages are responded to within 3 minutes. No waiting around. You can get approval, get to work, and get the customer out the door.

In addition to getting approval for fixes, dealers need to have a quick and easy plan in place to allow customers to pre-pay or set up a time to come get their equipment. During the pandemic, we saw that customers do not want to wait around in-person. They want to stay distant, get updates, and limit interactions.

In the data we collected from dealers, we have seen a four-fold increase in text-to-pay in just the past year. We are also seeing some dealers running 80% of their parts and service payments through text-to-pay.

One of the key things to remember is to make the customer feel like they are part of the team. Anyone in the service department can send reminders, pictures, and videos showing what’s being worked on to let the customer experience what is being done first-hand.

If you somehow get into a lull and are looking to increase traffic in your service department, there are some simple things you can do to get things moving, and it doesn’t need to center around cold calling.

Text everyone who has bought from you in the last three years. You can set up automated reminders through any texting platform, so you don’t have to call. You can also space out these reminders to keep things flowing at a good pace in your service department during slower months.

Have a plan in place to ensure things keep moving. Make sure you keep track of who has come through your service department in recent weeks, who you have sold to, and who you are trying to target to the work flowing.

KenectKeep in mind, customers want to be texted. Phone calls just won’t cut it anymore. The pandemic has changed the way service departments operate, not just in-house, but for customers as well. Make sure you are meeting the customers in the platforms they are getting used to so you can keep communication clear, and service departments operating fully.

Ben Leighton is a Content Marketing Specialist with Kenect, a provider of simple texting tools to connect businesses with their customers. 

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