One of the biggest complaints in our industry is, “No one ever called me.” Most service managers hear this at least once a day. After you have established that a call was actually made, you may hear, “I never listen to my voicemails anymore, so I didn’t get your message.” The client, however, is still mad because somehow it’s your fault they didn’t receive your communication.
What if your advisors sent a short, yet effective text? Pew Research studies have found more than 55 percent of Americans prefer texting to emails or phone calls, and 90 percent of text messages are read in less than three minutes after sending. This alone is reason enough to use text messaging as a primary form of communication with your guests. But have you ever thought about the increases you could get in customer satisfaction and production? Yes, I said production. Think about how much more efficient your advisors and technicians could be by getting immediate responses. Think about how much more satisfied your customers will be with an immediate notification of a diagnosis or completion.
If you have a text system in place, you still can’t afford to get complacent. Many dealerships have the ability to text through software, but they never trained their employees on how to use it effectively. First let’s get a clear understanding of why texting has become so critical to your client communications.
The Dopamine Effect
Dopamine is a neurochemical that gets released when we get excited or have a positive emotion toward something. Greeting cards, flowers, favorite foods, a great work out or even the notification of a text can cause a release of dopamine. Have you ever been sitting alone and start feeling like no one wants to talk to you because your phone hasn’t made a noise for a while? No calls, no texts and not even any emails? You crave a dopamine release. In modern times, text messaging has become the most frequent cause of the release of dopamine. It feels good to know someone wants or needs to communicate with you. I recently heard an expert describe texting as “the slot machines of today’s society” because we have become addicted to this frequent dopamine release. So, how do we best utilize the Dopamine Effect in our fixed ops department?
Implementing Cellphone Policies in Your Dealership
Most new systems have a talk-to-text feature. The messages will come to your team in an email, and return messages are delivered as a text. This is a much better option than having your team carry around and use personal cellphones while writing up guests. A cellphone in hand make guests feel as if they don’t have their advisor’s undivided attention. Consider investing in a system that all your BDC, fixed ops and even sales staff can use to its full potential.
Training Your Team About Texting
Training should be in the form of an all-department or all-company meeting. Make everyone aware that texts are used to update and inform — not to sell. Create text templates for each department similar to these examples:
• Check-in Times/Appointment Reminders 48 Hours in Advance
“Your check-in time is reserved to service your 2015 Chevy Impala on Thursday, July 24 at 9 a.m. Please type ‘C’ to confirm or ‘R’ to reschedule.”
This method will significantly reduce your no-show rate.
• Completion Text for Waiting Customers
“Your vehicle service is complete. Please see your advisor, Kris, to get back on the road. Thank you for your business!”
This simple message will get to your waiting customers faster than your advisor can break away and go to the waiting room, giving the illusion that their car was finished faster. Of course, if your advisor has the time, a personal approach is better, but often your customers have left the waiting area.
“Mr. Johnson, this is Kris from XYZ motors. Please call ###-#### ext. ### at your convenience to discuss the diagnosis of your vehicle.”
Keep it short and sweet by getting straight to the point. This message will eliminate voicemail delays and increase production.
“Mr. Johnson, this is Kris from XYZ motors. Your certified technician is still diagnosing your vehicle. Rest assured, you are in good hands. I will text you between 2 and 3 p.m. with another update.”
By letting your guest know when to expect another follow-up, you can eliminate a lot of anxiety and incoming calls.
• Car is Ready for Pick-up When They are not a Waiter
“Great news, Mr. Johnson! We have your 2013 Prius complete and ready to go. Please see me (Kris) for pick up and remember to replace fuel in your courtesy vehicle. What time can I expect your arrival for pick-up?”
Giving your team these easy examples will help ensure that they will not over-text by giving too much information. What they say will be simple but effective.
Take a moment to rate your store’s text-messaging capabilities. What would you give yourself on a scale of 1 to 5? How could you improve this number ASAP? Of course, you will have a few guests who still prefer phone calls, but shouldn’t you give your clients a choice? After all, I could stand a little more dopamine in my life. How about you?