In a world where email is just one of many channels consumers use to communicate, dealers who neglect one or more channels risk losing potential business that can further accelerate dealership profitability. To reclaim these missed opportunities, Xtime is launching Text Marketing, an add-on available to clients using Xtime Invite. Xtime’s Text Marketing feature can help dealers diversify their outreach strategy and cut through the marketing noise to better engage with customers through their often preferred mode of communication.
Today, customer engagement preferences have become more complex with the rise of multiple communication channels. Text communication is on the rise and marketers can no longer rely on email alone to connect with consumers outside of the dealership. According to Gartner, texting response rates have soared to 45%. The 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey study shows that texting is gaining traction amongst all age groups, making it an even more important marketing tool for dealers.
Noting the shift toward text, some dealers have turned to impromptu methods of communication, such as personal cell phone use or other texting solutions, which miss the opportunity to be fully integrated with service scheduling systems or CRMs. This in turn compromises dealership business processes and customer experience. Additionally, ad hoc texting solutions may not adhere to the strict rules and regulations outlined by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and other federal and state laws, exposing dealers to risk of steep penalties for non-compliance.
“Dealers have a hard time getting vehicle owners to respond to marketing communication, even when it includes convenient links and advantageous offers,” said Tracy Noonan Fred, vice president and general manager of Xtime. “Research shows 89% of consumers prefer to communicate with organizations via text, so being able to text straight from the SMS platform is an optimal way for dealers to capture a consumer’s attention and begin a conversation that leads to new business.” 
Xtime Text Marketing offers a new channel to increase customer engagement and conversion through an Xtime Spectrum integrated and TCPA compliant solution. Its benefits include:
- In-Message Scheduling: Ability to send targeted texts that link to Xtime Schedule and pass through relevant data
- Targeted Marketing: Flexibility to create and execute a variety of marketing programs
- Regulatory Compliance: Assistance with adhering to strict text marketing rules and regulations with an engaging opt-in auditable process for communicating with customers via text
- Audience Builder: Acquire, retain and build a text marketing audience with multiple customer touchpoints that encourage customer opt-in throughout Xtime Spectrum
“The results we’ve seen from Xtime Text Marketing have been very exciting and impactful on our business,” said Luke Ammann, service & parts director, Kastner Honda. “Since launching, it’s clear that everyone involved prefers to communicate via text and the response has been positive to the point that we’re currently working on opting in even more customers.”
Text Marketing is the first of several new add-ons and enhancements that are part of Xtime’s larger mission to help foster customer retention, loyalty, profitability and growth for dealerships — even during times when sales volume is down. The feature is available immediately to all U.S. franchise dealers as an add-on to the Xtime Invite product.