Dealership Texting Guide To Generating Revenue During Coronavirus
With the Coronavirus outbreak causing businesses in many industries to shut down operations, you may be wondering if auto dealerships are considered an essential business.
The short answer is, yes they are!
While many businesses have been required to cease operations, employees who work in industries considered essential such as healthcare need their vehicles to get to work. If their car breaks down, they need a place where they can get it repaired or purchase a new vehicle. Even those people who are working from home or not working still need a means of transportation to get to the hospital if they have an emergency.
As a result, many car dealerships are remaining open for the duration of the pandemic. With less people buying cars and getting their vehicles serviced due to Coronavirus, how do you continue to generate revenue during this time? Keep reading to find out.
LET CUSTOMERS KNOW THAT YOU ARE TAKING ALL NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS
During this time of widespread fear, customers want to know that the businesses they frequent have taken all of the necessary precautions to protect their health. While your team is obviously aware of the safety measures you are taking, this knowledge will not do you any good unless you make it crystal clear to customers.
Send your customer base communications letting them know that their health and safety is top-of-mind for your dealership. Go into detail about the precautions you are taking. Fill them in about any special services you are offering during Coronavirus to protect them while serving them.
The measures you take must be visible to customers when they visit your sales showroom. Keep an ample supply of hand sanitizer in stock and make sure it can be seen and accessed throughout your dealership. Require your employees to wear gloves anytime they interact with customers. Post signs in all public spaces that lay out all of the procedures you have put in place.
GIVE CUSTOMERS THE OPTION TO GET YOUR SERVICES WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING
Some customers will not feel comfortable coming into your dealership even if you follow all of these steps. But guess what? You can still service them! Curbside drop-offs, pick-ups and white-glove services are one way of servicing customers’ vehicles while allowing them to practice social distancing. When it comes to making car sales, you can offer customers the option of taking solo test drives. Reassure them that you disinfect the vehicles before and after all test drives, and that your sales associates wear gloves when handling them.
These measures are great, but what happens when customers who are social distancing need to pay their bill? What if they do not feel comfortable taking test drives at all during the entire Coronavirus period? How can you show them the vehicles in which they are interested? Fortunately, TEXT2DRIVE™, a full-featured communications platform, gives you a way to service all of your customers’ needs while they practice social distancing.
LET CUSTOMERS PAY ONLINE SAFELY, SECURELY, FRAUD-FREE AND SOCIALLY DISTANT
Long checkout lines pose a serious health hazard right now. It is not safe to have a group of people standing in such close proximity to each other. Speed CheckOut™ online bill pay with FraudProtect™ from TEXT2DRIVE allows customers to view and pay their service invoice or make their new vehicle down payment online.
This is significant because 78% of customers prefer to pay their invoice online, when given the opportunity, and this was even before the Coronavirus outbreak.
The number of customers who paid online using Speed CheckOut™️ drastically increased at the end of March 2020 as the spread of COVID-19 gained momentum and social distancing became a way of life.
TEXT2DRIVE automatically sends the customer their invoice via text message, giving the customer the option to pay their bill right on their phone. The e-sign feature and FraudProtect from TEXT2DRIVE keep the transaction secure from cyber criminals.
The customer can use the new vehicle pick-up scheduler to quickly and easily schedule a time to pick up their vehicle after they pay their bill online. Ideal for social distancing and limiting personal contact. Once the customer pays their bill, TEXT2DRIVE automatically presents them with a simple date and time dropdown for the next 24 hours. The communications platform then notifies the service advisor assigned to that repair order (RO) of the pick-up appointment.
MAKE EASY REVENUE FROM SAFETY RECALLS
There is a source of service revenue available to your dealership during the soft economy in the form of safety recalls. After all, the manufacturers pay for them so there is no extra cost to the customer to fix their vehicle and keep it in good working order. This is especially important now, when customers are pinching their pennies due to the current economic climate. Many customers feel torn between keeping their families safe in their car and spending money they need to save. When they have a safety recall, they can do the former without worrying about the latter.
The tricky part is keeping up with current recalls and the time investment notifying customers of them requires.
TEXT2DRIVE makes it easy to inform customers there is a safety recall on their vehicle with Hands-Free Recall Notices via text message. Additionally, this feature minimizes the time your staff needs to spend on alerting customers of them.
- The platform scans your customer database
- The solution then cross references your customers for open recalls available
- TEXT2DRIVE sends you a detailed report of available recalls
- You can filter the results according to recall codes, frequency and quantity of sends
Dealerships earned an average total pay of $282.20 per repair order (RO) * from January 2019 to February 2019 by using vehicle safety recall alerts.
The average customer pay per dealership totaled $8,039 per month when automated safety recall text messages were sent.
When you trust your customer communication to TEXT2DRIVE, you position your dealership to continue generating revenue throughout the Coronavirus outbreak.
PRESENT RECOMMENDED REPAIRS AND VEHICLES FOR SALE VIA VIDEO
Video was great before COVID-19 and it is even greater now!
Showing customers the work that needs to be done on their vehicle gains their trust and increases repair order revenue. TEXT2DRIVE allows your service technicians to record and send customers videos to present recommended repairs. Doing so reinforces the validity of the proposed work because customers can see it with their own eyes.
Video is also a great tool for boosting car sales. Sales associates can take customers on a video tour of vehicles. They have the option to show the entire vehicle, focus on certain parts of it or both. Customers do not have to step foot into your sales showroom to get the information they need.
- Dealerships experienced a $125 increase on average in repair order totals when they utilized video.
- Showing a customer necessary repair work using video, Suburban Volvo obtained an approval for $4,000 in recommended repairs
ENGAGE CUSTOMERS WITH YOUR WEBSITE
Compelling your customers to take action and communicate with your staff is easy when you have INTERACT™. This suite of profit-driven interactive website features draw in customers and give them plenty of ways to speak with your staff, as well as receive offers and get more information about vehicles for sale – all without leaving home.
Hawkinson Nissan experienced a 60% increase in coupon redemptions thanks to TEXTcoupons, one of the features available on INTERACT.
TEXTconnect & TEXTme
Customers can connect directly with any employee simply by clicking on their picture.
Customers can get offers delivered to their phone via text message.
Customers can get all of the information they need about vehicles for sale on their phone. Information includes pictures and critical information about the vehicles. They will also receive a video if one exists for that particular vehicle.
Customers can instantly chat with an employee and your dealership controls the days and times this feature is available to customers.
Customers can schedule an appointment with any department by speaking with a staff member.
Customers get to receive special offers and coupons, and your dealership gets the reassurance of being legally compliant with text messaging laws.
KEEP CUSTOMERS UPDATED DURING THEIR SERVICE APPOINTMENT WITH DEALERSHIP TEXTING
Do not leave customers in the dark about the status of their vehicle when it is in your service department. Automated alerts from TEXT2DRIVE keep them informed via text message throughout the entire service life cycle, from scheduling their appointment to picking up their car once the work is finished.
Automated alerts give dealerships the results they need:
- Service appointment reminders increased show rates by 6.5% on average – giving them $28,533 in additional revenue per month on average!
- Declined service reminders generated $6,643 of additional revenue per month on average
- 15.37% of customers who received service reminders had service performed in less than 30 days
APPOINTMENT CALENDAR INVITATION
Customers receive a message with the time and date of their appointment and they are given the option to add the appointment to the calendar on their phone.
Customers get welcomed by the service advisor at the outset of their appointment.
READY FOR PICKUP
Customers are notified that their vehicle is finished and ready for them – or an employee, in the case of white-glove service – to pick up.
Customers get a helpful reminder the day before their appointment, reducing no-shows.
Customers receive an update on the status of their vehicle.
THANK YOU MESSAGE
Now, more than ever, it is critical to let customers know that you appreciate their business.
PUT YOUR DEALERSHIP IN THRIVE MODE DURING COVID-19Download
The Complete COVID-19 Guide For Your Dealership
* From TEXT2DRIVE; January 13, 2020 data usage report from the dates of January 2019 to February 2019 Author Norm Crawford.