Text communication is on the rise. To connect with consumers outside of the dealership, dealers can no longer rely on e-mail alone, according to auto dealer service department software company Xtime.
To communicate, consumers use email and many other channels, according to Xtime. If dealers ignore one or more of those channels, they could lose potential business, the company said.
Now, Xtime is launching a product that it says can help dealers reclaim these missed opportunities.
Text Marketing is an add-on available to clients using Xtime Invite. Xtime says that with its Text Marketing feature, dealers can diversify their outreach strategy. They can “cut through the marketing noise,” according to Xtime. That can help dealers better engage with customers through the mode of communication they prefer.
As an add-on to the Xtime Invite product, the feature is available immediately to all U.S. franchise dealers.
“Dealers have a hard time getting vehicle owners to respond to marketing communication, even when it includes convenient links and advantageous offers,” Xtime vice president and general manager Tracy Noonan Fred said in a news release.
Fred sourced data from OnSpot Social that showed 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,” Fred said. Xtime also sourced Gartner in noting that texting response rates have increased to 45%. In addition, Xtime called attention to the 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey study, which shows texting gaining as a method of communication among all age groups. That, according to Xtime, makes it an even more important marketing tool for dealers.
Xtime says some dealers who have noted the shift toward text have turned to impromptu methods of communication, such as personal cell phone use or other texting methods. But the company said those methods miss the opportunity for full integration with service scheduling systems or CRMs.
That, according to Xtime, compromises dealership business processes and customer experience. Also, Xtime said ad hoc texting methods might not comply with strict Telephone Consumer Protection Act rules and regulations, and they might not comply with other federal and state laws. Because of that, dealers could be at risk of substantial penalties for non-compliance.
Xtime Text Marketing offers a new channel that it says can boost customer engagement and conversion through a product that is Xtime Spectrum-integrated and Telephone Consumer Protection Act-compliant. Xtime said the product offers benefits such as in-message scheduling, which provides the ability to send targeted texts linking to Xtime Schedule and pass through relevant data. Xtime says other benefits include:
— Targeted marketing, which the company says provides flexibility to create and execute various marketing programs
— Regulatory compliance, which the company says helps with adherence to stringent text marketing rules and regulations. To do that, the product provides an opt-in auditable process for dealers to communicate with customers via text.
— Audience builder, which helps dealers acquire, retain, and build a text marketing audience with several 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 Kastner Honda service and parts director Luke Ammann. “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.”
Xtime says Text Marketing is the first of several new add-ons and enhancements help its larger mission to help boost dealership customer retention, loyalty, profitability and growth, even at low-sales-volume times.