How Automotive Dealerships and Service Shops Use Business SMS

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According to a AAA survey, the majority (64%) of U.S. drivers have picked out a single auto shop that they conduct all their business with.

Whether your auto business focuses on repairs, sales, or both, you want to be the one that consumers keep coming back to for more.

So how can you convince customers that your automotive business is the perfect choice for them? As with every relationship, communication is key. You need to establish frequent, useful,  and convenient communications with your customers. The trick is finding the right channel through which customers are comfortable receiving and sending messages.

Luckily, it’s clear which channel is a favorite among the majority of consumers. While only 85% of the population reads or sends email, 97% of Americans send at least 1 text message each day. Phone calls don’t even compete; Americans spend almost 77% less time talking over the phone than texting.

Read on to explore the different ways automotive businesses can take advantage of the most effective communication channel for businesses today—text messaging.

Set Up Service Departments for Success

The first step for service departments is getting customers inside their front doors. Whether they need a 10,000 or a 60,000 mile service, a lot of times, people simply forget to make service appointments. It’s up to service departments to ensure that doesn’t happen.

SMS reminders make it far easier for customers to remember they need to make appointments in the first place. From the start, you need to be sure you have your customer’s permission to text them. Then, create a reminder template using custom fields to ensure each message contains individuals’ information. A template might look like:

Hello {{customer name}}, this is Joe’s Auto. Your {{car year}} {{car model}} is due for a {{service name}}. Would you like to make an appointment?

After customers make their appointments, it will help to send an automatic reminder, too. Simply add customers to lists labeled by appointment day, then schedule out a reminder message a certain amount of days before the appointment occurs.

Directly after customers drop off their vehicles, service agents can text a personalized confirmation. First, create a confirmation template using the same tactics that you used to make the customer reminder template. Your confirmation template might look like:

Hello {{customer name}}, this is Joe’s Auto. Your {{car year}} {{car model}} will be available for pick up today from {{pick-up location}}. We’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready. Thanks!

Then, once the car is ready to go, a service agent can send a simple ready notice.

Hello {{customer name}}, this is Joe’s Auto again. Your {{car year}} {{car model}} is ready at {{pick-up location}}. We close at 7:00 PM. See you soon!

Business text messaging will ensure that the customer experience is smooth sailing, from the moment they receive an appointment reminder to the moment they drive their newly tuned-up car out of your parking lot.

Service team member wearing coveralls holding out keys for test drive scheduled through automotive business text messaging

Support Your Customer Service Team

Whether you run a dealership or a repair shop, you’re going to have to field a lot of customer questions.

Dealerships answer questions about car capabilities, service departments reply to queries about oil changes, mechanics have to determine whether a car’s squeaking is worth an appointment, and marketing departments receive inquiries about recently advertised promotions.

Whatever the question, it will be answered far quicker by text than by phone call. Once a customer texts a question, a team member assigned to that shared inbox in Heymarket will be able to view it and respond. Even if team members are away from their desks when the message comes in, it will reach them on their mobile Heymarket app, where they can quickly reply.

Business texting will help you successfully mediate conflicts, too.

When you’re dealing with one of your customer’s most valuable assets, it’s imperative that you respond quickly. As soon as your team receives any kind of negative feedback, such as a complaint about a new vehicle with a service issue, a dedicated service manager can respond or assign the chat to another service team member. A fast response is key to turning a potential issue into an opportunity to win a loyal customer.

Private comments are a great help in these cases, since team members can ask coworkers for their response in a similar situation or ask for relief if they’ve been working with a customer complaint for hours.

For a finishing positive touch, texting allows agents to insert friendly emojis with upset customers, while typing indicators ensure agents they’re not interrupting a team member mid-reply.

These small touches make all the difference when agents are handling a delicate situation.

Happy female customer getting keys at car dealership

Increase the Reach of Your Marketing Teams

As soon as customers agree to receive your brand’s text messages, you’ve been given a huge opportunity. Every marketer knows this level of access is big deal; it’s rare to have a direct line to your target audience.

While marketing and sales departments can use business text messaging, it’s vital that they keep their sales pushes to a minimum, carefully adhering to consumer protection regulations and letting customer support and services information consume the vast majority of communications.

But when customers say they’re interested, sales teams should absolutely use it to their advantage. Salespeople can use SMS to schedule follow-up meetings, whether they be test drives, car spec reviews, or pricing negotiations. When car salespeople can dialogue quickly with their potential buyer, it’s far more likely that they will close the deal.

Marketing departments will have the opportunity to collect valuable data about the customer experience through customer feedback and NPS surveys. In fact, sending your survey requests via text is more effective than other methods: 19% of people will click a link in an SMS messaging campaign compared to just 4.2% in emails. Survey questions might look like:

  • From 0 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend Joe’s Auto to a friend? (0 – not likely, 10 – very likely)
  • What’s the primary reason for your score?
  • How can we improve your experience?

Marketers can even circle in with customers after service appointments to see if they are happy with their experience. If so, marketers can request that they write an online review—one of the most valuable promotion materials for any business.

Close-up of a line of cars at a car dealership

From simplifying appointments with service departments to providing sales teams with direct access to potential buyers, business texting streamlines all the customer communications involved in your auto business.

Ready to get started? Sign up for a free trial today.

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