SMS is one of the best communication tools around today. Many different types of businesses are now leveraging SMS capabilities to keep customers, suppliers and staff informed, increase engagement levels and transform sales. One prime example is the automotive industry – car dealerships in particular. In this article, you’ll learn how SMS is being used in car dealerships to improve customer service and boost business growth. But first, let’s look at why SMS is so effective.
The power of SMS
With extraordinary open rates and response rates (98% and 45% respectively), SMS has massive potential for businesses that need to ensure communications are read and responded to.
Compared to other communication channels, SMS is particularly strong, overshadowing the effectiveness of email and even phone calls. The culture of answering a phone call is disappearing, as this article in The Atlantic explains. Think about it – how many times do you reject a call from a number you don’t recognise?
Another advantage of SMS for automotive businesses is that it’s relatively inexpensive. Therefore, it’s an ideal option for smaller car dealers that may not have a substantial marketing and communications budget.
The cost for business text messaging varies by the destination country, the volume of messages required, and the SMS provider you use. To give you a couple of examples, with Messente, it costs €3.50 per month to send 100 one-way text messages to phone numbers in the UK – and the same quantity of one-way messages to the United States costs just €1.62 per month. Compare pricing for other countries here.
SMS automotive industry use cases
In the automotive industry, there are many situations where using SMS for communications is by far the best way to reach people and make sure the service runs smoothly. Take a look at these specific use cases below.
Improved customer service
SMS can be used to send a range of reminders and alerts to customers. For instance, imagine that a prospective customer wants to take a vehicle for a test drive or an existing customer needs to book their car in for an annual service. You could easily send an SMS appointment reminder to increase the likelihood of the customer showing up and getting the service that they require.
*Related reading: learn how to reduce no-shows with SMS appointment reminders.
SMS can also be used to request feedback from customers to help improve processes going forwards. According to SurveyMonkey, short surveys are best for interesting and actionable data – so SMS is the ideal medium for this.
You could send a series of questions and ask the customer to respond to each text with a short numerical response. See the example below. Alternatively, if you need to send a longer questionnaire, simply include a link to a web survey within your text message.
Better sales and marketing
A car is among the most expensive purchases a person will make, so choosing the right vehicle is often challenging. Price, colour, mileage, service history and in-vehicle features are all essential factors that the customer will carefully consider before parting with their cash.
Picture this scenario: a prospective customer visits your dealership to browse the selection of vehicles on offer. They can’t find what they want, but you take their contact details and ask what must-have features they’re looking for before they depart. The next week, a car matching the customer’s requirements arrives at the dealership. You send a text to the customer stating this, with a link to more details on the company website.
Autotrader is one example that does this really well. The company has been using text message alerts since 2014 to enable customers to search and find the perfect vehicle easily.
As well as helping customers locate and research their next vehicle, SMS is ideal for sending out dealership promotions, such as 0% finance deals, free servicing, part exchange deals and more. And, after every purchase, you could follow up with a personalised ‘Thank You’ text message to reinforce brand presence and encourage word-of-mouth recommendations.
Effective internal communications
SMS is a useful tool for managing internal communications in your automotive business too. At times, you might need to get a message to all staff simultaneously, which could be tricky if members of your team are spread out across various departments or are off-site, delivering or demonstrating vehicles.
Text messages are usually delivered instantly, which is essential when communicating time-sensitive information, such as vehicle recall issues or to confirm a vehicle’s location. And because texts work over a cellular network (not wi-fi), it doesn’t matter if some of your team aren’t connected to the internet – they’ll still get the message at the same time as everyone else.
Integration with other business systems
The future of SMS and integration with other applications and technologies via APIs is exciting and continually evolving. Already, it’s possible to connect SMS with CRM tools, security systems and IoT devices, like smart doorbells and temperature sensors. (Learn why SMS is the perfect companion for IoT).
For the automotive industry, asset tracking is often used with SMS. For example, if GPS asset tracking is installed on every vehicle in the lot, you can configure SMS alerts to be instantly sent to your phone if one of them is moved without authorisation. Asset tracking and immediate SMS alerts can help reduce vehicle loss, theft and damage.
SMS for the automotive industry
Messente’s global SMS API helps you deliver marketing content and business-critical information by text to customers, suppliers and staff.
With features like adaptive routing, you can rest assured that messages will be sent swiftly and reliably. View all your messaging analytics in a simple, easy-to-use online dashboard. And reap the benefits of two-way messaging – easily engage customers by letting them reply to your content with shortcodes or active long codes.
Built for scale, Messente can handle any volume of SMS messages as your automotive business grows. Try out Messente today – create a free account here.