More Dealership Customers Prefer Text Messaging, According to Recent Data
Maintaining a relationship with consumers is a constant issue given the level of competition in the automotive service industry. Due to the declining efficacy of conventional communication channels like phone calls and emails, dealerships are finding it difficult to preserve solid client connections.
Customers are getting busier and prefer rapid, convenient updates, according to our research. Due to their busy schedules, they don’t have as much time to return calls or read emails. Customer unhappiness, missed service appointments, and ultimately a reduction in dealership loyalty can result from this mismatch in communication choices.
According to our survey, clients are increasingly favoring texting as their preferred form of contact. Dealerships may meet customers where they are, increase the effectiveness of communication, and boost customer happiness and retention by adjusting to this transition.
Why do you text?
Consider a busy client who is constantly on the go. They have to balance their obligations to their jobs, families, and personal lives, so they don’t have time to answer calls or sort through the mail.
However, a text message? It is accessible, efficient, and rapid. It’s a little ping that fits better into their busy schedule and gives them the information they require without taking up a lot of time.
Text messages are quick, direct, and less intrusive than phone calls, which can be obtrusive, or emails, which can get lost in a busy inbox.
Because they value their customers’ time, they let them read and comment at their convenience.
Real-time communication is made possible by texts, ensuring that clients receive timely updates.
Texting adds a personal touch and strengthens the relationship between the customer and the dealership.
Most typically within seconds, 98% of texts are read within 2 minutes. Only 20% of emails are read during that 2-minute interval, though.
In 2023, what will keep customers returning to your dealership?
Texting’s Influence: A Closer Look at the Statistics
We questioned clients on many occasions in our study about how they preferred to communicate at various times.
Customer preference for texting DURING service visits shouldn’t come as a surprise; in fact, 68% of respondents now want text updates during service visits, up from 60% in 2020. On the other hand, less than a fifth of respondents (18%) preferred phone calls.
But this preference is also spreading elsewhere. When we surveyed customers, we asked them, “Which method of communication do you prefer most when receiving updates or information from your dealership BETWEEN SERVICE VISITS?” The outcomes were illuminating:
Preferences for text messaging increased from 32% in 2020 to 40% in 2023.
Email preference decreased from 50% to 43%.
Phone calls (13%), mail (3%), and mobile apps (1%) continued to be preferred.
The preference for texting was even stronger among younger clients when we segmented the replies by age:
Participants between the ages of 18 and 34 favored texting (56%) to email (24%).
Still, those in the 35–54 age group preferred texting (46%) over email (34%).
Only the “55 and over” demographic continued to favor email, and even this group’s choice for texting has increased by 11% over the past several years, now standing at 35%.
Dealerships Need to Adapt Now
These results make it crystal clear to dealerships that it’s time to have a solid plan for texting customers.
The good news is that development is occurring. More dealerships are sending messages (up to 75% from 58% in 2020), but even if you’re in the majority, you may not be using texting to its full potential, so look out for instances where emails or phone calls might have been more appropriate in place of texts.
If you’re one of the 25% of people who haven’t switched to texting for consumer communications yet, you must do so immediately. You don’t want to be among the dealerships that are still using antiquated communication methods as the number of those dealerships continues to decline and they become more and more out-of-date.
It’s important to meet customers where they are and communicate with them in a way that respects their choices and time while using new communication techniques.
What Else Is Changing Regarding Dealership Customer Preferences?
Our 2023 Dealership Service Retention Report highlights one of the numerous trends we’ve been constantly monitoring since 2020: text messaging is quickly replacing phone calls as many car owners’ preferred mode of communication.
This change in communication preferences offers dealerships a special chance to communicate with their customers in a timely and relevant way.
Another reason SimpSocial offers services like a Maintenance Marketing System is to expedite this process by providing automated follow-ups across several channels and streamlined service reminders.
Beyond these evolving communication habits, however, the 2023 research provides more insight into the evolving client preferences, from the amenities they favor to the reasons they seek service elsewhere.
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