2016 Predictions on Usage of Mobile Technologies in the Customer-Service Provider Relationship

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The twenty-first century has brought us a lot of innovation — some interesting, some disruptive and some game changing. Uber is changing the way we move, AirBnB is changing the way we sleep, and texting is changing the way we communicate. This innovation is the new normal. It is referred to as Internet of Things and the new ways in which people communicate is part of this movement. Communication is taking place through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, chat apps, review posts and dozens of other means. Texting, however, is the fastest growing component of this communication stack. So much so that Coca-Cola dropped phone support and replaced an entire support department’s call center with texting technology. It is time for all businesses to take notice and adjust accordingly. However, to say one must change is simple, to do it is not. There are many complexities and intricacies on how different businesses interact with their customers. Thus, this article is specific to the automobile industry and car dealerships.

Auto dealers have texting platforms available from various vendors in the industry and dealers using a texting solution will confirm that texting is the fastest growing piece of the communication stack. Once texting is initiated at a dealership email and voicemail prove to be passive, slow and maybe even outdated. Many people do not check email or voicemail for hours. Customers express the need for a dynamic environment and the usage of new usable technologies. Consider yourself as a sample size of one. What communications do you manage in real time? I know I cannot manage email, voicemail, and texts in real time. Therefore, voicemail and email are checked when convenient, and texts are managed in real time. I use it for airline flight alerts, notifications and to converse with friends and family during a busy day.  If you believe only millennials text then you are wrong, boomers are the fast growing segment and text on average more than once a day. Furthermore, research and common sense both point management in the same direction — automotive dealerships must have a multi-channel customer engagement and communication strategy. I cannot overemphasize this; according to Omnichannel research companies with multi-channel engagement have an 89% retention vs. 33% for business without it. Our world is complex, and dealerships must use phones, emails, chat and texting to appease their customers.

 

Traditional communication concept

Traditional communication platforms, such as landline, voice mail, and email have served businesses well. However, the paradigm has changed. Rather than avoiding innovations and technology, service providers must embrace new channels of communication, such as texting and web platforms (to their advantage).  Communication will be faster, more direct and improve user experience making your clients truly happy.

A recent Genesys study has shown that texting will fill the communication gap between service providers and customers. Even though text messaging is not that ’new’ (it exists for almost twenty years or so), retailers and car dealers have only recently realized how influential and powerful it can be.

 

Actual Text Exchange Between a Customer and Service Advisor

12/03 08:44 Automated welcome text

Annie, this is Chris at Champion VW. You can

text me anytime at this number or view your repair

status: http://avt.bz/7Le7PC.  Text STOP to end.

 

12/03 11:07 Advisor

Hello, this is Chris, the engine light is on due to the M.A.P sensor and throttle body. The throttle body is covered, but the map sensor would be 325.00

Parts and labor plus tax and I can have the car finished this afternoon. The car also needs an air filter which would be 35.00 and an oil change if you hadn’t done it recently which would be 79.88

 

12/03 11:13  Customer

Hi Chris thanks so much, yes go ahead and do air filter and oil change as well. Also, could we have it washed as well before pick up? Thank you so much.

 

12/03 11:16 Advisor

Yes, I will have the repairs completed and have it washed for you.

 

Back to the future: the rise of texting

The year of 2014 can be considered a turning point in the rise of texting for businesses. Years had to pass for the industry to acknowledge, not only its existence but also the benefits it can bring. Despite the appearance of a plethora of new apps almost every day, research has shown that only 1% of apps are being used 90 days after they have been downloaded, which means that they can be ruled out as useless.

This is why texting has found a place for itself. It is the preferred means of communication between businesses and customers of all ages. Research shows us that 97% of smartphone users in the United States text.

In fact, even the elderly text frequently, data shows that people between the ages 55 and 64 are using text messaging 32 times a month on average. This only proves that if you decide to connect with your customers via text messaging, you know you are going to reach all your recipients, without exception. Compound this with technology that allows for simultaneous texting and template messaging and the result will be fewer landline calls, fewer transfers, and less voicemail. This is really awesome. Another benefit of texting for service advisors and dealerships is efficiency. Automated templates and simultaneous communications with multiple customers is not an option via landline. There is simply no reason to have a fixed operations department receive phone calls asking for the status of a vehicle.  Technology can solve this problem, and the results equate to real dollars on the bottom line.

 

What’s next?

More of the same – 2015 brought us the rise in texting being used as a preferred means of communication between customers and businesses. And as for 2016, it is expected that this trend will continue which means texting will be used in car dealerships.  In Geoffrey Mohr’s (author of the iconic marketing book Crossing the Chasm) context, texting has crossed the chasm from early adopters to the early majority and is now being used by the late majority and laggards. The industry consensus is texting among business people aged 40-50 will double and texting within a business will continue its double-digit growth. Voicemail will fall to the wayside for customers that are time constrained. Email response times and open rates will continue to fall. Most Fortune 1000 companies will have text enabled customer service. And surely all progressive car dealers will be providing texting solutions to their service advisors, sales teams, parts department and F&I.

 

Advantages of texting in car dealership

  • Simple
  • Powerful
  • Direct
  • Quick response with higher approval rates
  • Increased Customer Satisfaction
  • Positive posts in social media
  • Improved retention and bottom line profits

Final thoughts

With the rise of new technologies, businesses must keep up with the latest developments in order to reach their customers and partake in the entire customer lifecycle.

Traditional communication mediums (phone & email) will continue to be displaced by the development of instant messaging & texting apps.  Car dealerships must have a multi-channel engagement and communication strategy to increase customer retention and loyalty.

If digital technologies and innovations are embraced, the sky is the limit. Automobile dealership’s using mobile texting will see their CSI increase and communications improve resulting in a more convenient and ultimately trusting relationship.

Ryan Williams is the products and operations manager at AdvantageTec. He graduated from Dominican University of California’s Barowsky School of Business with a BA in marketing in 2013. While attending Dominican, he played goalie for the NCAA DII lacrosse team.