According to Peter Drucker, “Management is responsible for doing things right, and leadership for doing the right things.” Yes, we should all embrace this management philosophy, but as always it is easier said than done.
To help simplify this axiom let’s look at a concrete example where leadership points a dealership in the correct direction and management assures its success.
How it all started…
Over the weekend, I had a customer say they were not interested in advantage txt (a dealership texting tool) because they had already implemented another service without much success.
Without a doubt, I believe every dealership in the United States must have a texting tool and must better communicate with current and prospective clients. Every research paper and every ounce of common sense points to giving customers the option to communicate via text.
I am confident most GMs and owner principals know this and want to provide a texting tool to variable and fixed ops. Research from OmniChannel shows multichannel customer engagement increases customer retention by a factor of three, the average American texts four times more than calls and text response rates are multiple times faster voicemail call returns.
What is dealership management to do?
Step one is for leadership and management to pick a tool that is TCPA compliant as the exposure to lawsuits is not negligible at $1500 per unauthorized text sent.
Secondly, I would advocate a DMS (Document Management System) integrated solution, so no data entry is required.
We know from the website world that every extra click to a sale or action loses users – the same will hold true if a salesperson or service advisor needs to input customer names and phone numbers (into texting software).
Lastly, a texting solution must improve the business process or, at least, be part of the current process.
TCPA compliance assures the dealership has no exposure to unwanted expenses. With texting, a dealership should require written authorization before texting, thus, DMS integration is essential. Why? Because the RO estimate signature collectively approves the vehicle repairs and texting.
Furthermore, a dealership (any business for that matter) should perpetually be striving to improve – texting is a means to this end. And the integration process is crucial because change is often met with resistance regardless of ease-of-use or improvements. If dealership employees and customers do not find a service easier, faster or better, then failure is looming.
Find the right texting solution
Once the right solution is in place leadership must demand compliance and management must measure against goals. Daily reporting and monthly reviews are a must for a dealership to be successful. Our company, AdvantageTec, experiences different dealership management styles every week with new roll-outs. And unequivocally, the dealerships where leadership demands giving the customer the option to text prove to be successful.
The GM, owner or both must let each service advisor know texting is not an option – every service-drive customer will receive a text welcoming them to the store and at the same time providing the customer a text contact. Management then incorporates texting metrics into their daily KPI sheet.
The benefits and results of improved communications quickly follow:
- Increased CSI
- Increased technician productivity
- Improved loyalty
- Lower service decline rates
- Happy clients
- More productive advisors & techs
Dealerships with non-integrated (DMS) texting tools will more likely than not have a different experience. I suspect there will be lots of excuses to why texting does not work – it is more work (due to data entry), the customer did not want to text (they probably thought it was a marketing tool), it is easier to call (no audit trail for the advisor) and who knows what else.
Here are real world results (a tale of two dealerships).
Dealership One – a generic tool provided to service advisors to text:
- 5% dealership engagement
- 3% customer engagement
- Less than 1% customer opt-out rate
- No change in CSI or retention
- Lower profits due to increased expenses without a lift in CSI, retention & sales
Dealership Two – Integrated, complaint, enforced and measured by leadership & management:
- 90% dealership texting engagement 1 2
- 50% customer texting engagement 3
- Less than 1% customer opt-out rate 4
- 2% CSI increase & 8% retention increase
Key takeaways — look at various texting solutions, understand the importance of a written authorization (before sending the first text), evaluate the extra cost of a DMS integrated solution, and, as always, put yourself in your customer’s shoes when looking at what companies like AdvantageTec offer.
A decision should be easy.