Mobile smartphones have become an evermore important part of our lives since their introduction a tad over ten years ago. One of the most convenient things about today’s phones is the simplicity of texting. Obvious advantages include fast and direct communication, but texting does have disadvantages. Below I will touch on some of the good, the bad and ugly when using texting as a business communication tool.
Advantages of texting:
1. High open rate
Getting your message seen and responded to is of the utmost importance when using text in business. Texting gets things done fast. When you text your client, you can expect an immediate answer because the 6 billion daily text messages in the United States have an average response time of three minutes. Voice calls are often not answered due to inconvenience and even more often avoided on purpose; email response times are even slower (or never) and lost in the wonderful world of spam in between 73 other emails from no one. SMS is poignant, simple and almost impossible to miss as it seems every phone’s little chime sends its owner’s endorphins running to see what little surprise awaits.
For our dealership client’s fixed operations this means faster repair order cycle times, more cars on a hoist, and better communications resulting in higher CSI scores.
If you find yourself in a crowded room, subway, at a meeting, or even at the cinema, getting an SMS will not disturb the people around you – as a regular phone call would. Even with the sound on your mobile off you can feel the vibration (of the incoming text) and read discreetly. Unfortunately, this allows business to be conducted outside the office as well as in the office.
Our dealership’s service advisors texting app allows an advisor to use a personal device or phone to communicate without ever exposing their personal phone number. This is of significant value to the dealership as advisors should never use personal devices to communicate unless they are accessing a dealership’s app.
3. Written proof
When you correspond via text messages, you have a written proof of who said what. Unlike phone calls, one can forget what was agreed upon or even lose notes taken during a call, with texts you can view the conversation anytime.
For our dealership clients, the written text communication provides the necessary authorization trail required by law. Best of all the communication data is always safe and accessible.
4. Shock absorber
In business, especially with car dealerships, the chance that a call from a service advisor to a client is good is rather small. Most calls are to inform a client of an unexpected problem. Imagine you receive a call and are confronted with approving four shock absorbers on your vehicle for $724.00. You now need to make a real-time decision with an imbalance of information — is this common problem, is this a fair price? AdvantageTec data shows texting clients with additional service work requests has significantly higher approval rates. This makes sense; a customer can quickly Google common issues, communicate with their spouse and or look up competitive prices. The text message, in essence, acts as a shock absorber.
5. Used by all
In its earliest developmental years, and about a decade ago, texting was used largely among the youngsters. Teenagers, however, are no longer the only age group which uses this communication method. In fact, the most recent research proves that everyone uses it – all ages from teens to seniors – no matter the gender or social group. Therefore, if your car dealership customer is a 20-something, 30-something, an adult or a senior – you can honestly expect them to return your message without a fuss of having to explain to them how the system works. A piece of cake! The actual data of customers opting out of AdvantageTec’s texting solution is less than 1%. So for every 1000 clients coming through a dealership’s service drive less than ten customers will “Stop” the text correspondence.
6. Used on any device – no internet required
Before smartphones and all those texting apps, there were regular cell phones which could all receive and send text messages. If you use texting to communicate with your customers, you need not worry about providing them with an app – every cell phone will receive an SMS. And, what is best is that you also do not have to worry about Internet coverage (Wi-Fi signal). An SMS will be delivered without cellular data or Wi-Fi. Sending short messages is the safest and most convenient way of reaching your customers directly.
Disadvantages of texting:
1. Narrowing your attention when driving
Sending text messages back and forth demands a lot of attention, which is why it should never be done while driving. In fact, texting is considered a 21st-century epidemic! In the past decade, a lot of research dedicated to road dangers of texting proved that it is one of the biggest threats in traffic, standing side by side with driving under the influence. Once again, we remind you not to text and drive – save your and someone else’s life!
2. Non-standard vocabulary
Originally used by the younger generations, texting lead to the usage of a rather non-standard vocabulary and many criticize it for it, saying that writing shortened words which may not be so transparent can lead to confusion and even misunderstanding. Linguistically, we can observe this phenomenon from a different perspective: as John McWhorter states – it is not killing language. One can view it as a creative usage of language which leads to the development of new sociolects and in pragmatics as a positive side of language economy and even a positive outcome of language evolution. It is not so bad after all if you think of all those languages which use ideograms and pictograms which represent ideas instead of whole words.
3. Limited space
In the past, SMS used to be limited to only 160 characters (with spaces) due to a protocol it used. Today’s younger generations may not remember this period, but you can compare it to Twitter’s 140-character restriction. Luckily, SMS no longer has this limitation, but one still does not write messages as long as emails because texts are used for shorter and immediate responses that do not demand complicated explanations.
Another big issue the criticizers of texting highlight is the danger of sexting. Indeed, sexting – or sending sexually explicit text messages – has become a widespread social phenomenon of both the younger generations as well as among adults. Naturally, there is no place for sexting in business, so if you plan to employ texting with your customers, you need to set some ground rules. Educate your employees to send straightforward messages (without ambiguities) and NEVER allow them to use customers’ private phone numbers. For this, you would need an FCC-approved and TCPA-compliant texting app. As obvious as this sounds there are numerous lawsuits regarding this matter, the newest involving Facebook.
Despite the above disadvantages, businesses must embrace the use of texting solutions. Texting improves communication among industry partners (dealerships and clients), it saves time and gets things done faster than other means of communication, such as phone calls, voicemail, and email. It is discrete, without disturbing anyone, and at the same time practical.
Businesses understand the power of texting
Progressive car dealerships have already started realizing the power of mobile texting. An efficient fixed operations department that does 1500 customer pay repair orders a month should expect to see 5000 text messages monthly. It is often a customers’ preferred means of communication, and a platform both sides like to use – the employees and the customers. No wonder every day a handful of new dealerships embrace texting solutions like AdvantageTec. If you want to schedule a live demonstration of advantage txt. – a patent-pending texting solution developed by AdvantageTec – just give us a ring on (415) 429-5588 or send us a text: “Demo” to (415) 429-5588.
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