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Do you remember the AT&T ad slogan “Reach Out and Touch Someone” from the early 1980s? It may have been thirty years since that slogan reached its peak in popularity, but it still has a similar meaning today. Our high-paced, digitally driven world has made it even easier to stay in touch with our friends and family. A few typed words on a smartphone, or the sharing of a photo, has replaced in-person meetings. Reaching out and touching someone through phone conversations is also much rarer. Technology has changed how we communicate.
Many people don’t even bother listening to phone messages anymore. How many calls have you received in which the caller simply says they saw that you called then admits to not having listened to your voicemail? Many millennials prefer text messages and never listen to, or leave, voicemail anymore. People often text message each other while they are both at the same place, in order to keep track of each other so as to meet up later. Digital communication is becoming so fast and efficient that sometimes it is the chosen method of communication even if a live conversation simply means walking into the next room.
The majority of today’s customers expect some sort of ongoing electronic communication with you. Also, communication is a two-way street. Be sure all available channels are open to both parties. Whether you are trying to sell a vehicle to a new or existing customer, contact a service customer or are simply checking in with a long-time customer to see how they are doing, digital communication provides many new avenues for communication. Yet sadly many dealerships aren’t taking advantage of, or paying attention to, how these customers want to be communicated with. Instead, many receptionists, salespeople and service advisors spend their time leaving voicemails that may never be listened to. Or spend hours playing phone tag. Time that could have been spent generating more business or handling administrative tasks. A simple text message could have been received and read by a customer within seconds.
Think about establishing better digital communication with your customers. It is relatively easy to ask each customer in the service drive which method of communication they prefer. Perhaps they aren’t able to answer their cell during the day, but they could reply to a text message or email. How much time would it save your service advisors? How much downtime would it save your technicians if the customer’s car is no longer waiting in limbo for a response and approval on service recommendations? How many more service recommendations could a customer accept because you are able to contact them and get their approval while the vehicle is still in the shop?
Communicating with customers in their preferred manner also enhances the whole customer experience. They can be more informed, receive your messages faster and be better able to reply. Have the technology and processes in place to keep the lines of communication flowing. This two-way communication can be through phone calls, text messages, emails or all of the above. Every customer will have a personal preference. It make sense to reach out and discuss this with your customers.
By doing this effectively, before long your customers will be reaching out to you when they are ready to purchase or service their vehicle again.