Texting as an online meet-and-greet

Kaitlyn Coxon
December 22, 2023

Texting as an online meet-and-greet

One of, if not the most important part of securing a sale is the initial encounter you have with the customer. Studies show that solid impressions and traits such as trustworthiness are determined by customers within just seconds. In a store, your first goal is to immediately connect and show the customer you are there to serve their needs.Yet although dealers prioritize this in their physical stores, for many, turning this into a regular practice online has been a struggle.

If the importance of an engaging first interaction is common knowledge in person, why would it shift from channel to channel? Although the traditional "meet-and-greet" is not obsolete, in many cases this first introduction is taking place online. In fact, research shows online introductions are on the rise and growing to become the primary method. This begs the question: does your dealership connect as effectively online as it does in the store?

If your answer isn’t a resounding YES, there's a good chance your website practices contradict your in person policies.

Want a clearer picture?

Imagine this: someone walks through your door and you ignore them. You see them looking at a unit, or walking up to the counter to ask a question, and you continue doing whatever it is you’re doing– getting to them later at your convenience. That’s terrible right? You would never do that, because they would simply leave. Yet, that is the current treatment customers receive online.

Instead of giving customers the fast, easy, connected experience that they desire (and studies show are willing to pay more for) a lot of dealerships are in fact blocking their own sales and effectiveness through these three pitfalls:

→ Frustrating customers through poor communication (bad response times/rates)

→ Failing to provide knowledge where it counts:

  • Customers must pinpoint that you have what they want and that they can afford it. If you fail to quickly determine these two things, you waste your time by not quickly identifying leads ≠ sales and their decision is no longer easy.

→ Focusing on price: while it's a key factor, it’s not the only factor. Stop focusing all of your attention on price rather than preference. A quality experience is quite literally what studies show people will pay more for.

Just like you make it a point to connect immediately in person, speed is vital online as well. A recent study focusing on lead timing found that 78% of customers buy from the company that responds to their inquiry first.1 How are you going to make an impression that engages the customer right off the bat and ensure that you respond quickly and clearly? Texting.

Seamless communication wins sales

As texting has become one of the main forms of communication, it has also become the new normal within businesses. Recent polls show that: “90% of people want to text a business and 58% of people text with a business at least once a month.” 2

Today, one of the top reasons your dealership loses deals is poor communication. Many take too long, aren't clear, or worse yet, don’t respond at all. Communication is ground level– the bare minimum. However, responding to every lead is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you don’t implement means to quickly determine whether the lead will lead to a sale. But how can you tell if a lead is worth your time? You need to reach customers quickly, the way they want to be reached, get your message out effectively so their decision is well informed, and give them the opportunity to commit right then and there.

Texting is becoming bigger and more essential as a business. 70% of people say texting is the fastest way to reach them and the open rate for SMS is 98%.3 In a world where convenience and speed can mean you get the deal instead of a competitor, this is key. Texting means there’s almost a guarantee your message will be seen, immediately upping your chances of closing the deal.

Yet more than the fact that customers want texting, there is a bigger implication of what this means. Why do customers want texting? Well it's because customers want connected commerce. Customers want a completely personalized experience focused around their time frame and preferred methods. Although texting is a key part of this, it is just a piece in this connected jigsaw that comes together to create the all in one experience that customers want. Seamless communication from the customers preferred channel is what wins sales.

Why connected commerce will launch you overall

While you may argue that what you’re doing is working well enough, think of later down the road. When we look at dealerships 15 years ago, what differentiates those that grew to become market leaders today and those that didn’t? Those who were early adopters of a website. While they didn’t double their sales overnight, the long term success as opposed to just survival was because they saw the worth of a website in the long haul. Today is an entirely different ball game. What once took decades to become recognized as the normal standard, is rapidly shortening. Technology adoption is accelerating. Everyone has a computer. Everyone has a phone. The new standard is not that your business has a website, it’s that it offers an omnichannel experience.

You might be able to get by with mediocre online practices right now, but when 80% of customers say they prefer omnichannel strategies due to the seamless communication experience4 and 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience,5  how long will you last? The key with implementing omnichannel is not that you double your sales overnight, it’s playing the long game: more than just surviving later down the road, but growing into a market leader. This is the direction our world is headed, this is what customers now expect.

Experience is what we pay more for

The increased demand for texting reveals a shift in consumer behavior and overall expectations. The fast, easy, personalized nature of a text is what customers want at large. Omnichannel answers this demand, but what does it actually look like?

Implementing an all in one connected commerce process shifts your dealership from taking a laggard approach to one of leadership. A laggard approach means your customers are on the back burner as long as your dealership is doing okay. Whereas, a leader's approach places customers as the top priority. Customers shouldn’t have to fill out multiple forms, and be forced to answer the same questions over and over again. The process must be easy, it must be seamless, and it must be connected.

A laggard approach may mean you’re somewhat up to date. You recognize texting is vital, but your attempt at a more convenient method is sloppy, unorganized, and all over the place. Let me ask you a question– in your dealership, if you were having a conversation with a buyer and walked down the hall into another room, would your conversation carry on from the point you left off? If it didn't, my guess is that the buyer would find you either extremely forgetful, or annoyingly repetitive. Why would this change when you’re having a conversation online?

When you take a leader’s approach, by implementing an omnichannel platform like Transax, you can streamline every piece of communication. No more losing texts, repeating yourself, confusion on who to email, or any frustrations centered around disorganization. Seamless communication means one thread.

Transax = texting and more

Do we offer texting? Absolutely. Texting is essential for today’s customer. Yet more than just texting, Transax offers an omnichannel experience. Through Digital Retail and Engagement you can offer customers the experience they’re willing to pay more for, while simplifying and organizing your dealership to be more efficient and effective. With streamlined communication, you can make your online practices as effective and engaging as your in person experience. Offer your customers a fast, convenient, personalized journey and make their decision easy.

Want to offer seamless communication and a connected commerce experience?

If an engaging, seamless customer experience is something you want to offer, discover the effective ways you can do this through the Digital Retail and Engagement platform Transax. With easy set up and iPhone and Android apps, Transax works with your existing website and makes connected commerce affordable and practical for you.

If you want to learn more, schedule a 20-minute demo and talk with one of our digital retail specialists HERE.


1Source: The Modern Rules of Lead Response Time, Lean Data, 2022

2Source: 2023 State of Business Texting Report, Text Request, 2023

3Source: SMS Marketing Open Rates & Statistics, Sender, 2023

4Top 15 Mind-Blowing Omnichannel Statistics You Should Know for 2022, clerk.io, 2022

5 40+ Statistics That Highlight the Importance of Customer Experience, edu Me, 2023