Chances are you’ve sent or received a text message today. In fact, chances are you’ve sent or received several.
Ninety-five percent of your fellow Americans are proud owners of cellphones and view them as key to communicating with the outside world. Nearly 80% of these are “smartphones.” In a recent study by Zipwhip, consumers and businesses are finding a return on investment in communicating with each other. And, importantly, they want to do so even more. Seventy-one percent of people 30 to 44 years old would welcome the opportunity to text with a business, and 65% of those 18 to 29 feel the same.
Texting Is King
Text messages outnumber phone calls five to one. An amazing 98% of text messages are opened. Take a guess at how many text messages are read within the first three minutes of being received…90%! Nine out of ten times, a text is read within three minutes. Texting is clearly the most used electronic method for communication in the world.
Texting is proving to be quite successful for business as well. What we have learned in our research is that consumers, when texted, are 40% more likely to be a successful conversion for a business than when they’re contacted via phone calls and emails. That’s a big deal and – from what we’ve seen – an untapped resource in most repair shops today.
Utilizing Texting for Business
How can repair shops utilize texting for their business without being too invasive? That’s something you need to ask and understand. Your market (collision repair) only needs you once every seven years or so. Texting your database in between times might well be considered invasive. Email is a better option for that period of time.
Texting can do many other things, including these popular options:
Prospect communication. Give your target audience (people you don’t necessarily know) the opportunity to text your business to ask questions. It will provide you with the opportunity to earn their trust and respect – and hopefully get their keys, too.
Client communication. A growing number of customers are opting in to receiving text notifications to update them on the repair status of their vehicles. They feel satisfied at a quick glance that things are moving forward, and they don’t have to stop what they’re doing or where they’re doing it to get that update. A quick peek and they’re up to date.
Generating reviews. You can’t get too many reviews. But for someone to leave you a review, they have to take the initiative. Normally, they have to look up your business on their phone or PC, find where they can leave the review and then do so. But texting them a link that opens up directly to your Google, Facebook or Yelp page makes it so simple. When the opportunity to leave you five stars pops up instantaneously on their screens, you can’t help but get more reviews.
Greetings/reminders. Assuming you gather this information from your customers, send out birthday greetings and reminders that driver’s licenses are about to expire or license plates and/or city stickers are about to expire, etc. Consider these to be texts that add value to your relationship with your past customers and are thus less likely to be considered invasive.
Text Us Feature
At Optima Automotive, we walk the talk. We have added a “Text Us” feature on our website that shows up on the bottom left corner, in red, on every page. Check it out at optimaautomotive.com.
We receive messages every day from clients and prospects. We respond quickly, and people really appreciate this option for communication.
We’re adding this option on our clients’ websites as well and the feedback has been great. An added bonus is the ability to use this system to seek reviews using a branded text request link. The link takes the receiver of the text directly to their own logged-in account for Google, Facebook or Yelp, depending on which one you designate. Google reviews, as I’ve said before, are most important. But let’s say you want to boost your overall ranking on Yelp. You can ask your happy customer if they are a regular Yelper, and if so, tell them you’re sending them a text link to Yelp and would much appreciate their five-star review. You can do all of this from your own phone, logged in to the system, or your PC.