On this week’s episode of Kain & Co., David Kain talks about how messaging your customers and responding quickly can inspire them to engage with you.
David Kain: Hello, my name is David Kain, president of Kain Automotive. Welcome to Kain & Co. here on the CBT Automotive Network. Let’s talk about messaging. Messaging is really a growing communications activity and it’s really interesting when you think about the fact that we rely on the telephone and I really want to make sure you understand that I’m a huge fan of talking to your customer on the phone and messaging can become an on ramp to the conversation that you’re going to have on the phone with the customer. Let’s go through some of the numbers.
David Kain: When you look at email messaging, I study this all the time, only about 25% of emails to a customer actually get opened and read. That in and of itself becomes a impediment to success in trying to get the customer to engage. If we call really quickly after we get the leads submitted, we stand a much greater chance of communicating, so we’ve got those two elements working together to achieve a significant engagement rate when someone is shopping online. But nothing beats texting in today’s age for getting the customer inspired to engage with you.
David Kain: First and foremost, I’ll put in a legal qualifier here. My recommendation is to always get the customer to opt-in so that you are able to message in. One important thing that you can do in your emails is let the customer know that you’re text friendly and click this link so that you can opt in and if they want to communicate via texting, that’s great. You can also offer them to text you at the number provided by your dealership so that you can start the engagement directly with the customer. On your website, when the customer is filling out a form, you should ask them, are you okay to text? And get their opt-in opportunity right there. Let them know they’re going to be receiving an opt-in text so that they can go ahead and facilitate that communication. They do it on the other sites. They might as well do it on automotive from that standpoint.
David Kain: Additionally, if you are lucky enough to get a lead that does have a phone number, call quickly so that you’re able to establish that relationship and while you’ve got them on the phone, don’t be afraid to say to the customer, “Hey, some of our customers or most of my customers prefer some of the information I share with you to be via text. I’m going to go ahead and opt you in. I’ll send you an opt-in message. Just go ahead and click the link and we’ll get that out of the way.” And I’ll send you a link to the vehicle or some information that you’re wanting to know about the car, perhaps the vehicle history or some other information on the incentives that might be useful to them. So make it purposeful and the customer’s likely to do it.
David Kain: But let’s just say for example, messaging is on the growth and we know this, but you have a presence on social media. It is critical for you to think in terms of how are we going to engage with that. What we see right now are chat companies are starting to carry the load of messaging back to the customer for social media or even chat or messaging. One thing that we’re starting to notice is there is a elevation in that kind of communications, so we used to say and I still say depending on the circumstances, let the chat company handle the initial interaction and you handle it when it becomes a lead. I’ve got a little caution nowadays based on some information that I’ve seen and I get to see Google presentation and they said that the growth of messaging in 2020 is going to be astronomical and I believe that because I’m starting to see it more and more.
David Kain: My day is really run with messaging on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, so I am very attuned to that reality. What I’m starting to find out is dealerships that don’t engage quickly and early with the customer and they’re leaning on AI or they’re leaning on outside companies. What I’d ask you to do is to stick your toe in the water and at least work with your chat company to where it gets escalated in mid messaging so it doesn’t wait till the chat company says, “I’m going to have someone reach out to you.” When you break the cadence of messaging by saying, “Give me your number, give me your email, I’ll have someone get with you.” You’ve broken the magic of that engagement. We’re a big believer in do the handoff and if you are staffed properly, my recommendation nowadays would be to start doing messaging in house, work with your provider.
David Kain: All of you are probably working with some sort of a chat provider. Let them provide the tool and if you have the capability during different hours of the day, start working towards that. Chat companies are doing a phenomenal job of engaging with your customer, but we’ve got to start building the in house muscle and the wherewithal with our team members to where they’re able to do that themselves. Kick it around, get with your chat providers, start saying, “When can we start to take a hand off?” Let’s start turning it into a lead per se and let’s really start doing realtime handoffs so that the team of professionals that know the product, that are able to talk with the customer can then turn that message engagement into the phone call and then into the appointment.
David Kain: I don’t think customers are necessarily ready in big volume to schedule a visit to the store via chat or via messaging, although we’re seeing that it is a huge growing trend, but we still see that if we’re able to let the customer know via texting or via messaging that we’re able to answer their questions, they will pick up the phone and talk to us. How you present that could be as simple as, “I’ve done some research on the vehicle that you’re interested in. I’ve got all the specifications. I’d also like to talk to you about the incentives that are available and we can go into the payments and any other financing options, so that’ll just take a couple of minutes via telephone. If you want to dial me direct at this number.”
David Kain: Turning a text dialogue into a phone call sometimes it’s as simple as giving the customer the reason as opposed to saying to them, “If you have any questions, give me a call.” Well, I might not have any questions, and that’s not really much of an inspiration to do it. Let them know the value of the phone call and you can turn messaging into the gear that you need to drive that customer into the showroom. Give messaging a try. Study how it’s working. Get with your provider. Make sure that you understand the volume of messaging that is occurring and what percentage of them convert into a lead and start working your team into doing texting and messaging direct with the customer in harmony with your provider. I think you’ll be pleased with what you’re able to accomplish.
David Kain: Thanks a lot for joining me and list to me talk to you about messaging. Give it a try. I believe you’ll be impressed. My name’s David Kain. I’ll see you next time here on Kain & Co.
Speaker 2: This has been a JBF Business Media Production.