Is texting a part of your dealership’s communication strategy with women customers? When used properly, texting as a business practice is a direct and efficient way to communicate. Used improperly, it can cause annoyance and frustration. Read on to review the rules for proper text etiquette, especially with your largest audience – women.
New research from Women-Drivers.com shows that one in five women prefer texting with their dealership when they are buying a car. Fifty-one percent of women surveyed prefer email as the main communication method when car buying while 30% prefer a phone call, and 19% prefer text.
With 52.6% of the respondents under the age of 40, why is this? Email is a more formal communication method and therefore preferred by most in this audience. Many women limit text messaging to a family or personal communication tool whereas others use it to save time. The key is to ask up front to find out a woman’s preference for methods of communication – noting that her preference may vary as to what information is communicated (i.e., reminders, updates on a pending purchase, invitations, etc.).
For customers who like text messages, texting:
Conveys a sense of urgency or need for a response. Texts are best used for messages that need to be communicated within a current time frame. Reminders about appointments, or that the perfect new car has arrived are good examples. Texts can also be used to keep an ongoing conversation, provided the responses are kept short.
Provides a direct, quick message that can be kept active, but allow response at a convenient time.
Allows a conversation to be maintained without full attention. For example, a woman can respond to a text while watching a game.
Can be more personal than emails, and less demanding than a phone call.
Text messages are not appropriate in the following circumstances:
If a message is long, it should be delivered in an email or phone call.
Messages that are information-only are best delivered in an email.
If a message is prepared and sent during late or early hours, it’s best sent in an email.
If you haven’t established a working relationship with your woman customer for a specific opportunity.
Once you establish a policy and process for using texts, here are a few rules:
- Use an SMS messaging service. These services specialize in keeping up with the etiquette and rules. Allow a customer to opt-in and always have the option for them to stop messages. Provide monitoring/reporting to verify that messages were sent properly and received. Keep up with mobile phone carrier requirements and adjust photo sizes and message lengths to comply. This ensures your messages won’t be cut off or refused.
- Follow the SMS service’s process for asking permission from your customer. Never send a text from a phone number your customer does not know.
- Create a set of policies for the types of texts that can be sent. Be sure to keep up with your customer’s preferences.
- Don’t overload a customer with text messages. Many mobile phone plans allow unlimited text, but your customer’s brain has a limit. Over-communication can kill a deal quickly.
In today’s fast-paced world, text messages can be a great convenience and help personalize a relationship. This can result in a happy customer who gets what she wants – and that is always good news for your business.
Author: Anne Fleming
Anne Fleming is president of Women-Drivers.com. The company has innovative solutions to assist dealers in showcasing their trust + commitment to women buyers and in turn expand their sales to this powerful buying segment.