The Rise of Text Messaging in Auto Dealerships: A Shift from Tradition to Innovation

In my early days in the automotive industry, I had a rather peculiar job. I would cold call car dealerships, not to sell them shiny new equipment, but to sell them Loan-By-Phone hotlines. Early stage technology. These were toll-free numbers plastered across traditional advertising platforms like the Auto Trader magazine, through which customers could fill out credit applications. Once done, the system would fax – yes, fax – the credit application to the dealership.

The Internet – Just a Fad?

Why this system? Simply put, the year was 2001 and the vast majority of dealerships were still untouched by what we now know as the indispensable tool for businesses – the internet. The prevalent sentiment was that the internet was merely a passing phase. “My customers don’t use the internet,” they would assert, or “that won’t work in my market.” How wrong they were.

The decade that followed was transformative. The Loan-by-Phone system we offered evolved into a digital application called Credit Web, compatible with dealership websites. However, this transition wasn’t smooth. Dealers were hesitant. The arguments remained the same: their customers weren’t online. Yet, the reality couldn’t be more different.

Today, the landscape is entirely different. Not having a website as a dealership is a clear indicator that you’re out of touch. Almost every prospective car buyer uses the internet at some point in their buying journey. My father, not particularly tech-savvy, would still lean on me to scour the internet before making a purchase. The bottom line is, the internet became not just a tool, but a vital cog in the car buying process.

The Shift to Text Communication

Yet, we’re at the cusp of another transition. This transition is as palpable and significant as the one I witnessed two decades ago. It’s the transition in communication preferences.

While the internet was about accessing information, the communication revolution is about convenience. Customers no longer wish to be interrupted with phone calls unless they’re ready for them. Instead, they prefer the immediacy and simplicity of text messaging. And while many traditional CRMs have attempted to integrate texting, it often feels like an afterthought, a box just waiting to be checked off.

Introducing TECOBI

Enter TECOBI. Recognizing the direction in which the wind was blowing, our company sought to address the challenges head-on. When you prioritize text messaging as the primary mode of communication, the volume of conversations you’re handling every day skyrockets. Most traditional systems aren’t equipped to manage this shift. TECOBI, however, was built for precisely this environment. We provide the tools to manage these heightened interactions efficiently and effectively, ensuring dealerships can keep pace with evolving customer preferences.

Looking back, it’s astonishing to think of the transitions I’ve witnessed in this industry. From Auto Trader magazines to their online presence, from Loan by Phone hotlines to digital applications, and now from calls to texts. Through it all, one thing remains clear: staying ahead requires not just recognizing change but embracing it. And at TECOBI, that’s our ethos. We don’t just observe the changing landscape; we innovate to lead the charge. As a pioneer in the automotive industry, our goal has always been to empower dealerships with cutting-edge technology that allows them to not only adapt but to thrive.

Embrace the Future or Become Obsolete

In a world dominated by rapid digital transformation, clinging to old methods can be the Achilles heel for businesses. For those hesitant about embracing the digital revolution two decades ago, the lesson was clear: Evolve or become obsolete. The same is true today with the shift in communication preferences. Dealerships that continue to cling to a phone call first strategy, are missing a vast majority of their customer base who prefer the non-intrusive nature of text messages.

But with change comes challenges. The sheer volume of text communication can quickly become overwhelming for dealerships to manage manually. This is where TECOBI shines. Our platform is designed to manage and streamline these interactions seamlessly. The results? Faster responses, increased engagement, and, ultimately, satisfied customers.

More Than Just a Platform

However, TECOBI is more than just a text messaging platform. We’re a partner to dealerships. We understand the nuances of the automotive industry, the unique challenges faced, and the immense potential that lies ahead. With our tools and expertise, dealerships are better equipped to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of customer communication, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the industry.

In conclusion, the journey from Loan-by-Phone hotlines to advanced text messaging platforms is a testament to the relentless march of progress. It’s a reminder of the need for businesses to stay agile, to anticipate shifts, and to continually reinvent themselves. At TECOBI, we’re proud to be at the helm of this change, driving dealerships towards a brighter, more connected future.

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Jason Girdner
Jason Girdner

Jason Girdner is a visionary entrepreneur and the driving force behind TECOBI, a pioneering automotive advertising technology company renowned for its innovative approach to dealership marketing and sales. With a rich background in automotive sales and a deep passion for technology, Jason co-founded TECOBI to address the evolving communication preferences in the automotive industry, particularly the shift towards text messaging as a primary communication channel.

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