We’ve all been there—sending out countless emails and making numerous phone calls, only to be met with radio silence from potential customers. It’s frustrating, to say the least. But what if I told you there’s a better way? At my Chevrolet dealership in North Carolina, we’ve been using a Text Message First strategy with our Sincro leads, and the results have been nothing short of phenomenal. A staggering 91% engagement rate phenomenal, to be exact.
For 23 years, I’ve been a vendor in the automotive industry, always observing things from a 30,000-foot perspective. I knew all about the data, but not about the day-to-day operations—where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Last month, I decided to get my hands dirty and went into the dealership to sell cars. Using TECOBI’s software just like any other salesperson, I helped close 40 car deals in the first two weeks of September alone. This experience reaffirmed my belief in the power of a Text Message First strategy.
The Changing Landscape of Customer Engagement
Consumer behavior is not what it used to be. The digital age, accelerated by the pandemic, has made people more receptive to text messages than ever before. It’s quick, it’s personal, and it allows for a conversation to happen on the consumer’s terms.
But it’s not just about the rise of text messaging; it’s also about the decline of traditional phone calls. Research shows that the average answer rate for sales calls is a mere 9% and continues to drop each year. Caller ID, spam filters, and the general inconvenience of taking an unscheduled call have all contributed to this decline.
In fact, a study by Hiya revealed that 91% of calls from unidentified or unfamiliar numbers go unanswered. This is a clear indicator that the traditional methods of outreach are becoming less effective. Consumers are not just ignoring calls; they are actively avoiding them, often labeling them as spam or nuisance calls.
So, what does this mean for businesses? It means that sticking to old methods of customer engagement is not just outdated; it’s counterproductive. The data is clear: consumers prefer text messaging as their primary form of communication, and it’s high time businesses adapted to this change.
The Data Speaks: A Case Study
Let’s dive into some numbers, shall we? Over a period from September 1st to October 12th, 2023, here’s what we observed:
- New Leads: 43
- Engaged Leads: 39
- Appointments Set: 28
- Appointments Showed: 13
- Cars Sold: 8
The standout figure here is the 91% engagement rate. This means that 91% of the leads we received engaged in a meaningful text conversation with us, sending two or more text messages.
Why Text Message First Works
Text messaging fits seamlessly into the consumer’s lifestyle. It’s asynchronous, meaning the customer can respond when it’s convenient for them. It’s immediate, providing instant gratification that a phone call or email simply can’t offer. And perhaps most importantly, it builds rapport faster, which is crucial for higher conversion rates.
The TECOBI Advantage
TECOBI’s platform makes implementing a Text Message First strategy seamless and effective. Our unique edge lies in automating personalized, contextual messages right from the get-go. For instance, if a customer has been browsing SUVs on a dealership’s website, their first text from us could directly link to that SUV, instantly making the conversation relevant.
But we don’t stop at the first message. If a lead goes cold or doesn’t respond, our automated follow-up sequences kick in. These aren’t generic messages; they’re tailored to add value to the customer’s experience, whether that’s a special offer or a prompt for a test drive.
One compelling case study comes from re-engaging “ghost leads” over 90 days old. We sent out 951 targeted text messages featuring a newly traded-in Charger, resulting in a 7% response rate. That’s about 70 people re-engaging with minimal effort, something that would be time-consuming in a traditional CRM system.
The numbers speak for themselves. A Text Message First strategy isn’t just effective; it’s what consumers prefer. If you’re still relying on outdated phone-first strategies, you’re missing out on significant engagement opportunities.
Ready to elevate your customer engagement? Reach out to TECOBI and watch your conversion rates soar.