Brunswick Dealers: Keys to Improve Communication in Your Service Department

Jun 7
min Read
Dealer Webinar

[Webinar Transcript from June 2022]

Let’s get started here. First off, my name's Ben. I'm with the marketing team here at Kenect. And we're here to talk about some ways to improve your communication in your service department, especially during the rush we've experienced over the last few weeks. I know that as the weather gets nicer, people are wanting more services so you need some keys to improve your communication. First off, we're going to talk about Kenect for about five minutes. Shouldn't be too long and then get in the meat of the webinar. About 20 minutes total, don't want to take up too much of your time. And then if you have any questions, please feel free to type them in at the questions tab over there on the side panel, and we'll get to them throughout this webinar, or for sure at the end, when there's more time. With that, let's get started here.

Who is Kenect?

We're based on the Silicon Slopes of Utah, that's just outside Salt Lake City. We're a text messaging platform for marine dealers throughout North America. And we are founded by dealers and built for dealers. We communicate more efficiently. We help you generate new leads. We help you collect payments via text message and drive online reviews. How do we do it? Two way text messaging for your dealership without giving out your personal cell number. We set this platform up all through your existing business line. So that number that your customers are already calling you in on, that number will now have a texting feature so they can text in messages to you. Doing web leads straight from your website, collecting payments via text message through a link that you can send your customers and then online review generation and reputation management.

Why text messaging? Because your customers prefer it? 89% of consumers would prefer to interact with businesses via text message rather than a phone call. And 98% of all text messages are open, with 95% of those read within three minutes. So you're going to get messages out to customers faster. You're going to get information out faster. 96% of consumers find phone calls to be disruptive. And 78% of you, as consumers, say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases. And one of the customers that uses us said, "We used to call customers, but 75% of the time they wouldn't answer. So now we text them with Kenect and they immediately text us back."

What does it look like if they text you and where that inbox is located? Well, this is what it looks like. Similar layout to an email, but you can see you have numbers here, phone numbers, and then you can also assign people as people text in and you get their name and number. You can see where the conversation is when it's come in, where they are in their process of sales or service. And then you can also have people in your department, in your sales, in your service, anything that you'd like to have access to this inbox. So then you can assign some of your employees to each of these people. And then if they're gone for the day or gone for the week and a customer to text in a question, anyone on this platform can respond and say, "Hey, we got your question. We'd like to answer it. So and so's out of town," that kind of thing. So anyone has access to this and anyone can see all the text messages that are coming in, so we can all keep track and you can all see where things are as far as service and sales for each particular customer.

And it's similar layout on your mobile app as well. This is free in the app store. On here, you can see it's similar look to an email system on your phone. But you can send quick replies. You can also do photos in real time and then use your camera for video chats. You can have somebody in your service bay, do a video chat, showing them exactly what's going on, what's being worked on and showing them the parts or pieces that may be missing, or maybe need to be repaired. So you can show them in real time through your phone, pretty much anywhere that has a signal, right? You can take it anywhere. Anywhere in the world, really. You can have that in your service bay really easy, right in their pocket. They don't have to get to a computer and they don't have to get to a phone, a landline, because you're using your existing business line through this app and through this platform.

The top seven ways marine dealers are using Kenect? Scheduling appointments and setting up automated reminders from sending status updates. You can send quick information, hours maps, or your machine is ready for pickup. Send targeted warranty reminders, and schedule maintenance notices. You can also collect payments via text message to your link, and we'll show you how that works in just a second. Attachments and photos, videos, invoices, and PDFs. Generate online reviews on Google and Facebook. And then capture more leads from Facebook, Instagram, and your website.

How to Improve communication with increased service demand

We've seen it. It's been happening quite a bit. It's more important than ever to ensure your service and parts are running smoothly. We would say that you need to probably set up a system to ensure speed and accuracy. And I know that you've probably done some of that. And maybe some of the communication is broken down and you don't know where that might be. I would argue the text messaging would help with that. Because we can see the customers are getting used to this. Customers know that text messaging is a part of a lot of businesses. And it's really easy if it's attached to your business line for them to use that same number to text in.

All of this will also save you time and save you money. And making sure you're texting and not calling. Calling certainly is a way to reach customers, but of course you get voicemails, you play phone tag, all that kind of stuff. If you text, they text you back, we've showed you the data, 98% are read, so that makes it more important than ever to have texting as part of that communication process and part of the way that you do your business. Just adding it to your business line, you don't have to do any work. It's really easy. It's something that your customers already know, that number that they already know, and you're just adding that feature to it.

Text messages per month per location. We've seen a 55% increase in text messages per dealer, year over year. And this is just showing dealers are not completing entire transactions via text, that's sales and service and all of that's new. And why is that? It's because customers are getting used to this. And during COVID, we saw the spike in people using text messages, because you wanted to limit that in person interaction, that's what customers were looking for. So they were turning to text messaging. And we saw that spike go up during COVID and really hasn't gone down. The trend is going up. The trend is that customers know that text messaging is available in businesses, and they're expecting it from businesses now. They definitely will still call in. But if you are offering text message, they're going to say, "Yeah, I'm going to text you." Because it's easier. It's fast. It's right on their phone. They don't have to open an email. They don't have to play phone tag, you're going to leave a voicemail. Then they're going to call back and leave a voicemail. It's easy for them to just text you and you text them back.

Text messaging with images is also increases. We've seen an 80% increase in MMS message per dealer year over year. And when pictures are sent back and forth, usually indicates a service upsell or a serious sales engagement. And by that, what that means is you can actually send pictures of parts that may have come in. So if you told a customer, "Hey, we're going to fix this for you and we're waiting for this part, it should come in a couple weeks, but it's the cheapest one. And so we know that you're probably looking to cut costs.” If you have a part that comes in earlier, maybe in a week and you can show them the part and say, "Hey, here's the part. It's come in a little earlier than the other part, but it's slightly more expensive. Do you want me to go for it?" Chances are they're going to say yes. They know that a lot of people are dealing with inventory issues. It's slow. Service and parts are running slow everywhere. So if you offer them that chance to put something in sooner, a new part in sooner, they're going to say, yes, no matter the cost. People are not looking for cost, now they're looking for convenience and simplicity, which is why they're also turning to text message because that's the easiest and simplest way for them to reach you. That's how images can affect your sales and service department. It can actually increase your sales and help you increase and upsell throughout the day.

Another thing we wanted to mention, because we've seen it really increase over the last few months and something that customers have been wanting to add to their repertoire and to that platform is broadcast messaging. And this is a way to conveniently send messages to a subset of customers by creating groups. You can schedule a message or send one right away, easily identify and reply to broadcast message right inside that inbox that I showed you, and then you can quickly filter out broadcast messages based on scheduled or sent.

What this does is help you, especially in your service department, when you have communication issues and you really want to get information out to a group of people, you don't want to send these individual texts out. You want to make sure that you're able to send the same text to a bunch of people to get the information, get the word out there. If you're having staffing issues, if you're having parts issues, you want to make sure that they know, "Hey, we're not going to be open an hour later today. So make sure that you adjust your schedule accordingly." So you don't have everybody coming in an hour earlier expecting you to be open. You can send them a text and then they can see that and respond to it accordingly.

How does it work? We just click on this button over here, click add. You pick your name of the message you're going to send, the group that you want to send it to. So it's a subset of whatever your contacts is. And then you type in your information. In this case, this is talking about service, scheduling\ online service and winterizing, but you can do anything. You can do scheduling adjustment. You can say, "We have a sale. Here's the link to the sale." You can do anything you'd like. We even have a group that's actually using it for internal communication because they have that platform and everybody uses it. Once you have this broadcast message ready to go, you hit send, and then it'll show you what it's going to look like, when it's going to send, how many people it's going to send to and how many remaining contacts are not going to get this. You hit approve and then it goes into the system. And there it is.

And it'll show up like this for your customer and it'll show up in the platform, so you can see who got the broadcast message and then also making sure that the customer sees it. They can respond to it in any way that they want. They can click the link, of course, but then if they have questions, they can respond through this same platform. So sending broadcast messaging, easy way to do it and make sure that you're not having to send 300 individual messages out or make 300 individual calls. Maybe it's just a dozen calls. Think about how much time that's going to take to actually make those calls. And maybe half the people probably won't pick up right away. So you're going to leave a message. Hopefully they'll get to you. If you're closing early or you're opening late, that's really important and what customers really need to make sure they know so that you don't have a rush of people in your service department, or you don't have a rush of people trying to get their equipment and they can't because you've closed early because you don't have the staff. This is a great way to make sure that you get all that information out to customers as fast as possible.

Its important to create a plan. Make sure that you are setting expectations about communication with both your employees and your customers. And trying to develop solutions like standardizing workloads. If you're looking to try to ease communication, push back deadlines that aren't urgent, focus on keeping the service department running smoothly. Doing that by automating certain tasks and texting and not calling.

Adding text-to-pay to your business

Another key here is remote payments. And this helps keep things flowing in the service department easily because you're actually able to have people prepay for things. And we'll get into that in just a second. It's gained momentum during the pandemic, really hasn't stopped.

Customer convenience, vs. contactless interaction. Cards aren't going away, but will shift to remote forms of payment. And it's really all about simplicity and convenience. “Consumers say they would prefer to continue to shop online or on smartphone or home delivery, freeing up time for people and activities more important to them, such as family, friends, work and physical wellbeing.” So making sure that you are giving them the easiest way to reach you and the simplest way that they want to reach you. Because it's got to be convenient for them and it's got to be easy for them to get to you. And text to pay is clearly gaining momentum and we really have seen that over the last two years with the pandemic. But we really are seeing a spike, as the pandemic eases, we see that's still there. That remote payment popularity through tax payment is really still there.

Here’s the new data that we just collected. It's really revolutionizing how businesses collect payments from their customers. And customers want to text you. We've seen an 85% faster payment collection with text to pay. This is just from the dealers that are using us over the last few years. And we've seen that increase year over year immensely, almost double in most months. So payment collection is on time. Nearly every time. And 45 minutes is the average time saved per person in the service department during the day. That's key here. This is what we're all talking about, trying to improve communication, saving time in your service department. 45 minutes? That's another customer, right? If you're saving an average of 45 minutes per person in your service department, that's huge. All that adds up. That's another few customers that you can bring in because you're saving time via sending texts or sending text payments, all that kind of stuff, to make sure that customers are in and out smoother.

Some dealers are now running over 70% of their service payments through text to pay. And 91% of customers prefer text to pay when they start using it. This is what I was talking about a little earlier. People may be calling in, or people may be coming in person, but 91% of customers prefer text to pay once they start using it. Meaning once you've actually started to implement this, customers say, "Yeah, I really do like it. And I really will stick with it." Because text to pay is where customers are starting to see businesses trend. So this is not new for them. Even though it may be new for you, customers have seen it. Other businesses are using it. Other businesses are using text to pay. So it's really easy for them to transition, right? A lot of customers have already seen this over the pandemic. So it's not something that's new and not something that's foreign to them. You just have to offer it to them and they'll gravitate towards it.

Why use text to pay? I'm not going to go through all of these, but I wanted to make sure you see it. Allow for after-hours pickups and remote drop offs by collecting prepayments. Anyone in your service department can actually send that link. So once a piece of equipment's done, ready to go, or about to be done, your service department guy can say, "Hey, we're almost done with your boat. If you want to send us a quick payment, we can have it just out front and you can come pick it up." And then they'll send them a link. You can see that they will pay for it. And then they don't even have to come into the showroom or into the shop. They can just wait outside and they'll have it ready for them because they've already prepaid. And also getting paid faster and reducing accounts receivable. This is huge, not only for the customer, but for the employee, because you're not actually having to have them hover over accounts receivable all day, right? You don't have to assign people to this and spend hours on accounts receivable, because you're sending text messages. You can send text reminders. You can do all that through the texting platform because you don't have to play phone tag. You don't have to call them. You don't have to have employees sitting on the phone all day doing bill collection. You're going to reduce the number of hours that they have to sit there in accounts receivable. So they can go on to other tasks. And especially when you're busy in your service department, you're going to need extra hands sometimes, and that's where that comes in. This is all saving you time, 45 minutes per customer that you have in your service department. And so you're wanting to make sure that you keep that number going, keep reducing the amount of time. So keeping employees busy and keeping them busy in the places that you want them to be, not necessarily accounts receivable.

What does that look like when you actually send a text with that link to the customer? Here's what it looks like, you send that little PDF and you can show them the payments thing. And then you fill out this information about the amount, the invoice number and the description of what it was. And then the customer completes the transaction. They put in their credit card number, their name on the card, all that stuff. And a way to actually ensure that they know and trust that it's you is we put your logo at the top of this form so that when the customer gets it and they click on the link and they see it, it'll show your logo on the top. And so then you can say, "Hey, you'll know it from us because you can see the logo. And you know that we're sending you this invoice and this is what the amount is and what the description is." That increases the level of trust that increases the level of return because they know it's from you. So making sure that you're making it as easy as possible for the customer to complete this transaction. Then they send it back and that's it, right? You don't have to have people hovering over accounts receivable, like I talked about, sitting on the phone getting people to pay bills. You're just sending this out, they're sending it back and they're able to come in and pick up their equipment, or they're able to put a down payment on a piece of equipment, anything like that.

Locations with text to pay, we have 1600 plus locations with text to pay that use text to pay on a regular basis, and the growth is really continuing. This is from April of 2020, which is right around the start of the pandemic, till now. We've seen that increase pretty much to 1600. All of that from almost nothing, 75 to 1600, that's huge, right? This is why people are using text to pay, because it's convenient and simple. And because customers are now getting used to it. And you can see that customers have seen it because these businesses are increasing the use of text to pay, so customers are getting used to it.

And then text to pay volume, 15 times growth per month in two years. We are seeing growth, double, triple almost in some cases. During the pandemic, this is what the growth has become. And this is also because people like text to pay, but it's also because people are using it more. More than $14 million through text to pay in March of '22. That's just for that month. That's how much money has gone through text to pay just that month. That's the volume that dealers are using and that's why people are getting used to it, because more dealers are using this and more dealers are gravitating towards it. So customers are also gravitating towards it and they expect dealers to have it.

Text to pay use cases, just a few here to go through. Customers has a repair down on their boat. They can text a payment to dealership immediately upon completion, rather than having to pay via invoice or wait in line to swipe a card. So you get paid minutes, not hours or days. That's another big thing that we didn't touch on, but some of the dealers that use us have really noticed is that line to get your card swiped has gone to zero, right? They have zero lines in their service bay and zero lines in their showroom because they're using text to pay. That means that if people show up, they don't even need to come into the showroom. They can just pay outside. You send them a link and that's it. If they don't want to come in, that's fine, because you can just send them that link and they'll pay. And it also cuts down the line to zero. Pretty much no backups in service bays, no backups and showrooms. You don't have to actually have people waiting in line because you're able to use this text to face system.

And then sales department, people can put deposits on units via text, rather than waiting for the check to clear or the buyer to come in and swipe a card. If they see something on your website or they see something online and it's from you and they want to text you, they just click on the little text us button that we can add to your website, or they try to get ahold of you via your number, because that number now has texting capability, right, because we're adding that to the platform. So then they text in and they say, "I'd like this piece of equipment." And you say, "Great, you can put a down payment on it. Here's the text to pay link for that." So you can write in the description, down payment, for whatever piece that they're looking for. And then they have it and they're ready to go. And they don't actually have to come in. So they don't have to swipe their card. They can just do it on a text and fill out their information by themselves.

Six benefits of texting. Generating more leads via website widget. That's the little text us button I was talking about. We can add that to your website. They can click on it. And then it goes through the platform that I showed you. Generate dozens of 5-star online reviews that stand out online. We do reviews quite a bit. That's become a hot topic in the last few months, so we wanted to make sure that we can get you more information about reviews, but we definitely do that for a lot of dealers. Using video chat in sales and service for more effective communication. Collecting deposits and payments from sales and service via text message. Text from your existing business line instead of your personal cell phone. That's huge. Again, this platform is done all through your existing business line. So you're just adding that texting feature to your existing business line that customers already know the number for. Save time and sell more by sending photos, videos, and PDFs.

If you have any questions, feel free to text us. You can also call us and we want to make sure that you're getting the most out of this and that you know what Kenect can offer for you, especially as we head into the busy months in the busy summer. We know that service bays are probably going to be pretty busy over the next few months as the weather gets nicer. So we want to make sure you are able to see all the features that are available to you and what Kenect can offer. So get a free demo here and we can show you what it looks like, the ins and outs. And then we can show you how texting can help you. And what customers are looking for is texting. Whether you are familiar with it or not, that's okay, we'll walk you through it. But your customers will respond to it because they've seen it. And they know that it's coming.

Let's see, any questions here? Do you have to download the app onto your phone? And what does it cost? The app's free. Yeah, if your employees are using this platform, all they need to do is download that app, it's free in the app store, and then they can use it on their phone for video chats or pictures. Especially in the service bay, you want to make sure that they have that communication tool for customers. And that they're hooked into that platform, right? So anyone can see that platform that works, any employee that you want to add to that. So if they have that ability, then maybe they're busy and they want to say, "Hey, could you send so and so a text?" Anyone in your service bay, one of your employees can send that text. So that's key. And that's where customers are looking right now because customers have seen text messaging really ramp up during the pandemic. And it's not going away and they expect it from businesses. So you want to make sure you're on the front lines of that.

Again, text us. Feel free to give us a call and we'll give you a free demo and show you what features would work for you and how texting can transform your business and help customers improve communication between employees and customers. Thank you so much for joining us today. Hope you have a great rest of your week.

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