Equipment Dealers: How to Save Time in Your Service Department During the Spring Rush

May 10
min Read
Dealer Webinar

[Webinar Transcript from May 2022]

Hey, good morning, everyone. Let's get started here. My name is Ben. I'm on the marketing team here at Kenect. Today, we're going to talk about saving time in your service department during the spring rush. Something we're obviously dealing with right now. So we'd like to first talk about Kenect for about five minutes and then get into the meat of the webinar. It shouldn't be more than about 20 minutes because we don't want to take too much of your time here. And then if you have any questions, please feel free to type them in the questions tab over there. Or if there's any comments that you have, we'll get to it throughout this webinar or for sure at the end when there's more time. So with that, let's get started here.

What can Kenect do for your business?

First off, who is Kenect? We're based in the Silicon Slopes of Utah, that's just outside Salt Lake City. We're a text messaging platform for equipment dealers throughout North America. We were founded by dealers and built for dealers. So what do we do? We help you communicate more efficiently, generate new leads, collect payments via text message and drive online reviews. And how do we do this? Well, two-way text messaging from your dealership. This means you don't have to give out your personal cell number. We actually connect this through your existing business line.

So this platform is all done through the phone number that you already have. All we do is contact your carrier and set it up so you're not having to give out your personal cell number. You just offer another solution to your business line rather than phone calls, you're offering texting also. We offer web leads straight from your website through a little button that we add to your website that says text us so people can just text you and get on with whatever question that they have. Collect payments via text message and then online review generation and reputation management.

Why text messaging? Because your customers prefer it. 89% of consumers say they would prefer to interact with a business 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 that's huge, right? If you're going to get important information out to your customers, you want to make sure that you are reaching them in the way that they want to be reached. And this is the best way to do it. We've seen it over the last two years and it's really exploded. 96% of consumers find phone calls to be disruptive and 78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases. This is from one of our dealers, he says, "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." So they're getting responses quickly and you're getting information out to customers quickly. And especially when you have backlogs in the service department or you want to make sure that you're keeping things clear, that's huge and we'll get into that just a few minutes.

This is what the inbox looks like when somebody texts into you. Whether it's a lead or whether it's a question from a customer that you've given out your information to, this is how it would look when you're looking at it. So you can see each customer's name as they come in or number if you don't know them yet. And then you see where the conversation's left off. You can also add a sales rep or a service rep to this person so that they can contact this person directly each time that they come in, they know that this is the person that they're assigned to. And then through this platform since it's all done through the business line, if that person, that salesperson's gone for the day you can also respond through this platform. So you decide who wants to get into this platform, which employees that you want to use this. I would say you can also have your service department use this for sure because that way they can give information out to customers quickly. So just make sure that whoever you put in here, they have assigned people or you make sure you have a plan in place to do that. And we'll get into that just a minute.

And then this is the mobile app. So this is free in the App Store similar to like an email layout, of course, but you can send quick replies, use your camera for photos. You can also do video chat with customers as they come in. So it's huge for you to actually show them what you're working on, especially in your service bay.

Top seven ways equipment dealers use Kenect: Scheduling appointments, setting up automated reminders and sending status updates. You can also send quick information like hours where your equipment's ready for pickup. You can also send targeted warranty reminders and schedule maintenance notices, which we'll get into in just a second, collect payments via text message attach and send photos, videos, and invoices and PDFs, which I was talking about. If you're in your service department, you can send photos of what you're working on, it'll show them a video chat of what you're going through. And then generate online reviews on Google and Facebook and capture more leads from Facebook, Instagram, and your website.

Dealing with the service department spring rush

So service and parts spring rush, this is what we're going to get into, and its more important than ever to ensure your service and parts are running smoothly. And the way to do that is to make sure that you are putting in a system that ensures speed and accuracy between employees and customers. Saving time will save you money. And pretty much it's all about texting and not calling, because that's where customers are most familiar. Especially during the pandemic, we've seen that grow because customers have been used to texting. That's where a lot of businesses have gone.

They drop the phone calls, they dropped all the messaging emails. They just do texting because that's an easy way to get to customers quickly. So we've seen that customers are used to it and it's where a lot of businesses are trending and really looking to be, especially because customers are looking for it. I just wanted to show you some graphs and some information.

We've seen a 55% increase in text message volume year over year. This started before the pandemic and certainly has gone after the pandemic. Dealers are now completing entire transactions that sales and service through text messaging and all of that is new because dealers they know that's an easy way to get to customers, it's an easy way to complete everything because customers will just get texts on their phone. And like we showed you with a 98% open rate, that's easy, that's quick and fast for customers as well as employees. Especially if you're busy in your service department, you want to make sure that you're keeping things flowing and keeping people moving in and out.

If people can pay ahead of time or get information ahead of time to approve a part or something like, that that's easy to do. That's easy for customers to be able to respond to you. 96% are open within three minutes so that's huge. Text message with images, 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 what I mean by that is like if you have a part that came in and maybe you say, "We don't have the part in yet. We're ordering it to be here in like a couple weeks.” Then your customer can say, "Okay, we'll order it. We'll see how it goes." And then maybe another part comes in earlier, but it's a little more expensive. You can text the customer, but show them a picture of what you're talking about. So you can say, "Here’s the part. It's exactly the same. This is what it's going to look like. This is where we're going to put it." And they're going to say sure because they want that part in right away. Because they know that you, along with every other business, is having a backlog in parts and sales and service, something like that because we've seen that over the last six months. And so they know that if they're offered this part and it's a little more expensive, they're just going to take it.

We've seen that throughout the last six months, we've seen that throughout two years as customers want what they want. They don't necessarily want to wait around. They don't care if they're paying a little bit more right now because they know that parts are really hard to come by. So that's where that sales engagement comes in and that's where the upsell comes in making sure you're offering that to customers.

Broadcast messaging for your business

Broadcast messaging is something I really wanted to hammer on because this is something that customers and employees have been asking for. Because this is something that allows you to give customers, a bunch of customers or a group of customers, a message all at once rather than you actually having to individually text them out. And especially when you're in a rush in your service department. Maybe you text the group that is there that day, the people that are coming in, and maybe you have some hours that you want adjust, or maybe you have staffing issues, but you want to keep things moving. You can send this to the 20 people or the 30 people that you're coming to and making sure that they get the message.

It conveniently sends a message to a subset of customers by creating groups. And you can schedule the message or send one right away and you can easily identify and reply to broadcast messaging right inside that inbox and quickly filter out broadcast messaging based on scheduled or sent. So this is what it would look like. You can see the little button over there, you click on that and then you click on this over here and then you add whatever new broadcast message that you want. You add the name, the subset of group that you're looking for and then the message. And then you hit send and this is what it'll look like and it'll show you what's going to happen and what it's going to look like and how many people you're actually sending it to.

And then you hit approve and then it goes into their inbox, and then they can respond to it. This shows how you can ask people to schedule their appointment online, but this can be done for anything. You can do scheduling hours. You can do staffing issues. You can say, "We have a special on." You can choose the group that you want to send this to and it helps out, especially in your service department, because that makes sure that you're flowing. And when you have issues and people just show up and they don't know that you have issues, then that backlogs your service department and that's not what you want. You want to make sure that things are flowing smoothly and this is a great way to do that.

The importance of creating a plan, making sure you're setting expectations about communication with employees and customers. And by that, I mean making sure that customers know when you have issues or when employees know what to tell customers and how to tell them and how to reach them. Try developing solutions, standardizing workloads like we were talking about. Making sure that you're adding texting, pushing back deadlines that are not urgent. Focus on keeping service department running smoothly and then automate certain tasks, texting, not calling.

Using text-to-pay

Remote payments, that's another thing that I wanted to hit on and make sure that you are aware of. It's gained momentum during the pandemic. It hasn't really stopped. Customer convenience via contactless interaction and cards aren't really going away, but they're going to shift to remote forms of payment. So any of the cards that you would get in your service department, you just swipe the card. The customer's going to do that themselves. “Customers say they would prefer to continue to shop online or with smartphone for home delivery, freeing up time for people and activities more important to them, such as family and friends, work and physical well-being, leisure and entertainment.” And this behavior is transforming how payments are made and it has over the last two years.

This is something we probably wouldn't have been talking about in the last maybe just five years ago, but the data really shows that it is gaining popularity and that it's really not going away. It's revolutionizing how businesses collect payments for their customers. 85% faster payment collection with Text-to-Pay. And by that, I mean you're offering customers a way to pay themselves. So they put in their information and all that and they don't have to come in at all. And clearly they want it because we've seen the faster payment collection and payments on time nearly every time. And 45 minutes is the average time saved per person in the service department during the day. That is huge, and that's what you're talking about. If you have a spring rush that's coming in and we know that that's happening, we're saving time because we're not sitting on the phone calling a customer saying, "Oh my gosh, we need you to approve this part going in before we actually do it." So the equipment sits there or the machine sits there and you just wait for the customer to call you back, which could be hours or could be days. If you're texting, we've seen the data. People text back within 96% of the time within three minutes. So that's huge and that saves you 45 minutes per person in the service department.

Some dealers are now running 70% of their service payments through Text-to-Pay. And 91% of customers prefer Text-to-Pay when they start using it. So what that means is you may think, "My customers just like coming in," but if you're offering Text-to-Pay to them, you're seeing that customers are actually gravitating towards it. We've seen 91% of customers say, "You know what? Now that you're offering it and now that I've seen what it does, I'd prefer it. I'd rather do it."

Why use Text-to-Pay? I don't want to go through all of these, but I just wanted to hammer home a couple, making sure that you are allowing after hours pickups and remote drop-offs. So this will help keep your service department moving because it actually keeps your service department flowing with more. You're able to say, "Okay, you pay ahead of time and then come and pick your vehicle up, come and pick your equipment up." That's easy to do. So customers are able to do that quickly and then getting paid faster and reducing accounts receivable, that's the other issue. This also cuts down on the time that your employees have to deal with bills and accounts receivable. So that saves you time, especially during the spring rush. You can have your employees be doing something else rather than not be sitting there in the billing department waiting for a phone call, playing phone tag with customers. So this reduces that. And so these are the main things I wanted to hit on in this page. Of course, you can read it yourself and see the other ones, but I just wanted to make sure that you knew that's the main issue here is saving time. Saving time in your service department, for your employees and saving time for your customers because that's what they want. They want convenience and simplicity and they want to be able to do it fast. That's easy for them and it's easy for you.

This is what it looks like when you send something to them. You click on the payments icon down below, and then you click on the whatever you'd like to send them. So the PDF that you're going to send them for the Text-to-Pay. And then this is what it would look like. You enter the amount, you enter the invoice number and then what it's for, the description. And then you hit the send button and this is what it would look like for customers. So they complete the transaction. They put their information and the name on the card and then their card number and all the pertinent information, they put it in there and then they send it to you.

And if there's any indication that they're worried or just a little apprehensive, we change that icon at the top to your business icon. So whatever your business image is, that will change. So when you text the customer and they're like, "No, I'm not sure." You can say, "Well, you'll know it's from us because this will have our icon on the top. And you know what the amount is because we talked about it. So you'll see what the description is. You'll see what the amount is and then you'll see our image at the top so you know it's from us." And that gives people a little more confidence and people who are a little apprehensive about this using it the first time. And then once they do it, they know that it's easy and convenient and they're going to keep doing it because that's what customers have expected during the pandemic.

We've seen a massive explosion of locations using Text-to-Pay. And we just wanted to make sure you see this. From April 2020 to now pretty much, so the two-year mark. 1600-plus locations are now using Text-to-Pay on a regular basis. And we really are expecting this growth to continue. This is not going to slow down. So making sure that you are part of this and you are keeping Text-to-Pay as part of your business or making sure that it is part of your business because it's really what customers are after. And then making sure that you're keeping your revenue flowing. This is another graph that I just wanted to point out. More than $14.5 million has gone through Text-to-Pay in March of 2022. That's huge. That's 15 times growth per month in just two years. And these are dealers that just use us. This is just transactions going through. This is literally what they are getting from customers per month. This is what our dealers are getting from customers using Text-to-Pay. So you can just see the growth and you can just see how many people are actually using Text-to-Pay as we head into March of 2022. And that's just two months ago or a month ago. So who knows what it's like right now? We've seen the growth exponentially go up. I mean, from January to March, that's huge. So we just wanted to make sure that you know that Text-to-Pay is here to stay and Text-to-Pay is what customers are looking for.

So a couple use cases, I just wanted to hit these homes so that you kind of know what I'm talking about here. Customer has repair done on their equipment. Can text payment to dealership immediately upon completion rather than having to pay via invoice or wait in line to swipe the card. So you get paid in minutes, not hours or days.

That's another thing that we have heard from a lot of dealers, these customers coming in and saying, "We don't really want to wait in line or we don't want to sit there so we just offer Text-to-Pay to customers so there's no line." There's no way for them to actually have to wait and they don't have to wonder about having to come in or having to have that interaction. And then sales department, of course, deposits on new units paid. And you can text rather than waiting for the check to clear. So you can have them text you in and they say, "I'd like this piece of equipment. Can I put a down payment on it?" And you say "Sure." Send them that Text-to-Pay thing and they can have put that deposit down so it's theirs. That's what customers are looking for and that's what they want. And it's easy for them to do and so they can keep that piece of equipment for themselves.

If they want it, they can put that deposit down via Text-to-Pay. Importance of purchase intent versus asking questions. 90% of decisions are made before they come in or call. So making sure that you know what you're texting about and making sure Text-to-Pay is actually something that they're looking for. Customers are buying independent of discounts. So like I talked about if you're going to upsell customers, they're more than likely going to say yes because they want what they want.

And it doesn't necessarily matter if it costs a little bit more for that part, but you could surprise them and say, "Hey, we got this part in early. It's a little more expensive, but here it is." And send them the picture and show them what you're talking about. It's digital across the entire funnel. Less than a third of young consumers prefer conducting sales in person at a dealership. And respondents are even more interested in contactless services. Half of respondent's willing to pay extra for this service. This is not just young consumers. This is most consumers and we've seen that through the graphs that I just showed you.

It's easy, simplicity and convenience wins and that's what customers are looking for now as we head into 2022 into the second quarter. So this spring rush is going to come fast and it is coming right now, but there are ways that you can reduce the amount of time that you're spending with customers and having to spend in your service department so that you can keep more pieces of equipment coming in.

Six benefits of texting, you can generate more leads via the website widget. We add that to your website. It's a little text us button that comes right into that inbox that I showed you, generating dozens of five-star reviews, standing at online and selling more units. You can use video chat, which we talked about using video chat and sales and service. And especially when you're trying to show customers what you're talking about, don't call them. Use video chat or text them because that's easy and that's where they're going to respond. Collect payments and deposits from sales and service customers via text message. And then text from your existing business line instead of your personal cellphone. We talked about this, making sure you don't have to use your personal cellphone anymore. This is going to be connected through your existing business line so it's easy for you to text customers back and forth. And it's easy for your employees to text customers back and forth. And you can save time and sell more by sending photos, videos, and surveys through this platform also.

You can text customers anything that you think they may need, especially photos, invoices. You can also send them transaction history so that if they're confused about what they've paid for so far, you can send them a PDF to show them exactly what they've paid for. And that keeps things flowing and it keeps things moving without having to stop, make a phone call, play phone tag, all that stuff. That's what we're cutting down on. We're making sure that customers have the ability to text and they have the ability to text you through your business line, because that's what they want. And that's really what they're expecting now.

So with that, thank you so much for joining us. Right about 20 minutes, like I said. If you have any questions, please feel free to text us in. You can also get a free demo. So we'll set it up and show you exactly what it would look like for your business. And we can also show you all the features if you want to add them in, we can show you what that looks like. So feel free to text us, call us if you need to. We're ready to give you a free demo and I think you'll see the benefits of this as we go forward, because that's what customers have probably been asking you. And you want to make sure that you're meeting customers where they want be.

Thank you so much for joining us, have a great rest of your week.

Get texting for your business