John Deere Dealers: Helping Your Service Department Navigate the Busy Summer Season

Aug 9
min Read

[ Webinar Transcript from August 2022]

Hey everyone. Thanks for jumping on. My name is Ben. I'm on the marketing team here at Kenect. Today we're going to talk about how to navigate the busy summer season in your service department and some tips and tools that we can help you get through this busy season. We're going to talk about Kenect for about five minutes, then get into the meat of the webinar. Shouldn't be more than about 20 minutes. 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 on the side panel there, and we'll get to them throughout this webinar, or for sure at the end, when there's more time. So 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 equipment dealers throughout North America. So we're founded by dealers and built for dealers. So we help you communicate more efficiently, generate new leads, collect payments via text message and drive online reviews. We're the 25th fastest growing software company in America and the 216th fastest growing company in America overall. That's according to Inc. 5000. We've seen tremendous growth over the last year, especially during the pandemic, we've seen people use texting more and more. And so this has become a key tool and we've seen the growth in our platform.

How do we do it? Two way text messaging from your dealership without giving your personal cell number. So, this platform is done all through your existing business phone number. That phone number you've been giving out to people, we're just adding texting to that. It's really simple for your customers to get a hold of you. They're able to use this as an extra tool to get questions answered, or to send payments and all that kind of stuff. So this is all done through your existing business phone number. We do web leads straight from your website through a little text us button that we add, collect payments via text message, and then online review generation and reputation management.

Why text messaging? Because your customers prefer it. 89% of consumers will 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 responses back faster. You're going to be able to see customers interact with you faster. You're going to get information out to customers. So especially if you have hours that are changing, or if you need to let somebody know that you may not be in the morning, you want to be able to get that information to them faster, text messaging is the way to go. 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. So text messaging is the preferred form of communication. Customers have gotten used to it, especially during the pandemic. They've seen the simplicity and convenience of it. So it's really key here to make sure that you're getting a hold of customers, where they want to be. One of the dealers that uses us 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.”

This is what the inbox looks like if somebody texts you. So it'll show you the number if they've never texted you before, or maybe somebody's texted you in the past and they left off, haven't texted you in a couple months, but you still have their name in there. So you have a name associated with each number. You can see where the conversation left off. You can see where customers are, the last thing that they said to you or what they're looking for, that kind of thing. And then you can also assign each employee to a customer. So you can choose which employees you want to have access to this platform. And then you're also able to see the conversation that the employee's having with the customer, so that if that customer's texting in and maybe that employee's gone for the day, and it's an urgent question, you're still able to respond and say, “Hey, Mary's out for the day, I'm going to answer your question. If you have any more, please feel free to contact me,” that kind of thing. So anyone has access to this platform that you want to within your business and anyone's able to respond. It's also a similar look in the mobile app, similar to like an email layout, but you can see all the names over there with the numbers associated, and you can also use your camera on this for maybe video chat. You can walk around a piece of equipment. You can show the customer exactly what you're looking at, send them pictures, that kind of thing. As long as you have a signal, this platform will work. And so it's easy to have in your pocket. You can talk to customers at any time, anywhere you have a signal, even if you're not actually in the service bay and they have a service question, you can answer them as long as there's a signal.

It's really convenient, especially on the phone because you're able to respond and you're able to get information out faster. So the top seven ways that equipment dealers use Kenect, scheduling appointments, setting up automated reminders and sending status updates. You can also send quick information like hours, maps or your machines ready for pickup. You can send targeted warranty reminders and schedule maintenance notices. You can also collect payments via text message, which I'll get into in just a minute, attach and send photos, videos, invoices, and PDFs, so that customers can see exactly what the bill that you're sending to them and a breakdown. You can text that to them. Generate online reviews in Google and Facebook, and then capture more leads on Facebook, Instagram, and your website.

More customers are texting

Customers are texting more, and we wanted to get into some of the data so that you could see that, and then we'll get into what it means for your service bay throughout this webinar. Pew Research says 81% of Americans now own a smartphone. That's around 300 million people in the US. 78% of buyers say checking, sending and answering text messages is the primary way they use their phone. So what we're seeing here is an increase in text messaging from people just in the last couple years. 61% of people admit to spending more time daily since 2022 texting. So what that means is during the pandemic, they have seen the benefits of texting as other forms of in person communication has went away. They needed another way to get in contact with people and texting filled that void. And really now that things are starting to ease, texting is still sticking around and texting is still the preferred form of communication.

Why? Because people realize that its simplicity and convenience. They've seen how easy it is to just text somebody. And then they get a text back immediately. So we know that people are using texting more. We know that more people have smartphones, and we know that people are checking and answering text messages as the primary way that they use their phone. So phone calls are going away and text messages are filling that void, making sure that text messaging is the primary way that you are communicating. You want a text not call. And that is a shift we know. It's a shift in thinking for a lot of dealers, but now we've seen the data and we know that people would prefer to text message. So you want to make sure you're offering that tool to customers.

This is just some data that we have from the dealers that use us. We've seen a 55% increase in text message volume per dealer year over year. So as soon as they actually implement this platform, we've seen that volume go up and dealers are now completing entire transactions via text sales and service and all of that's new. So what that means is people are from start to finish, dealers are using this to complete transactions, text to pay, questions that any people may have, they're completing it from start to finish. Question about a piece of equipment to final payment is all done via text, and we've seen the growth. It really shows no sign of slowing down. This is just through the last, through the pandemic we saw the really huge spike in it, and it really hasn't dwindled. We've seen more and more people add texting as the preferred form of communication.

Text message with images, this also is key here, especially in your service department. So 80% of increase in MMS message per dealer year over year. And when pictures are sent back and forth, it usually indicates a service upsell or a serious sales engagement. So if you're calling somebody, you're not able to send that picture, you're not able to show them exactly what you're talking about. Maybe they want you to email them a picture or something like that. That doesn't get through all the way because people don't check their email as often. If you're texting somebody a picture or maybe even doing a video chat from that platform, that's easy for you to show them exactly what you're talking about. And if you have a piece of equipment that needs a new part, and you want to show the customer the part, maybe show them a couple parts, say, Hey, maybe this part is going to take six weeks to come in, but we have this slightly more expensive one that's in stock right now. And here it is. And we'll show you exactly what it is and where it'll go on your piece of equipment. There's the service upsell, there's the sales engagement. And you're able to offer that to customers because you're able to show them the visual. You're able to show them exactly what you're doing.

Broadcast Messaging is key for dealers

Another key here is what we've seen over the pandemic. More and more text messages are being sent out. So dealers were asking for a way to actually get a hold of customers in a large group, rather than just individually. So they didn't have to send out individual texts. So broadcast messaging has become more popular. It's conveniently sending a message to a subset of customers by creating groups. So you can schedule a message or send one right away. You can easily identify and reply to broadcast messages inside that inbox that I showed you and quickly filter broadcast messages based on scheduled or sent.

This was the inbox that I showed you. Similar, look on the side. Here is all of the options, including broadcast messaging right there. And you can add a new message that you'd like to send, winterization in this case. And it shows the group and then you can see on the side here, it has 336 people in that winterization group. And then you type in whatever you'd like the call to action so to speak and or whatever message you'd like to send out to this group. In this case, they're asking a link to schedule a service, which you can do also, or you can say maybe this is just, our hours have changed and we want to let you know, that kind of thing. Then you send it out and then it'll show you exactly who you're sending to, how many in the broadcast message and how many people you had available that's left to send and you hit approve. And then it goes into that inbox to that specific customer. So this is what it would look like in the platform. And then the customer would get this like a text. So you'd be able to see that this is actually a broadcast message and you'd be able to respond to it, just like any other text message.

If that customer texts in and says, yeah, I'd like a winterization or I'd like a service, then you can respond and use it that way. You can also show, any employee can respond again, like I said. So any employee can use this platform and you could see which customers have texted in and you can have employees respond in a certain way, making sure that they are all getting these customers that want service. Or maybe even for broadcast messaging, you want to make sure that you maybe you're have half your staff gone that week. You want to make sure that people know that. You want to tell them our hours have shifted, and we're not open as early, whatever you'd like to do. You have a sale going on. Some people have used it for newsletters. You don't have to, of course, but you can use it in that case. So many ways that you can use this without having to send those individual texts. You're able to send it to a group using that same message. So that's key here, especially saving time when you're trying to save time and cut down on employees and staffing having tasks to do.

Create a texting plan, making sure that you're setting expectations about communication with employees and customers, try developing solutions like standardizing workloads. You can also push back deadlines that aren't urgent and keeping the focus on service department and sales running smoothly. You want to make sure that if you are trying to start this platform, that you have a clear plan. You can automate certain tasks, making sure that you know, you and your employees know exactly what's going on and make sure that your customers know that you have this texting option. So you can start by creating this plan and just trying to see how it works and go through it and making sure that it runs smoothly in your service department and making sure you're texting, not calling because that's where customers are looking to be.

Using text-to-pay in your service department

Another option we were going to talk about is remote payments because this is where customers really have saved time and this is where they are trending. A lot of businesses have started using remote payments, and they're expecting you to have it. A lot of customers have already asked other businesses that don't have it why they don't have it. So this is another option that really is key here because customers want this simplicity and convenience. It's all about gaining momentum over the pandemic. And it really hasn't stopped. We've seen customer convenience via contactless interaction. So they don't actually have to come in and give you their card number. They can just fill it out themselves. Cards aren't going away, but we'll shift to remote forms of payment. And then again, simplicity and convenience.

Here's some of the data around text to pay, 85% faster payment collection with text to pay. We've seen the faster payment collection because customers are filling out that information themselves. And it's easy for them to actually send that back within minutes. So they don't have to actually come in, give you their cards, swipe it, maybe stand in line, that kind of thing. They can just do it themselves from the link.

Payment is on time nearly every time. And then this is the key: 45 minutes is the average time saved per person in the service department. That's during the day. So that's huge especially in your service department, you want to keep things running smoothly. And if you are allowing the customer to pay themselves and you have them fill out that information, then you're having that time saved because you don't have somebody in accounts receivable that's filling out that information. You don't have a staff member that has to call them, maybe play phone tag over a couple days, maybe even hours. You don't have to have that piece of equipment waiting in your service bay until somebody pays or waiting in your parking lot until somebody pays. So it's not taking up space because the customers able to fill that out themselves.

Some dealers are now running over 70% of their service payments through text to pay. All you need to do is call somebody and say, “we're about an hour away from being done with your piece of equipment.” And you say, “Hey, here's the link to text to pay. Here's the link to the payment, fill this all out and then send it right back to us. And we're all good. And we can have it waiting for you in about an hour right outside. And then you can pick it up and leave.” Nothing else you have to do. That's easy, simple and easy. Dealers are running over 70% of service payments through text to pay and that's why. It's simplicity and convenience. And then this is also key, 91% of customers prefer text to pay when they start using it. So once they've seen text to pay, then they want to keep using it. And like I said, a lot of dealers, a lot of businesses have already started this text to pay process. So a lot of customers are already used to it and kind of expect it from businesses.

You want to be able to offer that option to customers. And then once they've seen it, they will want to be using it because they see how easy it is, how quick it is, how simple it is for them to fill out that information and send it right back. It's really easy for them. And it's easy for you. And it cuts down on staffing and time, especially in your service department. I don't want to go through all of these, why use text to pay, but you can see them for yourselves. Obviously allow for afterhours pickups and remote drop offs by collecting prepayments. You can also collect on service tickets and special order parts with a 98% open rate like I talked about. And then you're reducing accounts receivable, not just for customers. Again, you can reduce accounts receivable for employees. So that's key here. You're reducing the amount of time your employees have to spend on this. And so you can use them in other areas because they're not having to spend the time on that. That's key. And next day funding, it's 100% secure.

So what does the link look like? You click on the payments icon right down below when you're in that inbox. And then you add the amount, the invoice number and description of what it is. And then the customer completes that transaction. And you can have your logo at the top. So they'll be able to see what it looks like. See that it's coming from you and be able to recognize and feel trust in that this is coming right back to you. So they can fill out their information with ease and then they get it within a few minutes and then they send it back. And then you can process it in a matter of minutes. So you don't have to play phone tag and you don't have to wait for them to call you back, or give their information over the phone, or have to come in and swipe their card. They're doing it all themselves.

Locations with text to pay, 1600 plus locations are now using text to pay on a regular basis from us. This is through our platform. You can see it was pretty much at zero in April 2022. And now we are using text to pay at 1600 locations and we expect that growth to continue. And then the biggest thing here is 15 times growth per month in two years. So just April of 2020, we've seen about a million dollars go through text to pay. And now in March of 2022, 14 and a half million dollars through text to pay. That's huge. That's just in that month. That's just how much money is flowing through that text to pay platform just that month. So it's really key here to show you what people are actually moving towards. We know that customers are using text to pay or would rather use text to pay. They've seen it with a lot of businesses. A lot of dealers are recognizing that. They're also recognizing the convenience of it. So it's easy for them to take text to pay and use it and they can reduce the amount of time that staff is using this. And they're reducing the amount of time that customer has to deal with payments. So it's easy for your service bay because it keeps things flowing and you're able to have people prepay and take that out of their service bay and keep that thing flowing.

So we're not clogging up the parking lot or clogging up the service bay. Really key here. The growth is happening and we've seen customers gravitate towards it once they realize that people are offering text to pay.

Text to pay use cases in the service department, consumers are repair done. You can text payment to a dealership immediately upon completion, rather than having to pay via invoice or wait in line to swipe a card. So you get paid in minutes, not hours or days.

And then in the sales department, which we touched on just briefly, you can send deposits on new units paid. And this also goes for service department, especially with parts. If you have a part and you want to make sure that the customer has the opportunity to buy it, maybe they want something for later, or maybe they just want to make sure that the part is there when you're able to work on the vehicle or the piece of equipment. So they can deposit on new units paid and text, rather than waiting for a check to clear or the buyer to come in and swipe the card. So they can hold that piece of equipment or that piece of that part that they're looking for. And they're able to get it on hold and send a prepayment through the phone through text to pay. Pretty easy, easy for the customer, easy for you. And it makes the customer satisfied because they have that on hold and they don't have to jump through any more hoops.

The six benefits of texting, generating more leads through that little website text us button that we had, generating dozens of five star reviews and standing out online to sell more units. You can also use video chat and sales and service for more effective communication. Again, in your service department, you can walk around a piece of equipment, show the customer exactly what you're talking about. You're able to do that through that platform, and it's easy for them to see exactly what you're working on. So there's transparency, there's no mystery, and it might even help you with service upsells or anything like that because you're able to show them exactly what you're doing. Collecting deposits and payments from sales and service via text message, text from your existing business line instead of your personal cell phone, and save time and sell more by sending photos, videos, surveys, et cetera.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to text us or give us a call. Our numbers (888) 972-7422. We'll be able to show you exactly what this looks like for your business. Some of the features that we offer. You can also inquire about other things like online review generation or lead gathering. We also offer these features. You want to make sure you're personalizing this and getting that one-on-one look at what it would look like exactly for your dealership. We want to make sure that texting is part of this, because we know that texting is there. I just want to reiterate that people have seen texting. A lot of businesses are using texting now. So customers are expecting this. You're just adding this tool that the customer already knows about. The learning curve will be smaller than you think. I'm sure that a lot of you are kind of wondering whether this is going to be pretty hard to do or hard to get into because your customers may not know about it. They do, they know about it. Maybe not all of them use text messaging, but they certainly know about how businesses are using it and the convenience and simplicity of it because they've seen it over the pandemic, whether they were involved directly in text messaging, or they know people that have it, it's already been out there and it's been out there for a little while.

Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. Again, call or text for that free demo, or if you have any questions that pop up over the week, or if you need to contact somebody about looking into what this platform would look like for your business. Thank you so much and have a great rest of your week.

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