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Kawasaki Dealers: Helping Your Customers Understand Inflation

Dealer Webinar
8 min. read

[Webinar Transcript from July 2022]

Hey, everyone. Thanks for joining us in the webinar today. My name is Ben. I'm on the marketing team here at Kenect. We're going to talk a little bit about inflation and some solutions that may be able to help you get information to customers faster, especially as we get further into 2022. We're going to start off by talking about Kenect for about five minutes and then get into the meat of the webinar. Shouldn't be too long. Don't want to take up too much of your time here. And if you have any questions throughout this webinar, please feel free to type them in the questions tab over on the side panel there, and we'll get to them throughout this webinar, for sure at the end, when there's more time. So with that, let's get started here.

Introduction to Kenect

First off, who is Kenect? We're a text messaging platform for power sports dealers. We're based in the Silicon Slopes of Utah. That's just outside Salt Lake City. We were founded by dealers and built for dealers, and we help you communicate more efficiently, generate new leads, collect payments via text message, and drive online reviews. We're a two-way text messaging platform for your dealership, and you don't have to give out your personal cell number. So this is all done through your existing business phone line, easy for you to get information faster and through one platform right through one number. So you don't have to have a bunch of people have their different personal cell numbers. It just goes through one number. Web leads straight from your website through a little Text Us button that we can add, collecting payments via text message, online review generation, and reputation management.

So why texting? Because your customers prefer it. Eighty-nine percent of customers would prefer to interact with 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 you're going to be able to get information to customers fast, and you're going to get responses faster. And that's really key, especially as prices change, as staffing changes. We want to make sure that you're getting information to customers as fast as possible. You don't want to have to play phone tag. You want to be able to send them a message, and they can get it and send it right back to you. Ninety-six percent of consumers find phone calls to be disruptive, and 78% of consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases.

So like I was talking about the little “Text Us” button, this is what it would look like. It appears at the bottom of your website. It's a little widget that we add, and it allows customers to just click on it. And then they're able to ask questions of you, or if they see something that they like and they already know, maybe they want to purchase something they already know about it, but they just want to text you so they don't have to call. So this little button here will allow them to hit it and then get into your platform.

And this is what the platform looks like. So you can see it's similar to an email layout. You can see all the numbers on the side there, or if they have a name attached to it already, they might have already texted you before. So you can add a name as you get more into the process. You can see what they're asking about, where conversations have left off. So maybe they've texted you in the past. You can see where those messages have been and what they've asked about in the past. And then you can also assign employees to this platform and to each customer. So you don't have to have one person that's responding to all these. You can have every employee have access to this, which is really key, especially if you are dealing with a lot of different issues and maybe you can't text everyone right away. You need that help and you need that ability to have other employees be able to text people back. So that's key there, too.

Then another feature is through a mobile app. So similar layout again to the email, but you do this right on your phone. So wherever you get a signal on your phone, you're able to text back. Any one of your employees can text customers back. You can also use your camera for pictures of things that you're working on or in your sales department. You can get pictures of what they're asking about in sales. Maybe they saw a piece of equipment and they're like, "Hey, I really want to buy this." Then you can show them that it's in your sales floor, or you can show them something else if you think that they might like that.

You can also do video chats, which is really handy in-service space, especially if you're working on something and you want to show them exactly what you're working on if you find something as you're going through. So it's easy for you to say, "Hey, let's do a video chat real quick." You can put anybody on. Dozens of people can be added at one time. And you can do it from anywhere, especially when you have your phone in your pocket and you're walking around. As long as you have a signal, you can use this mobile app. It's free. And they can just pop it up, and they don't have to use their personal cell number if they're using the mobile app, which has attached to your business line. And you're able to connect with the customer that way.

So the top seven ways that dealers use Kenect, scheduling appointments, setting automated reminders, and sending status updates. You can also send quick information like hours, maps, your machine's ready for pickup. You can send targeted warranty reminders and schedule maintenance notices. You can also collect payments via text message, attach and send photos, videos, invoices, or PDFs, generate online reviews on Google and Facebook, and then capture more leads from Facebook, Instagram, and your website.

Understanding Inflation for dealerships

So today, we wanted to talk a little bit about inflation. It's increasing prices on everything, as we all know, parts and service. We have seen a little bit of an ease in the last couple weeks, but we just don't know where it's headed and we don't know where it's going. So it's more important to be in touch with customers and to make sure that they know what's going on. All of this increase in prices is obviously trickling down to customers. Some are aware, some are not. But you want to make sure that customers know why prices are increasing and keeping them in the loop.

And again, it's not important the why as in, "What's causing it? Where is it coming from?" But it's more important to explain the breakdown as in, "This part is more expensive, so we need to increase the price by a dollar here," or, "The service is going to cost a little more because parts are costing a little more." So you want to just keep them in the loop. And that's the key here when you're understanding inflation. They don't need to be experts in economics, and neither do you. You just want to make sure that you are keeping people informed of what's going on as we go on through the week. And then text, don't call. It helps get information to customers faster.

Obviously, customers are gravitating towards texting and they have over the pandemic. And they're used to price fluctuations. They've seen that over the pandemic. They've seen people or dealers increase prices quite a bit, especially if they're low on sales and they're low on staffing. We've also seen them adjust hours. So they're used to changes that are happening. All they want is to make sure that they're informed. And I think the problem here is a lot of dealers are worried that inflation's going to drive customers away. And what's really going to keep them coming in is keeping them informed. It's not going to drive that many customers away as you may think, because all customers really want is an explanation. And it doesn't have to be something elaborate. It can be something that's very simple and very easy to understand. So you want to make sure that customers are in the loop and you just give them a breakdown of where all of this price increase comes from and why this part is more expensive than the other part.

It might also help you when you're trying to upsell or when you're trying to get customers to buy a certain product. You can say, "This is a little less expensive or this is a little more expensive." And you can explain why, just in the sense that, "We're getting this. It used to be this much. Obviously, we know that inflation is driving up prices." You don't need to get into why inflation is happening, because that's not important. What's important is the breakdown of what's going on. So make sure your customers are informed and help them get informed faster.

We obviously are biased and we like texting, so we wanted to make sure that you know why texting is becoming more important for customers. We've seen a 55% increase in text message volume per dealer year over year. And dealers are now completing entire transactions via text sales and service, and all of that's new. And what that means is they are using texting as a one of the primary forms of communication to get information to customers out faster and also to make sure that customers have a way to communicate back and forth with them.

And then sending text messages with images, again, this is what I was talking about when you're sending pictures or you're sending information. We've seen an 80% increase in MMS message per dealer year over year. And when pictures are sent back and forth, it usually indicates a service upsell or serious sales engagement. So what I was talking about earlier is you can send customers information or pictures, like in this case. And you're able to tell them, "Hey, this price or this part that you wanted, it's a little more expensive. Here's another part that might be a little bit cheaper or that we have right now so you don't have to wait for it, or you don't have to make a decision, because this is a little bit cheaper." You can go through your inventory. You can show customers exactly what you're talking about just to keep them informed. And the more informed they are, the more likely they are to make a decision on sales, a decision on buying something. So you want to make sure you're giving them all the options that they have. Especially with inflation, some parts are going to be more expensive than others. So you want to show customers exactly what you're talking about, exactly where these prices are coming from.

Using broadcast messaging for dealerships

Another key here as we're going forward is broadcast messaging. When the pandemic first started and a lot of people were using text messaging, dealers were asking for this. And we added it in because we knew that it was an easy way, a convenient way to send messages to a subset of customers by creating groups. So you have a group of your contacts and you're able to break it down into, I don't know, a few dozen people, people that you think are coming into your service bay, or people that you have service with that day, or people that you know have bought from you in the past and need information on what's going on with your dealership. You can schedule or message or send one right away. You can easily identify or reply to broadcast message right inside that inbox that I showed you earlier. And you can also quickly filter broadcast messages based on scheduled or sent.

So this is what it looks like when you actually send a broadcast message. It's on the side. There you add one in. This is about winterization. Obviously, you can do spring service. You can do sales. You can do your hours adjustment, which is happening a lot. You could do a broadcast messaging about pricing if you really want to make sure that you have customers know what's going on. So you fill this out, you select the group that you want of people. In this case, it looks like it's 300 or so. You select the message and hit send. And then this will show you what it would look like, who it's sent to, how many people of your contact list it's sending out. And then you hit approve, and it sends out to the customer.

So this is great for when you're talking about inflation. This is great for when you want to get information out to a bunch of different customers. You don't want to send texts individually. That gets taxing. It spends a lot of time. So you're saving extra time here, as you're sending this one message out to a bunch of people. And it also helps with hours, adjustment and hours. We know that a lot of people have had staffing issues, and that has really caused a shift in how dealers are able to open. So if you want to make sure that your customers know what your hours are and know what they're up against this week, you can send them a message.

Maybe you have three dozen people coming in throughout the week for service. Send them a message. Say, "Hey, we might have to adjust. You might have to pick up early, just so you know. Give us a call if you need some help or need to reschedule or something like that," just so they're informed. Chances are that they would much rather appreciate you telling them this upfront so that they're in the loop. You're keeping them in the loop. You're keeping them informed. And that's the key here. We want to make sure that, no matter what happens with inflation, customers are in the loop with you. You don't have to give them a breakdown of everything that's happening in your store or in your shop, in your showroom, or in your service bay. You just want to make sure that you're giving customers all the information that they might need to make sure that they feel like they're in the loop. That's the key here.

So create a texting plan. Make sure you're setting expectations about communication with employees and customers. Again, this is key when you're talking about making sure that customers know what to expect from you and what employees know what to text customers. So you want to create a plan, tell employees what's going on, and make sure that they know what they can tell people and what they can't. And arguably, there's not much that they can't, right? You want to just make sure you're telling customers as much as possible, because there's really no reason to hold anything back, because the more you can tell them, the more they'll understand. It's pretty easy. Try developing solutions like standardizing workloads. Push back deadlines that aren't urgent. Focus on keeping service and sales running smoothly. And especially with the staffing issues and inflation issues, you want to make sure that you're keeping things running smoothly. Automate certain tasks. And of course, text versus call. That's the key here.

Importance of convenience. This is why people are shifting towards texting. It's mostly about convenience. And also, customers have already made the decision before they have come in or call. They're buying independent of discounts. The digital funnel, more young people are conducting sales over the text versus in person. So we want to make sure that you're offering that and that it's all about convenience and simplicity. Customers are looking for convenience and simplicity, and that's why they've been gravitating towards you, towards texting. And that's why you need to offer that in your dealership to make sure that you're meeting that demand of the customer. And you're also able to get information out to them faster.

So the six benefits of texting here, generating more leads via the website widget that I said, the little Text Us button, generating dozens of five star reviews, standing out online, using video chat and sales and service for more effective communication, collect deposits and payments from sales and service customers via text message, text from your existing business line instead of your personal cell phones. So it's really simple for you to be able to funnel everything through that one business line. And customers have already seen it, right? They already know that business line's there. And so you're just adding that extra tool right to that business line, instead of having every one of your employees have this platform through their existing personal lines. You just do it through their business line, saving time and selling more by sending photos, videos, surveys, et cetera.

So the bottom line here is to make sure that you're keeping the customers informed. You're keeping employees informed about what's going on. You don't have to be experts in inflation and you don't have to be experts in how pricing works. You just have to make sure that customers know and understand why prices are going up and just give them a quick breakdown. It's the supply chain. It's whatever you think it is in the system. The why is not important, right?

What's important is how you handle customers to make sure that they feel appeased, they feel like they're in the loop, they feel good about the answer that you're giving, and they also feel like they're in it, right? They want that information and they want to make sure that they are part of the group. So make sure that they are.

If you have any questions about Kenect, please feel free to text us or give us a call 888-972-7422. We want to make sure that you're getting a good look at all the features that we offer. And especially if you're shifting to texting and you haven't done that before, it's really key to get a free demo here. So you can see how it would work for your dealership and how that would break down. And then we can also show you what features would work and what may not work. So there's a lot of different things that can be added in there, and we want to make sure you get the best breakdown as possible. Texting is key here. We want to make sure that texting is on the forefront.

Make sure that you're informing customers, keeping them in the loop, and that there's no mystery about what's going on because it's a turbulent time. We know that. We just want to make sure that your customers and you stay informed. And so you're not having to give long explanations over the phone. You're sending quick texts back and forth and you're getting information out to customers fast.

Thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us today. If you have any questions, again, text or call us and we, and we really would like to show you exactly how this would all work for your dealership. So again, thanks a lot and have a great rest of your week.

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