Marine Dealers: Tips to Increase Service Department Efficiency During Winterizations

Oct 11
min Read
Dealer Webinar

[Webinar transcript from October 2022]

Hey everyone, thanks for joining us today. My name is Ben, I'm on the marketing team here at Kenect. Today we're going to give you a few tips about how to increase service department efficiency during winterizations. We know this can be a busy time so we want to make sure things are running smoothly for you. 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 more than about 20 minutes total. And if you have any questions please feel free to type them in in the questions tab 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 in the Silicon Slopes of Utah. We are a Text Messaging Platform for Marine Dealers throughout North America, and we were founded by dealers and built for dealers, so we help you communicate more efficiently, generate leads, collect payments via text message and drive online reviews. We are the sixth fastest growing company in Utah according to Inc. 5000. And this is the second year we've been on the Inc. 5000 list. We've seen tremendous growth over the last couple years as more businesses realize the benefits of texting as they're not able to communicate in person, they've found other ways of communicating and texting has been the key here.

So how do we do it? Two way text messaging from your dealership and you don't have to give out your personal cell number. So all this platform is done through your existing business phone line. That number that you've been giving out to people, that you have on your billboards or ads or anything, we're using that same number but just adding texting to it. So adding that platform to it. Web leads straight from your website, from a little texting widget that we can add. Collecting payments via text message and then online review generation and reputation management. So why text messaging? Because your customers prefer it. 89% of customers will prefer to interact with businesses via text message rather than a phone call. And 98% of text messages are open with 95% of those read within three minutes. So you're going to get information to customers faster and you're going to be able to get information back from customers faster. This is key, especially in your service department. If you have questions about a repair, questions about a part, you want to get that information back fast so you can make sure that you can repair it and get them moving and get people in and out of your service bays.

And you also want to make sure that you're getting the customer the most accurate information as quickly as possible. And you can't necessarily send them pictures over the phone, but you can certainly view that over text. 96% of customers 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. So when somebody texts in, what is it going to look like? You're going to see this inbox here, this is our platform and it looks similar like an email inbox, but you can see the numbers over there and then as you get the contact information, it'll be filled out on the side there. So the names will pop up in the future. Whenever somebody gets you a text or has a question, it'll pop up with their name.

You can also have any employee have access to it, especially in your service department, that's key. So you can have people who are asking questions about their boat or anything, trying to make sure that they have the most accurate information. That's where you're going to be able to answer their questions quickly. We also have a mobile app that's free in the app store, so this is really handy in the service department, because you can have it right in your pocket and you're able to ask questions to the customer if you need to fix something or if you see something cracked or if you see something broken, you need to fix it right away, you can send them a picture, show them exactly what you're talking about. You can even use this to do video chats and walk around the piece of equipment so you can show them what's broken or what needs to be fixed or what's going on, what you've done so far, so that there's transparency between you and the customer.

That's the key here, is to make sure that it's quick and efficient for you, but also the customer feels confident in what you're doing because they can see exactly what's going on. So this is the easiest way, especially in your service department. You don't have to go back to a computer, you can just use this right on your cell phone and it's free in the app store. So it's just like a normal app that you download. And then you'd also be able to use this through the existing business line and not have to use your personal cell number.

Top seven ways Marine Dealers use Kenect. Scheduling appointments, setting up automated reminders and sending status updates. Sending quick information, hours, maps, your machine's ready for pickup. Sending targeted warranty reminders and schedule maintenance notices. Collect payments via text message, attach and send photos, videos, invoices and PDFs. Generate online reviews on Google and Facebook. And then capture more leads from Facebook, Instagram and your website.

Helping service departments during busy winterization season

So increasing service department efficiency, that's what we want to talk about here today. But first, the key communication tool here is and what we've been talking about is texting and we know that more customers are texting. And this is probably going to be the key for a few years to come. Probably this is the key for the future, because customers are looking for easier ways to get access to information and get information from you. And this is what they've been choosing over the last couple years. So according to Pew Research, 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 phones and 61% of people admit to spending more time texting daily in 2022.

We've seen the customers gravitate towards this and now we have the data to back it up. We know that people are using this more in the last couple years. Since the pandemic started, people have decided that texting is going to be the way that they want to communicate and we also know that customers are checking their text more often. They have phones that are able to check texts. So that's where the key here is. We're able to see that customers are looking at texts more often and we know that they check them and we know that you are able to get information to them faster because they're checking this often. And this is the 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. And Dealers are now completing entire transactions via text in sales and service and all of that's new.

And this may have seemed like a pipe dream, even just five years ago, because we know that customers weren't using texting as much, they were calling. We've seen that. But now we know that texting is the preferred form of communication. It's just that the evolution of communication in the service department and we want to make sure the Dealers are up to date on this and they know that the data's here and that customers are expecting this.

It's not going to be a mystery when you adopt it, because customers know that this is happening and we know that Dealers are gravitating towards it because customers are. And also we've seen an increase in text messages with images 80%, year-over-year, per Dealer. And when pictures are sent back and forth, it usually indicates a service upsell or a serious sales engagement. So instead of just calling a customer or leaving a voicemail or waiting for them to reply, you're able to send them a text with a picture or even a text with a video chat and you can show them exactly what's going on.

There's always transparency because they're able to see exactly what you're doing. So you're able to upsell, you're able to use a serious sales engagement, but you're also able to keep your service department moving because you're able to have the customer respond quickly to questions about service. If you find something in their piece of equipment and you need to fix right away, you're able to send them a text and they can send it back to you within seconds. We showed you that the data surrounding how fast people get back to you, within three minutes you're going to get a response. That's pretty much standard. So we've seen that trend go up and we know that when pictures are sent back and forth, people are engaged more and they know, they're more likely to respond quicker because they can see exactly what's going on. There's no mystery. So it's really important to make sure that you have a solution for that.

Creating a texting plan, we want to make sure that you're setting expectations with employees and customers. You may have had a plan in place, but we want to make sure that you know what this entails, especially if you're going to start this from scratch and it's not that difficult because customers already know what's going on. You just want to make sure you're implementing it in the right way so that you have an expectation for you and your employees and your customers. So try developing solutions like standardizing workloads, push back deadlines that aren't urgent. Obviously you don't have to do this forever, just while you're trying to implement all this and making sure that it runs smoothly. So focus on keeping your service department and sales running smoothly, obviously, because especially during winterizations and a lot of people coming in, you want to make sure that you are keeping things flowing and you're able to get a few more customers in here and there, especially if you're seeing a large volume.

You don't want a piece of equipment just sitting there getting worked on for a full day or two days because the customer didn't respond in time. So you want to focus on that and make sure that, that's running smoothly. And then setting expectations. So what you expect the customer to respond and what you expect of your employees when they're reaching out to customers. Automate certain tasks and then of course texts don't call. So, that's the key here, is we really obviously showed you the data that texting is more efficient than calling. You're going to get responses faster. People just don't listen to phone calls as much or voicemails as much so they don't respond as quickly. So you want to make sure you're texting, that's where the customer wants to be.

Text-to-pay popularity is growing

We've also seen remote payment popularity increase, and this goes along with texting because text-to-pay is becoming a really key component in all of this. It started during the pandemic and it really has grown. Customer service via contactless interaction. Obviously customers want this service and it also limits their need to come in to get their card in, they don't have to recite it over the phone, they can just do it all themselves. Remote payments. Cards aren't going away, but we'll shift to remote forms of payment and then simplicity and convenience. That's pretty much the key here, is the customers get what they want in a simple and quick and efficient way. That's what they're looking for overall, more than anything, is it fast and is it convenient? Can I do it from my couch? Pretty much. So the data that we've collected around text-to-pay is quite interesting. This is what we've seen in the last couple years over the pandemic. An 85% faster payment collection with text-to-pay.

A payment is on time nearly every time. And we've also seen, this is the key here, 45 minutes is the average time saved per person in your service department during the day. So we've seen that service departments are getting people through faster, they're getting people in and out of the service bay, they're able to communicate faster, they're able to use texting to show them exactly what they're working on and they're able to get customers in and out 45 minutes faster with text-to-pay. Because they're able to prepay, they're able to show them, they're able to get them that prepayment link and then they're able to fill that out themselves and then they can come pick it up whenever they're ready. Some Dealers are now running over 70% of their service department payments through text-to-pay and then 91% of customers prefer text-to-pay when they start using it.

Once they've seen text-to-pay and once they've seen how easy it is, now they want to use it. A lot of customers have already seen this feature with other Dealers because it's been out there for a little while. This isn't going to be confusing for customers, most customers are going to know how to do this. And so it's not going to be starting from scratch and it's going to be simple and easy transition. 91% of customers prefer text-to-pay when they start using it. Make sure you're offering it to them because they would love to have it. That's what we've seen over here.

So why use text-to-pay? You can collect the deposits and payments via text message from sales and service customers, collect on service tickets with special order parts and a 98% open rate. Allow for after-hours pickups and remote drop offs by collecting prepayments. So especially in your service department, if you're working on something you don't have to call the customer, you don't have to leave a voicemail, you can just text them and say “we're about an hour away from finishing up. If you want to prepay, here's the link. And we can have that out ready for you to pick up in an hour.” So they can prepay it, you can pull it out of the service bay, clear up that service bay and have it out in the parking lot ready to go and there's no waiting for them and no waiting for you. Increase over the phone sales and offer curbside pickup. Get paid faster and reduce accounts receivable. So this isn't just for customers, it's also for employees too. You're reducing the accounts receivable, you're reducing the amount of time your employees have to spend on those accounts and bills. And that's the key here is we want to be able to show, especially with staffing issues that I know a lot of Dealers have been managing now, we want to make sure we're putting employees where they can best serve the Dealership. And especially if we don't need them in accounts receivable as much, you can put them in other areas to help out. Reducing that staffing need and reducing the amount of time that they're spending on accounts receivable. And also next day funding and 100% secure.

So clicking payments icon, this is what it would look like. You click it down at the bottom, this is the process if you are sending somebody a link, so there's an option here, click the payments icon at the bottom, you enter the information. So the amount, the invoice number, the description, so that they know what they're paying for and then the customer completes the transaction. And that logo at the top, that can be interchangeable for anything. So any logo that you want, that's your logo. Any one of your logos or the main logo that you use, you can put that at the top so that customer knows exactly where that's coming from. They can see it, they can say, oh yeah, that's from you. We know that this text-to-pay system is working and then that this is what they sent me. You can even send them a quick text that says here's the text-to-pay link. You'll notice it's from us because you'll see our logo at the top. So that increases trust and they're able to fill this out real quick, put their credit card information, all the rest of it and then send it right back to you. It takes a couple seconds, a couple minutes if they take their time putting in the number, but they don't have to recite it over the phone, they don't have to come in and swipe it, they don't have to do anything like that.

They're just doing it over their text, from the comfort of their own home. So it's really easy. Showing you the locations with text-to-pay, this is what I was talking about, when it comes to Dealers, adding text-to-pay and the demand from customers. We've seen this location number rise over the last couple years. This is from April 2022 to last quarter. So you've seen from pretty much 75 to 1600 locations are now using text-to-pay on a regular basis. And continued growth really is expected because we've seen the growth over the pandemic and it really shows no signs of slowing down because customers demanded this over the pandemic and now Dealers are catching up and saying, okay, if you want this, we're going to add it in. So it's not going to be a mystery to customers, it'll be a quick learning curve because customers already know how to use it.

You're just adding that tool that customers already want. And then we've also seen a 15 times growth per month in two years. More than $14.5 million is running through text-to-pay in March of 2022. Clearly you can see that the data here, it's growing exponentially and it keeps going up and we really don't see any sign of that slowing because we've seen that more people are using text-to-pay and more Dealers are using text-to-pay. So it's really continuing to grow and it's probably going to end up growing even further before the end of the year. So we want to make sure that you're adding this tool that customers are looking for and it's not going to be a mystery, again. And you want to make sure that you're keeping this for your service department so they can use it over their phone.

They can add this text-to-pay feature, they can send the link to customers, keep the service department moving, because that's the key here, is you want to make sure that you are keeping things flowing. You're saving time, 45 minutes per customer when using text-to-pay. So that's where we're looking for. We're looking for the time saved and then the more revenue coming in. So you want to make sure that, that's still the case and if you're struggling with that right now and struggling to get a hold of customers, text messaging is probably the solution, because that's what customers have been dealing with, with other Dealers. They've seen it with other Dealers who are using it. So you might consider this because I think this is where customers are going to head for the next couple years. This is probably the key in the future.

So again, making sure that you are adding this feature that customers are looking for. So if you have any questions, please feel free to text us. You can give us a call too, 888-972-7422. We can give you a free demo and we can show you some of those other features that I was talking about that you can add on. We can also walk you through the text-to-pay system and walk you through the texting platform, if you have any questions about that and making sure that you are as familiar with it as possible, so that there really is transparency for you and transparency for everybody involved. So we want to make sure that this is as easy for you as possible so that you can just say yes and we can add this to your existing business line. Text or call for that free demo and really, thanks, appreciate your time today. Have a great rest of your week.


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