New Data on Texting and Why Customers Prefer It

Jun 14
min Read
Dealer Webinar

[Webinar Transcript from June 2022]

All right, thanks everyone for joining us today. My name is Ben. I'm on the marketing team here at Kenect. Today we're going to talk about some new data about texting and why customers prefer it. We're going to get into who Kenect is for about five minutes and then get into the meat of the webinar, shouldn't last more than about 20 minutes. Don't want to take up too much of your time. We know it's going to be a busy week, as it always is in the summertime, so 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. And with that, let's get started here.

Who is Kenect?

We're based on the Silicon Slopes of Utah. It's just outside Salt Lake City, and we're a text messaging platform for equipment dealers throughout North America. And we're actually founded by dealers and we're built for dealers like you, and we help you communicate more efficiently, we help you generate new leads, collect payments via text message, and drive online reviews. So it's a two-way text messaging platform for your dealership so you don't have to give out your personal cell number. This is all done through your existing business line. So this is a number that your customers already know and you're just adding that texting feature to that business line. We do web leads straight from your website through a little Text Desk button that we add at the bottom of your site, collect payments via text messaging, which I'll get into in just a few minutes, and then online review generation and reputation management.

So why did we pick text messaging? Because your customers prefer it. 89% of consumers would prefer to interact with business via text message rather than a phone call. 98% of text messages are opened, with 95% of those read within three minutes, and 96% of consumers find phone calls to be disruptive. So the way to get in touch with customers is to text them. Phone calls are really becoming a thing of the past. Customers prefer text messaging because they can see it, they can open it quickly, and it's easy for them to just look down at their phone and see the text message with important information. 78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way reach them for important service updates and purchases. And this is just from one of the dealers who used us. “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 what does it look like when they actually text you in? We just wanted to show you the inbox and what that looks like. So it's similar in look to an email layout. You can see the name of the person or the number, if you haven't established that account, and where the conversation is, where it's left off, what you've sent them, and then you can actually assign people to each of these customers. So you can assign employees, they can get into this platform, and they can talk to customers as they come up and as they come in. And if those employees are gone and they are assigned to a customer, you can also respond if they're gone. So it's a way for you to see every message that comes in. This platform is for your employees and for your business so that you can see and keep track of things as they go through.

There is a similar look to the mobile app. This is free in the app store. Again, looks similar to like an email, but you can use your camera to send photos and actually do video chats. And you can do video chats with dozens of people at one time. So it's easy for you to walk around a piece of equipment, show people what you're working on, so there's no confusion. And if you have parts or you want to show them a picture of what you're looking at and what you need to fix, this is easy and convenient, because it's right in your hand. And it's something that you can use anywhere.

So people in your service bay, your employees can take it out there. They don't have to have a computer to go back to and they don't have to make a phone call and play phone tag because they can message customers right away from their phone right in their pocket. And you can take this anywhere and, again, free in the app store. So the top seven ways equipment dealers are using Kenect, scheduling appointments, setting up automated reminders, and sending status updates. Also sending quick information like hours, maps, or machines ready for pickup, sending targeted warranty reminders and scheduling maintenance notices. You can also collect payments via text message, attachments in photos, videos, invoices, and PDFs, and then generate online reviews on Google and Facebook and capture more leads from Facebook, Instagram, and your website.

Customers prefer to text you

Today we wanted to talk about some data we've gotten about text messaging and then why we're seeing the surge and why more people are using text messaging. Pretty much, it boils down to customers are texting because most of them have a smartphone in their pocket. And that was not the case even five years ago. This is from Pew Research. 81% of Americans now own a smartphone. It's around 300 million people in the US. And so that's why people are gravitating towards it because they're seeing the benefits of texting as they get smartphones. So this is across all age groups and it's across all walks of life. People have smartphones now and they're using them more. 78% of buyers say checking, sending ,and answering text messages is the primary way they use their phone. So that means that they're checking it often. We showed you the data on how often it's looked at and how often it's responded to. It's in the 90s, of course. It is what people are looking at right now. 61% of people admit to spending more time texting daily since 2020.

And really we've seen that grow because of the pandemic, of course. More businesses are using text messages. More businesses are seeing the benefits of it because it's quick and easy. They don't have to put a lot of effort into having an employee playing phone tag with customers because you're able to just text them right away and you're saving time. You're saving time for each customer that you're interacting with, and it's what customers are expecting because they've seen this during the pandemic, they've seen businesses adopt this system, so they're used to texting. So really just text, don't call. Calling is going to bog down some of your service department and even your sales department because you're having to play phone tag and call back and forth. So make sure that you're adopting texting because customers are texting.

And some of the data that we're seeing, and this is just from us and from dealers that have used us, we've seen a 55% increase in text message volume per dealer year over year. And we're seeing that dealers are now completing entire transactions via text. And all of that is new. This is in sales and service. So what that means is they're talking to the customer, as things are going, say from the start, "I need this fixed." "Great, bring it in." They bring it in. They don't even have to come into the showroom or come into the service bay. They can get text and photos and videos, and then they can send a text message with a text-to-pay link, and then they can just pick it up. Don't ever have to set foot inside the store. And that's what they wanted during the pandemic, because that was limiting interaction, limiting contact with people, but you're still able to get your service done. It's still able to get things working. So that's important and making sure that you know that text messages are growing and that customers are preferring it.

Text messages with images. 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 a serious sales engagement. And what I mean by that is, say, you have a part that's six weeks out and your customer wants something right away. You can send them a picture of a new part that comes in. Maybe it's a little more expensive, but you can send it to them and say, "Hey, we can put this in right now,” and they say, "Oh, okay, sure. Yeah, I'll pay a little more to have it put in now," because they know that other businesses are dealing with inventory issues, other businesses are dealing with supply stuff, and employee burnout. So it's easy for them to say yes more as inflation grows and things cost more and customers are going to gravitate towards whatever comes first and they want to pay as much as they can now because they don't want to pay later because they know things might get more expensive. So that's where the service upsell comes in and when you're sending an image, you can show them exactly what you're talking about. There's no mystery there.

You're able to see what they want and they're able to see what you're sending them right away without having to explain it over the phone, kind of paint a picture over the phone. You can send them an actual picture via text message and they can see what you're talking about.

We also wanted to show you our broadcast messaging feature and this is something that businesses have used and started using. And it's really become convenient because you are sending more than one text message of the same text message that's going out. So you don't have to send it one by one. You can conveniently send a message to a subset of customers by creating groups. You can also schedule a message or send right away and easily identify and reply to broadcast messages right inside that inbox that we showed you. And you can also quickly filter out broadcast message based on scheduled or sent. So this is what it looks like. And I'll walk you through it real quick. So this is the little button here. You click add, you click the title of what you want, and the group that you've decided. So in this case, it's got about 300 contacts as you can see over here. This is about winterization, of course, but this can be about sales. This can be about scheduling, maybe your hours of change because of your staffing issues and you don't want your service bay bogged down, you can send out a message to about 12 people and say, "Hey, we know you're coming in today. We'd like you to come in a little later," or, "Everybody, make sure you know that we're having staffing issues." So you don't have to send individual texts out. Maybe it's for the whole week and you want to send it to a hundred people. That way you don't have to send these individual texts one by one, you can send it to the group. Fill out the information on the message, hit send, and then you can see where it looks. You can see how many people of your contacts is getting it. So that's key here to make sure that you know how many people in that list is going to get it. And then you hit approve. And then it shows up in the inbox for that customer. So this is the message that the customer will get. In this case, it's getting a link, right, to scheduling an online winterization, but you can also do special deals or special service, service things, anything you'd like to do through this broadcast messaging feature. It's easy for you to be able to text people in a large group.

People want texts and so we want to make sure that if you are adopting a texting system, you have a way to text multiple people all at once because as you grow your customer list, you don't want to have to do that one by one. If you have important information, you want to make sure that you're keeping that going and flowing easily by doing one message that goes out to hundreds of people or dozens of people.

Set up texting, create a plan

So really, as we get into this, you want to make sure you're creating a texting plan. So setting expectations about communication with employees and customers, try developing solutions like standardizing workloads and then push back deadlines that aren't urgent so you can focus on keeping service departments and sales running smoothly. Obviously, you don't have to push back all your deadlines or anything, but you want to make sure you're focusing on how this is running right from the onset to make sure your texting plan is going to run smoothly in sales and service. I'm guessing that it won't take too long for it to catch on because people do use texting all the time. It's just a matter of making sure that your customers and your workers are on the same page about how the texting flow is going to work and what the platform looks like and all that kind of stuff, just to make sure that everything's running smoothly. Make sure you're automating certain tasks and again, text, not call.

So in addition to texting, making sure you're adopting a remote payment plan because that is coming up in popularity. It's gained a lot of momentum over the pandemic and it really hasn't stopped. A lot of people just thought this might have been a flash in the pan thing because of the pandemic, but really we've seen it grow exponentially as the pandemic wars on. Customer convenience via contactless interaction, customers want to be able to fill this out themselves and they can fill out the information, their credit card, their name, and then they can just send it off and they don't actually have to come into the showroom or the service bay. Cards aren't going away, but we'll shift to remote forms of payment and it's all about simplicity and convenience. That's the key here. This is what this is all about, making sure that customers have a simple and easy way to pay you, a simple and easy way to interact with you so that they keep coming back. So some of the data around text-to-pay, we wanted to get into this.

We've seen it's 85% faster payment collection with text-to-pay and payment is on time, nearly every time. This is the big one though. 45 minutes is the average time saved per person in the service department during the day. That's huge, right? Each person that you actually interact with, you're saving 45 minutes because of the text-to-pay system. That means you're cutting down on phone tag. You're cutting down on trying to have them come in and swipe their card. You're cutting down on the lines. So that's the key here. That's what we're talking about. It's just you sending them a text with a link and they're filling that out and sending it back to you. Now, some dealers are running over 70% of their service payments through text-to-pay and 91% of customers prefer text-to-pay when they start using it.

That's another big issue here, or another big factor, is that once customers have started to text-to-pay and they realize the convenience of it, they pretty much are saying, "That's all I really want to do." And that's the other thing here. When you're talking about texting and you're saying, "Maybe customers may not know this," or, "Customers may not adopt it," we've seen the data and customers have seen texting. It's not a new thing. A lot of businesses, like I said, adopted it over the pandemic so now they kind of expect businesses to have it in some form. And you just want to be able to offer as many tools and as many features as you can so that your customer has the easiest, fastest, simplest convenient experience with you so that they keep coming back and they recommend you, right? You want to make sure that they walk away saying, "That was really easy. I got stuff done and I'm going to come back because it was so simple and convenient."

Customers are using text-to-pay

So why use text-to-pay? Collecting deposits via text message from sales and service customers. I don't want to go through all of these. I just want to hit on one or two. The after-hours pickups and remote drop offs by collecting prepayments, that's been the biggest thing that we've seen from dealers who use us, because they're actually showing that they're sending these customers a link to the text-to-pay and they're billing it out and sending it back and then they're just picking up in service bay. So you're sending a prepayment to them and they're able to fill that out and they can pick it up right when you close or you can give them a time, say, "Come by at six. I'll have it ready for you." So they're not clogging up your service bay. They're not having to sit in your sales department. You can just say, "We're done at this time and meet you outside." That's what customers have seen during the pandemic, and we've really just kept it going after that. As the pandemic restrictions have lifted, we've seen that still continue to grow.

And then the other thing is getting paid faster and reducing accounts receivable. So if customers are filling out this information themselves, you can reduce accounts receivable from your employees. So that time that your employees are spending trying to collect bills and on the phone back and forth, that's going to go away because you're getting paid faster with this and reducing the amount of time they have to use it so you can use your employees in other areas. They'll spend some time, but it's probably going to be a few hours rather than maybe a full week of trying to bill collect and trying to do that because they can send some text messages and say, "We haven't seen your bill. Here's the link," all that kind of stuff and kind of use it through that platform and through that system so it's easy for them to spend a couple seconds rather than a few minutes or hours. So all that time is taken away from them and they can use it in other areas and you can have them out in your service bay, in your sales department, wherever you need them, relocating some of that stress, because we know that we've seen the burnout from employees and we also have seen staffing issues. So that's the key here. You're able to take some of that burden away.

So what does the system look like? We just wanted to show you how it works. And this is the interaction, send them the link, "Click on this and fill this all out." You enter the amount, you enter the invoice number, and then the description of what it is. And then this is what the customer gets. And they'll see the amount there. They'll see your logo at the top. So this is interchangeable. As each business adopts this, they put their logo at the top and then the customer fills out the interaction. And once you have the logo at the top, you can tell the customer, "You know this is from us because you'll see our logo up there and this is the amount and the description that I left. So you'll know exactly where this is coming from," to build that trust and make sure that customers know, "Hey, this is okay, go ahead and fill out your information. It's secure and this is from us." So that's key too. So make sure that the customer fills that out. Then they can send it back. And then again, reducing that time and accounts receivable because they're just confirming this, putting it in the system and that's it. Takes a few minutes, doesn't take hours. Easy for the customer and easy for your employees.

This is the huge numbers that we wanted to show you. 1600 plus locations are using text-to-pay on a regular basis now. And with this continued growth is expected. This is literally from April of 2020 when the pandemic started and now to March of 2022. So 1600 plus locations have added text-to-pay in just that time period. That's just about two years, we've seen it grow exponentially, as you can see on this graph and then continued growth is expected. And this is the other big number that we are kind of surprised about.

We knew it was popular, but we've seen 15 times growth per month in two years over text-to-pay volume. So more than 14 and a half million dollars through text-to-pay in just March of 2022 alone. So each of these graphs here are how much money is going through text-to-pay in a given month. So this is the amount that we're seeing going through text-to-pay system, because more people are adopting it, more customers are using it, and they're realizing how convenient it is, how simple it is, and how easy it is to get completed. And the customer doesn't have to come in. They don't have to stand in line. They don't have to swipe their card and customers are really gravitating towards this because other businesses are starting to use it. They're seeing the benefits and they know that it's there.

This is just adding a tool that they already know and they already see. So in the importance of convenience for customers and for you is purchase intent versus asking questions. 90% of decisions are made before the customer comes in. So make sure you're aware of that when you're texting and when you're sending discounts, because customers are buying independent of discounts. It's digital across the entire funnel. A third of young customers prefer conducting sale in person or dealership. We've actually seen, like I showed you with the data, that that's changing and that's shifting. More people across all age groups are choosing to not do it in person. So the convenience of texting is growing.

And again, convenience and simplicity wins. That's the key here. That's what we're looking for, for you and your customers, because they have seen this. They've seen the texting systems, both text-to-pay and through PDFs or videos that are sent. So they know that it's there and they know that other businesses are using it. So it's not going to be a surprise. It's going to be something that you will adopt and your customers will gravitate towards it.

The six benefits of texting, we just want to go through these for you, just so you know, generating more leads via the website widget. That's the “Text Us” button that I talked about. Generating dozens of five star reviews, standing out online to sell more units, using video chat and sales and service for more effective communication, collect deposits and payments from sales and service customers via text message, save time and sell more by sending photos, videos, and surveys, and then texting from your existing business line instead of your personal cell phones, making sure you know that this platform is done through your existing business line, that number that your customers already know is going to be converted into texting. So you can still get phone calls. You're just adding that feature to that number.

So it's just another tool that your customers will have to reach you. So with that, please feel free to contact us. Text us, call us, 888-972-7422. We'll be able to go through a demo, show you exactly what it would look like for your business and what it would look like, the different features that we can add. Maybe you're looking for reviews, or maybe you're looking for leads. All that stuff can be added through this platform so it's all in one convenient location.

Questions here, Is there a Salesforce integration? Yes, we actually are just starting... Dan, thank you for asking that. We actually just started the Salesforce integration. We have a way for you to integrate sales and then our sales team, when you do the demo, they can show you exactly how that works. I don't want to get too deep into that, but yes, that is a Salesforce integration.

How do you add a logo to the payment request? John, thank you for that question. When you actually set up this system, it will have your logo at the top. So when we set up the system in your platform and through that business line that you have, we're actually going to put that in that link to text-to-pay. You'll have your logo there. So you set up your logo, you send it to us or you send it to the system and that will show up at the top there. So the logo can be interchangeable. You can have your logo there, or if you get a new logo, we can change it out too. So each time that you text a payment link and that payment request goes through, it'll show your logo. You don't have to show your logo, if you're not interested in that. You can just use the text-to-pay thing. I would say I like the logo because it shows people that this is from you and it gives you a little more. So that's an option for you. All those features are able to be interchangeable as you go through the platform.

All right, thank you so much. Hope that answered your questions and then also again, text us, call us, make sure you get that demo, because it's free and it's easy for you to see how these features work for you. We can interchange them and again, add them as you see fit for your business so it's really convenient. Make sure you take advantage if you can. All right, thank you again for joining us today. Have a great rest of your week.

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