How the automotive industry is leveraging text messaging to manage communications during a crisis situation

A crisis situation can take several different forms. An emergency crisis can occur after a major natural disaster, such as a strong earthquake or tsunami, a general security alert, severe climate conditions, like a huge tornado or hurricane, or because of a health crisis, such as the current pandemic we are facing due to the COVID-19 virus.

Such emergency situations require fast, targeted and effective communications with employees, partners and customers. Text messaging helps reach people fast, which makes it the most effective means of communication.

Car dealerships and car service centers have had to quickly adapt their business operations and communications to face the health crisis. In this post, we will provide examples of how these businesses can use text messaging to better and faster communicate with their customers during the pandemic.

Keep employees informed

Reach out to your employees instantly. Send them messages to let them know about the measures your business has adopted to face and manage the ongoing crisis.

Share information

Some of your employees may be home in quarantine or at work. Send them documents or share a link to a dedicated landing page that provides all the essential information you want to share with them.

General security alert messages

Wherever your employees are, it’s important that you can quickly reach out to them. In the event of a sudden shutdown or a colleague being diagnosed with the virus, it is crucial to communicate with your staff fast and efficiently. Send them an alert message instantly to reassure your employees and explain the precautions are you are implementing.

Keep your customers informed

Share measures being taken

Health officials are taking unprecedented measures to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus; these are certainly impacting the way you manage your operations. There is no such thing as business as usual. Let your customers know about the decisions that you have made, including changes to service hours, closures of some buildings, sanitary measures implemented, and actions taken in your dealerships, such as the addition of hand sanitizers, systematic cleaning of all surfaces inside vehicles, the addition of a mobile payment options, and more.

Reassure your customers

There is a considerable fear associated with surface contamination. Customers are worried that one of your staff members will contaminate surfaces inside their vehicle. Add surface disinfection to your vehicle-preparation workflows and send photos or videos of your employees disinfecting vehicles’ passenger compartments.

Notify customers of service interruptions

Some dealerships may have to temporarily close their doors to comply with the requirements imposed by government authorities. Dealerships have to communicate with their customers to notify them of service interruptions and keep them informed during a temporary shutdown. Keep your customers up-to-date during this critical period—and be ready to reach out to them once the business picks up again.

Communicate a change or cancellation

Health authorities have highly recommended that people stay home and avoid in-person contact unless they have very valid reasons. As a result, a lot of maintenance service appointments have been canceled and will need to be rescheduled when conditions improve.

Service departments that are maintaining their daily operations can send service updates to their customers to let them know appointments have not been cancelled and add more transparency.

Send targeted offers

Upselling

As business is slowing down, upselling is a must to keep your business up and running and limit the loss of revenues. Send offers to your customers with timely promotions on various services to keep customers interested and boost revenues post-pandemic, for example a complete car wash.

Shuttle management

Send your customers messages to offer them a shuttle service so they can safely wait for their vehicles at home and avoid sitting in the waiting room at your dealership.

Offer VIP services

Send customers, who have scheduled appointments, a message to offer a vehicle pick-up service at their homes. Your staff can then drop off vehicles once the work has been completed. Allow your customers to safely stay home. Keep them posted while their car is at service by sending them pictures and videos of what repairs or maintenance are being made on their vehicles.

Send payment requests

As the situation changes on a daily basis, health officials are still strongly recommending that services be offered with limited contact, including payment processes. Make your customers' payment experience easier and safer by sending payment requests via text messaging from ongoing conversations. Offer your customers the possibility to view and pay their invoices from their own mobile phones, without having to touch your POS terminals, with contactless mobile payments.

Kimoby offers a cashier-free, PCI-compliant and secure mobile checkout option: Kimoby Pay.

For more information, download our free guide: Setting up Mobile Payment with Kimoby Pay.

Conclusion

There is an urge to communicate quickly in a crisis situation and communication management is critical; however, we shouldn’t overlook best practices in text messaging communications. Read our post 10 Best Practices in Business Texting.

Over the past few days, Kimoby has already helped many businesses to communicate quickly and effectively to their customers, partners and employees about how they are managing the health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We can help you too. Learn more here.

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