Contact At Once!

Archive for the ‘Mobile Messaging’ Category

Ghosted? 5 Ways to “Resuscitate” Conversations with Unresponsive Online Shoppers

We’ve all been there. Someone texts in, asking a question. You respond with an answer. Maybe you have a back-and-forth conversation for a bit then…poof! You’ve been ghosted. You’re now dealing with an unresponsive customer. How do you breathe new life into that conversation and determine if they’re gone for good or ready to come in?

One of our advocates posed that question to our CONNECT Rewards community. Here are some of the follow-up text ideas shared by other industry professionals:

1). Send a photo of what they were interested in.

Remind shoppers why they reached out to you in the first place by texting them a picture of the vehicle, apartment other other product they were eyeing. Have a little fun with it, too. Consider putting a sign on the window or door that says, “Reserved for Bob” or “Adopt me, Bob.”

2). Send a video.

You can get really creative here if you want. This is a great opportunity for you to “introduce” yourself and send a personalized video that showcases something new about the vehicle, home or apartment. Remember to get a shot of the interior or the part they were most interested in. (You can use the same sign as in the photo here, too.)

3). Give them an update.

If the product they’re interested in is still available or if new inventory that matches their specs has arrived, let them know. And shoot them a text if someone else expresses interest in that same vehicle or home! It’s an easy way to double-check if they’re still in the market or not (and create some urgency).

4). Share new incentives or promotions.

Just about everyone loves a good deal, so share any specials that have changed…or let them know of an incentive that is expiring soon. It might prompt action.

5). Sometimes, just a nudge works.

While you don’t want to be pushy and bombard them with communications, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Simply acknowledge that you haven’t heard from them for awhile and that you want to make sure all their questions were answered. One dealership (John Roberts, VP & GM at Roberts Motors, Inc.) has a great response rate by asking previously unresponsive customers if they’ve been eaten by alligators!

Regardless of how you follow up via text, don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Add some personality and make that communication different than the usual automated responses people often get. After all, the connections you make can set you apart from the competitor down the street.

3 Stepping Stones to Successful Digital Retailing

To say the car-buying experience has seen significant changes in recent years would be an understatement. Customers can get a whole host of information about their purchase before ever setting foot on the lot or in a showroom. What’s more, car shoppers are demanding a digital aspect to this experience in increasing numbers—86% of consumers said they’d rather work with a dealer that offers online buying capabilities, according to a study from Root & Associates and CDK Global.

This means brands (and their dealerships) that don’t provide digital retailing could be seriously missing out.

Build the type of digital experience today’s consumers gravitate toward with these three stepping stones: a collection of digital retailing apps, integration with a robust digital messaging network and dedicated consumer advocates to offer concierge support.

1) Digital Retailing Apps

Help shoppers save time by offering the appropriate digital retailing apps, such as bank pre-approval, trade-in appraisals and support for digital paperwork as well as payment. When integrated correctly, digital retailing apps help consumers complete paperwork and processes online, giving valuable time back to them…and dealership sales teams.

2) Digital Messaging Network

The digital messaging network is the bridge that connects consumers with product specialists who help shoppers find information and complete digital retailing processes when it’s convenient for them. As customers shop and use digital retailing apps, they will surely have questions. Messaging provides a quick, simple way to reach out for assistance.

Messaging networks should provide live-person connections for customers—wherever they’re shopping, your brand or dealership is there. This level of engagement helps build relationships and ensure consistency of experience. (If it’s hard to get in touch with your team, it’s hard to believe any other claims of great service!)

In fact, the best digital messaging networks are those that can be deployed at any touch point within the digital retailing process. This includes brand sites, dealer websites, in apps, car search and other third-party platforms, as well as on Google and Facebook. In this way, no matter where a customer is in their car-buying journey, assistance and support is never out of reach.

The support provided by such a robust digital messaging network matches the level of service customers now demand:

  • According to the Root & Associates’ study, 53% of customers are very or extremely likely to complete their car purchase online, and only visit the dealership for a final review. The digital messaging network ensures customers are engaged during every step of this process, and understand how to use the necessary digital retailing apps.
  • Consumers prefer live messaging 83% of auto shoppers prefer to message with businesses about purchases. And 60% are more likely to purchase if they get help from a human being via messaging like chat.
  • Messaging networks now account for 73% of customer satisfaction, beating out email and phone combined (61 percent).

3) Dedicated Consumer Advocates

Finally, dedicated advocates who provide personal assistance for consumers complete the digital retailing picture and support the kind of concierge experience today’s car buyers want. From answering queries submitted through the digital messaging network to ultimately connecting shoppers with a dealer salesperson, these product specialists make the digital retailing process as efficient for the dealer team as it is for the consumer!

These 3 components can help you build a smart, effective approach to digital retailing. In fact, you can take a deeper look by downloading our guide: “A Playbook for Winning with Digital Retailing.”

Contact At Once! Messaging Extends to Google My Business

It’s a fact of life that before they buy, people research online (and most use Google). The search giant is making it easier and easier for consumers to connect with the businesses they’re researching, too—first with Google AdWords click-to-message ads and most recently with Google My Business messaging!

Contact At Once! can help you manage all the resulting consumer messages from these different Google placements. In fact, we’ve been piloting an API integration on Google My Business for months now with several brands.

Let’s break it down into the important facts that matter to you…

What Google My Business Messaging Means

Google My Business pages are free local listings that make it easy for potential customers to learn more about your company and take the next step. These prospects are usually lower in the funnel, searching for a company by name or by “xxxx near me.” (According to Google, searches for businesses “near me” increased 34x from 2011 to 2014, and 80% came from mobile in Q4 2014.)

In other words, they’re likely to take action. Soon. And now, once these mobile users get to your Google My Business listing, they can start a text conversation:

  • If you’ve set up this option, consumers will see a “Message” button in your Google My Business listing.*
  • Consumers tap to message, starting a text conversation in their phone’s native messaging app.
  • Remember: Google masks the numbers of both company and consumer for privacy. You can still message back and forth, but don’t treat the number you see as the consumer’s mobile number.
*Currently, this feature is only available in the U.S.; however, deployment in other countries is anticipated.

How to Use Contact At Once! + Google My Business Messaging Integration

Instead of relying on a single person to handle these text conversations, use Contact At Once! to manage it all! Here are some tips:

  • Use our text integration – Our integration lets you use a text number provided by Contact At Once!, so you can manage the resulting Google My Business conversations in the same platform/app you use for the rest of your chats/texts across the web. (So your first step is to ensure you have a text number from Contact At Once!)
  • Easy setup – Google provides step-by-step instructions here: Basically, once you sign in to your account, look for the “Messaging” card in the Home menu and type in the text number provided by Contact At Once!. Google will send a verification code to you (to confirm the number is working), and you can find the text message with that code in the Mobile Text Connect Details report* in the Contact At Once! Portal.
    *Remember that Google assigns you a proxy number, so the verification code will appear to be sent to/from a number other than the one you provided.
  • Business as usual – Your team will receive and respond to the resulting text conversations through the same Contact At Once! processes, platform and answering apps you currently use. And if our messaging experts respond on your behalf, they’ll continue to do so—no matter if the messaging conversation starts from your website or Google My Business!
  • Update the consumer profile – Because Google hides consumer numbers, it’s smart to ask the person you’re texting with to confirm their mobile number (if you intend to capture it as part of the lead).

As people get used to seeing the “Message” option on these listings, engagement will rise. We already know consumers like the convenience mobile messaging provides! Contact At Once! is ready to help you meet those increased inquiries and impress consumers with your attentive, helpful responses.

Pump Up the Volume: How to Increase Consumer Engagement

You’ve been chatting and/or texting with customers for a while now, and you’re loving it. You’re one of the thousands who have discovered your customers would rather message than call or email! In fact, messaging is their #1 choice for communicating with brands (more than 75% preferred it over phone or email in this survey).

So how do you pump up the customer conversation volume to get even MORE incoming messages?

Check out these ideas on encouraging engagement—and hopefully close more deals as a result:

#1 – Be “Present”

Before consumers can reach out via messaging, they have to know the option is there. Then they need someone to respond when they do chat or text. Aiming for always-on presence can help you with both!

The goal is to have someone available to message with customers on your company’s behalf whenever they reach out. (Hint: our co-managed or fully managed options make this easy!) Not only is immediate availability the best customer experience—which can encourage more use—it can also mean that your chat invitations are delivered to more people, boosting potential volume. At least, that’s the case if you use presence-aware chat invitations, which only display if someone is there to respond instantly, reducing consumer frustration.

#2 – Connect on Shopping Sites & Google My Business

You can also increase messaging volume by deploying chat and text options beyond your website. If you list inventory on Autotrader.com, Cars.com, CycleTrader.com, NewHomeSource.com, etc., take advantage of the ad packages that include chat and text. Extend your messaging to Google My Business while you’re at it—we can even activate it for you. After all, the more connections you make, the more sales conversations you can have!

Not sure if the classifieds site you use offers messaging? Ask! Many of them do, and you’ll likely use Contact At Once! to manage all the resulting conversations.

#3 – Enhance & Expand Messaging with Our Partners

Take a look at Contact At Once!’s partner integrations, too. Many of these tech partners integrate our chat into their products, so if you’re a mutual customer, you could engage consumers in more places! For example, one integration helps you manage Facebook Messenger, another lets you add chat links Digital Air Strike’s ResponseLogix SmartQuote™, and yet another adds chat options to eLEND Solutions’ CreditPlus program.

#4 – Add Text Messaging Everywhere

Take the Mobile Text Connect number you get with Contact At Once! and put it…well, everywhere! You’re not stuck with a tap-to-text button on mobile or desktop sites. You can put the number on print/TV/radio ads, billboards or window stickers, promote it at the front desk and add it to your pay-per-click campaigns (Google AdWords). The more places you add text, the better your chances at reaching the shoppers who are ready to take action that way.

Hint: You can even purchase additional text numbers and dedicate them to different advertising campaigns for better attribution.

#5 – Consider the Look, Feel & Placement

Along with adding messaging in more places, double-check the calls to action on your own desktop/mobile site: Have you checked to ensure you’re using the latest, most updated options from your provider? Is the invitation to chat or text appearing in the right location (and in the right color) to attract clicks?

The following designer advice may come in handy:

  • Position smartly. Bottom right is where the eye naturally lands (for the Western world), so invitations that appear in that position seem to get more attention.
  • Less is more. You might think flashy animation looks cool; however, animation can sometimes come across as a pop-up ad. Be subtle so the engagement feels more like a natural part of the website experience.
  • Try to blend with your website colors. For example, use a contrasting (or accent color) to grab more attention. You want the call to chat or text to stand out while still being a part of site design.
  • Photos are key (even if subconsciously)! People often feel more comfortable asking questions when they can see who they’re talking to on the other end.

After all, even though most consumers prefer to message, we have to make that action easily noticeable and accessible wherever they are! Are you ready to turn up the volume and get more from your messaging?

 

6 Reasons to Build a Business Messaging Network

If you’ve been around Contact At Once! for any length of time, you’ve heard us talk about the “messaging network.” No, it’s not a secret society. It’s not a garage band. The network refers to how we link multiple touch points together for you, giving you easier access to customers and the resulting data. (Much cooler than a secret society, in my mind!)

What’s in a Network?

Think about how consumers (including yourself) research big-ticket items, from cars to homes or apartments. Think about how they find or hear about your company. Almost all the resources used during those processes can be turned into interaction points with Contact At Once! messaging. That’s what we call the messaging network.

In other words, you can enable people to chat, text or message with you from…

  • Your site (chat/text)
  • Your mobile apps (in-app messaging)
  • Brand, regional or corporate sites (chat/text)
  • Classified / shopping site listings (chat/text for your advertisements on Autotrader.com, Cars.com, KBB.com, Apartments.com, NewHomeSource.com, etc.)
  • Facebook Messenger (managed through your Contact At Once! messaging platform)
  • Google AdWords (text-enabled number placed in click-to-message extensions)
  • Print (text-enabled number)
  • Radio (text-enabled number)
  • TV (text-enabled number)
  • Signage (text-enabled number)
  • Craigslist (text-enabled number)

The advantages of tying all these touch points together are powerful. Here are a few of our favorites:

#1: Help Shoppers Take Action

People search, compare, ask questions and schedule appointments whenever and wherever it’s most convenient. Easily found tap-to-text or chat options on all your sites and ads will help you interact at shoppers’ most impressionable moments.

#2: Guide Shoppers Earlier in the Process

Adding messaging to your classifieds and other advertising may help you reach shoppers before they’ve decided on your company. The convenience of a messaging conversation here can lead to increased inquiries, which can convert into leads, leases and sales.

#3: At-Your-Service Attention Wherever Consumers Find You

Adding messaging options in all those places means shoppers can get prompt responses to questions. This gives them more chances to “preview” the level of service they can expect should they become a customer.

#4: Include Company Departments Within Your Network

Mobile sites adding Contact At Once! messaging have shown engagement increases of up to 40%. Why restrict that to a single department like sales? For example, automotive dealerships can dedicate messaging channels—a specific text-enabled number, a unique “Chat with Service” button—to help fixed ops departments connect with service customers. Funneling those inquiries to the right team provides a better experience (and increased team efficiency).

#5: Track Your Advertising Spend

When you add Contact At Once! to advertising, you can tell which source encourages the most conversations. For classified listings that offer chat or tap-to-text options, you can see the originating URL for each conversation (or review the Contact Source report). You can also place dedicated text-enabled numbers in various locations, from Google pay-per-click to print, radio and TV advertisements. All the resulting text conversations will flow through your Contact At Once! platform and processes…and you can filter reports by text number.

Bonus: If you’re currently using Mobile Text Connect on your main site and complete this short survey, we’ll give you a text-enabled number for use in advertising at no extra cost!

#6: Streamline Management for Increased Efficiency

A messaging network can minimize the learning curve and training costs for your company, too. Instead of juggling one system to chat with a shopper from Autotrader, another one to chat or text from your website, and yet another for those texts from Google ads, you can do it all with Contact At Once! One system and app to learn means more time for your teams to focus on the sales and service they do best.

Consumers are ready to message across the network of sites and ads that make up the shopping path. Will your company be there, ready to help?

Your Site vs. Ads: What You Get By Messaging in Various Places

You know we’re big fans of web and mobile messaging here. We’re not alone, either. Just look at what consumers and automotive businesses had to say about messaging in the shopping/buying process during our 2016 surveys! In fact, there are so many messaging options with Contact At Once!, a LivePerson Company—including where you can deploy it—that understanding the differences can be a little confusing.

Let’s start with what it means to use Contact At Once! on your own company site vs. using it to chat or text with shoppers from third-party search sites. Both are similar (and important!), but not quite the same.

Messaging From Ad Listings

Do you offer shoppers the option to chat or text in questions from your inventory pages on third-party sites like Autotrader (U.S. and U.K.), Cars.com and the like? Then you use Contact At Once! to message from ad listings! (Well, it’s pretty likely. We power the chat and text options for the vast majority of the industry’s search sites.)

How Shoppers Engage: Many shoppers visit search sites as part of their research process. As they narrow their search, they may click on your ad listing to learn more. Doing so will display the chat and/or text option, and shoppers can tap it to start a conversation with you. This lowers the barriers to lead entry and gives you extra opportunities to earn their business!

How You Get It: These messaging packages must be purchased directly from the search/shopping site (Autotrader and the like). They may be offered as an add-on or included in your bundle, so just ask.

What to Keep in Mind: Messaging with shoppers from these search sites is an important step in creating a better consumer experience. Just remember…

  • If you use a different provider for chats or texts on your website, you may experience some inefficiencies as your teams switch back and forth between different tools. (An easy solution is using Contact At Once! to do it all!)
  • If you currently only chat or text with shoppers from these third-party ad listings, you’re missing out on some pretty handy features (see below).

Messaging On Your Own Site

This option means Contact At Once! chat and/or text invitations appear on your company website…and can be added throughout your other consumer touchpoints (including ad listings on search sites).

How Shoppers Engage: Any of your site visitors can tap to start a direct chat or text conversation with your sales team (or our messaging experts). And naturally, it’s responsive. Consumers can initiate these conversations whether visiting your site on a desktop or mobile device (and continue it as they go about their business).

How You Get It: You can purchase these messaging packages directly from Contact At Once! or one of our partners, like Dealer.com or CDK Global. (And check to see if your OEM has a Tier 3 program with us. Many do!)

What to Keep in Mind: Being a direct Contact At Once! customer like this nets you the most flexibility and an armful of additional goodies. Here are just a few:

  • Wider deployment & streamlined access – With most packages, you have the ability to extend your chat/text engagements beyond your website, yet manage all conversations in the same platform, which could save time and money. Add these invitations to your landing pages or emails, put your text number(s) on print or digital advertising (including Google pay per click and the ad listings mentioned earlier), integrate Facebook Messenger, etc.
  • Dealer-initiated texting – Along with responding to inbound text inquiries, certain packages also allow you to text customers who haven’t communicated that way yet. It’s a form of outbound texting that may encourage greater response rate as reminders or follow-up!
  • Chat & text management – You have the option to get expert assistance in answering chats and texts if you’d like. Our team can manage conversations as much as you’d like (including those from your ad listings). This can help “keep your lights on” 24/7.
  • Extra partner integrations – You can also take advantage of our integrations with other technologies, from AutoHook to CarFax, eLEND Solutions, PureCars and more.

Basically, no matter where you use it, messaging options spell convenience. And it’s smart to loop that convenience into every customer entry point, from your site to ads and the network beyond. Luckily, if you use Contact At Once!, it’s just as convenient for your team as it is for your customers: One solution to do it all.

Partner Integrations: How to Get Even More From Contact At Once!

You don’t purchase a product hoping to get as little out of it as you can. Ideally, you want to get more than you first imagined. And you can with Contact At Once!

I’m not just talking about the single access point we provide so you can chat or text with shoppers on your website, ad listings, Google AdWords, etc. Contact At Once! also integrates with other technologies you use, helping you engage more shoppers in more places with more effective results:

  • Most of these tech partners integrate our chat in their products, which offers the convenience of messaging to more consumers.
  • Some integrations supply additional car-buying or shopper-specific information into the Contact At Once! answering app, so you can have better sales conversations.
  • Other integrations make it easier to view our messaging data alongside other data.

Intrigued? Then read on to take advantage…

How to Activate Partner Integrations

If you’re a mutual customer—for example, you use our chat and text package on your main site and you’re a customer of one of our partners—these integrations are free! Your company’s Contact At Once! administrator can then log into the portal to kick off activation. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click “Provisioning” and select “Chat Network Provision” from the options that drop down.
  2. Your admin will see a list of companies that may be available for you to integrate Contact At Once! with.
  3. Find the company you want (and are a mutual customer of), and follow the steps. This usually includes filling in your customer ID for the company and clicking the “Activate” button near it. Note: If you don’t know your customer ID, the portal should also show details on how to contact the partner company. And you can always chat with our Support Team if help is needed.
  4. Contact At Once! and the partner will work behind the scenes to turn on that integration for you.

What Kind of Integrations Are We Talking About?

See if your company works with any of these 12 partners, then follow the steps above to get MORE from your messaging solution:

AutoHook

Dealerships use AutoHook and their gift card incentives to entice consumers to share identifiable information and visit the showroom (to pick up their gift).

With the Contact At Once! integration, these incentives will slide out of the consumer chat window as the chat conversation takes place. The sales agent chatting with that shopper will be notified when the incentive appears, and can direct attention to it.

Better Car People

Better Car People solutions craft and send compelling first responses to Internet leads and service appointment requests. These personalized email responses—usually sent in under 10 minutes—help set customer expectations and improve contact ratio.

Contact At Once! can add chat invitations to Better Car People’s emails, reminding consumers of another way to connect with your dealership for more details.

CARFAX

If you provide CARFAX vehicle history reports for used car sales, then your chat agents should be able to easily access these reports during a chat conversation (improving selling messages). Contact At Once! enables this; in fact, if the consumer chats in from a VDP, the report can pull up automatically too! You can then share that report with the shopper for more peace of mind.

Want to set up this Contact At Once! integration? It’s a little more unique, so let our Support Team know! We’ll work with your site provider to include the VIN in the code.

CDK Global Audience Viewer

Have a website built by CDK Global? Then you may know a little about the CDK Audience Viewer, which lets you view behavioral shopper data: what type of cars the shoppers are viewing and where they are in their shopping journey.

Contact At Once! dealers can view that behavioral shopper data right in the chat window as they’re talking with an online shopper (for more relevant conversations).

DealerRater

If shoppers check you out on DealerRater and like what they see, you can give them an easy way to get in touch with the Contact At Once! integration.

They’ll place our live chat options on your DealerRater ratings!

Digital Air Strike: ResponseLogix SmartQuote™

You pay close attention to responses from shoppers after you’ve sent them a price quote, don’t you? Well…

This integration adds your chat options to the multi-vehicle quote itself, giving shoppers a quick, convenient way to communicate the second they have questions as they read.

DMEautomotive “DriverConnect” Mobile App

If you offer customers the Driver Connect mobile app, you can deploy your Contact At Once! mobile chat options there, too.

Consumers will be able to chat directly with your dealership from that app.

eLEND Solutions

eLEND Solutions’ CreditPlus program offers instant pre-qualification decisions to shoppers as they shop for their vehicle of choice. Contact At Once! works with eLEND to make this experience even more convenient:

  • As the shopper chats about a certain car, you can promote the instant credit application in the same chat window.

  • Shoppers can also chat with your team if they have additional questions about the application.

  • If they are pre-approved, shoppers can immediately start a sales conversation via chat if they want to know more about the vehicle (say, if they can test drive it today).

Facebook Messenger

Consumers are talking to more and more businesses via Facebook Messenger, and it can be hard to keep up a good response rate!

Our integration lets you add these conversation streams into your Contact At Once! platform for easier management, and whoever answers your chats/texts can pick up these conversations too.

Outsell Newsletter

Do you use Outsell’s services to provide newsletters for current and prospective customers?

You can choose to add a chat link to it, potentially driving more conversations your way if the recipient sees something that strikes their fancy.

PureCars Market Value Reports

It’s always smart to sell the value of your vehicles. And if you use PureCars market value reports to spell it out for shoppers, you can also share this insight with the agents answering consumers via messaging.

Contact At Once! can display this on-the-spot intelligence from PureCars in the chat answer window, helping your team promote value.

VistaDash (formerly ROI-BOT)

VistaDash helps dealership executives manage all their vendor data and budgets from one place, a vendor-neutral data warehouse.

Our Contact At Once! integration allows you to store and review Contact At Once! reports through this reporting dashboard.

Integrations aren’t the only way you can maximize your Contact At Once! technology, either. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the available features! Our Quick Tips blog category outlines several, and there are new “Advanced Agent” online training courses here that may help.

And remember: If there’s something you wish your Contact At Once! solution could do…ask! (There’s a good chance we can help you figure out how.)

In Apartment Messaging, Showing Up Is Only Half the Battle…

 

Attention spans are shortening daily, and prospects expect information and responses as quickly as possible (as do we all). This is why mobile messaging is becoming so popular for businesses. From a 30-second chat to a 4-hour text conversation that plays out in bits and pieces while the apartment hunter (or homebuyer) goes about her day, messaging helps people act when they’re ready.

Of course, it’s not enough to slap a “Chat Now” or “Text Now” button on your site. Showing up is only half the battle. To win the hearts and minds of prospects, your responses have to be on point.

Step 1: Quicken the Initial Response

Sure, you could handle all the chat or text messages yourself, but do busy leasing professionals or managers have the time? That’s why the majority of our property management companies choose fully managed or co-managed messaging options to ensure the swiftest responses:

  • Fully Managed – Our Fair Housing trained team answers all chats and texts for you, and your staff follows up on the leads.
  • Co-Managed (backup) – This hybrid option enables your team to answer when they’re available and provide their expertise; but if they can’t, our team answers on your behalf.

Step 2: Follow Up to Seal the Deal

Ok, you’ve got our customer care messaging experts handling chat and text inquiries (even from Google click-to-message ads). Great! Now it’s time to take a hard look at how quickly your team follows up on those messaging leads. Be honest: How many potentials turn cold because you or your team weren’t able to act fast enough?

You might be able to capture more of those opportunities simply by being more aware of them:

  • Know how to pick out chat/text leads – If Contact At Once! messaging leads are sent to your lead management / property management system, know what to look for. This will help you prioritize follow-up. (Not sure how? Ask Support!)
  • Check consistently – Look for such leads at least twice a day (everyday!), morning and noon.
  • Read your Performance Summary Report – Use this to double-check how many leads you should be following up on, etc. The Contact At Once! Admin at your company can pull this from the portal.
  • Have leads emailed to you – If you’re the Contact At Once! Admin, you can set up these leads to be emailed to you, too! It can be a handy backup in case you forget to check your lead management software.

The sooner you see that qualified lead waiting for you, the faster you can follow up. And the faster you follow up, the better your chances of winning the “war” for that housing decision. After all, there’s a reason these consumers reach out via chat or text. They want help, and they don’t like to wait.

Good luck!

Will Your Next Sales Conversation Result in a Referral?

planting seeds

A chat or text conversation may be the first one-to-one connection you have with a consumer today, but it doesn’t have to be the last. With luck, courage and a bit of skill, you can grow one connection into many referrals.

Sales resources preach the value of such referrals—after all, 92% of people trust a recommendation over any other form of advertising, and it’s still an important factor in many auto purchases. But according to Texas Tech, while 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer a product or service, only 29% actually do. That low number may be due to the almost 70% of salespeople who don’t even ask for referrals. Don’t let that be you!

Perhaps the ideas below will inspire you to keep on asking (and nurturing) those invaluable referrals:

Lay the Groundwork

The road to a good referral starts during that first conversation, whether it happens in person or via chat or text. This is your first impression, so show your competence by answering questions quickly, finding out more about their needs/wants and offering insights. The Hardcore Closer blogger, Ryan Stewman (AKA “the referral king”), preps buyers by saying he not only wants to make them happy, he wants to make everyone they know happy.

Note: Even if your sales team doesn’t personally answer chats or texts, they can be ready to jump on any of those leads sent for follow-up. Don’t let their first experience with you feel like they’re on hold.

Time the Ask

Continue that great experience throughout the shopping and purchase process. Then watch carefully as they take the final steps. You want to ask for referrals “when they’re on cloud 9,” as Stewman calls it. Give them a great experience with a great ending, and they’ll want to tell the world.

Get a Personal Introduction

The best referrals aren’t leaving a name or two behind. They’re personal introductions to friends or family members, ideally in person but more likely via email or a “my buddy told me to text this number and talk to Rich about the T240” message. You don’t want to have to reach out the first time and be thought of as a telemarketer.

Be Unforgettable (in a Good Way)

You made the deal. They bought a car, they’re happy, they even encouraged a friend to check your dealership out. Perfect. Only it shouldn’t end there. Nurturing the relationship can keep you in customers’ minds and encourage a few more referrals down the line. So show that customer you didn’t forget about them when they drove off the lot:

  • Send a “thank you” text (after gaining permission, of course), following up with a handwritten note thanking them again and referring to something you spoke about during the day. Make it personal and prove they’re more than a number to you.
  • Give them a few weeks to get to know their new vehicle and text to ask how they’re enjoying it. Not only could it prompt them to mention you to a friend who’s now looking for a new car, it’s a good chance to remind them about the CSI survey (in case they forgot).
  • Send their car an anniversary card each year—or a birthday gift of a free oil change. And if they come in for service, treat them like alumni stars.

Give Them Extra Reasons to Refer

While you have to earn referrals through great customer care, you’re more likely to prompt people to act if there’s something in it for them. Your dealership could offer special perks to those whose referrals turn into paying customers, or even something for customers who spread the word on social media.

Note: If you’re a member of our advocate community, CONNECT Rewards, you’re aware of how important referrals are to us, too (you can earn thousands of points for them).

It’s Not a Guarantee; It’s One More Swing at the Plate

Even if you have the courage and confidence to ask, the referrals you receive may not be any more valuable than something pulled at random out of a list. That’s to be expected, and it doesn’t mean that your customer cheated you out of a quality referral. It just means their referral hasn’t panned out yet.

So focus on becoming their go-to resource for buying vehicles, filling their lips with great car-buying and service memories. The next time they hear someone is looking for a car, they’ll think of you and send one more sales opportunity your way. The more opportunities you have, the more swings at the plate you can make…and the better your chances at knocking one over the fence.

How Savvy Property Managers Use Messaging: The Right Approach

 

In the first part of this 2-part series, we discussed the big picture in how mobile messaging can help property managers. Now, let’s dive a little deeper.

When potential residents navigate your website, what do they see? Listings, amenities, your company profile – and ideally, a little chat or text window where one of your reps asks, “How can I help you?” By changing the customer experience from passive and one-sided to active and conversational, you can guide their needs and answer their questions.

But are you able to reach and connect with these prospects (and residents) consistently? In the way they prefer in the moment?

What you’ll need to do

  • “Be” everywhere your brand is represented: ILS sites, digital and print ads, community websites, signage, Facebook, Google search results and so on. Consumers could be influenced in all those places, but if you don’t make it easy to connect right then and there, you risk losing them to another community—or simply their busy lifestyle.
  • Make a variety of messaging options available: SMS, web messaging, Facebook Messenger, Google click-to-message ad extensions. This helps people take advantage of the “messaging moment” whenever and wherever it’s most convenient.
  • Provide a consistent, satisfying experience for consumers however they connect digitally. For example, how could all the above technologies and placements work for your community? Plan a logical pathway with connection points throughout the entire rental journey, from initial interest to lease agreement, rent reminders and more.

How to make it work

Being every place in every way sounds like the beginning of a messaging nightmare, not a goal. And it certainly doesn’t sound scalable…because it wasn’t. Until recently.

Today, you can accomplish this unified approach with Contact At Once! We combine technology and messaging experts to create a seamless experience for apartment seekers and property management teams. Your community could be connected in all the places we’ve mentioned, while managing interactions, leads, reporting and more at every level—all from a single platform.

Don’t think your team is using Contact At Once! to the fullest measure? Give us a shout (chat or text below), and we’ll help!

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