Text messaging is the most popular data service in the world. It’s quick, easy and effective. The open rate for texts is a sky-high 98 percent, while email open rates hover at only 20 percent.

The average person looks at their mobile phone 150 times a day. It’s no wonder more than 90% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being received.

Texting is an effective way to communicate with prospects, engage with current customers and send inventory or service status updates.

Texting allows for two-way conversations in real time. That means the information you share is up to date, which is especially important when talking about inventory.

It also eliminates putting customers on hold. Sales staff can answer multiple questions simultaneously for a better customer experience.

Let’s dive into a few best practices to ensure that your dealership remains compliant while driving sales success with texting.

1. Know the rules

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act includes very specific rules about obtaining consent before sending texts to customers. Make sure you review them carefully before taking any action. Do your research and be sure to train your employees, so they know how to stay in compliance. It pays to play by the rules.

2. Own your devices

Too many dealers allow sales and service personnel to conduct dealership business on their personal phones. This is simply a bad business practice.

A private phone is not tied to your CRM. You can’t capture conversations, monitor for productivity, or review exchanges for training purposes.

It’s crucial to be able to monitor and measure conversations. Just because your employees look busy doesn’t mean they’re focused on activities that produce results. Even a motivated salesperson may need some help figuring out how to have conversations that drive conversions.

With high employee turnover in our business, you’re also taking the chance that employees will take customer contact information with them if they leave the company.

So, how do you mitigate this risk? Purchase business-only cell devices for employees. The cost is minuscule compared to losing valuable customer data and conversations.

3. Make it relevant

Don’t give prospects and customers a reason to opt-out of text messages. Whether you use an automation solution or prefer a more informal one-on-one texting strategy, make sure the messages you send are relevant and personal to the recipient.

For example, don’t send a text about new vehicle inventory to a customer who just purchased a car. Instead, group contacts into categories such as “sales leads” and “service leads” and craft your messages accordingly.

4. Gather analytics

Route all device numbers through a call tracking solution so you can gather analytics to measure customer opinions, feedback, reviews and more.

Your analytics can also reveal valuable training opportunities. For example, if the phrase “test drive” often appears in a salesperson’s text conversations but appointments are stagnant, that person may need more training to get customers through your doors.

Texting is a fast and easy way to communicate with prospects and customers and deliver a better buying experience. Follow the four easy steps outlined above to maintain compliance while boosting vehicle sales and service through texting.