Despite business technologies’ perpetual growth, “sales is sales,” as the old saying goes. Despite us being able to instantly and continually communicate with and track people all over the globe (thanks Twitter :), the fundamentals of communication have not changed.
There was a time not too long ago where kids went down to the train station to watch the behemoth engines pull a quarter mile of people into the terminal. Nowadays, kids rarely even acknowledge the takeoff of a space shuttle.
Many of our parents traveled for business without the luxury of cell phones and GPS devices. (Remember collect calls?) Cell phones have become somewhat ubiquitous now. Everybody has one. Interestingly, they are used less and less for talking to one another. This increasingly small electronic device has, and continues to have, a major impact on many facets of our lives, including how we shop.
Over the past couple of years, Callbutton has been developing tools to best serve the needs of today’s consumers in two specific areas that are perpetuated by the cell phone: texting and instant accessibility to talk. If you are only casually familiar with texting: a) you probably do not have teenagers and, b) you may want to jump into the fray as quickly as you can. Texting has opened up a whole new communication channel, which is rapidly and unarguably becoming the preferred method for many on how they want to be reached.
Let’s look at some of the advantages that texting offers:
People generally always have their cell phone on their hip. Not so with their PC.
Clandestine texting can be conducted without interrupting meetings. (Don’t tell your boss).
Texting is simpler and less cumbersome than e-mail.
Text messages are short, sweet and void of images for the most part, therefore much easier to comprehend and reply to.
There are also some proverbial disadvantages to texting as well, but we will not go into those other than to repeat: DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE! (A rule that thankfully is becoming law in more and more states).
From a business standpoint, texting provides an additional and direct way of reaching a customer right now, without having to leave a voice mail or wait for them to access e-mail to reply.
One area where this can have huge implications is in the service department. When a car dealer has a vehicle up on the rack and/or pulled apart, he is burning valuable billable repair time (not as much of a problem for marine dealers, but still significant). A lot of our clients say they spend many hours each week leaving messages and waiting for replies.
By sending a text message with the estimate to the customer, they often have a reply back within seconds. Likewise, when the job is completed, it takes them 10 seconds to text the customer and let him know his vehicle is ready.
Texting is strictly a permission-based, opt-in communication and is being closely watched by the powers that be to prevent spamming. As such, it can offer much more “personal potential” than e-mail.
The second technology that we’re focused on caters to the “I want it now” philosophy that the Web has fostered; a philosophy that the cell phone has personified. Being able to be reached anywhere at anytime has a reciprocal effect on the owner of the cell phone. They also expect to get information anywhere and anytime they want it.
For the moment, the Internet does provide a user with a much richer and grander experience when researching or shopping for something. Internet leads are still critical and sacred to most businesses today. Generally, the second step in the Internet sales process, for big-ticket items or items that require complex sales cycles, is to get the consumer off of the keyboard and onto the phone. Callbutton’s new technology, BridgeIt, helps accelerate this step by initiating a phone call between the dealer and the prospect triggered from a submitted Web lead form. Here is an example of how it works:
BridgeIt accelerates the sales process by automatically connecting the dealer with the prospect instantly, circumventing any e-mail lag. It also presents dealers with the option to respond to leads after regular business hours directly from their cell phone.
By infusing these two key technologies, you will be well equipped to best serve the needs of your future (and current) customers.