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Staying in touch can give you the edge over rivals

Richard Pygott from First Response Finance tells how a simple text message can make such a difference

Time 2 months ago

I prefer to go to the same garage every year, but this year I’ve been won over by a different one.

Last month, I received a text from my local MOT station, which I’ve only used once as my preferred garage was too busy last year.

It advised that my motorcycle was due its MOT around the 30th of this month, and there was a clickable link to the MOT booking page included in the message, which read: ‘Your motorcycle with the REG XXX XX is due its MOT around the 30th. Please click the link to book it in through our online system or give me a call to discuss. Best regards, Keith’.

I had never received a message like this from my usual go-to garage, but within a few minutes of me receiving this text I’d clicked on the link and the MOT was booked in. Simple!

If I hadn’t received that text message, I would have likely gone back to my usual garage or looked elsewhere at the last minute just to get the MOT booked in somewhere.

With the cost of advertising vehicle stock online increasing year on year and the increasing amount of choice at customers’ fingertips, keeping customers is going to be difficult, so reaching out to existing ones should become part of every business’s weekly and monthly sales process.

Even something as simple as a text message can make a dramatic difference to the bottom line on a monthly basis.

Of course, it all starts with how you store that information.

Ensuring you have an up-to-date database of existing customers is key, then you can use it to get in touch when those customers are in the buying cycle again, or to make them aware of offers or an upcoming MOT and servicing.

It may be worth looking into the aspects of storing customers’ data and examining what you can store and for how long to ensure that you comply with GDPR.

When I took my motorcycle for its MOT, I asked how they had sent the text and was told that they’d invested in a customer relationship management system that sent out the reminders automatically because they simply didn’t have the time to do it manually.

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The garage also said that they always had a large uptake and large returning customer base because of these simple reminders, too.

It can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day running of a business and it can be too easy to become focused on ‘the next sale’ when some of the sales from previous years could and should be today’s and tomorrow’s sales, too.

This column first appeared in issue 163 of Car Dealer. To read Richard Pygott’s latest column in issue 164 – where you’ll also find news, features, reviews, interviews and much more – click here.

Richard Pygott is digital marketer and LinkedIn outreach specialist for First Response Finance. Call him on 0115 946 6365 or email [email protected].

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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