New TEXT2DRIVE research reveals the technology consumers want in dealership service

CHICAGO-(BUSINESS WIRE)–TEXT2DRIVE, a fixed operations customer experience suite designed to help auto dealers improve customer experience, increase profitability and increase CSI scores, today released findings from its own customer survey focused on service satisfaction of dealers and their retention.

Research firm JD Power learned that dealers capture 88 percent of customers’ annual service visits in the first three years of ownership—but what keeps them coming back after that? According to a recent TEXT2DRIVE* survey of 1,000 US drivers, 54 percent want a digital vehicle inspection (DVI) tool they can view on a mobile device to authorize recommended repairs. Nearly 53 percent want text messages and notifications, followed by pre-scheduled vehicle pickup at 48 percent and online checkout and payment at 45 percent.

Why DVI?: When asked to identify the benefits of a digital experience that includes a mobile-accessible inspection report with photos, videos and pricing, 53 percent of respondents said “better understanding of recommended repairs,” followed by “clear quotes and estimates” at 50 percent and “approving and denying repairs remotely” at 47 percent.

Victory text messages: The survey revealed that only one in three respondents were well aware of the factory recommended maintenance schedule for their vehicle. He also revealed that text is the preferred communication channel for dealerships to keep owners abreast of maintenance milestones. Nearly half of those surveyed said they would prefer to receive text messages for recommended maintenance reminders, just below appointment reminders at 57 percent and reminders to schedule appointments at 54 percent. In fact, texting is preferred overall by 42 percent of respondents, followed by email at 29 percent and phone communications at just 18 percent.

Vehicle knowledge, trust, refer owners to the service lane: When it comes to why respondents choose to have their vehicle serviced at the dealership, the majority (59 percent) believe the dealership is more knowledgeable about their vehicle, while 41 percent believe dealers are more reliable, and about a third choose dealer service for convenience.

1 out of 4 Say Service Experience Exceeded Expectations: Of respondents who recently visited a dealership for service, only one in four said their past experience exceeded their expectations, while 57 percent of respondents said their dealership met their expectations. Overall, only 17 percent of respondents said their service experience did not meet their expectations.

“Much like the emergence of digital retail tools on the front-end, COVID-19 helped service departments enter the digital age, and as we can see from our research, there’s no going back,” said Greg C. Owen, CEO of TEXT2DRIVE. “We know that technologies like digital check-in, text messaging and online payments not only increase customer satisfaction, but also increase referral closing rates and repair order dollars earned. This study confirms that these technology tools are key to retention and profitability.”

Conclusion: Vehicle familiarity, trust and convenience are why vehicle owners choose dealers over aftermarket service centers. Drivers want digital multi-point inspection tools that allow them to review and resolve service recommendations. These findings are consistent with JD Power’s 2022 Customer Service Satisfaction Index survey, which noted that customers are three times more likely to approve repair recommendations when photos or video are included in the communication. The results also show that text messages sent by service departments that provide reminders of upcoming appointments or status updates on ongoing work are preferred by 42 percent of customers. TEXT2DRIVE’s survey results also show the promise of texting beyond simple in-service reminders and updates. The channel even topped emails for messages related to lease expirations and safety recalls. Texting is also the No. 2 proposition that respondents said would most likely allow their service representative to keep their business. In fact, text messages are preferred 3.75 times more than phone calls.

To read the full study report, On Service: Exploring the role of technology in sustaining service, including additional commentary and a breakdown by user demographics, visit the TEXT2DRIVE online resource library.

*Methodology: In March 2022, TEXT2DRIVE surveyed 1,000 US drivers aged 26-67 who had visited a car dealership’s service department in the past five years. The survey was administered through Pollfish’s online survey platform. The goal was to uncover trends in customer satisfaction that could reveal ways for service departments to increase retention.

About TEXT2DRIVE

Since 2008, TEXT2DRIVE has been providing communications solutions designed to help dealerships reduce costs, increase conversion rates, improve CSI and drive ROI. In 2022, the company launched its own integrated MPI solutions to add to its automated text communications, RO management solution and mobile payment tools. To learn more, visit text2drive.com.

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