During the pandemic, many marine businesses found new ways to keep revenue flowing, especially when it came to payment collection. Now, feedback from dealers is showing how these efforts are working in service departments, especially with regard to business texting.
According to our research during the past two years, dealers are seeing 85 percent faster payment collection in sales and service with text-to-pay. Businesses also are saving an average of 45 minutes per customer interaction in sales and service by using business texting and text-to-pay. Combined, business texting and text-to-pay platforms let service workers send updates to customers in seconds, and let customers fill out their own text-to-pay forms, saving businesses valuable time.
We’ve learned that marine businesses need to assess what’s happening with payment collection in their service departments. Are customers just not paying, or are customers having a tough time reaching the business? Nowadays, customers expect to have an easy way to reach every business, day or night.
Old-school phone tag can require hours to answer a single question, while business texting, which is attached to an existing business phone line, usually takes minutes. Business texting also creates a paper trail of invoices, payments and more.
Text-to-pay has become far more common since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when customers were seeking no-contact ways to exchange money. For businesses, text-to-pay also makes it easier to collect on invoices. No more leaving voicemails or waiting for a callback. You can send someone a text in seconds, and they can respond quickly with the payment.
One East Coast dealer who uses business texting and text-to-pay says adding this platform transformed his service department. “We are saving approximately 50 hours of labor weekly that would have been spent talking on the phone with customers, just by not having to pick up the phone, play phone tag, leave a voicemail or have a lengthy conversation with a customer,” he says.
A dealer in the Southeast adopted the text-to-pay system to streamline the payment process after having a tough time tracking down customers. The company also wanted to stop the time-consuming process of having employees take credit card information over the phone. “The biggest keys are it cuts out steps, increases productivity of employees and makes it an easier process for the customer,” the dealer says. “Kenect payments easily save us 10 minutes per transaction.”
It all boils down to simplicity and convenience. Customers have adapted to using texting and text-to-pay during the past two years, and they are realizing they don’t need to go into a shop or service bay to get what they want.
Another dealer says he noticed how customers were becoming less responsive to phone calls. He adopted the Kenect system and used more than 10,000 text messages in the first six months. “Most people are at the point where they won’t answer the phone, but they’ll respond to a text,” he says.
He also saw an increase in payments, running about $15,000 in revenue in just five months. The company started using the service in its parts department, then expanded to all departments. “I thought Kenect was going to be more important on the service side, but then it ended up being more valuable for the total dealership,” he says. “It’s really helped efficiency throughout the day.”
One interesting piece of data we collected shows that once customers start using text-to-pay, 91 percent prefer it. Also, if customers complete transactions themselves, there is less confusion about where credit card information is coming from, and how they will pay.
Text-to-pay is an easy way for businesses to meet customers where they want to be, and to speed up payment collection at the same time.
Ben Leighton is a content marketing manager with Kenect, which produces business texting platforms.
This article was originally published in the September 2022 issue.