Since summer 2021, we have seen major struggles with inventory. One of the biggest causes is the backup at U.S. ports. Things are not being offloaded fast enough as businesses increase their orders. Even as pandemic restrictions ease, all signs suggest that the backlog will continue through at least the first part of this year.
These are things we can’t change. What we can do is find solutions and create opportunities from the confusion. We have seen a number of innovations gain momentum in the past couple years. Perhaps none are more effective than business texting.
Business Texting Data
Through our research with dealers, we found that nearly 90 percent of customers would prefer to interact with a business by text, rather than a phone call. Nearly 80 percent say texting is the fastest way to reach them for purchase and service updates.
Especially with inventory issues persisting, it’s important to make sure you get information to the customer quickly. If a part is late, you can simply send a text. This method of communication eliminates time spent on the phone and playing phone tag.
We are also seeing a surge in texting among dealerships that use the Kenect
texting platform. Our data shows a 55 percent increase in text volume year-over-year. Some businesses are completing entire transactions, from lead to purchase, via text.
We are also seeing an increase in text-to-pay systems. This shift may have seemed unlikely a few years ago, but in the wake of the pandemic, customers expect businesses to have this service.
By offering text-to-pay, you are going to have an easier time collecting. No more leaving voicemails or waiting by the phone for a callback. You can send someone a text in seconds, and they can respond with the payment. Dealerships using the Kenect system are reporting 400 percent revenue growth year-over-year by adding text-to-pay.
Dealerships Using Kenect
Lincolnton Marine, a dealer in Georgia, told us that business texting saves up to 10 minutes per transaction. After adopting the Kenect platform during the pandemic, Lincolnton reported more than $40,000 in increased sales in the first six months of using text-to-pay.
Verne Riches of Utah Water Sports says Kenect has made communication easier for his employees and customers. “Customers respond more to texts and phone calls, so Kenect texting has made it 10 times more efficient,” he says. “You text your customers and then keep working without skipping a beat.”
He also says Utah Water Sports now runs its service department on texts. Customers were not responding to phone calls, so now questions, updates and scheduling are handled by texting.
As these examples show, adopting an automated texting system for your marine business can be the best way to keep track of supply, and to relay important information to employees and customers. Whatever you plan to do this year, stay proactive. Don’t get bogged down about what you don’t have. Work with the supplies you do have.
Ben Leighton is a content marketing specialist with Kenect, which builds texting tools.
This article was originally published in the April 2022 issue.