Texting Strategy for Women Buyers

Is texting part of your dealership’s communication strategy with women customers? Used properly, texting as a business practice is a direct and efficient way to communicate. Used improperly, it can cause annoyance and frustration.

Read on to review the rules of proper texting etiquette, especially with your largest audience: women.

New research from Women-Drivers.com shows that 1 in 5 women prefers texting with their dealership when buying a car. Fifty-one percent of women surveyed prefer email as the main communication method when car buying, while 30% prefer a phone call and 19% prefer texting.

With 52.6% of the respondents under the age of 40, why is this? Email is a more formal communication method and therefore preferred by most in this audience. Many women limit text messaging to a family communication tool, whereas others use it to save time. The key is to ask up front about a woman’s preference for methods of communication, noting that her preference may vary based on what information is being communicated (e.g., reminders, updates on a pending purchase, invitations).

For customers who like text messages, texting:

  • Conveys a sense of urgency or need for a response. Texts are best used for messages that need to be communicated within a current time frame. Reminders about appointments or that the perfect new car has arrived are good examples. Texts can also be used to keep an ongoing conversation, provided the responses are kept short.
  • Provides a direct, quick message that can be kept active but allows for a response at a convenient time.
  • Allows a conversation to be maintained without full attention. For example, a woman can respond to a text while watching a game.
  • Can be more personal than emails and less demanding than a phone call

Text messages aren’t appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • If a message is long, it should be delivered in an email or a phone call.
  • Messages that are information only are best delivered in an email.
  • If a message is prepared and sent during late or early hours, it’s best sent in an email.
  • If you haven’t established a working relationship with your woman customer for a specific opportunity.

Once you establish a policy and process for using texts, here are a few rules:

  1. Use an SMS messaging service. These services specialize in keeping up with the etiquette and rules. Allow a customer to opt in and always allow them to stop messages. Provide monitoring/reporting to verify that messages were sent properly and received. Keep up with mobile phone carrier requirements and adjust photo sizes and message lengths to comply. This ensures that your messages won’t be cut off or refused.
  2. Follow the SMS service’s process for asking permission from your customer. Never send a text from a phone number your customer doesn’t know.
  3. Create a set of policies for the types of texts that can be sent. Be sure to keep up with your customers’ preferences.
  4. Don’t overload a customer with text messages. Many mobile phone plans allow unlimited texts, but your customer’s brain has a limit. Overcommunication can kill a deal quickly.

In today’s fast-paced world, text messages can be a great convenience and help to personalize a relationship. This can result in a happy customer who gets what she wants—and that is always good news for your business.

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Comment by Anne Fleming on May 18, 2018 at 9:52am

Michael, thank you for your insightful comments. Whatever works best to engage your customers -- in this case, your female, customers, is important for your business, one at a time, right? We are all developing processes, and your pausing and thinking related to what works. Appreciate your reading and that you got some take-aways. thank you. 

Comment by J. Michael Zak on May 17, 2018 at 9:36am

Thanks Anne for sharing the research.  In today's "always present" lifestyle it was easy for me to assume that most people would prefer text on short subject items, email second for transmitting requested information, and phone for long conversation issues or urgency.  The article makes me re-think how we will address issues in the dealership.

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