You may feel confident in your knowledge of Do Not Call regulations, but are you sure your car dealership texting is TCPA compliant?
Texting is an excellent way for auto dealers to communicate with clients, but along with its popularity comes the need for car dealership texting guidelines to protect consumers from unwanted solicitations.
You can’t afford not to learn about car dealership texting compliance.
Whether you send a text manually or through your CRM tool, all car dealership texting must follow TCPA guidelines. TCPA stands for Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and it not only regulates telemarketing calls, but also auto-dialed phone calls, pre-recorded calls, faxes, and text messages. The FCC monitors these regulations, and if they catch you disregarding these guidelines, you could be looking at fines of up to $18,936 per violation. When you’re sending bulk texts, these fines can add up very quickly.
To shield your business from costly FCC penalties, it’s important you follow these car dealership texting guidelines.
Get written consent.
At one time all you needed was a verbal agreement or an existing business relationship to call or text your clients, but that’s not the case anymore. Under the TCPA, businesses, car dealers included, must get prior written consent to call or text someone.
Your client is at will to change their mind at any time, and if they do, you must update their file and take them off your call/text list immediately. This also includes messages to ask if the customer would like to receive texts. You can’t send anything without signed consent, or you can be reported, sued, and left to pay a large fine. You also need to give the recipients the option to “opt out” of any future solicitations, at any time.
Keep a Do Not Text list.
Every car dealer should have a Do Not Call list, but they should also have a Do Not Text list. Some clients prefer one method of communication over another, so it’s a bad idea to lump them all into one file. The best way to track a customer’s communication preferences is in their information file in your CRM database. You could use your DMS, but you’re likely scheduling most of your texts through your CRM tools. It’s so much easier to stay compliant when you have everything in one place.
Keep an eye on the clock.
Your dealership should never text clients anytime before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. It’s against TCPA guidelines, and it’s highly unlikely that you will engage a customer early in the morning or late at night.
Set up your team for success.
Compliance is a team effort, especially when it comes to car dealership texting, but every team needs someone to update policy revisions. Any time a regulation changes, this person should bring it up at your next meeting, so everyone is on the same page. The BDC manager is the perfect person to monitor changes to the TCPA, since they are conducting the bulk of the dealership’s communications.
It also helps to keep a training manual with all the current laws so your dealership employees can access them at any time. If you want to save paper, you can use Google Docs to keep a digital copy that’s easy to edit and share with your team.
Another way to help with car dealership texting compliance is to use a reliable CRM tool. By now most dealerships rely on a CRM to handle many of their daily functions, the biggest one being dealer client communications. When your calling and sending thousands of messages a year, it’s essential to have a tool that’s versatile, but also mindful of compliance and how to make it easier on car dealers.
It only takes a little effort to maintain car dealership texting compliance, and it could save your company thousands of dollars in fines.
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