Write On! Tech Gives Customers Personalized Messages

Handwrytten executive Bill Reidy says robotic writing is so sophisticated, it’s difficult to distinguish from actual handwriting.

Jim Henry, Contributor

January 9, 2023

2 Min Read
Handwrytten takes the pain out of penmanshipGetty Images

Robotic writing machines, which convincingly mimic actual handwriting, are coming to the rescue for some auto dealerships that mail customers personalized “thank you” letters for vehicle purchases, service visits, birthdays and the like, to encourage customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Handwriting the old-fashioned way sounds great, but in actual practice, it’s time-consuming and difficult to sustain consistently, even if the only actual handwriting is a signature, says Tom Eggers, platform digital director for the Nyle Maxwell Auto Group, Austin, TX.

Eggers is in charge of digital marketing and advertising for the group’s dealerships, four Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep Ram stores in central Texas.

For about the past two years, Eggers says he has used Phoenix-based Handwrytten, a company with around 200 handwriting robots, to mimic Maxwell’s signature and to print the letters and envelopes.

Before robots, Eggers says there were a lot of ways personalized customer letters could go wrong. “We would print letters on our own stationery, in our own envelopes, with a card inside, and printed address labels on the outside,” Eggers says in a phone interview. That left plenty of room for error.

A  major bottleneck was the practice of owner Nyle Maxwell personally hand-signing every letter. Eggers says that correspondence could pile up for weeks if the owner was traveling or otherwise couldn’t spare the time to sign. Plus, there were fairly frequent technical difficulties with the printing. Maxwell “would have hundreds of them to sign,” Eggers says.

Since switching to the robots, Eggers says cards go out more consistently and more often. Anecdotally, he believes customers are noticing the new and improved cards.

Although Eggers says he doesn’t have any data tying it to the card-writing campaign, customer satisfaction scores are up for the dealerships since the switch. “That could be for a gazillion reasons, but the scores have gone up,” he says.

Bill Reidy, senior vice president of automotive for Handwrytten, says the company’s biggest clients are retail stores outside the auto industry, plus e-commerce businesses and veterinarians. Handwrytten is looking to expand its auto dealership business, he says.

Reidy tells Wards that Handwrytten currently serves about 35 dealerships. He says the robotic writing is so sophisticated, it really is difficult to distinguish from actual handwriting. But he says the main point is that it looks enough like actual handwriting to catch the eyes of the customers and motivate them to open it.

Reidy says he worked in the early 2000s as a manager in a Mercedes-Benz dealership that decided to send out personalized handwritten cards. “For the first couple of months, it worked really well,” he says. “But as time went on, making the salespeople write them, and write them well, kind of became my full-time job.”



About the Author(s)

Jim Henry


Jim Henry is a freelance writer and editor, a veteran reporter on the auto retail beat, with decades of experience writing for Automotive News, WardsAuto, Forbes.com, and others. He's an alumnus of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. 

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