With the amount of technology at our fingertips today, it’s never been easier to directly communicate with your customers. But how do you know if your customers are even taking note of your company communications? Is it possible to stand out from the noise in an era of information overload?
The truth is, only 20% of emails sent get opened. The number of spam and robocalls has risen over the past two years, making customers less likely to answer a call from an unknown number. With email inboxes often automatically filtering messages from businesses into promotion folders, it has become even harder to command the attention of your customer.
Hold on though. While email and phone calls are less reliable, as many as 95% of text messages are read and answered within three minutes of receiving them. That means that if you’re not using business texting, you’re missing a huge opportunity to reach your customer base. Let me convince you further.
Why use business texting?
Let’s start by exploring some reasons SMS marketing and business texting are so popular. Why should organizations use text messages to communicate with their audience?
1. Emails can be stressful
Email is popular. (I know because I’m kind of addicted to my Gmail app). But in reality, people only open one-third of the emails they receive. Keeping a clean and organized inbox is time-consuming and stressful. I can’t tell you how rarely I look through my 5000+ promotional emails that are just sitting in my inbox. I am quick to archive or trash any incoming marketing email without even looking at it just to keep my inbox cleared.
Really, the average person receives too many emails— as many as 121 — every… day… ugh.
How on earth can you send a customer an important message by email and expect them to see it? But with business texting, send your customers a text directly to their phone to send out critical information or a call to action. Then, you can follow up with an email to keep record of the message in a formal setting.
2. Texting is more personal and direct
Texting gives the user a more personal experience since it reaches them directly on their phone. I mean, who do you text regularly? My pinned message threads are with my husband, my Mom, and best girlfriends from college. Texting is an intimate thing. And for that reason, it’s a much more personal method of communication. And customers are far more likely to check and open a text sent to them than an email. Getting a text reminder for an appointment or an abandoned cart can have more impact than an email.
3. People are already on their phones most of the time
People spend more time now on their phones than watching TV. Or maybe you’re like me and you actually stream Netflix on your phone…oops. The average person checks their phone as much as 344 times a day. Maybe it’s kind of a depressing reality. But considering people are relying more on their phones to connect with businesses, shop, and engage in everyday activities, we can expect texting to become even more popular. I think it’s time to invest in business texting.
The Benefits of Business Texting
Hopefully you’re starting to see why business texting is so popular. It not only appeals to your customers, though. It’s also an incredibly useful investment for your company. Here’s how:
1. Business texting helps with digital transformation
If you’re looking for ways to boost your digital transformation, add business texting. SMS messages and notifications are entirely automated, letting your marketing, sales, and customer service teams send mass texts while at the same time personalizing the message.
This level of automation prevents human error and saves time and costs. The investment in automation, in turn, allows you to invest in your employees’ professional development and well-being by eradicating some of the more menial daily tasks.
2. It’s more convenient for the business and the customer
Sometimes getting on the phone and talking it out with a customer service agent is necessary. But for the less complex issues and questions, phone calls are a pain. They require customers to cut out a chunk of time to possibly sit on hold. And, over time, they’re overwhelming to your agents. With business texting, though, you’re offering a much more convenient means of communication.
Contact your customers directly without leaving a voice message, and your message always reaches the customer. And your customer can then respond to your business text on their own time, without interrupting their day.
10 Simple Business Texting Features You Can’t Miss
Now with you hopefully more convinced, let’s walk through some of the must have business texting features that you need for a robust use of the technology.
Keywords give your customers an easy way to take action in a text message. For example, keywords are when you invite customers to text a specific word to trigger an automated response or to hear from one of your reps. One might be: “Text OFFER to [your business number].” These kinds of calls to action help customers opt-in or opt-out of business texting from you, respond to sales and promos, or tell you they need your help.
One significant advantage is that it makes it easier for you to track how people discovered your company. Keywords allow customers to respond to your ads and help you manage your opt-in list so you have a set subscriber list.
2. Drip Campaigns
A text drip is an automated message set to deliver after specific triggers or intervals (e.g., after a subscription or a few days after a purchase was not completed). Drip campaigns are perfect for welcoming new subscribers, educating customers, or nurturing sales leads.
And once you set up a drip campaign, it can run in the background, working behind the scenes even when you’re not. This way, you can keep customers engaged in your service that saves your team lots of time and effort. With business texting drip campaigns, create anticipation for upcoming sales and promos, assist customers while on their purchase journey, and increase sales conversions.
3. Recurring Texts
Recurring texts make it possible for you to create a text and set it to send to your customer on a recurring schedule. Let’s say you want to remind your customer to schedule their next hair appointment every two months. Set up a recurring text with the reminder to send on the same day on a bi-monthly schedule.
Or maybe you want to send your customers a birthday text with a gift. You can schedule an annual recurring text on their birth date. You’ll stay on your customers’ radar without placing extra demands on your contact center agents’ time.
4. Mass Texting
Mass texts are arguably the best feature of business texting. Need to tell all of your sales prospects about an upcoming sale? Send a mass text. Need to let your entire customer base know that your website will be down for maintenance next week? Send out a mass text. Segment off different groups of customers to send mass texts out to different customer demographics. This allows you to deliver a more personalized customer experience.
As we noted earlier, texting has a much more reliable open rate than email. So with a mass business text, you’re much more likely to reach your customers with important info.
5. Appointment Reminders
From health services to vet clinics and spas, business texting can be super useful to remind customers of appointments. Less worrying about no-shows. No more incessant phone calls to customers to remind them of an upcoming appointment.
Set up a scheduled text to remind customers of their appointments. Then, business texting can also help customers book, reschedule, or cancel upcoming appointments so they don’t have to worry about calling you to do so.
6. Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
Multimedia messages let your customer service team and your customers send images, videos, or audio files. When you incorporate different forms of media, your team can deliver a much more robust customer experience. MMS expands the kind of service you can deliver. Let me give you an example.
Imagine this: a customer, let’s call her Mary, is trying to assemble a newly purchased piece of furniture. Confused by the instructions and frustrated during the process, she texts into the customer service team. A rep texts back, asking for an image of her progress and the remaining tools. Then, the rep sends a video back, with a step by step guide to help Mary fix her issue. This is just one example of how multimedia messaging can be used to make your service more effective.
7. Text to a Landline
Adding business texting isn’t super effective if your customers have to search for a separate phone number just to reach you. But, with text to landline, your customers can reach you anywhere, using the same number they use to call you. Text-enable your business phone number so your customers have a convenient chat option using the same, memorable phone number they used to call you yesterday.
8. Tracking and Reporting
As with any other communication channel, it’s still really important that your texting platform provides tracking and reporting. This type of business intelligence is invaluable when it comes to adjusting and refining your business strategy. Keep track of first response rates, the number of messages received, frequent queries, and so on within your business texting platform to improve your customer satisfaction rates.
9. Link Shorteners
Long texts are a turn off. Your customers don’t want to be bogged down with a high character count. One way to make your texts much more effective is to use link shorteners. It can become cumbersome and a waste of space to paste an entire URL into a text message about a promotion or service. Look for a texting platform that provides link shorteners, so it is easier for your customers and leaves space for your message to be more direct and clear.
10 Integration with Other Software
What’s the point in adding new tech if it doesn’t integrate well with your other technology? Your business texting platform needs to integrate with your CSM software to be most effective. Find a service that integrates with other contact center solutions (CCaaS) like NICE CXone, Genesys, RingCentral, and others. Integrated systems will make your business operations run smoother and your staff’s work easier.
Ready to take the dive and add business texting? Here’s what to look for in a business texting service to keep everyone happy.
This post was originally published May 7, 2021 and was updated on May 5, 2022.