The impact of SMS online texting is often understated. However, texting is one of the most effective methods for reaching customers. 95% of text messages are opened and responded to within 3 minutes of being delivered. And, 98% of texts are opened, compared to only 20% with email. As seen in the graph below, consumers prefer to use their phones to message. It’s time for your business to meet those preferences.
Using SMS online for business has huge potential for contact centers. But, too often, people think SMS is only meant for the marketing team. Spoiler alert: it’s not. Sure, you’ve probably gotten those marketing texts before from business — “Text YES to get in on this amazing offer!” But, beyond boosting your sales, texting your customers can also be used to support existing customers. Overall, texting can improve operations and relieve stress and burnout among your customer service staff.
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How Is SMS Used in Business?
Typically, people associate business texting with direct or mass communications between a business and its customers. These blast texts can be a way for companies to send out highly targeted, permission-based, opt-in text messages to connect with and engage with customers. You can use these for marketing, service, or sales operations.
Ultimately, texting customers can come in several forms:
- Sending promotions: Share product updates, releases, and sales with your customers. Texting is a quick way to catch your customers’ attention about what’s new for your brand.
- Sending support texts: SMS online is an easy and flexible way to start conversations with your customers. They give customers a way to ask questions and follow up on an order or appointment. Besides helping solve issues faster, the user gets a better experience.
- Gathering reviews, surveys, and polls: A text message is a direct line to the customer. You can use them to request feedback and reviews or prompt the customer to answer a quick poll or survey.
- Supporting your sales: Let customers check on item availability. Or complete a sale with customers via text.
Why Use SMS Online Services for Your Business?
SMS online provides quick, cost-effective, and easy-to-analyze communications with your customers. By using texting, you’re saving time for your agents and your customers by giving them a way to have a flexible, to the point conversation.
In general, SMS online text messaging can help to:
- Boost sales
- Create brand awareness
- Improve customer retention
- Enhance customer service
- Create engagement
A study published by Harvard Business Review showed that the average American spends an average of thirteen hours a year on hold trying to solve problems. And, according to HubSpot, 33% of customers are most frustrated by having to wait on hold, and 33% are most frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple support reps.
How can texting fix this? Text messaging values your customers’ time and leaves it up to them when to respond to communication. No more waiting on hold, humming along to some bad elevator music. Instead, customers have the flexibility to respond when it’s convenient in an asynchronous conversation.
Customers prefer the freedom of a text. And it’s less invasive than receiving a phone call from a sales rep or a customer service agent. Plus, agents can manage multiple conversations at once. This reduces stress since agents don’t have a long call queue hanging over their head. Many companies in the last year are realizing that SMS services can improve communication with customers and help all of their internal processes.
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Key Features of Text Messaging That Empower Business Processes
A text messaging platform allows for more efficient and effective communications with customers. Invest in some key features to improve your operations across the board.
Instead of your staff writing and sending texts all day, a platform can automate some of the essential steps like:
- Creating and maintaining the list of recipients
- Scheduling messages
- Interacting with your customers using canned responses
With text messaging, businesses can analyze their interaction with customers and improve their communications beyond the initial sales. Some ways text messaging can improve your business processes are:
1. Send out mass texts.
Although it has a bad rap, mass texting doesn’t mean sending unwanted messages. Always always allow for customers to opt into and out of texts with you. But, mass texts, or blasts, can improve marketing communications and start conversations with customers. Use mass texts to:
- Create brand awareness: Let customers know more about your business. Include messages about a new website, a re-opening, or a new product release.
- Increase interest: Most sales messages go in this category—offers, promotions, season sales. However, you can also craft messages to provide tips and advice, reaching out to targeted customers (e.g., follow-up care instructions after medical treatment, menu recommendations, healthy eating advice, and more).
- Request feedback: Surveys and polls allow you to gather valuable information to refine your business strategy.
2. Build customer relationships.
Communicating one-on-one with customers is a way to build a relationship and gain trust. Texting is uniquely personal and allows for a much more conversational tone than email or even live chat enables. Customer service agents also can easily send texts with multiple forms of media, allowing for a flexible way to send helpful tutorials or troubleshooting videos and photo guides. One-on-one business texting ensures a company can maintain a human connection while keeping costs under control.
3. Send automated responses.
Use text bots to have conversations with the user and solve basic problems. Like bots integrated in live chat, bots in texts can answer simple questions, send customers self-service tools, and direct customers to the help they need. Use automated responses to send appointment reminders, product recommendations, product updates, and customer support tools.
4. Integrate with your existing platform for greater efficiency.
Integrate SMS texting into your current customer service platform and CRM system to improve the efficiency. You can automate workflows and get rid of manual and repetitive tasks. Keep communication and client data under a central interface. This makes operations more efficient and customer experiences more personalized. And, lower stress for your agents by keeping everything they need to succeed in one space.
Why It’s Time for Your Business to Add SMS Online
As consumer opt-in rates have increased, so have businesses signing up for text messaging services. In fact, 42% of business owners and marketers say they’ve texted their customers using a text messaging service in the last year. And, 57% say they plan to increase their text marketing budget in 2021. Will you join the trend?
Implement SMS online texting services for your business. It will not only improve your marketing, but also helps operations across the board. Improve your key business processes with Textel’s innovative texting tools. Then, you can connect with customers where they are, using the phone that’s in their back pocket.
This post was originally published on February 23, 2021 and was updated on March 9, 2022.