Worldwide surveys have a point in common: texting in 2018 is the most popular communication channel used by mobile users. Indeed, texting is the most widely opened and used application on smartphones. Globally, the volume of text messages and users has been growing every year for the past decade. Despite generational differences in text message volume and frequency, almost every adult in North America texts on a weekly basis. Businesses have recognized the opportunity to leverage this powerful communication channel to engage with their customers. It is no surprise that some of them have added text messaging to marketing strategies. However, according to Twilio, only 48% of businesses are properly equipped to handle any form of messaging.
Why are businesses so reluctant?
Many businesses think that people will be upset if they receive text messages. Some consider that text messaging is too intrusive and that customers won’t answer. This is a misconception! Recent surveys showed that 89% of customers would like to use text messaging to communicate with businesses. In fact, most customers tend to have a positive perception of businesses if they offer text messaging capabilities. Beyond that, 84% of consumers2 indicate that service-based messaging has an impact on their decision to choose one company over another. In a nutshell: consumers want businesses to text them.
How can you leverage this opportunity to bring value to your business?
Text messaging is a way for businesses to engage with potential customers who may purchase their products and services. However, this is not all. Businesses must also engage with their current customer base. In both cases, text messaging will help businesses in several different ways.
1. Start the conversation
Whether businesses need to ask their clients to visit them following a product recall, offer status updates, request authorizations, confirm appointments or conduct customer satisfaction surveys, text messaging is the preferred channel for North Americans.
The numbers don’t lie: text messaging is the preferred communications channel of 93% of consumers in the US. The reasons for this trend are simple. Text messaging is fast, convenient, in real time, trusted, and ensures little disturbance. With an average response rate of 45%, text messages are more likely to engage your customers than emails or phone calls.
2. Send them pictures, videos and more
How reassuring is it to get a video of your pet nicely recovering from surgery from the vet? How transparent is it to get a picture of your old breaks from the garage to show you that you can trust your car dealership’s advice?
In addition, texting pictures or videos to get a quick confirmation or authorization is very efficient as response rates from text messages are 209% higher than those from phone calls. (FranchiseHelp)
Many businesses have already jumped on the mobility bandwagon and sent messages to their customers, Banks and other financial institutions were among the first to text their clients. SMS banking is now standard practice as banks often send text messages and alerts to their customers. Banks and financial institutions also receive messages from their clients, such as account balance inquiries or electronic bill payment.
3. Send targeted offers
As long as your customers agree to receive text messages from you, you can also send them targeted offers that resonate with them. Businesses can easily cross-sell and upsell products and services based on their customers’ interests and past purchases. It therefore becomes simple to notify customers of new product arrivals, hot deals, and seasonal specials that may be of interest to them. According to surveys, 75% of people like offers sent via text (but no more than 2/month) (Digital Marketing Magazine)
4. Manage mobile payments
North American consumers have developed habits for mobile payments with their smartphones. According to Deloitte, 31% of consumers use their smartphones for mobile payments.
What is the benefit for businesses? Let's use examples to explain the benefits for both the users and businesses.
The first example is a property manager who has to collect rents from tenants. This activity can turn into a nightmare when it comes to managing late payments and non-payments. It is quite a challenge for a property manager to reach out to the tenant to get the payment on time. That is where mobile payment can help. By sending a text message to their tenants as a reminder for rental payment, including a secured link for immediate payment, tenants can pay directly from their phones. For the property manager, it is an easy and efficient way to send reminders and get instant payment. For tenants, it is a fast way to pay their rent without any more delay.
Let's take another example. Mobile payment can also be very convenient for both a car dealership and its clients. The dealership will send an invoice for servicing a vehicle as well as a link to a checkout form by text message. On one side, the dealer will get an instant payment and notification. On the other hand, customers will merely pay from their phones, no matter where they are, thereby avoiding the line-ups at the cashier when they come to pick up the vehicle.
Text messaging for mobile payment is an excellent opportunity for businesses to grow their sales the smart way and deliver an improved customer experience. Companies can send invoices to their customers who, in turn, can make payment and receive an immediate confirmation—all from their mobile phones.
5. Improve your customer experience
When it comes to getting feedback from customers, text messaging is a powerful tool for businesses. Let's look at an example.
You own a restaurant and already use a text messaging platform to manage your reservations and confirmations. After customers visit your restaurant, you can send them a rating request or a short satisfaction survey. As the highest rated contact method for customer satisfaction surveys compared with all other communication channels, text messaging helps businesses gauge their customers' appreciation of their products and services quickly and efficiently. It is as simple as inserting a link in a text message.
However, this is not all! All the aspects we have listed above also contribute to improving your overall customer experience: mobile payment, initiated conversations, multimedia content, customer feedback, and more are making the customer experience better than ever before.
6. Customer loyalty and satisfaction
According to many surveys, 64% of consumers are likely to have a positive perception of companies that offer communication via text. For customers, text messaging is a modern and trendy communication tool; that is why many businesses use it. The way businesses communicate and engage with their customers plays a crucial role in developing their brands. Text messaging is a new and trusted communication channel; it reflects on how customers perceive the brand.
Engaged, confident and happy customers make loyal customers. By engaging their customers via text messages with smart campaigns, sending them relevant offers and information, and enhancing the customer experience, businesses will increase their customers' loyalty and reduce customer churn.
Marketing by text messages is a significant consideration for most businesses, regardless of their size and industry. Business texting goes beyond any one department as it is a valuable tool for marketing, sales and customer service at the same time. 90% of business leads would rather receive a text message than a phone call, according to FranchiseHelp. In short, businesses can alienate their audiences if they don't text.
While texting will not replace other marketing channels, it complements them and can dramatically boost customers' engagement and in-store traffic, all while reducing overall marketing spending.
As a final note, marketing with texting must be done wisely, and you need to make sure you always comply with anti-spam legislation, such as TCPA and others.