The Complete Guide to Business Text Messaging
Business text messaging (also known as SMS texting) allows a business to send and receive text messages from a business phone number to current and prospective customers.
This has become a popular option of communication for business owners, but why? It’s because business texting allows you to quickly correspond with customers, including by sending promotional deals and giving updates on orders and services.
We’ll get into a lot more detail about business text messaging, covering information on these related topics:
- The many benefits of text messaging for business.
- Some important facts about consumers and text messaging.
- What conversational commerce is and how it can help drive sales.
- How SMS payments work and why they drive sales.
- Different types of communication channels.
- How to effectively manage customer interactions.
- Case studies of how text messaging really works for real businesses.
The Benefits of Text Messaging
Unfortunately, SMS texting has only been implemented by a small percentage of businesses across the country, due in part to the fact that many business owners simply aren’t aware of the option or its benefits.
Some of the many benefits of text messaging are that:
- Your message actually gets read.
- Customers engage more.
- It improves customer service.
- Brand loyalty goes up.
- It improves confidence in your brand.
- It’s convenient for both staff and customers.
- Instances of appointment no-shows decrease.
- In-store visits soar.
- Sales rise.
- There’s an increase in successful payments.
Think about it. Fifty-four percent of consumers want to receive marketing text messages from businesses. It’s time for you to step up and give your customers what they want so that, in turn, they can help your business grow and thrive.
The Facts About Consumers and Text Messaging
The fact is, most people would much rather communicate via text message than on the phone or over email. For one, it’s a lot less intrusive. And two, it’s a much more effective way to engage.
When it comes to consumers and text messaging:
- 75% find it helpful to receive appointment reminders via text.
- 72% are more likely to make a purchase when texting with a real employee.
- 69% would prefer for an unfamiliar company to contact them over text messaging, rather than over the phone.
- 63% would switch companies if they offered text messaging.
- 63% will also recommend their friends make the switch.
The problem is, only 39% of businesses message with customers. This isn’t because it’s difficult to set up SMS messaging, but because many business owners simply don’t think they have the bandwidth to manage a new communication channel, or that only millennial customers want to text. The truth is that it’s much easier than you think, and regardless of age, many of your customers would love to engage with your business via text.
Most customers (including those over age 60) check a new message within five minutes of receiving one (at a nearly 100% read rate). Perhaps even more important is that 54% of all age groups are frustrated when they’re unable to use text to connect with a business.
What Is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce is the use of digital communication between a business and its clients for the purpose of driving sales. Such communication happens via text messaging, social media, and personal assistant devices (Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Google Home). It allows your customers to hand over the “research” phase of shopping to the experts. It also makes the checkout process much quicker and simpler. Because of these benefits, customer conversions and satisfaction ratings climb higher than ever.
There are several ways conversational commerce can help drive sales, such as by:
- Offering recommendations to help customers make a decision.
- Simplifying the check-out process with an SMS payment solution.
- Allowing for personalized appointment bookings and reminders.
- Sending notices of limited-time promotions or targeted deals.
- Providing updates on product availability and shipment details.
What Are SMS Payments?
SMS payments (Short Message Service payments) allow customers to pay for something through a simple text, rather than by logging in and entering personal information and credit card/banking information every time they want to purchase something or pay a bill.
SMS payments work by simply sending customers a short text with a link to a secure payment processing platform. The customer clicks on the link, views their invoice, and makes a payment.
This streamlined process allows your business to do these seven things:
- Make the check-out process extremely fast and easy for customers (sometimes even with only one click) so you don’t lose them before they complete the process.
- Get paid for your products or services.
- Simplify recurring payments (subscription services, phone bills, etc.).
- Answer questions or address concerns regarding invoice issues.
- Collect past-due bills.
- Extend your SMS marketing services (last-minute deals, etc.).
- Thank your patrons for their business and payment.
Types of Communication Channels
While extremely useful and cost-effective, SMS text messaging and live chat messaging aren’t the only types of communication channels that a business has in its back pocket. There are several others that your team should be using to grow internal productivity and improve outward-facing customer touchpoints.
Here are some other types of communication channels at your disposal, to use at your discretion depending on the circumstances and results you desire.
Face-to-Face: This is the richest communication channel because it allows for body language and facial expressions to be seen clearly in real-time.
Video Conferencing: The next best thing to face-to-face, this effective form of communication allows you to interact with someone no matter where they’re located.
Phone Calls: A less formal way to speak to someone, as talking on the phone can be done on a whim to get things done quickly.
Email: This can be either a formal or informal way to communicate and allows for flexibility on the part of both the sender and responder. It’s also a good way to have a more private conversation and document an interaction.
Online Message Platforms: These are used to lend a more professional tone to your informal communication. It’s secure, allows for more complexity, and can be used to share documents, pictures, and videos.
Social Media: Communicating via social media gives businesses new opportunities for interacting with current and potential customers.
Managing Customer Interactions
With all the channels you and your customers can communicate through, juggling them all can be chaotic and costly. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix that makes every question, comment, or complaint easy and timely to address.
All it takes is technology that streamlines every interaction in one place. Managing customer interactions this way will ease your workload and give your customers the response time they deserve.
Here’s what else you can do with a centralized interaction platform:
- Pull messages and interactions from multiple channels into one place.
- Give permissions for people to access conversations.
- Provide quick customer service even when out of the office or while on the go.
- Curate personalized recommendations.
- Provide reminders and tips.
- Send and receive documents and forms.
- Automate review invites and feedback requests.
- Auto responds when you can’t respond in person.