Phone calls are a traditional business communication channel—but as American consumers begin to prefer other methods, companies are beginning to consider other options. Americans spend six minutes a day making calls, but 26 minutes texting, and 90% of leads would prefer to be texted than called. In the U.K., the total volume of calls made on mobile phones fell by 1.7% in 2017. It’s clear which method customers prefer, but what are the benefits of texting in business versus making phone calls?
Nearly 90% of consumers would like to communicate with businesses through SMS, but only 48% of businesses have messaging capabilities. Clearly, the business world is still using phone calls for a reason, but many haven’t tried to compare the two popular channels. Most simply aren’t aware of the benefits of SMS.
Which communications channels a business enables can have a big impact on operational efficiency. That’s why we rounded up a list of the top benefits of texting vs. phone calls—to help you decide which channel is best for common business situations.
The Benefits of Texting vs. Making Phone Calls: Efficiency
Efficiency is a top focus of any successful manager or business owner. If a business can streamline as many of their processes as possible, they will save their employees’ time, which can then be devoted to more high-level projects. Most businesses agree that their communications could be streamlined. Regarding efficiency, the benefits of SMS outstrip those of phone calls:
Phone calls are time-consuming. Phone calls must be made one at a time. This, in itself, is a huge time sink for employees who make even simple calls, like appointment reminders. Because they must spend time dialing each individual phone number and speaking to each individual customer, or even leaving voicemails, they can spend hours making routine calls each day. Not to mention that most customers with whom employees need to make phone calls do not pick up the phone due to, as an article in The Atlantic pointed out, a declining telephone culture. When a company attempts to scale, phone calls don’t.
SMS is speedy. Speed is one of the top benefits of texting. Routine SMS, like appointment notifications, can be sent in a simple one-to-many message, which allows you to create a single text template and send it to a list. Advanced business texting platforms can even automatically customize each message with merge tokens based on the custom fields in your CRM, so that when you send a single message, each recipient will receive a personal text. This saves a lot of time for employees; an employee might be able to call 50 customers in a single, 8-hour day, but he or she can text the same 50 customers in 8 minutes. Businesses have lowered team labor by up to 25% by switching from phone calls to SMS communications for small tasks. Additionally, when you send a business text message, there’s a very good chance that someone will respond—and quickly. Ninety percent of texts are read within the first three seconds of receipt, and the average response time for a text is 90 seconds.
The Benefits of Texting vs. Making Phone Calls: Multitasking
Modern businesses and customers are multitasking continually throughout the day. Often, they are not solely checking email, reading texts, or working on projects; they are doing all of these things at once. In some cases, multitasking can be good for businesses, as it ensures employees are more productive and helps attract modern employees who expect tools that help them multi-task. There are different benefits of text messaging for businesses versus phone calls when it comes to multi-tasking:
Phone calls demand undivided attention. Phone calls are excellent—and necessary—for certain types of interactions, like managing customer complaints or detailed customer training efforts. Customers calling in with complex problems might mistake the tone of a text, so it’s best to speak to them voice-to-voice. However, phone calls require each party’s undivided attention. The entire time an employee is on the phone, he or she must concentrate on the call and the call alone.
SMS encourages multi-tasking and responsiveness. During SMS conversations, there is occasionally a slight lag in response as a customer looks up an order number or confirms a date in his or her calendar. One of the biggest benefits of texting in business is that employees can quickly handle another small task, like sending an appointment reminder to a list, while waiting for these responses. Then, they can quickly jump back into the SMS conversation when the customer is ready.
The Benefits of Texting vs. Making Phone Calls: Integrations
Savvy businesses today often rely on one or more web apps to help manage their operations. These include everything from CRMs like Salesforce, collaboration tools like Slack, to customer service platforms like Zendesk and Help Scout. Most of these business apps can connect via their APIs. With an integration, the two software applications can speak to one another, empowering them to share and sync data. Some of the benefits of SMS versus phone calls are:
Traditional phone lines stand alone. Modern phone systems (e.g., Aircall) can almost always integrate with your current business apps. However, traditional phone lines (e.g., Comcast Business) usually cannot integrate with your existing SaaS apps, like your CRM.
Business texting apps can integrate into your app ecosystem. The most important benefits of texting in business are technological in nature. Advanced business texting platforms empower businesses to integrate with a wide variety of popular business apps, streamlining workflows and empowering you to leverage data from existing platforms, among other benefits.
Ready to take advantage of the benefits of texting? Try our business texting platform today.