People love texting. Eighty-three percent of American adults own cell phones, and three-quarters of them (73%) send and receive text messages. The average adult spends a total of 23 hours a week texting. In fact, texting takes up 14.1% of cell phone users’ time—a feat, considering the number of engaging apps available on smartphones today. An astonishing 89% of consumers even want to use their favorite channel to connect with businesses.
Many savvy companies have picked up on this trend, using business text messaging to help receive, send, and manage messages. But when it comes to choosing who to text, businesses still have questions. Where should they focus the bulk of their attention?
Read on to learn how businesses can choose who—and when—to text.
Choosing Which Customers To Text
As we mentioned, people love texting. But does that mean you should send blanket, mass marketing texts to everybody and their neighbors? No.
First of all, there are regulations to consider. Business text messaging has to adhere to certain regulations and guidelines that require consumers to opt in before you text them. This already limits the amount of people who your business can contact—but it can be considered a positive, too. The people who opt in to receive business text messages will be ready and willing to receive your content.
Considering that your business has to focus on people who opt in, it’s possible to advertise your texting services on social media or Google AdWords. While that can increase your list of texting contacts for a short-term project or offer, companies get the best results by simply using texting to communicate with current customers. After all, the majority (65%) of a company’s business comes from existing customers. Why not offer them a fast, reliable channel for day-to-day communications?
Companies can use business text messaging to send customers:
- Appointment reminders
- Order notifications
- Product return updates
- Progress reports
Companies can also offer business text messaging as a quick way to get in touch with customer service agents for rescheduling or scheduling purposes, answering product-related questions, or solving other queries.
Choosing Demographics To Message With
When companies create templates or begin training their customer service agents, team members often have questions about tone and style. How should they address incoming customer queries? Should they use the same tone they use when texting a friend, or when texting an elderly relative?
The truth is that nearly everyone texts today—grandparents included. It’s predictable that Gen Z and Millennials would rather connect with businesses through messaging than any other channel. But Generation X also prefers to connect through messaging, and nearly one-fourth of Baby Boomers and older generations do, too.
In other words, you can’t assume that everyone texting your business is a Millennial or younger, unless your products or services are specifically geared toward those groups. To ensure that anyone who texts your business feels welcome, be sure to:
- Use polite language, such as “please” and “thank you”
- Avoid acronyms and slang
- Keep texts brief and to-the-point
By adopting a straightforward yet friendly tone, you can be sure that anyone who texts in will feel comfortable talking to your team, no matter which generation they happen to belong to.
Choosing Channels To Use
Business text messaging platforms do a lot more than just send and receive texts. Advanced platforms offer integrations with many messaging channels, including native texting apps and over the top (OTT) messaging apps.
While texting through native apps is often the most popular way in the U.S. and Canada for customers to get in touch with your brand, there are a lot of other channels that people may feel more comfortable using. To offer a truly open line of communication, allow customers to contact you through channels they like the most. Continually update your strategy and business text messaging platform to include popular channels, like Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, and others.
However, don’t display all of these options at one time. Seeing all the available channels might bewilder your customers. Instead, make messaging entry-points display relevant channels depending on the device, app, and location of users. For example, if a customer is using an iPhone to connect with your brand, offer Apple Business Chat as an option. If a customer is using a mobile phone in the U.S. to connect with your brand, offer texting. If a customer is using a mobile phone in Europe to connect with your brand, offer WhatsApp.
By providing your customers with the appropriate messaging channel at the right time, you increase the chance that they will feel comfortable building a relationship with your business over messaging.
Choosing Conversations To Push To Texting
Finally, it’s important to decide when to use business text messaging with your customers.
Business text messaging is optimal for short, neutral chats, like appointment reminders, return management, or answering quick questions. These communications are brief, and don’t require too much nuance or complexity. Be sure to encourage customers to use business SMS for these conversations.
However, chats that require in-depth responses or attachments are best saved for phone calls or emails. If your business receives messages that seem like they require complex answers, like complaints or technical issue reports, redirect those customers to more appropriate channel.
Ensuring that you’re using the right channel to connect with your customers can improve customer satisfaction and lead to more loyal customers who enjoy connecting with your brand.
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