Calling people on the phone is so 90's, it's no surprise instant text features are blowing up on social media and websites.
Here's what brands need to know about texting customers.
1. Calling someone on the phone is borderline rude in this day and age.
32% of consumers have reported phone calls as the most frustrating form of communication.
In other words, if your consumers are forced to call in, they won't be around much longer. So be sure to offer other forms of communication solutions (like email, chat, text, social media).
2. Texting is the #1 method and preference for communication today.
The majority of smartphone owners prefer to communicate by text instead of phone calls or email (Source: Pew Research). And, sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of all communications today (Source: Gallup News).
Most people are already aware of this shift in their personal lives and most people already use forms of instant chat and text with their co-workers, however, businesses are only now just starting to now harness the power of texting.
3. Texts have a 98% open rate.
With a 98% open rate, nothing beats the power off texting in this day and age (Source: Mobile Marketing Watch).
What's more, texts are read almost instantly with an average response time of 90 seconds. (Source: OneReach).
4. Texting customers doesn't have to be $$$, social media tools offer instant text tools for free.
It's a good idea to get your social media set up with these free tools that enable instant chat and text from your business profiles on your Google My Business page, your Facebook and Instagram business profiles and your Twitter profile. You can also embed the Messenger Bot onto your company website so that your customers can always reach you online for questions and customer service.
Just be sure to indicate business hours and have specific policies in place so you're offering consistent answers and service to anyone who does reach out to you.
5. You can use texts as a way to schedule follow-up conversations with leads.
It takes an average of 5 follow-ups with a lead to close a sale so adding texts to your follow-up repertoire is a smart way to get these follow-ups in there.
You can create a 'Text Me' option for web signups and use texts for your phone meeting scheduling. Sending a quick text in the morning like, "Hi there John, this is Kathy from Company. XYZ I was wondering if we can chat for a few moments today at noon to go over your request for ABC.". This kind of message is much more likely to be read and replied within moments, versus calling and leaving a voicemail (which let's face it, is the worst) or even sending an email.
6. Use texts to ask customers for online reviews.
Online reviews are a powerful way to gain customer feedback and help potential customers make their final buying decision. The thing is, for a customer to trust an online review of your business, it needs to be a recent review (within the last 3 months to be exact).
Try texting customers to ask for a review of your business on your Google My Business listing by sending about 5 customers a month a text with a shortened link to your business page. Something along the lines of "Hey John, hope you enjoyed the service/product! If you can take a moment to leave us a review, we would really appreciate it! LINK HERE". Just by asking for reviews with a quick text a few of your customers will help your brand get a lot of traction online.
7. Take it to the next level with text announcements.
Depending on your list size and budget, you might want to consider having an option for testing customers as part of an exclusive group. Most Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems (for email automation) now have features for texting customers as well, so you can manage all your communications in one place (Ahem, just BTW, Huckleberry CRM offers texting customers integrations).
This is a large-scale option to stay in touch with your customers (works great for brick and mortar businesses sending out exclusive deals or promo codes). For smaller scale options to get started texting customers, you can also use chat services like WhatsApp groups too.
Just keep in mind that if you send any web links especially with texts, the web page should be mobile friendly.
8. Never send unsolicited texts.
Texts, just like emails, should never be sent to anyone who hasn't given your company explicit permission to contact them via text.
Just don't, it's like the worst and you will get blocked.
9. Create basic guidelines for social media chat and texting customers.
Be sure to create a guide for your team so there are clear policies in place and your customers experience consistent service when you do implement instant chat and/or text for your business.
Look for ways you can implement text or chatbot solutions to help drive your business and make your customers lives easier and you will be on your way to creating a seamless digital experience.
10. Send your website visitors push notifications.
Adding push notifications to your website is a great way to send your audience text-like messages.
You can add website push notifications to update website visitors on new articles or deals you're offering. This keeps people in the know with the latest happenings and gives your brand an easy way to leverage your existing audience and website content.
Just be sure to keep it interesting and time it so you're only sending out a weekly notification that gets attention.