What value does text messaging bring to businesses?

All consulted surveys indicate that texting in 2018 is the most popular communication channel used by mobile users. Indeed, texting is today the most widely opened and used application on smartphones1. Globally, the volume of text messages has been growing every year for the past decade, as well as the number of users. Indeed, despite generational differences in text messages volume and frequency, today almost every adult in North America text weekly.

Businesses saw the opportunity to leverage this powerful communication channel to engage with their customers. So it is no surprise that some of them added text messaging to their toolbox to implement their marketing strategies. Though, only 48% of businesses are equipped to handle any form of messaging, according to Twilio.

Why are businesses so reluctant?

Businesses think that people would be upset to be sent text messages. Some consider that it is too intrusive, that customers wouldn't answer. It is a misconception! Recent surveys showed that 89% of customers2 would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses. In fact, most customers tend to have a positive perception of business if they offered text messaging capabilities. Beyond that, 84% of consumers2 state that service-based messaging has an impact on their decision to choose one company over another. So 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 their customers who purchase their products and services. However, this is not all. They also need to engage with their actual consumers who use their products and services. Whether to engage with actual or future consumers, text messaging will help businesses in several different ways.

Initiate conversation

Communication is the first step for businesses to engage with both customers and consumers.

Whether businesses need to ask their consumers to come to see them following a products recall, for status updates, to request authorizations, confirm appointments or for satisfaction follow-ups, text messaging is the preferred channel for North Americans.

The figures are there; text messaging is the preferred communication channel of 93% of consumers3 in the US. The reasons for this trend are simple. Text messaging is fast, convenient, on hand, trusted, with little disturbance4. With an average response rate of 45%, text messages are more likely to engage your customers that emails or phone calls.

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 their advice?

Further than the convenience itself for your customers, texting pictures or videos to them 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 into mobility, sending messages to their customers, beginning with banks and financial institutions. SMS banking is now standard practice as banks are widely sending text messages and alerts to their consumers. But not only they send text messages and notifications to their customers, but they also receive messages from them, such as account balance inquiries or electronic bill payment.

Send a targeted offer

As long as your customers are ok to receive text messages from you, you can also send them targeted offers that resonate to them. Businesses can easily cross-sell and upsell their customers with tailored product and service recommendations, based on their interests and past purchases. Thus, it becomes simple to notify them 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/mo). (Digital Marketing Magazine)

Manage mobile payment

North American consumers have developed habits for mobile payments with their smartphones5. 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 the businesses.

The first example is a property manager who has to collect rent payments from tenants. This activity can turn into a nightmare when it comes to managing late payments and non-payments recovery. It is quite a challenge for a property manager to reach out to the tenant to get the payment done. 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 phone. For the property manager, it's is an easy and efficient way to send reminders and get instant payment and notice. For tenants, it is a fast way to pay their rent without any more delay.

Let's take another example. The mobile payment can also be very convenient for both the business and the user in the case of a car dealership. The dealer will send the invoice and a link to a check-out form by text message. On one side, the dealer will get instant payment and notification. While on the other hand, the customer will merely pay from his phone, wherever he is, avoiding the lineups at the cashier when they come to pick up the vehicle.

Whatever the challenge it solves, text messaging for mobile payment appears to be an excellent opportunity for businesses to grow their sales a smart way and deliver improved customer experience. Companies can send invoices to their customers who can make payment and receive an immediate confirmation - all from their mobile phone.

Improve customer experience

When it comes to getting feedback from their customers, text messaging is a powerful tool for businesses. Let's take an example.

You own a restaurant and already use a text messaging platform to manage your reservations and confirmations. After a customer visited your restaurant, you can send him a rating request or a short satisfaction survey. As the highest rated contact method for customer satisfaction compared to all other communication channels6, text messaging help businesses gauge their customers' level of satisfaction regarding 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 customer experience: mobile payment, conversations initiated, exchange of multimedia content, customer feedback, and more are making the customer experience better.

Customer loyalty and satisfaction

According to reliable 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, so are the businesses using it. The way businesses communicate and engage with their customers is a crucial element of their branding. Text messaging is a new and trusted communication channel, and this reflects on how their customers perceive the brand of businesses using texting.

Engaged, confident and happy customers are making loyal customers. By engaging their customers via text messages with smart campaigns, by sending them relevant offers and information, by improving their customer experience, businesses will improve 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 the business departments as it is a valuable tool for service, 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 could alienate their audience 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 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 like TCPA and others.

But what kind of messages are they expecting to receive from the businesses they are dealing with? Learn more by reading our blog post 6 kinds of text messages consumers are expecting to receive from businesses.

  1. Nielsen report
  2. Twilio infographics
  3. Deloitte 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey
  4. Blog post - Why do your customers want to text with you?
  5. Deloitte - Global Mobile Consumer Survey, US Edition
  6. eWeek

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