SMS has become the most effective tool for businesses to communicate with their customers because of its ease-of-use, convenience and reach. Over 6 billion texts are sent every day and 97% of Americans use text at least once a day.
SMS enables customers to stay in their comfort zone as they interact with a business. It can be used to push valuable information and content to encourage customers to take action or interact, instead of leaving it up to them to initiate a conversation. Adding hyperlinks to messages makes it easy for customers to engage with brands instantly without having to search for information. By integrating SMS with mobile apps businesses can provide an offer to opt-in to SMS alerts, which can be used to notify customers about promotions, order status, and product updates. SMS can also be used to alert customers in cases of fraud, upcoming appointments and any other activity that requires immediate attention.
Many of today’s top on-demand brands such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Postmates, and Airbnb rely on SMS to communicate with their customers. In fact, SMS makes it easier for customers to communicate with them outside of the app after they have requested a ride or ordered food.
Two-Way Engagement – Don’t Be Annoying
As businesses put together their SMS strategy, it is important that they remember these are messages and not advertisements. It is imperative that the messages contain relevant, personalized information or the customer will simply opt-out and take their wallet elsewhere. The ultimate goal is for the customer to take action whether that be going to a website, taking a survey, completing an order, viewing a special offer or making adjustments to their account.
When Email Goes Wrong
One of the easiest ways for businesses to engage with customers using SMS is with order and delivery updates. We all want to know when our order was shipped, how far our food-delivery driver is or how long until our ride arrives. In the past, businesses relied on email. A message may be delivered to the right inbox, it may not be seen. More times than not, receipts and shipping notifications go into the spam or promotions folder. This can be a problem for a customer wondering about their order because the first thing they will do is contact customer support, which means cluttering up inbound lines and taking live agents away from urgent matters. Not a great experience for the customer and not the best use of a representative’s time.
With SMS, businesses can send all of the relevant information they would normally put in an email, including tracking and status links to a package, delivery or ride with the peace of mind that the customer will read it.
Help and Support
Do these sound familiar? “Your call is important to us, please stand by.” Or, “We are sorry, but we are expecting unusually high call volumes at this time. Please hold or contact us at another time.” With SMS, customers can easily communicate their issue without cluttering inbound voice, and they also create a digital customer trail, rather than a recording which can be more difficult to access. According to eWeek, 89% of customers said it was important to be able to engage with customer support through different channels, and 52% said they want to text with a customer representative.
SMS can provide the immediacy and interactivity that no other channel can offer. Businesses can deliver content or critical information to their customers instantly with personalized info that helps improve brand awareness and encourages two-way engagement. Businesses can reduce strain on live agents by making SMS a part of their proactive engagement strategy to ultimately meet operational goals.