Getting Started with Business SMS
Business communications are no longer limited to 800 numbers and emails sent into the bulk inbox void that is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A growing number of businesses now use text messaging services to provide more effective customer support. Which makes sense--our cell phones are another limb, with us at all times.
If your business only offers a phone number for calling, it could be a roadblock for customers seeking support. According to TechCrunch, in 2017, we spent an average of 5 hours on our mobile phones per day.
So, in this age of relationship selling, failing to get on board with SMS could compromise retention and reputation alike. Customers want to get in touch on their own terms and many won’t waste their time calling a customer service line when they need to wrap up their lunch in the next 10 minutes.
Here is a little more about business SMS, as well as the benefits associated with adding text support to your customer service stack.
The Benefits of Business SMS
As you may already be aware, SMS refers to text message communications. From a business standpoint, SMS presents another way to connect with your customers.
What’s more, business SMS service is affordable for small businesses, and comes as part of a package deal with the Telzio VoIP phone system. You can use both local and toll free numbers for texting.
Telzio’s SMS solution is built into the business text messaging app and online dashboard - so one- you can text with your business number, not your personal, and two, you can text from your cell phone or your computer.
Here are some statistics on business SMS:
- Text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 20% open rate. (Mobile Marketing Watch)
- Text messaging has a 45% response rate, while email only has a 6% response rate. (Marketing Tech Blog)
- It takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to email, but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message. (Connect Mogul)
- 80% of people are currently using texting for business. (eweek)
- Sales prospects who are sent text messages convert at a rate 40% higher than those who are not sent any text messages. (Velocify)
- 79% of companies believe customers want SMS/text support. (ICMI)
Beyond the added conveniences for employees, SMS messaging brings some key benefits to your customers, too. Read on to see how texting can help you add value to your customer service strategy.
Direct and Immediate
SMS is one of the most immediate forms of communication out there. Think about it—emails can sit around in the inbox for hours, days, answered. You’re lucky if a customer picks up the phone, these days—especially if they don’t know who’s calling.
Most adults keep their phones nearby 24/7, which means that messages are seen and answered in a short amount of time.
SMS gives companies a way to get in touch fast—especially in time-sensitive situations. Send out a text to confirm a call or appointment, or even capture customer feedback in (almost) real-time.
Because customers are more likely to answer a poll or survey that comes in via text, you can quickly obtain feedback allowing you to identify problems and places to improve.
Saves Time on Both Ends
Customers hate waiting on hold. If this happens often, they may leave your business for a competitor that communicates on their terms.
Customers benefit from receiving info this way—especially if it’s something like an appointment confirmation—be it the dentist, a fitness class, an upcoming haircut. Or, a receptionist might use SMS to book appointments—responding to customers with available times.
If your business depends on meetings, SMS is essential. You can send out the reminder, in advance, and customers can cancel or confirm with a one-word response. No need to pick up the phone or listen to a voicemail.
We mentioned how business SMS makes it easy for businesses to quickly get in touch with customers. But SMS improves the internal workflow-enabling users to collaborate through one central communication center.
That added productivity flow is one of those benefits that employees and customers can both appreciate.
With SMS services from Telzio, users can forward text messages along to an expert to take over, if needed, bypassing the process of transferring a call to a colleague’s voicemail.
Employees can tag each other when a customer inquiry demands someone’s attention—which gives teams a better way to manage messages—and a seamless experience for the consumer.
Because employees can see the whole interaction, they can provide better service to the customer—there’s no need to back track, asking them to repeat the question. The customer wins because you’ve answered their question, without wasting their time.
Most of the people we text are those closest to us—friends, family, coworkers. As a brand, bridging that gap from the professional to the personal is a way to get on the same level as your customers’ network.
Beyond inserting yourself into the role of a trusted contact, SMS shows customers that you’re approachable. While your SMS marketing efforts will vary based on the type of business you’re in, reaching out with recommendations, reminders, and special offers can boost loyalty.
How to Implement Business SMS
In sum, text messaging is a critical part of customer service—and by extension, the customer experience strategy.
Business texting allows customers to reach out in a way that works for them. It makes them feel that their time is important to you.
We’ll also point out—business texting isn’t just for external communications. You can also use business texting to communicate with colleagues, clients, and contractors.
Telzio enables texting service through the same number you use at your desk. You can text customers through the Telzio Mobile App and website, managing SMS communications along with voice, email, and chat all from your browser. What's more is that after hours, you can enable DND (do not disturb) - and you won’t receive work texts.
Setting up your business to send and receive text messages is easy. Here’s how.
- Choose a local or toll free phone number. If you already have a phone number, you can port it to Telzio without interruption in your service.
- Set the “Inbound SMS Destination” for your phone number. You can direct incoming text messages to a user, group, another phone number, or an email.
- Read and reply to text conversations via the Telzio Mobile App and/or the online dashboard.
Sign up for a free trial to start sending messages today.
Grace is a content marketing specialist with a focus on SaaS, technology, and digital marketing. Grace is a digital nomad and savvy user of modern communication technologies to travel and work from all over the globe.