It’s 2019. Should your business be texting with customers?

By Kenneth Burke, Text Request

The short answer is: yes. It’s 2019, and your business should absolutely be texting with customers. This post is going to focus on why.

I’m going to break down several communication trends, and show you how they apply to your business. I’ll even throw in a few tips for how to start texting.          

Ready? Alright, let’s go.

Why should your business be texting with customers?

Let’s look at some recent stats and research. Then we’ll go through what to do with that information.

Recent Stats

The average American sends and receives 94 texts a day. I know - that’s a ton! But that’s not what’s most important. Here’s what I want you to focus on:

●     Text messaging is the most requested channel for business communications

●     Text messaging is the highest rated channel for business communications

●     Texting a prospect after initial contact can increase sales by 112 percent (and by 328percent if you follow up multiple times)

●     The average SMS campaign conversion rate is 45 percent

●     90 percent of people say they’d rather receive a text from a business than a phone call

●     85 percent of people want to have text conversations with a business, not just receive information

That’s powerful stuff! Sources for all these stats and more can be found here: 107 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions.

Now what does this mean for your business?

What do these stats mean?

These stats mean that consumer preferences have shifted. Phone calls used to be highly effective for reaching customers and letting them reach you. Then it shifted to email. Now customers and prospects rarely answer phone calls or emails.

One of your jobs as a business is to meet your customers where they are and provide what they want. What they want is to text you - it’s that simple.

Plenty of research shows that you’ll be able to bring in more new customers, increase sales, improve customer service and more by adding two-way text messaging as a communications channel.

How can you text with your customers?

There are seven common ways that businesses across industries text with customers:

1. Bring in new prospects.

Mobile viewers would rather text you than call or email. People love mobile engagement, and that makes click-to-text buttons on your website a great lead generation tool.

Website viewers just click a button to send you a text. You can also use click-to-text on your Instagram profile, Google business listing and Google Ads. SMS chat (like live chat, but with texting) lets you add the same function to your desktop site, too.

2. Provide excellent customer service.

Customers don’t want to wait on hold, and often don’t even want to speak to someone. So let them text you for service.

Just add to your website and related materials “Text us at (XXX) XXX-XXXX for customer service and support!” You can use a click-to-button for this, and you’ll find your employees will be able to offer better support with less effort.

3. Follow up for sales.

Up to 50 percent of leads buy from the first vendor to follow up with them. So when a lead comes in - from any source - follow up via text. You can answer their question in that text, or ask when they’ve got a few minutes to talk through it. The important thing is to be quick and helpful.

4. Schedule appointments.

It’s not easy to reach people by phone call or email, especially when they’re at work. But it is easy to reach people by text, even during work hours. This lets your business schedule and confirm appointments more effectively, and turn no-shows into kept appointments.

5. Ask for feedback and reviews.

Did you know texts get 18 times more engagement than emails? You’re far more likely to get five-star online reviews and to hear about customers’ experiences by asking them through text.

A simple message like this will go a long way: “We enjoyed working with you! Will you please let us know about your experience? Linktosite.com/feedback”

6. Send promotions.

Typical SMS marketing - whenever there are important dates, events and deals going on, send your customers or clients a quick heads up. Everyone will see your message, and you’re going to earn more revenue.

7. Handle general communications.

There are countless reasons why you might need to communicate with customers and other contacts - payment reminders, checking in, to get or confirm information, saying happy birthday, etc.

As the world’s most popular communication tool, texting is a good option for handling all these general communications.

How would you start texting?

A few things you’re probably going to want are:

●     To text using your current office phone number

●     A shared dashboard for multiple employees to keep up with conversations

●     A permanent record of messages

●     The ability to text from a both a computer and smartphone

Tools like Text Request provide this. There are also a few things to consider depending on your industry:

Finance

It’s okay to text. Your compliance officers just need access to messages, and you can’t talk about account or fund performance without also including your full legal disclaimers. Scheduling, promotions, account balances and general questions are all fine.

For more details, view the texting compliance guide linked below.

Medical

Yes, you can send SMS messages under HIPAA. You cannot, however, give out personal information. That means you can text for scheduling, notifications, promotions, general communications and quick touch points like “Hey, please call us.”

For more details, view the texting compliance guide linked below.

Everyone

You need to get “permission” before you text someone as a business. That doesn’t mean you have to call everyone and ask “Is it okay if I text you?” If someone gives you their cell phone number, you have consent to text them.

You cannot, for example, buy contact information and start cold texting people. (You also have to stop texting people who have given you consent if they ever ask you to stop.)

For more details, view this texting compliance guide.

Final Step

Text messaging is how people want to communicate, and you’re trying to better engage your customers, clients and other contacts. Talk this over with the other members of your team, and create a plan for including texting in your communications toolbelt.

It’s 2019, you should be texting with your customers.


Text Request is a business texting service that makes it easy for your team to text professionally from any device using your current business number. It gives you the ability to do everything mentioned in this post, and you can get started in just a few minutes at textrequest.com.