3 New Ways to Use SMS for Your Business
Given how long SMS has been around, it’s surprising how few businesses take advantage of this powerful tool. People are far more likely to read their text messages than they are their email or even social media feeds.
So, how can your business use SMS effectively? This article explores three new ways to reach your customers with text messaging beyond traditional marketing: customer service, limited promotions, and appointment reminders.
1. Customer Service
SMS is a surprisingly great way to engage with your existing customers when they have questions or issues with your products and services. First, SMS is a persistent communication channel, meaning customers can pick up right where they left off in a conversation. And since most people carry their phones everywhere, they always have the option to immediately respond to a text message or wait until it’s more convenient. This is much more efficient than playing phone tag or waiting on hold for the next available rep.
The key is to combine your existing call service capabilities with text-based customer service so that you can maximize your team’s productivity. For instance, a service team member can communicate with two or even three customers at once for common or simple issues. For more complicated issues, you can always direct someone from your call center or helpdesk team to follow up with a live call to work with your customers.
How Can Your Business Start Using SMS for Customer Service?
Using SMS for customer service is easier than you think, especially if your business is already set up for text marketing campaigns and other SMS communications. Here are some guidelines to follow as you implement SMS for customer service:
- Use the same business number you use for voice calls. It’s much easier for customers to remember a single number for all communications, especially if it’s a vanity 800 number.
- Set up your SMS system so that your service team can easily communicate with customers. Ideally, you should integrate SMS communications with your CRM so that your business has the most visibility of each customer interaction.
- It’s OK to use a chatbot for initial communications, but you should also make it easy for customers to reach a live person, too.
2. Limited Promotions
Timing is everything. Reaching a customer when they’re most likely to make a purchase can mean the difference between making a sale and missing an opportunity. Compared to email, social media, or online ads, SMS allows your business to reach customers with amazing precision — right down to the minute.
For instance, restaurants can send out limited-time SMS promotions in the evening just when people are starting to think about their meal options. Since most people read new SMS messages within seconds, it’s possible to add a sense of urgency by limiting a deal to just a few hours.
How Can Your Business Start Using SMS for Limited Promotions?
To make the most of SMS for limited promotions, follow these guidelines:
- Think carefully about when you want to reach out to your customers. While restaurants might do best sending an SMS in the evening, coffee shops and bakeries are better off taking advantage of the morning rush.
- Include a link that leads people to take further action. For example, you can include a URL to a landing page with more details or a link to directions from customers’ current location.
- As always, include an opt-out feature with every promotion and keep your SMS list updated.
3. Appointment Reminders
For service-based businesses, missed appointments are a lose-lose situation. Business staff loses out on the opportunity to engage with customers, and in most cases, lose revenue as well. Even when there’s a no-refund policy for last-minute cancellations, customers won’t be happy about losing their money and having to reschedule.
One easy way to cut down on missed appointments is to send automatic SMS appointment reminders. Not only do they help customers show up on time, but they also get customers in the habit of interacting with your business through SMS — making future text marketing campaigns all the more effective.
How Can Your Business Start Using SMS for Appointment Reminders?
Here are a few tips on getting the most out of SMS appointment reminders:
- Include important details about the appointment in your SMS, such as date, time, and service provider. If your business has multiple locations, include the location information too.
- Customers should be able to quickly confirm or cancel their appointments by responding to the SMS. You can also include a link or phone number to reschedule the appointment if needed.
- Give your customers ample time to cancel or reschedule according to your business’s policy. For a 24-hour cancellation policy, send the SMS 36-48 hours in advance.
By getting a vanity number with call tracking and business texting, you’re setting up your business for success with the best tools to connect with your customers and boost sales. All it takes is a few minutes to get started today with an 800 vanity number and business texting.