Using automated text messages to their full capacity.

You’ve experienced it before. A customer comes to your tire shop and selects a new set of snow tires. You go above and beyond, not only replacing the tires but performing an alignment check and complimentary cleaning that leaves your customer elated. 

You ask the customer to leave a review, and they readily agree onsite, but you fail to send a review invite until a week later when the customer has already forgotten about the experience. They never write one. Another opportunity down the drain. 

This is just one of many pain points businesses without automated text messaging experience. Without the ability to mass text, many businesses miss out on valuable revenue because they can’t send relevant promotions at the right times, are unable to engage customers outside of work hours, and cause their employees to waste valuable time on menial tasks like appointment setting and scheduling. All things automated text messages could do.

Perhaps you think automated text messaging software is too expensive. Or that it’s not worth the hassle. However, this article will show why it’s crucial for businesses who want to get ahead and MUCH more affordable than you might think. 

Automated text messages keep your brand in sight of customers.

What are automated text messages?

Automated text messages give local businesses the ability to automatically text consumers, clients, patients, and patrons. With the right platform, these SMS messages can be timed based upon a triggered event or some other source, so customers get messaged at the right time every time.

Automated text messages have many purposes. They can be used to engage with customers after hours, send relevant promotions at just the right moment, and gather hundreds of stellar reviews.

With the right tools, they can be customized for appointments, product delivery, lead conversion, or customer follow-up in order to win more business, keep more appointments, convert more leads, and keep customers coming back. It’s like having another employee 24/7.

Automated text messages connect brands to consumers in real-time.

Why send automated text messages? 

It’s a good question. But it’s also an obvious one. When it comes down to it, your customers want more convenience—and your employees do too. With manual texting, messages often fall through the cracks, and employees are stuck scheduling appointments and sending promotions—things they shouldn’t have to be focusing on.

With automated text messaging, you offer your customers unparalleled convenience, reaching them where they want to be reached. Over 85% of consumers expect local businesses to offer more convenient communication now than they did prior to COVID-19. And over 65% of consumers think texting makes working with a local business more convenient. 

Automated text messages reduce wasted employee resources.

You also save your employees valuable time and resources. With the right platform, automated text messaging increases organization and efficacy by answering FAQs and routing customers to people who can answer their questions. 

The possibilities of what you can use automated text messages for are endless and can optimize your entire customer journey. From payments to reviews to feedback, automated messaging takes care of the menial tasks, so your employees have more time for the things that matter—your customers.

How businesses are using automated text messages

Automated messaging saves businesses time, effort, and resources. It increases productivity, revenue, and customer engagement. And local businesses around the world are using it in various ways to optimize their customer journey.

Automated text messages can increase AOV with special offers.

Businesses install SMS autoresponders on their websites.

No one enjoys phone tag, waiting on hold, or waiting on customer service. Yet concerns and questions are bound to arise, and your customers want answers in real-time. They also want convenience in all of their interactions. SMS autoresponders answer these needs. 

Approximately 41% of customers expect to see a chat option when they land on your website. A recent survey reported that live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate. And 41% of consumers prefer live chat support over any other channel.

But not all live chats are built equally. You want a feature that feels human and allows you to engage customers regardless of when they contact you. When it comes to things like confirming appointments and offering updates, messages feel more human when sent between 9-5 (when employees would normally be working). 

However, many businesses successfully use automated messaging specifically for after-hours communication. You might consider actively sending texts during business hours and using automated SMS messages when leads engage with you after-hours. An after-hours automated text might look something like this:

Thank you for contacting Belview Tires. These messages are not regularly monitored on weekends & evenings. We will reply during business hours. We appreciate your business!

With the right technology, like Webchat, you can respond automatically to FAQs with automated messages. As the conversation continues, if the consumer asks a question that requires live assistance, the platform can trigger an employee to respond back. This saves a huge amount of time for you and your employees. 

Automated text messages can increase bookings. Automated text messages can keep your customers informed.

Businesses use SMS for reputation management.

Reviews influence 88% of consumers in discovering a local business. They are 2x more likely to be an important factor in choosing a local business than loyalty and 7.4x more likely to be an important factor than traditional marketing. And the reality is, most consumers have read a review in the last week. With such high stakes, how do you manage your reputation? 

Many local businesses use automated text messaging to stay at the top of online search results. The optimum moment to ask for a review in every industry is different. However, it’s essential that invites arrive at the moment of highest satisfaction—whether that’s immediately after purchase, right after a fitting, or a little later down the road. 

With automated messaging, businesses improve their review collection rate significantly by ensuring that every customer receives a review invite at the right time. No customers fall through the cracks. 

Automated messages also improve your customer reviews by elevating your entire customer experience. Businesses use SMS messages to collect feedback, inform customers of relevant promotions, offer convenience in payments, and send scheduled text messages—the list goes on and on. 

Automated text messages are great tools for getting new reviews.

Businesses use automated text messages for Payments. 

Speaking of payments, it’s easy to assume that letting customers swipe credit cards or pay in cash will cover the bases. After all, they’ve been the de-facto options for decades. However, if those are the only two options you provide, you miss 31% of consumers’ top choices. 

Many local businesses are getting ahead of the game by using automated messages to collect payments. With SMS automations, you can text customers their invoices and have them pay directly from a text link, decreasing bill wait time significantly and increasing ease for consumers. This has significant benefits, especially for businesses where bill collection is typically difficult in industries like healthcare. 

With Podium Payments text-to-pay, Adam’s Pest Control was able to stop using their collection agency and lower their collection APR consistently month over month. Using text-to-pay Genesis Dental generated $130,000 dollars in revenue in 12 months and recently reported that sending and collecting payments has only taken a fourth of the time it used to. 

Text messaging also answers new consumer expectations. The top two factors consumers take into consideration when making a purchase from a local business or service provider are customer service (60%) and convenient payment options (41%). According to a recent report, two-thirds of high-income consumers who have tried text payments either liked or strongly liked it. Through text, you enable customers to pay immediately via SMS. And you make your business more appealing.  

With text, you also have the opportunity to continue the conversation beyond check out, staying top-of-mind and increasing your customers’ lifetime value. 

Automated text messages make it easy for customers to pay you.

How do I set up automatic text messages?

Automatic text messaging requires the right type of software and messaging tools. It’s only possible for local businesses through the use of a platform. However, not all platforms will do the job.

When looking for a platform, you should perform extensive research and find one that is purpose-built for local businesses with the ability to send multiple types of messages and report consistently on data and performance. 

As a champion of 90,000+ local businesses, Podium is the only platform that provides the full functionality to do it all—execute effective SMS promotional campaigns, take care of payments in-person or remotely, engage customers through Webchat, invite customers to leave a review at the right time every time, and set appointments while tracking data effectively. And with Podium Starter, you can see the success of automatic text messaging for free. 

Automated text messages have deep analytics.

Conclusion

Many businesses don’t give a lot of thought to automated messaging/mass texting or messaging in general. However, as demonstrated, automated text messaging isn’t just a way to free up a little more time for your employees. It certainly doesn’t just affect an isolated portion of your business. 

An automated text message can elevate every aspect of your customer experience and company processes by increasing convenience and making your efforts go further. It is a proven way to increase revenue, convert more leads, and keep them coming back. If you automate texting, you’ll be able to meet consumer expectations in ways other businesses can’t. And in doing so, you’ll stay ahead of the competition with SMS marketing. 

Send your first automated text message free here!

Nico Dato
Nico Dato Executive Vice President of Marketing

Nico Dato is the EVP of Marketing at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers. He fuses his passion for statistics, design, and digital marketing to produce measurable results.

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