Business text messaging (also known as SMS texting) allows a business to send and receive text messages from a business phone number to current and prospective customers.

This has become a popular option of communication for business owners, but why? It’s because business texting allows you to quickly correspond with customers, including by sending promotional deals and giving updates on orders and services.

We’ll get into a lot more detail about business text messaging, covering information on these related topics:

  • The many benefits of text messaging for business.
  • Some important facts about consumers and text messaging.
  • The ease and convenience of live chat software (web chat).
  • What conversational commerce is and how it can help drive sales.
  • How SMS payments work and why they drive sales.
  • Different types of communication channels.
  • How to effectively manage customer interactions.
  • Case studies of how text messaging really works for real businesses.
  • Where to get more information about business text messaging services.

The Benefits of Text Messaging

Unfortunately, SMS texting has only been implemented by a small percentage of businesses across the country, due in part to the fact that many business owners simply aren’t aware of the option or its benefits.

Some of the many benefits of text messaging are that:

  • Your message actually gets read.
  • Customers engage more.
  • It improves customer service.
  • Brand loyalty goes up.
  • It improves confidence in your brand.
  • It’s convenient for both staff and customers.
  • Instances of appointment no-shows decrease.
  • In-store visits soar.
  • Sales rise.
  • There’s an increase in successful payments.

Think about it. Fifty-four percent of consumers want to receive marketing text messages from businesses. It’s time for you to step up and give your customers what they want so that, in turn, they can help your business grow and thrive.

The Facts About Consumers and Text Messaging

The fact is, most people would much rather communicate via text message than on the phone or over email. For one, it’s a lot less intrusive. And two, it’s a much more effective way to engage.

When it comes to consumers and text messaging:

  • 75% find it helpful to receive appointment reminders via text.
  • 72% are more likely to make a purchase when texting with a real employee.
  • 69% would prefer for an unfamiliar company to contact them over text messaging, rather than over the phone.
  • 63% would switch companies if they offered text messaging.
  • 63% will also recommend their friends make the switch.

The problem is, only39% of businesses message with customers. This isn’t because it’s difficult to set up SMS messaging, but because many business owners simply don’t think they have the bandwidth to manage a new communication channel, or that only millennial customers want to text. The truth is that it’s much easier than you think, and regardless of age, many of your customers would love to engage with your business via text.

Most customers (including those over age 60) check a new message within five minutes of receiving one (at a nearly 100% read rate). Perhaps even more important is that 54% of all age groups are frustrated when they’re unable to use text to connect with a business.

What Is Live Chat Software?

Live chat software turns clicks into customers by speaking with them via a webchat window on a business website. This communication channel works very well because when you already have a captive audience on your website, all you have to do is engage, inform, and guide, which often wins them over.

Communicating in real-time is easy, effective, and preferred over delayed or interrupted conversations. All you need is a customized widget that sends your customers the right message…that you’re there to help.

The truth is that most customers would rather use live chat rather than a phone call when they need support, and many already expect your website to offer that service–but do you?

Learn more about live chat software >>

What Is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational commerce is the use of digital communication between a business and its clients for the purpose of driving sales. Such communication happens via text messaging, social media, and personal assistant devices (Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Google Home). It allows your customers to hand over the “research” phase of shopping to the experts. It also makes the checkout process much quicker and simpler. Because of these benefits, customer conversions and satisfaction ratings climb higher than ever.

There are several ways conversational commerce can help drive sales, such as by:

  • Offering recommendations to help customers make a decision.
  • Simplifying the check-out process with an SMS payment solution.
  • Allowing for personalized appointment bookings and reminders.
  • Sending notices of limited-time promotions or targeted deals.
  • Providing updates on product availability and shipment details.

Read more about conversational commerce >>

What Are SMS Payments?

SMS payments (Short Message Service payments) allow customers to pay for something through a simple text, rather than by logging in and entering personal information and credit card/banking information every time they want to purchase something or pay a bill.

SMS payments work by simply sending customers a short text with a link to a secure payment processing platform. The customer clicks on the link, views their invoice, and makes a payment.

This streamlined process allows your business to do these seven things:

  1. Make the check-out process extremely fast and easy for customers (sometimes even with only one click) so you don’t lose them before they complete the process.
  2. Get paid for your products or services.
  3. Simplify recurring payments (subscription services, phone bills, etc.).
  4. Answer questions or address concerns regarding invoice issues.
  5. Collect past-due bills.
  6. Extend your SMS marketing services (last-minute deals, etc.).
  7. Thank your patrons for their business and payment.

Read more about SMS payments >>

Types of Communication Channels

While extremely useful and cost-effective, SMS text messaging and live chat messaging aren’t the only types of communication channels that a business has in its back pocket. There are several others that your team should be using to grow internal productivity and improve outward-facing customer touchpoints.

Here are some other types of communication channels at your disposal, to use at your discretion depending on the circumstances and results you desire.

  1. Face-to-Face: This is the richest communication channel because it allows for body language and facial expressions to be seen clearly in real-time.
  2. Video Conferencing: The next best thing to face-to-face, this effective form of communication allows you to interact with someone no matter where they’re located.
  3. Phone Calls: A less formal way to speak to someone, as talking on the phone can be done on a whim to get things done quickly.
  4. Email: This can be either a formal or informal way to communicate and allows for flexibility on the part of both the sender and responder. It’s also a good way to have a more private conversation and document an interaction.
  5. Online Message Platforms: These are used to lend a more professional tone to your informal communication. It’s secure, allows for more complexity, and can be used to share documents, pictures, and videos.
  6. Social Media: Communicating via social media gives businesses new opportunities for interacting with current and potential customers.

Read more about the different types of communication channels >>

Managing Customer Interactions

With all the channels you and your customers can communicate through, juggling them all can be chaotic and costly. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix that makes every question, comment, or complaint easy and timely to address.

All it takes is technology that streamlines every interaction in one place. Managing customer interactions this way will ease your workload and give your customers the response time they deserve.

Here’s what else you can do with a centralized interaction platform:

  • Pull messages and interactions from multiple channels into one place.
  • Give permissions for people to access conversations.
  • Provide quick customer service even when out of the office or while on the go.
  • Curate personalized recommendations.
  • Provide reminders and tips.
  • Send and receive documents and forms.
  • Automate review invites and feedback requests.
  • Auto respond when you can’t respond in person.

Read more about managing customer interactions >>

Case studies: How Do Text Messages Work for Business?

It can be easy for someone to tell you about all the benefits that businesses across the country have seen after implementing SMS texting. Don’t just take our word for it! Sometimes it’s best to show concrete, personal examples of success stories from actual businesses.

Below we highlight six different local businesses that have had success implementing a business text messaging strategy.

1. Zerorez Improves Customer Service

Zerorez is an innovative carpet cleaning company that has more than 60 locations across the US.

Using text messaging has made it easier for them to follow up after appointments to determine the quality of service the customer received. This has helped them to more quickly identify any problems that might have occurred.

Since implementing, the business has seen an increase in loyalty, more positive reviews, and a higher NPS score.

“People are much more comfortable texting back and forth in most cases,” said Chris Carson, the head of marketing at Zerorez. “So if they’ve got a problem, we’re able to quickly respond.”

Read the entire Zerorez story >>

2. RepairAll Streamlines Communication for More Sales

From the beginning, Joseph Howeth, President of RepairAll (a 15-location cell phone repair business in California) recognized the power that business text messaging could play in his success.

Howeth has enabled Google Click-to-Message at all his locations, which has made it much easier for customers and potential customers to engage with him via text message. Once implemented, the business began to immediately receive text messages from customers. Many of those interactions have led to in-store visits and sales.

Read the entire RepairAll story >>

3. Neptune Society Handles Sensitive Conversations

Ronald Haulman, Executive Director of Neptune Society of Central California, has the task of working with people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

During times of grieving, it can be hard to talk on the phone. That’s why when Haulman came across technology that made it easy for his staff to handle situations via text message, the decision to give it a try was easy.

Since Neptune Society of Central California started texting with its customers, it has been able to build stronger relationships and provide even better service. This has resulted in an improved online reputation for the business. Additionally, having the ability to text with customers has enabled the company’s staff to be more productive.

Read the entire Neptune Society of Central California story >>

4. Mario Aguilar Insurance Grows the Business

It’s not often that you need to get in touch with your insurance agent, but when you do, it’s typically pretty urgent. That’s why having a business texting solution is so imperative for insurance agents.

To ensure his customers can easily get in contact with him when they need him the most, Mario Aguilar (an insurance agent based in Andrew, Texas) has his customers program his textable number into their phones as part of their onboarding process. Now, if his customers have an accident and need help, or are traveling and need insurance cards, he’s just one text away.

In the past, Aguilar’s staff was often tied down with phone calls to handle these types of customer issues. Now, they are able to multitask and focus on growing their business instead. “I can fire off all types of communication back and forth without picking up the phone and tying up the line,” said Aguilar.

Read the entire Mario Aguilar Insurance story >>

5. Pierce Flooring Saves Time and Money

Pierce Flooring used to waste a lot of time calling up customers to try and confirm appointments. Oftentimes the customers missed the call. As a result, his staff had to make multiple calls before getting in touch.

Since implementing a business SMS, Pierce Flooring has saved a considerable amount of time because after firing off the appointment confirmation text, responses from customers come in much faster. This is because their customers are more comfortable with text messaging than with phone calls. They can also respond from wherever they are, at any time. This eliminates the lag that previously existed. It also has reduced the number of no-show appointments from about 30 a month, down to approximately one a month.

Read the entire Pierce Flooring story >>

6. Bruce Titus Automotive Group Gets More Reviews

Bruce Titus Automotive Group owns six dealerships and needed a way to collect online reviews on a more consistent basis. Their dealerships weren’t getting bad reviews, but they wanted to find a way to collect more reviews in general.

To accomplish this, they implemented an online review management platform that utilizes text messaging as the primary delivery channel for the invitations to review. Since rolling out this new solution, Bruce Titus Automotive Group has collected more than 2,500 new reviews and improved its overall star rating from 4.0 to 4.5.

Read the entire Bruce Titus Automotive Group story >>

Learn More

Have we made you curious about business text messaging, live chat software, SMS payments, and managing interactions? If so, good. You won’t regret learning more about these incredible and important ways to conduct business with your customers.

Podium can help give you the vital information that you need to make an informed decision about whether or not texting for business is right for your organization.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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