Evaluating software for your business is always a tough task. No matter what kind of solution you are looking for, there are countless providers that say they offer what you need.
This is also true when you are looking for a business text messaging solution.
If you look at a software review site like Capterra, there are over 100 business texting providers listed. There is no way you can evaluate all of them. How do you narrow it down?
It’s critical to ask the right questions so you can be confident that the solution is right for your business needs and goals.
Here are 10 questions you should ask when evaluating business text messaging solution providers.
1) How long have you been in business?
This is an obvious but important question to ask because, with so many providers to choose from, you want to partner with a provider that has the experience and knowledge to guide you toward success, and not simply selling you a tool. Also, choosing a provider that has high client retention rates proves that they care about their clients and can be counted on for support.
2) Do you have experience in my industry?
Having knowledge in your industry is also crucial to selecting a solution because not all businesses are the same. A provider that knows how your business operates and your customer journey can show you all the different ways to interact with customers through text messaging and avoid critical mistakes based on their experience and learnings.
3) Do you offer a free trial?
Free trials are always beneficial for solution seekers that want to evaluate the product themselves before making a purchasing decision. Sales demos are good, but it doesn’t allow the person to dive into the product and explore around themselves. Product shortcomings are often hidden from the customer during demos, leaving them disappointed after they purchased it.
Imagine if you were buying a car - would you buy a new car without test driving it? Probably not.
The sales process is sometimes full of promises that cannot be delivered, and the only way for you to find out is to get in the product yourself so you can be confident that it’s what you need.
4) Can you integrate with my CRM, PMS (Property Management Software) or other internal systems?
If text messaging is the vehicle for customer communication, then data is your fuel. No matter how you plan to text with customers, understanding them is extremely important because relevancy is key. Knowing your customers’ profile and preferences can help you send more personalized messages that get responses. If texting is used for customer service, having CRM data can help agents solve problems quicker by knowing which customers have issues and the history of the business.
Many hotels use texting to engage with guests, so having integrations into their property management system like Amadeus HotSOS can help streamline requests to the right department and fulfill requests faster and more efficiently.
5) Does your software provide any automation capabilities?
While text messaging is a personal way for you to communicate with customers, automation capabilities are extremely beneficial for processing and replying to simple and common questions and requests.
Automated keyword responses, notifications, and reminders are helpful for streamlining certain aspects of customer communication and can save your staff time from manually sending out messages when it can be automated.
Have each provider show you how their automation capabilities work as it relates to your business so you can see that it does what it says it can do.
6) Do you have integrations with social messaging apps?
With both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp currently with over a billion users each, there’s no question people love messaging apps. By allowing customers to message you through their messaging app of choice, it expands your reach and engagement.
The ability to integrate with messaging apps is important because it allows your staff to manage all message-based conversations whether it’s SMS or Facebook Messenger all in one interface, instead of having to download multiple apps which makes it harder to manage.
7) What kind of training/support do you provide?
This is where you separate partners from simple vendors. A client success focused provider will help you through every step of the way. From initial setup to ongoing support, make sure the provider you choose will be there when you need them.
8) What does pricing look like?
The pricing structure will most likely vary for each texting provider you talk to. However, the important thing to understand is how they charge and if there are any hidden fees. Most common pricing plans are based on message volume and/or number of users. Some providers charge fees for additional features while others include the entire product set in their pricing. Make sure you understand how you are being charged so you don’t pay for things you don’t need.
9) Is your software scalable as my business grows?
Every business desires to grow whether it’s adding more locations or expanding into new markets. The ability for the texting provider to scale with your business is important as you may outgrow the software and need to change to a more enterprise-level provider. Working with a provider that has experience working with larger businesses that can handle larger message volume and has a more stable technology infrastructure in place is key.
10) How do I get my customers to opt into text messages?
This is a question we get often. Many businesses want to implement texting for their customers but don’t want to break any laws or lose customers because of it. In short, there are many ways to get permission from your customers to allow you to send them text messages like website forms or manual outreach, but an experienced text messaging provider will be able to answer that question for you based on your business and messaging purposes.
Asking these important questions when assessing text messaging providers will help you choose the best possible solution for your business that will get you a positive return on your investment and create a better experience for your customers.
Interested in texting for your business? Give Zingle a test drive.