There are two crucial elements of any service business that contribute to success, the service itself and customer communication.
If you own or work for a service-based business, you know the importance of communication. Fast and clear communication can be the difference between getting the customer or losing it to a competitor.
It doesn’t matter if your service-based business is home improvement, auto repair, beauty salon, real estate, financial, medical or any others, being able to communicate quickly and clearly to your customers can help create a positive overall experience.
Importance of fast and clear communication
Study shows that consistent customer communication is one of the biggest challenges for service-based businesses.
Providing fast and exceptional service is a result of good communication. When inquiries get responded to quickly and the expectations are clear, that means more business for you.
Here are three things that result in fast and clear communication.
1) Early bird gets the worm: When a customer requests a service from you, it’s important to respond as soon as possible because more than likely, they are also contacting your competitors to do some price shopping. Being able to provide a quote and timeline faster means you increase your chances of getting the job. Sometimes the price isn’t the issue, it’s the sense of urgency a customer has that determines who they will choose.
2) Understanding customer expectations: The service business industry is usually more complicated than traditional product or goods-based businesses because the expectations can sometimes be unclear. Documenting exactly what is expected of your service is crucial to meeting the needs of your customers and help speed up the project timeline.
3) Generate more customers: When you combine great service with fast communication, customers will most likely refer you to their friends and family and even post it on review sites. This can mean a big boost for your business as research shows that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Why texting is the best form of customer communication
It’s no surprise that people like to text, as 15 MILLION TEXT MESSAGES are sent every minute. It doesn’t take a genius to know that texting is the most effective way for personal and business communication due to its low barrier to send and receive messages. You don’t even need a smartphone to text message, which makes it even more convenient for people that still prefer the good old flip phone.
Texting also has these other benefits that can enhance your service business.
Faster to answer questions and inquiries: Instead of playing phone tag or hoping that they will check their email, a text message is real-time and direct, which saves time for both you and your customers.
Ability to have multiple conversations at once: You can’t talk to multiple customers at once, but you can with text messages. By the time you answer questions from one customer on the phone, you could have answered two or more with texting.
More accurate price estimates: Estimating a quote can sometimes be difficult because you have to see what needs to be done. Being able to exchange images or files (by sending a link) through a text message can help you better understand exactly what your customer’s issues are and how to best estimate the price.
Have a record of past messages: Text messages are stored in a conversation list format which makes it easy to go back and see where the last customer conversation left off. This can save you tons of time by knowing what was said last and help move the conversation forward faster. This is also useful for businesses that offer recurring services like nail salons or landscaping where the service itself is basically the same every time and can be confirmed with a simple text message.
Better internal communication: When things get busy, you may not have time to respond to all customers. This is where texting benefits your internal staff. By simply sending a text message to an employee to fulfill a job request, you can ensure that you will get a response right away, as the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for an email.
Ways to use text messaging for your service based business
Text messaging can be used for more than just answering questions. You can incorporate texting into your business strategy to improve the overall customer experience.
Here are 10 ways you can use texting to enhance customer communication.
1) Information Request
2) Service Request
3) Document Request
4) Appointment Scheduling
5) Appointment Reminders
6) Payment Reminders
7) Alerts & Notifications
8) Customer Feedback Surveys
9) Personalized Promotions
10) Internal Communication
Streamline text communication with a business texting software
Now that you know the benefits of texting for your business and ways to do it, the next step is to get a business-level texting software. Having a business texting software is important to your business for several reasons.
First, you don’t mix business life with personal life. If you receive both personal calls and texts from family as well as customers, it may cause confusion. In a worst-case scenario where you break your phone or lose it, all your customer contacts are gone forever. With a business texting software, your customer data is stored securely and you can access that information through a central portal that helps you manage all your customer information and messages.
Secondly, you need a secure way to send and receive text messages. If you have a service business where customer information is confidential, you need a secure way to transmit and store that information. Standard phone-to-phone text messages are not encrypted with the high level of security that text message software offers, therefore putting your customer information in jeopardy for hackers to steal.
Lastly, business texting software has automation capabilities to help you streamline messages to your customers without the need to manually send it one by one. For example, if you wanted to send an appointment reminder to 50 customers at once, you would need to figure out when their appointment day and time is and manually send them out one by one. That would be extremely painful and nobody has time for that.
By leveraging a business texting software, you can automate reminders by scheduling a message to customers based on their appointment time. With a business texting software, you can automate many different types of messages like the ones listed above. This will make your customer communication part of your business a lot easier so you can focus on service.