Many businesses are starting to use text messaging as a new way to communicate with their customers, with applications from customer service to marketing. In fact, 80% of people already use text messaging for business purposes. However, some businesses see text messaging as simply a feature or tool, and not something with broader implications that is a critical component of their customer experience strategy.
Therefore, when considered in such a narrow context, these businesses often fail to understand the return on investment of texting because they don’t understand the full capabilities of text messaging.
To see “success” (in quotes because it can be defined in many ways) for texting with your customers, you need to think of it as more than just a channel.
Here are some common mistakes businesses make with text messaging and how you can avoid them with a well-developed customer experience strategy.
Planning is critical to anything you do in business. It creates focus on what you want to do and accomplish.
Creating a texting program for your business is not as simple as giving customers your mobile phone number and telling them to start texting you. That would be a potential disaster!
To create a great experience for your customers with text messaging, there are three areas to consider:
*How will you use texting? (Appointment setting, reminders, customer service, marketing…)
*Who will be the administrator and which employees will be responsible for text communications?
*When can customers reach your business via text message?
These questions will help you identify the foundational elements of your texting program.
I often speak with companies that use texting, but when I ask them about what business results they have achieved, they often struggle for an answer. This is because they did not set goals when planning their texting program which makes it hard to measure the value and how it’s affecting their customer experience.
To ensure you see a positive return on investment as well as providing a better customer experience, you need to set some goals around your overall business objectives and pain points that you’re trying to improve.
Some common goals for texting include:
*Reduce inbound customer support phone calls
*Provide a faster problem resolution time
*Increase upsell/cross-sell opportunities
*Increase in positive reviews
To make sure you work to achieve those goals with text messaging, you will need to also have a method of tracking and measuring success. For example, if your goal is to provide a faster problem resolution time vs. email or phone, you can analyze how long on average it takes to resolve an issue for email and phone, then compare it to the average time to resolve an issue via text message.
No Promotion of Text Number
Having a text number is useless unless your customers know about it. Some businesses think texting isn’t valuable because they do not receive as many texts as phone calls. But the truth is, they often don’t promote that their business is easily accessible via text.
It’s important to show your text number wherever customers can see your brand online and offline. Some ways you can promote your text number are on your website, emails, receipts, social media, and physical signs if you have a storefront. See more way to promote your text number.
No Success Tracking
Goal: Reduce Inbound Support Calls
Success Metric: Look at the average inbound calls per day and compare that to after you launched your texting program. If the number of inbound calls is lower while text inquiries are increasing, that means you are on the right track and your customers are getting what they need through texting. If inbound calls do not decrease or even increased after launching a texting program, there may be process issues that need to be investigated further.
Goal: Decrease Appointment No-show
Success Metric: Look at how many appointment no-shows you get per week and see if that number decreases with automated appointment reminder messages. This can also be a good way to allow customers to reschedule if they forgot and made other plans.
Goal: Increase Coupon Redemption
Success Metric: If you send text message coupons to customers, make sure you use a special code for texting vs. email or other channels to clearly see which channel gets more coupon redemptions.
Review your success metrics weekly or monthly to ensure that you catch any issues as soon as possible and find ways to fix them.
Consumers today expect a personalized experience with brands they engage with. As we have seen with emails, mass blasting (aka spamming) customers with irrelevant messages can annoy them and your business will suffer because of it.
Increasing relevancy in any message communication you send to customers is crucial.
To gain the trust of your customers, you need to show them you know who they are and what they like. By leveraging customer data such as profile, preferences, purchase history, and even website browsing behavior, you can use that data to send more individualized messages.
For example, a gym or fitness center can segment their members by activity preference so whenever there is a class that interests them, the gym can send a text message to those members to allow them to sign up.
If you are thinking about adding text messaging to communicate with customers, make sure you have your plan and goals in place as outlined in this article. If you are already texting with your customers, look at your current process and metrics to see if there is anything that can be improved to better serve your customers.
Interested in learning more? Read our Free Business Texting eBook to get a step-by-step guide to launching your business texting program.