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.
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—reading or sending a text is quick, so it doesn’t disrupt your day. 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, only 39% 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.
In this article, we’ll go into detail about business text messaging and cover information on these related topics:
- The many benefits of text messaging for business.
- Some important facts about consumers and text messaging.
- 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.
- Best practices for texting customers.
- Case studies of how text messaging really works for real businesses.
- Where to get more information about business text messaging services.
What Is Business Text Messaging?
Business text messaging or SMS marketing is a powerful tool that businesses all over the world are increasingly embracing to connect with their customers. SMS marketing involves sending text messages to target audiences with the aim of promoting products, services, or information about the brand. This marketing channel is an effective way for businesses to build customer loyalty, increase engagement, and drive sales.
SMS marketing is non-intrusive, convenient, and allows businesses to send targeted messages directly to their customers’ mobile devices. This helps to ensure that the message reaches the right audience in real time.
Overall, business text messaging presents a huge opportunity for businesses that are looking to improve their customer engagement, drive conversions, and build brand loyalty. By leveraging the power of business text messaging, businesses can take customer communication to the next level and stand out from the competition.
The Benefits of Business Text Messaging
Many businesses are still sleeping on SMS texting, 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 it:
1. Improves conversion rates
One of the biggest benefits of using text messaging for business is that it can improve conversion rates. Studies have shown that text messages have a higher open rate (98%) than emails, and many people read text messages within mere seconds of receiving them. You can use text messaging to reach out to potential customers and encourage them to take action, such as making a purchase or booking an appointment.
2. Improves customer service
Another key benefit of business text messaging is that it can improve customer service. Text messaging provides a more convenient and accessible way for customers to communicate with businesses, allowing them to ask questions, make requests, and get support more easily. Customers love speed and convenience, so this is a huge plus. Text messaging also allows you to respond to customer inquiries quickly and efficiently, helping to improve overall customer satisfaction.
3. Allows you to respond better and faster
Text messaging enables businesses to respond better and faster to customer inquiries and requests. With text messaging, businesses can respond to customer messages in real time, unlike phone calls, which require a quiet space and all of your attention. This means your team can get more done and your customers get the help they need right when they need it.
4. Helps you set clear customer expectations
Business text messaging can help businesses set clear customer expectations. By using text messaging to communicate with customers, you can provide real-time updates on the status of orders, appointments, and other important information. This helps ensure that customers are well-informed and have a clear understanding of what to expect, which makes for happy, loyal customers.
A few more benefits worth noting include:
- Your message actually gets read.
- Customers engage more.
- It improves confidence in your brand.
- It’s convenient for both staff and customers.
- Instances of appointment no-shows decrease.
- There’s an increase in successful payments.
Think about it. Fifty-four percent of consumers want to receive marketing text messages from businesses. Give the people what they want so that they can help your business grow and thrive.
1. Google Voice
A popular choice among small businesses, Google Voice allows users to receive calls and texts on a personalized number. The service offers features like call screening, personalized voicemail greetings, and voicemail transcription. However, the service doesn’t offer many advanced features for businesses.
SimpleTexting offers advanced features like drip campaigns, SMS automation, and link tracking. The service offers top-notch customer support, but it can be pricey for businesses with a large volume of messages.
Podium offers businesses an all-in-one platform to manage customer interactions, including text messaging services. With Podium, businesses can easily launch text marketing campaigns, personalize messages, automate tasks, and grow their marketing lists. Plus, Podium was built with local businesses in mind, so it’s specifically designed to meet the unique challenges that small businesses face.
4. EZ Texting
EZ Texting offers businesses an easy-to-use platform that includes SMS marketing, appointment reminders, and surveys. The service’s pricing is affordable, but it doesn’t offer advanced marketing features like drip campaigns.
5. Ring Central
Ring Central provides businesses with a comprehensive communication solution, including text messaging services. The platform offers features like video conferencing, task management, and file sharing. However, the service’s pricing can be high for smaller businesses.
TextMagic offers businesses a simple and customizable platform that includes SMS marketing, two-way messaging, and contact management. The service offers competitive pricing and excellent customer support but may not be the best choice for businesses looking for advanced marketing features.
Sakari offers businesses a robust platform that includes SMS marketing, MMS messaging, and contact management. The service is affordable, but its user interface can be confusing for some users.
Salesmsg offers businesses a platform specifically tailored for sales teams looking to connect with leads through SMS messaging. The service includes features like automation and text templates, but its pricing is higher than some other services.
How to Choose the Right Texting Service
Decisions, decisions. There are tons of options to choose from, so picking the right business text messaging service may seem like a daunting task. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you do your research.
Before you start looking for a texting service, make a list of the features you need. Every business has different needs when it comes to texting. For example, if you are a medical practice, you may need a texting service that is HIPAA-compliant. If you run a restaurant, you may need a service that can handle online ordering via text.
Pricing is another important consideration when choosing a texting service. Make sure to choose a service that fits within your budget. Some services charge per message, while others offer monthly subscriptions. Make sure to read the fine print and understand the pricing structure before selecting a service.
3. Customer Support
Customer support is crucial when it comes to any business service—you want to feel confident that you’ll get the help you need if and when you need it. Check if the texting service you are considering offers customer support, and if so, figure out what kind of support they offer. Do they have a live chat option? Do they offer phone support? You want to be sure that they’ll be able to help you in a quick and convenient way.
Another key consideration is integrations. Does the service integrate with other tools that you use, such as your CRM or email marketing software? Remember, you want your text messaging solution to make your life easier, not shake up everything you’re already doing. Choosing a provider that integrates with the tools you already use will help streamline your workflow and make it easier to manage your communications.
Business Text Messaging Best Practices
One of the reasons many businesses are reluctant to start texting their customers is because it’s new and they don’t really know where to start.
But don’t worry. We’re here to help you identify moments during your customer journey that would be optimal to text your customers and provide you with some tips to ensure you are successful.
1. Set appointments and send reminders.
Time is money and missed appointments result in wasting both. But you can eliminate a large number of appointment no-shows by texting out appointment reminders and setting appointments with your customers. This is much less intrusive and time-consuming than having your staff call and remind customers about upcoming appointments.
2. Give inventory updates to customers.
Giving your customers the option to text your business allows them to avoid the frustration of driving all the way to your story only to find out something isn’t in stock. With text, customers can send you a quick message to check on inventory and you can respond back with a picture of what you have on hand.
3. Look for opportunities to upsell.
Having a texting relationship with your customers will also give you the opportunity to upsell them from time to time. This will provide your business with incremental increases in revenue that will not only improve customer satisfaction but also boost your bottom line.
4. Ask customers for feedback.
A number of our customers have started to replace traditional customer satisfaction surveys with text message-based surveys. These customers see a higher open and response rate because text messaging is more conversational and less intrusive than a survey.
5. Be a resource to solve problems.
Not all of the questions your customers have will warrant a phone call. Some are simple and can often be answered with a very short text. Texting is more visual than a phone call; it allows your customers to send pictures of a problem they might be having. This can eliminate a lot of confusion that might arise if they were to try and describe the problem verbally.
6. Close more deals.
This might sound crazy to you, but it’s not uncommon for Podium users to make a sale in a text message conversation–even for big-ticket purchases like a car. Oftentimes, this person is a really hot lead and wants to be connected to the right product or service quickly. If your business isn’t making it as easy as possible to engage with customers, you could be losing out on these ‘easy’ sales.
Business Text Messaging Examples
So, texting your customers has major advantages, but don’t just take our word for it! Let’s look at some real-life business texting examples. Below we highlight five 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 implementation, 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.
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.
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.
Business Text Messaging Solutions
Alright, we’ve saved the best part for the end of the article. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Podium helps local businesses improve customer communication.
1. Text Marketing
With Podium, you can launch a text marketing campaign that drives thousands in revenue in a matter of minutes. You don’t have to waste weeks or months designing a campaign as you can easily craft your message from templates and select the right customers for your campaign. Instead, you fire off a single text and watch sales skyrocket.
Personalization is the key to success in text marketing, and Podium makes it easy to personalize every message to every customer. By allowing you to target specific groups of customers with an offer or message that’s personalized to them, you can increase customer engagement and loyalty, thus generating more revenue.
2. SMS Payments
SMS 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.
This streamlined process allows your business to do these seven things:
- 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.
- Get paid for your products or services.
- Simplify recurring payments (subscription services, phone bills, etc.).
- Answer questions or address concerns regarding invoice issues.
- Collect past-due bills.
- Extend your SMS marketing services (last-minute deals, etc.).
- Thank your patrons for their business and payment.
Trust us, text payments are a game changer, and your customers will thank you for giving them the option.
We may be biased, but we mean it when we say that Webchat is a game changer for local businesses. It offers a simple, effective way to connect with website visitors and generate high-quality leads from your website. Unlike other web chat solutions, Podium’s Webchat is text-based, allowing for continued communication even after visitors leave your site.
With Webchat, you can connect with customers on your own terms and improve engagement, which leads to more sales. But it’s not just about leads—Webchat significantly improves the customer experience by making it quick and easy for website visitors to contact your business.
Want to give Podium a try? Start a no-strings-attached free trial today.