I recently purchased a customized gift for my client from Etsy back in November 2018 and much to my displeasure it was shipped during a nationwide post office strike. To make matters worse my package would surely not get to me at the desired time so I cancelled the order and just purchased something else. Long story short, I answered the door to a delivery guy on January 17, 2019 to a shocked- I’m not expecting anything look, at the clearly impatient man. Of course, it was the client gift! (Shoot, I keep forgetting to tell the seller to re-bill me since I already got a refund). It would have been so nice to get some sort of notification that the package was on the way and would be delivered on Jan 17. I hate surprises like this and it turns what should be a pleasant experience of client gifting into one of should I answer the door, as I'm not expecting anyone or anything. If only there was some way for businesses to communicate quickly about delivery times or anything for that matter. What about SMS!
Millennials aren’t the only group that appreciates and prefers text messaging, but over half of consumers perceive companies that text in a more positive light.
Let’s dive into why.
Since almost everyone in North America has and let's face it, is attached to their smart phones, customers are more likely to communicate via text from a business. That’s right, the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds compared to 90 minutes for email messaging (customerthink). I can hear some of you cringe after spending years building a long email list. Let’s hope you also collect phone numbers or just start now.
SMS or short message service is really just that, a bite-sized nugget of juicy information in less than 10 words. Customer engagement is blowing up with the ability to quickly connect with a representative and get inquiries answered right away. And that’s not where it ends, it's really just the beginning. Customers can request pictures of items they are looking for, see different colors and styles, they can even pay for their services right from their phones. Apart from instant interaction, companies and even governments can broadcast important notifications like severe weather alerts, closures and emergency awareness. Canada (my home) recently launched a campaign promoting their emergency text alerts. I expect this list to eventually expand with the fast-growing need for people to connect and receive for information.
Tech giant Apple has taken notice with their 2017 beta launch and 2018 deployment of Business Apple Chat in Asia, Europe, Australia and North America across 30 companies including Burberry, Home Depot and Quicken Loans. Sprint recently announced that they have also jumped on board to meet the rising expectations of customers in the competitive telecommunications industry. As usual, Apple has gone one step further using their existing iMessage platform to give companies the ability to communicate with iPhone users across the globe. Apple business chat allows customers to not only instantly interact, but customers can also schedule appointments, pay via Apple Pay- obviously, and even recognize their favourite brands with a personalized and branded iMessage interface.
When companies like Apple and Google start to notice and value the importance of the customer experience, then I'm happy to be in this industry! :-)
But what about SMB’s? You know, the mass portion of what makes up all businesses today. While Apple’s business chat is awesome, qualifying and applying as a business requires serious stuff and I wouldn’t recommend for the solo- entrepreneur like myself. But check out this link if you still want to try. How do we stay relevant in this world of digital explosion? We do the same things in creative ways. Depending on what type of client management solution you use, the ability to communicate information via text is an added bonus and a step up from what others your competitors are doing.
The client management tool that I promote and deploy for my clients, allow notifications via text for scheduled appointments, paying invoices, and message notifications. Recently and this time Android users gets the win, clients can now communicate and take actions through their very own app right from their phone screen. I even have the option of automating reminder times, like 1 day and 1 hour before appointment reminders, so clients never miss an appointment and eliminate no-shows. To take a tour, schedule some time with me to do business like a boss and look like the professional you are!
Business texting is an incredible way to keep up with the big boys and to impress the shorts off your clients even though you are a small business. I love saying “even though you have a small business, you don't need to run it like one" and no one needs to know you are small. How could I forget to share some other bonus benefits: You can send marketing campaign links, payment links where clients can directly pay (they take a pic of their credit card- genius) and even blog posts links all via text! Get seen now with a 14-day free trial.
Another great use of business text is for instant reviews or testimonials. Depending on the type of business you run, you can even automate review requests and gather feedback from clients in order to make operational changes that can help your business grow. Believe me, there is so much more customer engagement goodness with text!
Online business Instagram star, The Six Figure Chick launched her text service last year where she told her 265,000 followers to get on her text list to receive freebies and lots of goodies. Cici- which she is also known as recently increased her monthly sales goal for January 2019 to over 6 figures some of which she attributed to her new text service feature. While browsing casually online, your business text can get seen right away. Start texting your customers and clients today for FREE!!!
Can’t get enough about digital transformation aka the new face of customer engagement ? Check out How Small Businesses can use technology to respond to increasing Customer Expectations