2Take Advantage of Ubiquitous Reach
Pew Research recently reported that 64 percent of American adults now own a smartphone, up from 35 percent only four years ago. But regardless of carrier, location or equipment model, every mobile phone user can send and receive text messages. In many cases, there are no new apps, downloads or other proprietary requirements that may inhibit being able to reach your intended audience.
3Provide Faster, Better Customer Support
A recent HeyWire survey (HeyWire is an enterprise text messaging service) found that 66 percent of consumers would rather have a root canal without anesthesia, a tax audit or dinner/drinks with their mother-in-law instead of waiting on hold for a customer service representative. That’s an indication of needed change in the arena of customer service. Consumers don’t have time or energy to sit in voice queues, wait for an email response or be tied to a computer to make sure a Web chat session stays active. Texting allows them to go about their mobile lives and respond whenever—and wherever—is most convenient for them.
4Enhance Your Brand’s Social Reputation
While social media is a great channel for customer support, the HeyWire survey found that 75 percent of consumers would rather text with a customer support agent than correspond with them via social media. Plus, social media is often used as a complaint escalation channel, allowing customers to publicly broadcast issues to the masses across an ungated, unsecured network. Consider complementing your existing social strategy with texting to not only take the conversation offline but also offer a secure and private forum for customers to air their grievances and ask questions.
5Reach More Potential Employees
Whereas texting may have been regarded as a communications vehicle limited to only personal conversations only a few years ago, it has now become an accepted—and even embraced—communications method for job hunting. SoftwareAdvice recently found that a whopping 43 percent of job seekers under the age of 45 regard the use of text messaging by recruiters as “professional,” and as many as 60 percent of recruiters use texting as part of their recruitment process. While those same people may also be submitting their resumes online, being able to reach them in-the-moment can help engage with the right candidates before your competitors pick them up.
6Reach More Prospects
Pew Research recently reported that 67 percent of cell phone owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, calls or alerts even when it’s not ringing or vibrating. And research firm Mobilesquared found that more than 90 percent of people read a text message within the first 3 minutes of receiving it, with more than 99 percent of all texts ultimately being read by their intended recipient. With statistics like these, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that companies need to take advantage of this major opportunity to reach prospects within the mobile environments they use most often.
7Close More Deals
A Ring Central poll of sales professionals found that 32 percent of respondents acknowledged that they have closed a business deal using text. Being more reachable to your prospects and customers—as well as being able to contact them via the communications vehicle they use most often—is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition, which ultimately is a major factor in closing more deals. This doesn’t mean you should abandon all other selling channels, but realizing that texting is a viable option is a step in the right direction.
8Humanize Your Brand to Increase Loyalty
Last month, TD Bank Group became an early leader in the customer experience economy by offering SMS customer service via short codes to customers. While this is an important first step toward better customer support, it still pushes customers to resolve many issues by phone and falls short of enabling the kind of full, two-way texting dialogue that consumers prefer. In a world that’s becoming increasingly automated and impersonal, companies need to take that even further if they want to humanize their brand. Some companies are text-enabling the 1-800 numbers customers already use so they can have direct, private, two-way conversations with real people without needing a phone call or other support channel to answer their questions.
9Less Is More
Chances are you’ve spent way more time than you intended to when trying to craft a tweet. That’s because it’s always harder to use fewer words than more. Ironically, B2B sales messaging company Corporate Visions recently found that, in their quest to differentiate themselves from the competition, the vast majority of companies provide too much information about themselves in their sales pitches. This causes your prospect to tune out everything you’re saying and actually puts you at parity with, not above, your competition. Texting requires brevity, and if used properly, this brevity can work to your competitive advantage.
ABI Research recently found that the number of connected devices across the globe is expected to increase from 1.2 billion in 2015 to 5.4 billion in 2020. And with about half of all users reporting that their smartphone is something “they couldn’t live without,” this texting craze isn’t going anywhere for a very long time.