Shopify Ecosystem

SMS Business Text Messaging & Creating More Versatile Teams

sms-business-text-messaging-&-creating-more-versatile-teams

SMS business text messaging was a little slower to catch on than texting for personal use. Fortunately for businesses, technology has advanced to a degree that SMS text messaging for business is now a valuable tool. In fact, various departments within your business have opportunities to leverage text messaging to streamline their operations and make progress toward their goals. 

Best practices for the rules and etiquette of business text messaging are starting to evolve, however, so it’s important for business owners to get acquainted with them before implementing their own text messaging campaigns. The right business SMS text messaging provider will guide you on how to use business texting to enhance the customer experience and grow revenue for your company, while also creating more versatile teams.

Before you chose the best provider to work with, here’s a guide that covers everything you need to know about using SMS business text messaging in your company.

What Is SMS Business Text Messaging?

The technical term for texting is SMS, which is an acronym for Short Messaging Service. In simple terms, it’s the part of most telephone, internet, and mobile app systems that lets you shoot off a quick text to someone. Behind the scenes, the technology that powers SMS text messaging uses standardized communication protocols that allow for messages to be sent and received between devices. 

Another term that’s often connected with SMS services is MMS, which is an acronym for Multimedia Messaging Service. MMS is similar to SMS, in that it powers messages between devices. The difference is that MMS messages go a bit beyond text messaging, with the ability to transfer images, videos, and audio messages as well.  

How is business text messaging different from personal text messaging? The answer lies in having greater capability to manage large quantities of text messages. 

Just imagine waking up in the morning and getting notified that your large or small business has hundreds or thousands of text messages to answer. It would take hours for a representative to manually reply to that many responses, maybe even all day. An SMS text messaging service solves that problem. 

With advances in digitalization, businesses can now use cloud calling software, CRM platforms, and digital business tools to send and receive incoming messages between cloud phone numbers and customers’ iOS or Android mobile devices. What’s more, businesses can send automated text messages in large volumes and still manage them effectively.

Why Is the Ability to Text Message Important to a Business?

Successful businesses focus on improving the customer experience to drive better sales performance, customer satisfaction, and retention rates. By giving your customers opportunities to get a text from your company or send one in return, it makes their lives a little easier, and therefore helps contribute to a better overall customer experience. 

Texting also gives them an additional channel to connect with your brand, and it tells them you’re committed to being available for them when and where they need you.

Here are a few more reasons why mass text messaging is useful for modern businesses:

  • Customers want to be able to text with preferred brands.
  • Customers are impatient! They don’t like to wait – and with text messaging, they don’t have to.
  • Texting is an ideal communication channel when a customer just has a quick question.
  • Customers can’t always talk on the phone, and sometimes they just don’t want to take the time for it. 
  • Customers almost always read texts, but they don’t always open or read emails. 
  • Business text messaging is easy to install and easy to use. 
  • Automated texts reduce the amount of time and effort your employees need to spend engaging with prospects and customers. 
  • Texts are good ways to send links for information that would otherwise be lengthy to read, such as return policies and details on promotions.

The Benefits of SMS Business Text Messaging

Taking photos and text messaging are the most popular non-voice features of mobile devices. The majority of adults send text messages at least occasionally, and these numbers have been growing. Would you believe that people send anywhere from 10 to 40 text messages on average every day? 

Here are some ways that using SMS business text messaging can help you engage with your customers on a channel they’re already actively using:

Increase Customer Convenience

Your customers like the convenience of being able to connect with someone from your business quickly. But, let’s face it: customers get annoyed and frustrated with the amount of time that it takes to place a phone call, wait on hold, and explain their issue, when they just need a quick minute of your time. 

On the other hand, if a representative from your business needs to reach out to a customer, text messaging can be a less intrusive option than calling. Customers get frustrated when they receive calls from companies at inconvenient times, but when you reach out to a customer via text, they know you’re there, and they can respond when it’s convenient for them to do so. 

Keeping Customers Engaged

To be competitive with other companies, you have to use multiple channels to keep your customers engaged. As your customer base grows, it’s challenging to keep up with communications and keep your messaging relevant. 

Business text messaging provides a way to keep your brand front-of-mind for your customers and ensures that you have a strong voice in the marketplace. It takes time for customers to build trust in a company, so relationship building is a high priority. Text messages are an effective way to grow relationships with your customers, because they allow you to connect with your customers anywhere, even when they’re on the go.

Automate Customer Communications

One of the great things about business text messaging is that it makes it easy to automate communications, even on a large scale. 

Short, concise messages can be an effective part of your overall communication strategy, especially if your customers aren’t responding to phone calls or emails. Marketing messages often need to be sent a few times before customers pay attention to them. However, too many phone calls or emails are intrusive. On the other hand, text messages don’t take up much of anyone’s time, so customers are less likely to be frustrated by a well-spaced series of text messages. 

With the right cloud calling software, you can send out text messages to entire customer lists, making the job of SMS marketing a snap. If you’re having a time-limited sale, text messaging using autoresponders is a speedy way to get the word out to the masses and send them countdown reminders so they don’t miss out on a deal.  

SMS messages work well for sales promotions, but there’s so much more you can do with them. Have you considered the benefits of using texts for other departments in your business? 

Here’s a breakdown of how to leverage business text messaging in a variety of ways for various teams and departments in your business:

For Sales Teams

  • Send out promotions
  • Send nurturing campaign texts
  • Never miss a conversation from potential customers
  • Assures compliance with anti-spam laws
  • Keep leads moving through the sales funnel
  • Send out links for application processing
  • Send or receive texts from any location
  • Use customizable templates to make it easy to send the right messages at the right time
  • Send automated texts with links to a survey to give sales reps immediate feedback after a sale
  • Send texts with exclusive invites

For Customer Support Teams

  • Send texts for scheduling services
  • Send appointment reminders and confirm them
  • Let customers know that someone will be contacting them
  • Personalize customer service
  • Enable 24/7/365 response
  • Send out automated surveys for immediate feedback and follow up
  • Measure results of customer interactions with dashboard analytics
  • Send out tips and reminders to support team members
  • Automatically open support tickets when customer interactions can’t be resolved using other communication channels

For Human Resources

  • Reach more job applicants than you can by making phone calls or sending emails
  • Update job candidates on the status of their application
  • Receive updates from job candidates
  • Sending links for job applications
  • Send out reminders or other messages to job applicants by the tens or hundreds
  • Separate contacts by groups and send targeted messages for the group

For Marketing

  • Use keywords to send more relevant messages to prospects
  • Send out promotions, discount offers, and special announcements
  • Reach large audiences with ease
  • Segment your target audiences and customize content for each audience
  • Personalize texts to improve conversion rates and enhance the customer experience
  • Use shortcodes (5 or 6-digit phone numbers used in text messaging for mass cell phone communications) that are shorter than phone numbers. They’re easier to remember and faster to send.
  • Numbers are approved by wireless providers for the purpose of marketing, so your texts won’t get blocked.

For Other Teams

  • Send texts to track orders and coordinate deliveries
  • Send texts to schedule staff-create contact lists for each shift. Employees can respond but not see the responses of others.
  • Provide trainees with updates and reminders

Top 10 Things Not to Do With Business Text Messaging

You probably can’t count the number of times that you received a text from a friend and thought, “Wait…what?!?” It’s easy enough to hit the wrong key or let autocorrect get the better of you when you’re sending off a text. Good friends will understand and forgive your mistakes – they might even have a good laugh over them. 

Customers that receive your business texts won’t find them as humorous, and they’re not likely to forget them, either. In fact, a bad text could easily go viral as a blooper and damage your reputation. It’s not professional by any standard.

Timing is another thing that gets companies into trouble with business texts. Promotions that are sent out at the wrong time or at inconvenient times will likely turn your customers off. 

Make sure you’re aware of what to do and not to do to prevent problems with business text messaging. This list should help you out.

10 things your business shouldn’t be doing with its text messaging campaigns:

  1. Don’t text your customers without their permission, and be sure to give them a way to opt out. Comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. 
  2. Don’t be wordy. Keep texts short and concise, and use links for videos and longer content. 
  3. Avoid generic greetings. Business text messages give you an easy way to personalize communications, so take advantage of this. 
  4. Don’t mask your brand – clearly identify yourself in SMS messages. Customers are more likely to read your text messages if they recognize your brand. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to hit delete.
  5. Don’t use business text messages for extended two-way conversations. Switch to the phone or another appropriate communication channel. This is easy to do when you use a cloud calling software.
  6. Don’t disregard time zones. It’s great to have a global audience, but no one wants to be bothered with a business text when they’re trying to sleep at night. 
  7. Don’t send out texts for promotions where the sale end date is too close for them to take action. What’s worse, don’t send texts for promotions that have already ended.
  8. Don’t take too long to respond to customers, because they’ll think you’re ignoring them. If no one is available to reply immediately, set up auto-replies that give your customers other options for reaching someone. 
  9. Don’t write texts in haste and send them off in a hurry. It’s too easy to make a mistake. Be sure that you have a second set of eyes to review communications via business texts before sending them.
  10. Don’t forget to consider the tone of your business text messages. Profanity of any kind is completely taboo. Be professional, even when customers are irate. 

How to Evaluate SMS Business Text Messaging Providers

Choosing the right business text provider is essential for long-term success. However, more and more SMS text messaging platforms are entering the marketplace, so how do you choose the right one? 

Think about these 8 areas when evaluating SMS business text messaging providers. Make sure you’re choosing the right one for your needs:

  1. Costs. Consider how many messages you need to send per month. What are the costs of incoming text messages? Is there a cost for setting up your phone number? Are there any rollover credits?
  2. Support. What kind of service can you expect if you have a problem? Can you talk to a live person? Do they have their own IT people? Is help outsourced? Is there a knowledge base on their website?
  3. Experience. How long has the provider been in business? Find out about their history and level of expertise in the business. Make sure they can handle companies in your industry. 
  4. Reviews and testimonials. Make sure other customers are happy with the service. If there are any problems, you’re likely to spot them by checking out past reviews. Give providers a chance to explain how they’ve fixed any problems noted by customers. 
  5. Features and tools. Do they offer text message templates that are appropriate and convenient for your needs? Tools like these will  save you time and help you get up and running quickly. 
  6. Billing. How and when will you be billed? Is the process easy to understand and to use?
  7. Cloud-based phone integration. Can you use your existing cloud phone numbers to send group text messages? 
  8. Trial period. Do they offer a free trial? A trial gives you a chance to try it out and make sure everything works as you expect it to before committing to buy.

Evaluation Checklist 

  • Do your due diligence. Find out about the texting service provider’s history, experience, and reputation in the industry using the list above.
  • Develop a shortlist of about 3 preferred service providers for comparison purposes.
  • If you’re using a cloud-based phone system, make sure you can use your existing phone numbers for business text messaging with your chosen providers, including toll-free or international phone numbers. 
  • Evaluate your budget for implementing text messaging, review pricing plans, and make sure the service can work with it. 
  • Take note of how the service provider’s tech support system works.
  • Be sure that those who will be in charge of text messaging know who to contact if there’s ever a problem.
  • Read customer reviews and testimonials.
  • Review the features and tools to be sure it works the way you need it to.
  • Ask for a sample of a bill and make sure you understand the charges. 
  • Confirm that you can send and receive texts using your existing cloud phone numbers.
  • Test it out with the benefit of a free trial period. 

The Benefits of Adopting a Cloud-Based Phone System 

A cloud-based phone system brings the power of business text messaging marketing into your call center. 

Text messaging using your cloud phone system is as easy as making or receiving a call. VoIP technology meshes nicely with mobile phone technology, giving you the benefit of sending text messages between parties from your existing digital systems. 

This is because a cloud-based phone system uses an open API technology that brings all your software applications into one convenient, central location. 

Here are a few SMS service providers to check out if you want to integrate business text messaging with your cloud calling software:

Here are some more advantages of using a cloud-based phone system for business text messaging: 

  • Send 1-on-1 text messages to customers, or use mass texting.
  • Text contacts directly from a messaging window in your cloud phone system.
  • Automatically add contacts as messages come into your system. 
  • View the history of text messages with individual customers. 
  • Text customers all over the world using bulk SMS.
  • Switch between communications channels easily on the same system. 
  • Marketing departments can explore new audiences and communication channels.
  • Enables effective, data-driven marketing SMS marketing campaigns.
  • Send timely messages about sales and special offers to increase conversion rates. 
  • Enjoy higher open rates compared with phone calls and emails. 
  • It’s cost-effective compared with other marketing campaigns. 
  • Reach customers instantly. 
  • Alleviate security concerns.
  • Make it easy for subscribers to opt in or out. 

With competition as fierce as it is, your sales and support teams need to be as agile and versatile as they can be. Business text messaging gives them one more tool in their tool belt to help them improve the customer experience. 

Why Aircall

With Aircall, you get the benefit of a robust set of voice calling features and the ability to connect with your customers on their most preferred channel – via text.

Special thanks to our friends at Aircall for their insights on this topic.
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