Businesses these days obsess over revolutionary technologies like AR and VR to market their products. And even digital marketing to a very larger degree. If your businesses are broad enough and your pockets deep enough, sure enough, these technologies, by all means, could prove to be a game changer of sorts.
But then, despite the growing influence of AR, VR, and other digital media in promotion of your products and services, the fact is, run-of-the-mill tools such as email marketing and text messaging still has got a lot of life left in them to give your products the lift it deserves; especially, if we talk about text messaging. In fact, about 78% of the customers are comfortable texting messages rather than making calls to businesses, because text messages are answered instantly as opposed to voice calls that are put on hold almost always.
Still skeptical about text messages’ effectiveness to increase and retain customers for your products? Check this facts and stats out:
● Text messaging has a 45% response rate, while emails have a measly 6% response rate.
● About 30% of consumers interact with a brand via text messages.
● According to mobile marketing, 95 to 98% of the texts are read immediately after the receipt.
● Customers are spending five times longer messaging (texting) every day as compared to voice calls and this stands true across all demographics.
● As per a survey, 7 in 10 millennials prefer to communicate through text messages and the younger Gen Z groups.
The increasing importance of text messaging hammers home the idea that this 20-year-old marketing strategy is here to stay. So if you are planning to give text messaging a go-by this year, think again.
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Here I walk you through 5 ways on how to leverage text messaging for customer retention purposes:
1] Customer Service and Support
2] Ongoing Customer Relationship Engagement
3] Context-based Marketing
4] Running Cost-effective Campaigns
5] Permission-based Targeting
#1. Customer Service and Support
As it turns out, customer service is the backbone of several businesses. Think of Zappos. The company wowed the whole-wide world much less its customers through its around-the-clock customer service. On the other hand, Comcast bore the brunt of its customers for doing exactly the opposite.
As it goes, there are several factors that make customer service experience a success for your business. The two most important factors being: One it should be instant. Second, it should be mobile, which means messages could be read and exchanged almost anytime.
What makes texting such an indispensable tool for customer service?
As I said before, texting is instant and mobile. Not only that, texting is how customers like to communicate these days, especially the millennial population. So, it goes without saying that businesses should at least respect customer’s preferences and start connecting with their customers via text messages.
Plus, text messages prompt quick responses. And, as mentioned before, 95% to 98% of the texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent and have an average response rate of 90-second. (The average email response rate is over 6 hours.)
Further, text messaging doesn’t stop the customers from performing their daily routine, which isn’t the case with calls or live chat.
The bottom-line? Text messaging is quick and convenient. So, it comes as no surprise that customer service via the text messaging mode keeps the customers happy and helps build a long-term relationship with them.
Wondering how to implement business SMS for customer service and support?
You need to fix 3 things up first before you could think of including texting message as part of your customer servicing strategy:
● Notify customers that they could get in touch with your company’s customer care agents via text messages now.
● Install a texting system that makes sure that all text messages are put together and answered from one dashboard
● Hire customer service agents to manage texts
You need to inform your customers first and foremost if you intend to include texting as part of your customer-service initiative.
For this, you could simply add a line at the bottom of your homepage saying “Text us at XXX-XXX-XXX for customer service support. If possible, add this number to your FAQs page and help docs as well.
Install a texting system
You will have to hire the services of a text messaging provider who’d help you install a system, whereby which all your customer service agents could work from a single dashboard to receive and respond to customer queries.
This would ensure consistency in messaging and take care of oversights.
Hire Customer Care Agents
You will need to have dedicated people to manage your newly installed texting messaging system. Because having dedicated people makes sure that all sorts of customer queries are addressed on an immediate basis.
Once you are sure that your customers are satisfied with your quick answers, your next step could be to get them to review your product. For this, you could end your conversation saying, “Glad we could help! Share your experiences at XXX site.
#2. Ongoing Customer Relationship Engagement
As per a study conducted by Bain & Company and Earl Sasser of the Harvard Business School a 5% increase in customer retention propels profits by almost 25-95%.
That means you need to hook onto your existing customers longer to boost profit margins. That also means you need to come up with relevant marketing strategies, such as calls, emails, podcasts, webinars and more, which makes your customers stick and stay with you for a longer time and not jump ships at the slightest provocation from your competitors. But then, no matter what, nothing could beat the effectiveness of text messages.
Here are a couple of ways to use SMS text messaging for ongoing customer engagement.
How to leverage Business SMS for Customer Success
Texts are useful for sending heads up, reminders and friendly updates. Say, if you have sent an email to your customer, your next step should be to send a text message saying that you have sent an email.
Other customer engagement SMS examples for you take note of:
Hey Jane. Just check your email. We are offering heavy discounts on toys and other knick-knacks you have stored in your wish list. Thanks [email protected]
When you have already established a rapport with your customers it’s good to touch base with them at least every 3 months.
Sometimes you could pop in with a text like:
Touch base chats every 3 months
“Hey Angela, hope you are doing well. Can we be of some help today?
Make sure to send personalized texts to your customers if you wish to make them stay around longer with you.
Recommendations and Upselling for Repeated Purchases
A customer’s full value is realized only through repeated purchases. Every time a customer buys from you, the cost per sales goes down and the revenue goes up.
Not surprisingly, eCommerce sites have this habit of shooting you emails saying “Hot Deals” or “Festive offers” or “Recommendations on the basis of your Wishlist,” to inspire repeated purchases.
You could use the same tactics for your text messages as well, irrespective of the fact whether you are running an eCommerce store or not.
Let’s say, you are running an online grocery store, you might text customers seasonal offerings such as:
Jess, we were thinking about you. We have launched an offer you might be interested in. Our privileged customers stand to get an extra 20% off. Let us know. [email protected]
The text is personal. It’s friendly. More importantly, relevant. Three things that you need to bear in mind while texting for sales and promotions.
Another text sample you might want to try:
Hey John, we’ve just launched a new product for our privileged customers like you. Want to have a look? Paul @ Company
If you own a service-oriented business such as a dental clinic, beauty parlor and more, where you have to arrange an appointment with your customers, in such cases a simple appointment reminder text can help you considerably bring down the number of no-shows, not to mention enhance customer experience.
Hi Mary, you have an appointment @ 3 p.m. Dr. [email protected]
This is how text messaging helps your business stay connected with your existing customers. That is by offering ongoing service, helping them whenever there is a need, and more importantly, creating upselling opportunities.
Sure enough, you could automate these messages. But then, it will be difficult to ensure every automated promo is personal, friendly and relevant.
These are some of the simple ways business SMS could boost customer value and bottom line.
#3. Context-based Marketing
Sure, the kind of targeting an SMS offers to businesses is simply unparalleled. However, you could do a notch better by sending messages in the right context, because the context is something that could inspire your customers to keep coming back for more and more.
Geofencing is one of those tactics that help send contextual text messages to subscribers when they are within the virtual limits such as a store or a mall in a particular region. So, if in case a customer passes by your store, your business could jump into action by sending them the latest coupon, offer or message. Customers very often fall for this bait considering the context in which they received it.
Uber, the ride-sharing app serves a push notification as soon as the passengers land and turn on their phones at San Francisco airport inviting them to order a cab.
An SMS text that’s tailor-made is sure to make your client feel at the top of the world. Isn’t it?
#4. Running Cost Effective Campaigns
If anything, multi-channel marketing approach is the ideal way to reach more and more customers and businesses alike. However, this could prove to be an expensive affair for most businesses with resources stretched thin. On the contrary, bulk SMS text messaging is an affordable strategy that helps you send bulk SMSes to a targeted group of people that get read in a matter of seconds.
• “Come join us with 2-for-1 Martini, 6-8pm tonight!”
• “Happy 4th of July. Celebrate by taking an extra 20% off on purchases. Visit our online store www”
Going by its cost-effective nature, businesses can easily run campaigns and even support their campaigns with incentives and offers. Plus, they could even think of connecting their campaigns with their other marketing efforts.
#5. Permission-based Targeting
SMS text messaging is primed to follow permission-based marketing techniques. That is, it gives customers the freedom to sign-up for your company messages via text messages. So, if in case, an XYZ customer decides to sign-up, his or her phone number gets added to the company’s text messaging list.
Permission-based text messaging makes sure that your messages are sent to the targeted audience only and not to any random person.
Your business could make use of this strategy if your offices are scattered in several locations. You could plan specific marketing campaigns for specific regions and even specific audience, coupled with unique product offerings. This would make sure the targets of your messages are accurate. Such campaigns help retain customers because the messages match the targeted audience’s interests and are related to their physical location as well.
Plus, SMS ads are free from advertising and spam unlike other marketing channels such as email and their likes that are completely overrun by advertising and spam.
Further, personalizing your marketing messages help build long-term loyalty. Customers are more likely to buy from your business if the messaging is pertinent and personal. SMS text messaging brilliantly taps into the power of personalization.
Having the right text messaging strategy in place could prove to be a rocket fuel for the business. So make sure that you A/B test your text messages frequently because it’s the only way to make sure that your text messages resonate with your customers, now and forever. Sure, emails could be sent for free and all. But then, text messages are read by everyone on your lists and plus, the benefits outweigh the costs. Same thing you cannot say about emails. So, think before you leap.