Photo by Gary Chan on Unsplash
We’ve all been there before; letting calls go to voicemail when we know it’s probably just a business trying to sell something, or sending those “EXCLUSIVE” email offers straight to trash to avoid them taking over our inboxes.
As consumers, calls and emails from companies can be annoying. But what happens if your the business on the other end of those unanswered or unopened calls and emails? The answer is lost opportunity and poor customer experience. And of course, these things lead up to something even scarier: lost revenue.
Businesses today need to find better ways to communicate with their customers — whether that’s to remind them about an upcoming appointment, or to give them a special offer. Equally important to the content is the way you are delivering it.
So how exactly do customers want to communicate with businesses? If your first guess was email, just take a look at your inbox. With only 22% of consumers having confidence in emails from brands, it’s no wonder that there’s been an 11% decline in CTRs, and a 17% decline in click-to-open, with 57% of consumers abandoning email addresses altogether.
And while voice is still the most popular channel for service, Deloitte expects it to drop from 64% of call center contacts in 2017 to 47% in 2019. Whether it’s the annoyance of getting stuck in an IVR or having to repeat yourself over and over again, consumers are shifting their preference towards other forms of communication.
But just because customers don’t want you filling up their inbox or voicemail, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to hear from you. Instead, more and more customers would rather communicate with a business via the channel that has transformed the way we all communicate: text.
A study by Twilio found that 66% of consumers would prefer to interact with brands through messaging services, with 47% saying that they preferred text. What’s more, 85% of consumers want to be able to message brands in the same way they were contacted, meaning that they want to engage, as long as it’s through a channel that they are comfortable with. And with 22 billion texts sent every day worldwide, people are clearly comfortable with text.
Here are some ways text will open up the dialogue and strengthen the relationships between you and your customers:
There’s a sense of urgency and need to respond. Customers are much more likely to respond after hearing that beep or feeling that vibration in their pocket as opposed to saving an email for later. In fact, 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes and 89% of all Americans keep their Smartphones close by them. Plus, as soon as they see the notification, they’ll already be in a position to send their response. And even if you don’t get a response, you can almost be guaranteed that your potential customers saw your message or offer, which is a lot more assuring than the emails that just get deleted later.
You’ll give the people what they want. Research show that people actually prefer receiving text messages over other forms of communication. One study found that 55% of consumers prefer SMS for appointment reminders (vs 35% of consumers who prefer email), 51% of consumers prefer SMS for prescription refills (vs 36% of consumers who prefer email), and 53% of consumers prefer SMS for service outage notifications (vs 34% of consumers who prefer email). By catering to what your customers want and respond to, you’ll be able to provide better service and get better response rates.
You’ll be viewed favorably. Personalization is king in customer service now a days, and to be honest people expect it. Whenever you make anything more personal, like texting them directly to their phone, people generally will appreciate it and view you favorably for it. 77% of consumers who can text are likely to positively view a company that offers text capability, and another 58% of consumers indicated they would view a business more positively if they offered SMS capabilities.
CSAT Scores Will Rise. Fast and reliable communication is the key to providing good service, but also to making the customer feel satisfied in their experience. 91% of users who opted in to receive texts from a brand see those messages as useful and 48% of consumers said they opted in to a brand’s text messages to be in the loop. People want to know what’s going on. Lack of communication is the reason why many customers feel frustrated with brands if and when something goes wrong. With text’s ability to provide information people need, exactly when they need it, you can avoid frustrated and angry customers and instead leave them feeling satisfied.
So say goodbye to the voicemail greeting and email trash can, and hello to genuine two-way conversations with your customers via text. By reducing communication barriers and catering to preferences, you’ll show customers that you’re listening to what they want and need, and increase engagement and revenue in the process.