Does your business have a phone number? Silly question, I know. Hopefully, that’s a yes. So if you have a business phone number, are customers able to text you on it? This is where answers may differ. Here are 5 reasons why need to use text messaging and why your customers want it:
1. Reminder messages | Avoid the “out of office” email responders
Who needs it? Anyone who relies on customers reading confirmation and reminders to prep for an activity. Or, anyone who’s ever complained about customers not reading a confirmation email. Customers expect (and prefer) text messages to be used for reminders, especially if they have provided their phone number when making the booking. In fact, 64% of consumers say text messaging is the best way to send reminders. “But my booking software lets me send text.” You can start here. But 61% of consumers wish they could text businesses back for more customer support. And there’s no better way to stand out from your competition than providing an amazing customer experience.
Tip: Don’t believe the numbers? Then do your own experiment (we did). Turn off the auto-reminders for a day or two and manually send your reminder texts from a phone that can receive messages. You might be surprised at how often people respond!
2. Real-time updates | Always on time. And almost always read.
We live in a fast-paced and always-connected world. We know exactly when our Amazon package arrives. So travelers expect real-time updates about their activities. Texts can be sent on the fly – for instant delivery time. And while emails are sent just as quickly, they suffer from a dismal 20% open rate (if you’re lucky). This number is even less when people are traveling or have a day off. Not only do text messages have a 98% open rate- but text messages are typically read within 3 minutes. So if your company texts customers during their activity with real-time updates, then you’ll always be top of mind and avoid frustration from your customers!
Tip: Text first! And keep your texts short and to the point. Even if you need to send a longer message, start with a text and then follow up by email.
Example: “Aloha! We need to change the itinerary of today’s trip. We’ll be sending more details shortly by email, so please be on the lookout!”
3. Response rate | Quit playing phone tag!
Responding to text messages isn’t difficult! It can take just seconds to type out a message and require much less work than other channels. Text messages are 10x faster than email and can save hours of phone call talk-time. While text messages are extremely efficient, text messaging in the context of customer service requires more than just text. It also requires a quick response time.
Tip: Share the work so your customers get even faster results. With the right business text messaging platform, you let multiple people from your team respond to new texts. This can lead to faster response times and help you not feel so attached to your cell phone. Your friends and family will love this 🙂
4. Customer convenience | Texting is king of the (app) jungle
Half the world’s population owns a smartphone and we’re all stuck to them. But even with an unlimited number of apps at our fingertips, consumers still check text messages more than any other app on their phone. We text our friends. We text family. So why wouldn’t we want to text a business too? Giving customers the most convenient way to reach you will boost sales, improve the customer experience and lighten the load for your support team.
Tip: Ask for text. Don’t make text messaging an option. Add a text number on your website and include it in all your regular email correspondence: “text us if you have questions!” You’ll always benefit from having more people contact you via text.
5. Stats | Don’t get stuck in your old ways
72% of millennials text instead of calling. That means if you don’t text this millennial market, then you go down on their list as an organization they would do business with again! In other words: Text message now or lose potential customers (and referrals) forever! Customers want to text message you for information about their bookings or find out more about your activities. Texting requires little effort and will make life easier for your customers and your support team. With 69% of your customers across all age groups and 75% under the age of 44 wanting to text you, don’t you think it’s time you let them?
Tip: Template responses (not bots) make responding to FAQs just one click away. Draft answers to your most common questions like, “where do we meet you?” You can still add some personalization when needed, but having to find and send a Google Maps link shouldn’t be a headache every time.
Bonus Tip: See if your booking software can generate booking links to your activities. Baked in booking links that you can send in an instant will drive sales through your customer’s communication channel.