Improve Your Customer Communication With SMS

SMS is outdated as a means of communication? Free text messages are no longer a selling point for telephone tariffs? That is not completely correct. Because the messages that are sent via Short Message Service (= short message service) are front runners in opening rate and speed. You can use this active recipient behavior to communicate more efficiently with your customers.

SMS has the highest open rate

The open rate of SMS was 95% at the end of 2018, within 3 minutes of receiving the message. (Source: artegic ) This is partly due to the fact that SMS are seen as serious and as a carrier of important information. In addition, the recipient knows directly that reading it does not take much time. So the message will be opened directly.

For comparison: The opening rate of newsletters by e-mail is around 27%.

E-mails from the private sphere, for example from the family, or work-related messages are of course opened almost 100%. But when it comes to messages to customers, SMS has the edge.

Advantages over push, e-mail and telephone

Independence from the internet, apps and co.

In contrast to emails or push notifications, via apps or the browser, SMS do not depend on an internet connection or a smartphone. Even the simplest, oldest mobile phones are able to receive and send short messages. An app does not have to be installed either. In this way, people can be reached more extensively. Older generations and low-income groups can also usually receive SMS.

With an e-mail, the recipient expects that it will take a certain amount of time to load, take up data volume and that the text will probably be longer to read. The SMS, on the other hand, can be opened quickly on the go. There is also something personal and compelling about it. This is partly due to the fact that hardly any spam is sent via SMS. In order for the SMS to remain effective, the quality of the content must also remain high.

Independence from a time agreement

In contrast to a phone call, SMS can be used more flexibly in terms of time: As with a chat message, it can be sent and read at any time, both parties do not have to be available at the same time. Since the storage space on mobile phones has been growing, there is no longer any danger that the recipient will be “busy”, i.e. the message will not get through.

Even if the number of characters in SMS is no longer limited by most providers, it encourages us to send information in the shortest, most concise form possible. Only the most important things are mentioned in each case. For more complex meetings, you should switch to telephone, e-mail or video telephony. An option for using the SMS would be to arrange a more detailed meeting and to send the key data.

Possible uses of SMS in customer communication

SMS can be used as a communication channel in the following cases:

  • Short queries or queries that you have for your customers
  • As a simple way to send a link to further information
  • For PINs and TANs
  • For additional security measures such as 2-factor authentication
  • Confirmation of appointments, with the option to accept, cancel or change
  • Notices of special offers
  • Information about the delivery of items, arrival date etc.
  • Information about reservations such as time, name and number
  • Sweepstakes
  • Coupon Codes
  • Obtaining feedback or surveys
  • Change of tariffs or conditions

Depending on your industry, the SMS can be used for other dispatches: For example, you can send news of the day if you work as a journalist. As a retailer, you could indicate when a product is (soon) sold out or will be available again after a long time. Actively collect a list of types of messages that don’t require email or a phone call, but texting “suffices.”

Merging multiple channels in omnichannel systems

It is most convenient for your customers or users if they can choose the channel through which they are contacted. Depending on the topic, these can differ for the same customer. Offer the SMS as a possible way.

For you as a company, however, communication should be bundled per customer or contact person. Therefore, use a tool that summarizes all channels. These are so-called omnichannel systems .

SMS compared to WhatsApp and push notifications

More personal conversation via WhatsApp?

Should the WhatsApp channel also be integrated into the omnichannel system and can it replace SMS? It is important to know that WhatsApp does not allow bulk messaging. Only one-to-one communication is allowed, but this also applies to companies.

At first glance, WhatsApp looks better than SMS as it has become the most popular personal communication tool. But for WhatsApp, the app and an account are required, as with e-mail, an Internet connection must be available, and whoever writes on WhatsApp is not necessarily brief. So it’s a completely different way of communication for different purposes. WhatsApp can be used in B2B communication, especially if you maintain a close connection with your customers, partners and suppliers.

Brief information via push notification?

Push notifications have a similarly direct effect as SMS. They appear on our smartphone in the form of icons and a short preview with a subject. They are opened just as quickly as SMS. They can also be used for short hints. However, they are also not a substitute for SMS:

Push notifications are tied to an app or website accessed through the browser. They cannot be sent via a telephone number. Once again, an internet connection and a smartphone are required. Above all, they have the disadvantage that they do not allow an answer. This means that there is no two-way communication with your customers via them.

How can customer service via SMS look like?

In many cases, your customers want to be able to speak to a service representative if they have problems. For these purposes, you should provide an easily accessible hotline and a contact form for e-mails.

However, there are also questions that should ideally be answered immediately and that can be summarized briefly. For such you can use the (automated) SMS dispatch. For example, it is suitable for:

  • Yes or no answers
  • The first initiation of a later service call (detection of the problem)
  • Indications that your detailed reply is in the mailbox
  • Invitation to a personal conversation about the problem
  • Information about times, places or quantities requested by the customer
  • Notes on changes to these same times, places or quantities
  • Resetting passwords
  • Links to further information that your customer would like to have
  • Query of necessary information for the service

Automatisms or chat bots can be used for simple, clear answers . However, you should be able to see the history of communications and respond personally. SMS is therefore more of a support in customer service, not a full replacement of other channels.

How to send advertising via SMS

Short message services are ideally suited for two-way communication. However, you can also use the channel for your advertising, i.e. one-sided messages.

That means you can send the already mentioned special offers, voucher codes, notices about new products and services or content marketing content via SMS. If you want to do this, SMS offers the possibility to personalize the advertising. Address the recipient by their name. Select the right target group and only send relevant messages.

So that the recipient can assign the SMS directly, even if the number has not been saved, you should mention who the message is from at the beginning. Do not send long explanatory texts, but concise, convincing messages. Emojis can be used if they match your image and the issue. A link in the SMS can lead directly to the shop .

Do not send anything without written permission

Sending SMS to any phone number is forbidden! Even if you have the number of a contact, it must be pointed out to them that it will be used for advertising purposes and/or to communicate important information. Permission must be verifiably given, for example by entering it in a list or ticking it. Oral promises are not sufficient if they cannot be proven.

Recipients must also be able to unsubscribe at any time. This can be done by sending a specific word, managing contact options online, or writing informally. A short note on the possibilities can be at the end of each message or in the first welcome SMS. It must be possible to say stop at any time.

Internal communication can also be improved by SMS

You can also improve your employee communication through short message services. At work, we are inundated with emails and phone calls every day. Filtering out the most important statements there can be difficult.

What content could you send to employees via SMS?

So if you want to send a quick message to your team, you can use SMS. These are usually read directly during working hours. For example, let them know that the meeting location and time has changed, that there will be coffee and cake, or that the new applicant will be arriving soon. Satisfaction surveys are also answered faster via SMS than via e-mail. Warnings about events in the house or in the surrounding area as well as urgent industry news can also be sent.

When and how should SMS communication be used internally?

In order to use SMS for internal communication, your employees need a company cell phone. Alternatively, it must be permitted to use private phones in the workplace.

The route is ideal for pointing out employees who spend a lot of time visiting customers or at events, in the home office, in the workshop or on the street – just for everyone who doesn’t sit at the PC for long or is within earshot. There are also team chats like Slack for such purposes, but similar to e-mails, the messages here accumulate every day. So it is not easy to identify the most important or urgent information for yourself.

Also Read: Make SMS Marketing Work For Your Business

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