Staying in touch with customers and prospects is the most important thing for any business to stay ahead of the competition and provide great services.
Mobile phones are evidently the go-to tool of communication with anyone across the globe. What might not be so evident, however, is that among there are many ways a company can stay connected to clients is via SMS.
Today we are going to cover two-way SMS, the best way to stay in touch with your audience, and a strategy you must have in your marketing, sales, and customer support approaches.
Here is what we will cover:
What is SMS 2 way;
Why is two-way SMS an essential method of communication with customers;
Two-way SMS best practices;
What is two-way messaging
2 way SMS, also referred to as two-way texting or conversational SMS, is when you send and receive SMS messages from customers, creating a text message conversation.
A one-way SMS, on the other hand, can be exemplified by food delivery notifications or hotel reservation reminders - they can't be interacted with.
Two-way SMS happens when you assign your SMS marketing platform a phone number, through which you allow real-time conversations to take place.
We highly recommend that you try Appointible as your two-way texting platform. You will be able to engage with your audience in a fast tool that is easy to operate.
Moving on to the next topic:
Why SMS matters when talking to customers
SMS is indispensable when it comes to communicating with your customers. If that sounds surprising to you - given how long SMS has been around - it is important to know that SMS is one of the most effective communication tools there is.
First and foremost, people severely dislike receiving phone calls. An estimated 81% of adult Americans will not pick up incoming phone calls from unknown numbers. Among gen-Z and millennials, the rejection grows even higher.
When it comes to text messages, the situation is quite the opposite. Eight in ten people open SMS within the first five minutes and a whopping 98% of all SMS will be open. For comparison's sake, email marketing has an open rate of 20%.
This is why two-way SMS matters when communicating to your audience and customers. Text messages are effective, efficient, and user-friendly.
Take a look at the following infographic for more insights.
How can your business use two-way SMS
There are many ways you can create an effective and professional conversational message strategy for your business.
Here you can find a few ideas on how your business can use two-way SMS to stay connected to the audience, generate sales and keep your customers happy.
By its very nature, two-way SMS thrives in the customer support realm. The possibility to hold conversations with people is essential for any type of client assistance situation.
Having a customer support unit that is integrated with a two-SMS approach means your business can engage in conversations with clients and instantaneously solve their queries and problems.
Two-way texting is so powerful for customer support that even if you send a message that is unrelated to a specific customer support topic, clients cant reply to you and get their problems solved at the same moment.
Text message reminders
SMS reminders are text messages that notify your clients about an important upcoming event - a payment due date, an appointment at a dentist, an application deadline, and much more.
Two-way SMS is fantastic in this sense because it allows customers to reply to you concerning the topic at hand.
Think of a healthcare appointment, for example. You might send an SMS appointment reminder with more details, such as the time, date, and address. Nonetheless, your client might have additional questions such as if there is a parking spot or garage nearby. Responding to the message your customer will prompt a conversation to start, where you can indicate a suitable place for the person's car.
Another situation is with payment reminders. Your client might be having trouble with the payment method you provided. When asking how to access the situation.
Another way to engage customers with two-way SMS is through polls. They are great to engage with customers and can run through text messages.
A poll can be a way to assess what content your audience would like to see you creating next. By responding to you with a pre-set number (e.g. 1 = blog post and 2 = YouTube video), you not only get the poll results, but you also open up a window for people to interact with you and give you additional feedback.
Collect feedback and testimonials
Two-way SMS is also excellent to collect feedback and testimonials from your costumer. You can contact someone who purchased or got served from you recently and ask for their honest opinion on your product or service.
If it turns out to be a negative experience, you can engage with the person and understand what was the problem and how you can improve your overall quality.
Nonetheless, if the customer had a positive experience, you can ask for an official testimonial at review-based websites or Google. You could also use two-way texting to ask for permission to post the testimonial on your website.
All situations mentioned above will undoubtedly generate conversations with your audience. One you can leverage these interactions are through upselling.
To upsell essentially is to offer or promote complements to your service.
One example of how well this works is with spas and salons. If a client purchased a few massage sessions from you and recently started to get served, in the upcoming week you can offer 30 minutes longer sessions at a discount.
Two-way SMS works great not only to promote the upsell but also to send payment details and appointment updates.
Conversational SMS best practices
As we learned so far, the root of all successful two-way SMS is to promote interaction with your audience. There are, however a few things to notice when it comes to conversational SMS best practices.
Text message is a powerful tool since it is a direct bridge between your business and the people that follows you. And this bridge needs to follow a few ideal rules.
Let's take a look at them and dive into two-way SMS best practices.
Create automated responses
Let's take the following example: you are preparing to announce a product release via SMS. You write your text and press "send." Some people reply to you, which initiates relevant conversations.
So far, so good.
Some of your customers will, however, interact with you after your working hours. These messages will fall into limbo until you come to work the next morning.
To avoid this from happening, make sure you set automated working hours replies. That way, in someone, writing you you are away from your SMS marketing tool, an automatic message will be generated to alert you that you will get back to the topic at hand at a specific moment.
Reply immediately when possible
People simply detest needing to wait to have a query tended to when contacting reaching out for customer support. A 2015 study revealed that two-thirds of people who seek customer service think it is unacceptable to wait longer than 2 minutes to be replied to.
This is why two-way SMS is so important in this circumstance. It allows you to take control over client interaction and address your audiences' struggles instantly.
Just remember about our previous point on working hours: make sure you set automation in case you are contacted at moments you can't address a person's problem.
Two-way text messaging allows you to reply to incoming SMS with ease and efficiency. The same can be said about starting conversations.
When initiating an SMS conversation, however, it is imperative that you seek consent beforehand. It is not only a two-way SMS best practice as it is also a legal requirement.
Use a dedicated SMS marketing tool
Finally, it is crucial to work on a two-way SMS strategy while using professional and dedicated SMS marketing tools for business.
We invite you to check out Appointible. You will be able to send and receive text messages, create SMS conversations with your customers, and much more, in an intuitive and easy-to-use platform.