We live in a much different world today, and small business can be said to be at the forefront of changing times because commerce usually leads the push into the future. That’s a much larger conversation, of course, but one of the things that serves as a perfect example of this change is text messaging in business.
Not only do you probably communicate a great deal with your colleagues and employees through text, but the need for text with your customers has most likely been developing for a few years now.
If you’re like most small businesses, customers are increasingly contacting you with a text message, rather than a phone call. As is always the case with advancing technology in business, you are forced to either get on board or be left behind. This is why text messaging is so important.
We All Prefer Text, and Customers are No Exception
It’s sort of a funny thing because people used to consider text messaging to be somewhat unprofessional, but now it’s usually preferred by customers. We actually want to use text for many purposes as we communicate with a business, for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s for personal use or professional, we prefer text messaging to the alternatives.
There are a few reasons for this which we’re going to delve into here, but the primary reason is likely the fact that customers can find more time to text, than they can for a call. Naturally, there are some cases where a call is more appropriate, while at the same time, your customers may actually be upset if they can’t just text you.
Using Text Messaging as a Written Record
Both for your business and for your customers, texting information (in cases where it’s appropriate) puts that information down in writing for future reference, similar to an email. What distinguishes text message from email, however, is the ease of use. Yes, email is easier to access and interact with than it has been in the past, but text is visible to the recipient instantaneously and lends itself to a faster response.
Not everyone has the proper notifications set up for their email, but text messages always notify the recipient right away. Furthermore, phone calls with customers are not usually recorded (at least, on their end), so a lot of information may be lost or need to be repeated at some point.
A text message is written down and recorded by its own nature, so there’s never a need to figure out some additional record of it. The bottom line is that a customer can see a text from you quickly, and then get back to you whenever they’re free.
It’s a Better Platform for Communicating Information
One of the things that makes text so great for a business is the fact that the recipient is going to be accessing it on their smartphone. Not only does that virtually ensure that they’re going to get the message no matter where they are, but it also presents a unique opportunity for them to access information that they wouldn’t be able to access right away from a phone call.
For example, you can include links to websites, even specific pages on a site for exactly what they need, opt-in or opt-out pages, etc. in a text, whereas in a call or voicemail, that isn’t as easy for them to access it and takes extra time and steps. You can include special offer or promotional codes, email addresses, or any other links in a text message.
Essentially, you can give the customer the ability the steps to follow up with anything in seconds. They’re already going to be on their smartphone, so that means they have instant access to the Internet for any reason.
Much Easier to Keep Track of Messages
When you’re using text messaging to stay in touch with your customers and to provide them with important information, you can see a clear list of what messages have been sent, as well as received from them. With a system like Talkroute, for example, all of your incoming and outgoing text messages are saved and displayed in the messages section of your online dashboard. You can view this either from the main online dashboard or from the mobile app.
Conversely, you would have to keep some outside list that you create independently for phone calls and conversations, while with your text messages, a list of interactions with your customers will be automatically created for your reference at any time.
Many Customers Will Expect the Ability to Text You
So, this is what this whole issue comes down to. From the point-of-view of a customer, they aren’t going to be thinking about whether or not your business has come around to new technology or is a little behind the ball, they simply assume that you have the technology that they’ve seen in other businesses.
What this means is that if a customer has been able to contact other businesses through text, they will just expect that they can do it with you, too. Many times, a new customer won’t even try to call your business; they’ll just automatically send a text to your main business number and expect a response. This is exactly the reason for this article, and the reason why many small businesses have been forced to adopt text messaging for customers.
Of course, some customers will still attempt to reach you via phone call, so it’s a good idea to have both channels available to them. At any rate, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you don’t know if customers are able to reach you because if someone texts you and gets no response, they may not try to reach you any further than that.
You’ll Save Your Business Time & Resources
One important point about using text for your business is that when you send messages and information via text, it generally won’t take as long as a call to compose, cutting down significantly on the time spent on this by your staff. Possibly the most important advantage of using text on your end, too, is that you can create templates that are saved and ready to send out for common purposes, as well as templates for replies to common questions.
When you’re handling everything with phone calls, it may take more personnel and time to make and receive calls for your customers. Honestly, you will need to utilize phone calls for some purposes, but a great majority of messages can easily be sent through text messages.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.