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You’ve been asking yourself a simple question, haven’t you?
How can I reach my customers and improve their experience?
It’s a fair question. Emails have been overused. A five-year-old knows enough to funnel all the promotional garbage straight into a separate folder he’ll never open.
It’s a sad waste of your company’s investment and effort. Especially when you consider your competition isn’t wasting its resources. No, they’re applying them with surgical precision, and it's paying dividends.
Fortunately for you, there’s a way you can catch up and do it quickly.
Business messaging is the go-to solution for companies looking to improve their customer experience and retain their customers, and this is the article to show you how it’s done.
- What is Business Messaging?
- How Does Enterprise Messaging Work?
- 4 Types of SMS Business Solutions
- 8 Enterprise SMS Pro Tips
- 4 Ways SMS Business Solutions Can Improve Customer Retention
- 3 Best Business SMS Solutions
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
What is Business Messaging?
Communicating with your customers is one of the most important factors when it comes to the success of your business. Whether we’re talking about ensuring your customers are aware of all the latest products and services, or offering them high-level customer support, communication is the key to both options.
Business messaging is the optimal way of achieving that goal. But what does that actually look like?
Business messaging is nothing more than a set of channels through which companies and customers can communicate. It involves any form of digital communication, be it a webchat or email, though business SMS solutions are by far the most common.
That’s because research has shown that customers prefer text messaging, so naturally, a great number of companies have responded accordingly.
Business messaging offers companies one powerful asset: the opportunity to reach a device that is always within the customer’s grasp. That’s why 39% of businesses use SMS solutions, in some form, to communicate with customers.
You’re starting to see the picture, aren’t you?
Business messaging is the channel and the method preferred by both businesses and customers because it’s effective, it’s direct, and it’s quick.
So how do you incorporate it into your business?
How Does Enterprise Messaging Work?
The biggest challenge business SMS solutions face is scale.
Your company has dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of customers. You need to reach them all, but without an appropriate software solution, it’s going to take so much time and resources, the effort might not even be worth it.
That’s why the best way for business messaging to work is through a CRM (customer relationship management) system.
What these systems accomplish is simple: they make it easy for companies to scale their business messaging and reach all their customers.
They achieve this feat by offering companies the opportunity to manage their customer communication from a single platform as well as to automate the process.
It is ridiculously easy for companies to get started with CRM systems, and those that still feel skeptical about the benefits of the platforms can take advantage of free trial periods to ensure they’re working with the right platform.
Either way, once you’ve chosen a platform, you will have to take certain steps and make certain decisions.
You will have to import the phone numbers of your contacts into the system and the platform will filter out the phone numbers that can’t receive a text message to ensure you’re not wasting your time on dead-ends.
The next step is to use the platform to write the text message you want to send out. Business messaging can be personalized with individual names and/or specific dates for appointments.
You can then preview the business messages and select the time and date of when they’ll be sent out.
Once that’s done, your team members can respond to direct replies, another feature that is available through the platform.
But CRM systems also offer you auto-reply options to further automate the process where possible. And throughout it all, the platform’s analytics track your messages, so that you can measure the effectiveness of your campaign and learn what modifications you might need to make in the future.
4 Types of SMS Business Solutions
1. Strategic CRM
The first one is entirely focused on customers. It is designed to acquire and maintain profitable customers.
Strategic CRM collects, analyzes, and applies information about the customer and the market trends to create a better offer for the customer.
The goal of a strategic CRM is to never stop learning and never stop adapting. Strategic CRM recognizes that customer is king, which is why it continues to gather data about customer behavior to ensure that the company is on top of all developments at any given moment.
2. Operational CRM
Operational CRMs are all about streamlining a company’s business process. Everything your employees do, from marketing, sales, or customer service, operational CRMs aim to speed up, simplify, and automate.
They provide tools that offer your employees better oversight of the entire customer journey. From the first contact, right down the sales pipeline, to the point where they become a customer.
Operational CRMs offer automation features through every step of the process, freeing up your employees to focus on the tasks that demand their personal involvement.
Operational CRMs make a company’s business process much easier to scale while maintaining the highest level of customer service.
3. Analytical CRM
The primary purpose of analytical CRMs is to provide you with insightful data that helps you understand consumer behavior and market trends.
But collecting data is easy – any platform or website can do that. Analyzing that data is another matter.
Analytical CRMs not only acquire data but also put them into context. An important feature when you consider that over half the data companies collect goes unused.
The point of an analytical CRM is that it can provide you with an intricate understanding of how market trends develop and grow. It can help you learn about the habits and preferences of your customers, inform you which methods are most likely to be effective, and teach you how to secure their loyalty going forward.
Analytical CRMs provide hard-data answers to questions most companies can only speculate about.
4. Collaborative CRM
Collaborative CRMs seek to provide an answer to a problem that plagues a great number of companies: segmentation.
They aim to burst the bubbles that keep different departments within an organization separate.
Oftentimes, especially in large organizations, the sales department, the marketing department, and the customer support department can operate almost independently of one another.
And we’re not saying that’s impossible to pull off. What we’re saying is that it is a waste of resources and time.
Collaborative CRMs ensure that every department has access to the same up-to-date information they can access and manage from a single platform.
In doing so, it helps keep different departments on the same page and guarantees that the customer will enjoy a seamless buying experience.
8 Enterprise SMS Pro Tips
There are more than a few things to keep in mind when beginning to use business SMS solutions.
Here are our 8 best tips:
1. Ask Permission
Regardless of your wishes, you can’t just send out business messages left and right, willy-nilly.
In some countries, consent is demanded by law, so make sure to read up on local legislation before you pull the trigger on the text message.
And beyond questions of lawfulness, people prefer not to be assaulted by a tsunami of business messages they didn’t sign up for. It doesn’t help your company, it harms it.
It’s as though you met someone on a Friday night out and found them messaging you on Saturday morning, even though you didn’t give them your number.
No matter where they got it, the feeling is far from pleasant, and you don’t want your company to elicit such thoughts in your customers.
2. Text During Business Hours
Some of us get annoyed if a friend texts us at the wrong hour. Imagine how you might feel about a company doing it.
It’s unprofessional, rude, and very annoying. Nobody wants to read business messages when they’re trying to wind down after a long day at work.
It’s a simple thing, but it has the potential to damage your credibility, so keep the business messaging within the relevant hours.
For example, if you run a pizza chain, sending people a text message in the late afternoon/early evening when they’re becoming hungry is probably the best way to go.
But if a B2B company does the same thing, the business message probably won’t be so well-received.
3. Personalize Messages
Use personal salutations to create a sense of familiarity with the customer. It makes them feel more valued and can keep them from thinking they received just another automated text message with no real value behind it.
It endears you to your customers and makes them far more willing to engage.
4. Brevity is Your Friend
In a romantic relationship, receiving a block of text over a text message is the dread of lovers all around the world.
In a business relationship, the very thought of it is so annoying it doesn’t bear thinking about.
So make your business messaging professional and quick, never use four words when two will do, and format the message so the text can be broken down into digestible pieces.
5. Respond Quickly
A quick response is one of the benefits customers get from communicating with a company over text messages.
You wait on your friends to respond, maybe your crush, but a company can be relied upon to answer promptly.
If you fail to do so, customers will forget all about you. By the time you get around to it two hours later, the customer has already moved on to other products and solutions.
6. Identify Yourself
We live in a bit of a paranoid world. But as the saying goes, “It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you!”
Customers receive text messages that promise them benefits and money and grand prizes all the time. Most have become very acquainted with the concept of ‘phishing’. They’re on their guard, and they won’t hesitate to delete a shady message even if it means losing out on a great opportunity.
Don’t let your company’s business messaging create even a flicker of suspicion in your customers. They will delete that message, and every other one you're likely to send in the future.
So identify yourself immediately to reassure your customers and let them know they’re dealing with a reliable partner.
7. Give Customers the Opportunity to Opt-Out
There’s few things more annoying than a company that doesn’t understand the word ‘No’.
You’re destroying any possible chance you’ve had of getting a new customer or retaining an existing one. You’re wasting money on business messaging that is harming your brand instead of helping it. Nobody wins.
So let your customers know how they can opt out of receiving text messages quickly and easily, to ensure a disaster like that doesn’t occur.
8. Don’t Double-Dip
Few things make companies look more unprofessional than sending the same message over two channels.
Oh, you offered me an amazing discount because I’m such a loyal customer? I was pretty excited! And then you sent me the same message over email and over a web chat.
Now you look incompetent, desperate, as though you’re fishing for customers with an all-out assault instead of picking an approach and sticking with it.
4 Ways SMS Business Solutions Can Improve Customer Retention
1. Instant Communication
Business messaging provides a company with an instant-communication channel to the customer. A powerful tool if you consider that, on average, Americans check their phone 47 times a day.
A lot of people have learned to filter out emails, but they allow all text messages through to their phones.
Text messages give customers an immediate notification that can help companies stand out from the crowd.
2. Text Messaging is More Personal than Email
Some corner of our minds has begun to categorize the messages we receive. Emails somehow scream ‘business-related’ and professional. Text messages whisper ‘friends and family’.
We’re used to receiving emails from companies offering us the world. Receiving a text message is a different experience.
Anytime a company can sneak into the ‘friends and family’ section of the customer’s mind, they’ve achieved something special. That’s why 54% of customers say that they would be more willing to purchase products from a company if the text message they received was personalized.
And 70% of those who receive personalized messages are likely to refer the company to their friends and family.
3. Better Customer Experience
Allowing customers to instantly reach your customer service for help with a problem is an invaluable asset for any company, especially if you consider that 73% of customers say the customer experience is key in influencing their brand loyalty.
Customers often run into issues with the product or service they are using.
Business messaging is quicker and more efficient than emailing or video chats. For one, the customer doesn’t have to put their day on hold so they can sit down for a video call and business messaging itself can be done on the go.
4. Educating Customers
Business messaging is a great way to keep your customer up-to-date with your latest offers and discounts.
You can tell them all about the improvements in your service or your products. You can let them know what they’re missing out on, remind them of benefits they hadn’t considered.
A quick personalized text message can go a long way to ‘activate’ your customers and get them back in the game. That’s why a study has found that good customer education raised revenue by 6.2%.
4 Best Business SMS Solutions
Ringy is a customer relationship management platform that seeks to offer companies a chance to successfully connect with their customers and nurture new leads.
The company can:
- Allow agents to take calls through the platform and divert them to their phones.
- Offer a softphone, allowing agents to phone, SMS, and email using an internet connection.
- Offer local ID, which is crucial for cold calling.
- Offer intuitive AI and automated functions.
- Launch drip campaigns
- Organize contacts
- Manage pipeline
- Track progress
Ringy is the perfect solution for salespeople looking to automate their communications and manage and call their prospect from the same platform. That’s why customers love it so much.
And the service comes at a low price. Costing only 99$/month, the software benefits will ensure your return on investment hits the roof.
Zoho is another customer relationship management system that seeks to streamline customer communications and improve your company’s retention rate.
- Lead and contact management
- Omnichannel CRM, and
- Artificial Intelligence
- Built-in telephony
Zoho helps your salespeople spend more time selling and less time focusing on administrative tasks. Its AI, Zia, provides advanced interpretations and solutions for salespeople.
Their pricing system looks something like this.
$14/month per user
$23/month per user
$40/month per user
And this is what its customers think of it.
Salesforce is a customer relationship management system designed to help businesses of every shape and size accelerate sales. The company offers:
- Tracking and monitoring customer’s sales journey
- Automated administration
- Lead and contact management
The company offers sales people the chance to close more deals, spend less time on administrative tasks, and increase productivity.
This is its pricing structure:
Sales Essentials Edition
$25/month per user
$75/month per user
$150/month per user
$300/month per user
And this is what its customers have to say about it.
Twilio is a fully customizable customer relationship management system designed to help personalize business communications and transform the customer experience. The system offers:
- Instant omnichannel
- Analytics and WFO
- Full integration with any system
- Personalized messaging
When it comes to the company’s pricing, they charge customers based on the specific features they use and do not offer specific packages.
This is what customers have to say about it.
1. How Do I Create a Business Message?
The requirements of business messaging could probably be boiled down to three things:
As mentioned above, that means don’t use four words when two will do.
But also be honest.
Let the customers know up-front why you’re messaging them. Don’t beat around the bush. Tell them about the great discounts on your products, or the new services you’re coming out with in the near future.
Use simple, informative language. You’re not F. Scott Fitzgerald, so don’t try to be. Let the words communicate the offer and nothing more.
2. How Do Businesses Use SMS?
There are many ways for businesses to use their SMS capabilities. After all, reaching straight into your customer’s phone presents a number of opportunities.
Here are the main uses:
- Running sales and deals
- Holding contests
- Improving customer service
- Offering tips and advice
- Appointment reminders
- SMS polls and survey
As you can see, one of the reasons why business messaging is such an effective tool is because it can be used in such a wide array of ways. Whatever the company’s need in the realm of customer communication, SMS messaging can answer it.
3. Example of Business Text Messaging
Let’s take a look at an example of business messaging when it comes to booking.
This is simple. This is quick and efficient.
Customers don’t have to wait for long periods of time, they merely have to type a text message and the solution presents itself.
The company itself possibly has an employee taking care of the communication, but it is just as likely that artificial intelligence is taking care of the entire process, leaving the employees to focus on more pressing tasks.
In offering this opportunity, the company ensures that both its employees and the customers don’t have to waste time on phone calls.
Business Messaging is the Answer
Business messaging is the answer many companies have been looking for. Its effectiveness and the ability to scale and personalize the process through a CRM system make it an invaluable solution for companies looking to improve their customer service and customer communication.
Whether you are trying to bring your products or services closer to the customer or merely learn more about their behavior, CRM systems answer both needs.
And when we consider how many customers prefer business messaging to other channels, then the adoption of business messaging ceases to be just another option and becomes a necessity.
Companies that fail to implement business messaging into their business processes will inevitably fall behind the rest of the market as they won’t be able to compete with the customer experience their competition offers.
So don’t hesitate and contact Ringy today to book a demo and see how CRM systems can help your business!