While businesses have adopted social media to communicate with their customers, many companies are only now starting to experiment with the value of text messaging as a convenient and easy communications channel. Most businesses are still overly dependent on email even though, at best, they only see a 20 percent open rate – which in all likelihood means that their email wasn’t read. With text messaging, 95 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of their delivery. That’s huge!
Surprisingly, there is still a significant disconnect between how people communicate with each other as individuals and how companies connect with customers. The difference is text messaging. Think about it, 95 percent of U.S. adults carry text-enabled mobile phones, and 98 percent of smartphone owners use text messages on a regular basis. However, only 14 percent of companies communicate regularly with customers over text, even though a recent survey stated that 89 percent of consumers wanted to communicate with businesses via text.
So how can businesses capitalize on the widespread usage and success that SMS has had with individuals and apply it to business to consumer (B2C) communications? We have to take into account that a phone number is one of the most vital pieces of information associated with a business and that that phone number has likely been the same since the company’s inception, which in many cases have been in place for decades. The problem is that most companies weren’t even thinking about SMS as part of their customer journey when they purchased their phone number(s).
The big communications blunder of businesses
Today, customers expect all phone numbers to support text messages. Text messaging isn’t just for mobile. In fact, network traffic analysis shows that 150 million texts are sent to landline numbers every day, even though many of those lines are not text-enabled.
With SMS being the preferred method of communication for most of the U.S. consumer base, it is no doubt that consumers would expect the brands they do business with to support text messaging as a customer engagement channel. The benefits are not all one-sided. By providing SMS communications to their customers, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors, drive a higher level of convenience to its customers, and ultimately help both parties to save time and interact more efficiently.
Businesses are missing out on opportunities by not supporting SMS
The data from the above-mentioned surveys show that most customers would prefer to receive a text message from a business rather than a voice call or email. When so many influential users agree across a number of different industries, it is time for companies to take notice. Today, text communications from businesses are a competitive differentiator, and it’s quickly becoming the standard way to communicate. Nearly everybody texts. It’s part of the fabric of our daily connected life, just like having an email address. Companies that choose not to support text messages are closing a door to customers who are actively reaching out to them.
As a result, most companies are missing connections, inconveniencing customers, and ignoring opportunities to build their brands. Until recently, commercial non-mobile numbers could not send or receive text messages. That is no longer the case. For example, Flowroute provides businesses with the ability to unify calling and messaging on one phone number to deliver compelling customer interactions. This will ultimately help drive engagement, reduce costs, and increase customer loyalty.