Utilizing SMS and MMS to Enhance the Customer Experience

Posted on February 26, 2021

Texting has emerged as a front runner in modern customer communications. Many businesses are embracing this communication channel due to its ability to deliver on immediacy and significant ROI on customer engagement investments.

Research has shown that customers want to interact with businesses via their mobile devices, with texting as the preferred method of communication. For example, 85 percent of smartphone users prefer mobile messages to emails or calls. Furthermore, 90 percent of people open a text within three minutes and respond within 90 seconds. In contrast, only 20 percent of people open emails from businesses – and when they do, they take 90 minutes to respond. These stats reflect a significant gap when it comes to direct customer engagement and responsiveness, and forward-thinking businesses are taking note of the opportunity to improve customer experiences.

Text messaging – including short messaging service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (MMS) – enables businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors by utilizing a less saturated communication channel that directly reaches the customer. The benefits of MMS and SMS communications are applicable across almost all industries because they provide simple, fast and direct methods for interaction. Whether it’s banking, hospitality, healthcare or finance, almost any industry and business can benefit from using texting as a form of outreach with customers.

After evaluating the compelling data around customers’ preferences for text messaging and how they are more likely to respond on this channel, savvy businesses are incorporating messaging services into their customer service outreach and initiatives. Outlined below are recommendations on how companies and their call centers can utilize messaging services to create seamless customer experiences while building brand loyalty:

Drive expanded reach, with a personalized touch. Widespread text alerts or mass text messages allow a business to reach a broad audience within seconds, usually at a lower cost. This notification method can also provide a level of personalization if the business tailors the message according to the audience receiving the update. The combination of being able to reach a large number of people while also having your message appear personalized is a hard combination to obtain in modern communications, but MMS and SMS achieve this difficult balance. The business can also determine how often to send these messages and use it as a method to reengage or follow up with customers.

Utilize a reliable communication channel for emergencies. In the event of an emergency where a business would need to send a mass notification or alert a large group, sending a text message is an effective way to reach customers and notify them of this threat quickly and safely. This reliable form of communication and its ability to seamlessly reach large groups of customers can help the business disseminate time sensitive updates that will keep their customers and the surrounding community safe. In addition, in the event of a cyber crises where landlines and email systems are down, SMS alerts emerge as resilient form of communication. These messages can be a dependable method for businesses to alert customers, employees or partners in the event other systems are compromised.

Market to customers directly, on their preferred channel. Mobile marketing campaigns are no longer a novel concept to businesses; instead, this form of marketing is essential for any modern, competitive business trying to build loyalty with their target audiences. Strategic mobile marketing initiatives are a necessity as customers are increasingly using their phones to shop, pay bills, book flights, manage email and more. SMS and MMS messages can also deliver benefits directly to the customer in the way they prefer, like coupons and promotions or by receiving images of a new product.

Easily scale to meet communication needs for customer engagement. Another benefit of text messaging is that it can easily be tailored to work for a variety of purposes and that the use of the service can be scaled up or down. For example, sometimes, a company might need to send a text to thousands of people (i.e., a university alerting students to a campus closure.) Other times, a company might only need to send a text to one hundred people (i.e., to request participation in a customer support survey.) The ability to reduce and increase the number of text messages sent and the recipients of those messages provides the business with flexibility, without compromising on the customer’s experience. Businesses can determine when to scale up or down based on the needs of their company or the response from the customers they are trying to engage.

Enhance customer satisfaction while cutting costs. No-show or late appointment cancellations are the single biggest drag on revenues for industries that heavily rely on customer appointments, like the medical and restaurant industries. To combat this, sending appointment reminders via text messages to customers and patients has been shown to reduce the number of no-shows and late cancellations, which directly translates to lost revenue.  Also, sending appointment reminders can improve customer satisfaction and service by providing accurate time of arrival windows.

In conclusion, companies that want to build customer loyalty, create effective communication campaigns and directly interact with customers should be incorporating SMS and MMS into their communication and support strategies.

Flowroute has been helping companies create meaningful and real-time, efficient communication experiences with customers by leveraging such texting features. We offer toll-free and long code messaging, which allows customers to engage in conversation SMS with a dedicated phone number. Our SMS and MMS capabilities help businesses drive more immediate and effective communication campaigns that foster a more engaging customer experience. Flowroute’s carrier-grade SMS and MMS capabilities can be easily integrated into applications via an API to create seamless and personalized customer experiences.