3 Ways Small Businesses Can Use SMS to Their CX Advantage

Text messages in cellphone screen with abstract hologram speech bubbles
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In today’s hyper-connected world, small businesses compete heavily to stand out in the marketplace.

One budget-friendly tool that can help out significantly is SMS (Short Message Service) messaging.

SMS can be a game-changer for small businesses aiming to boost awareness, customer engagement, and loyalty–especially when it comes to customers with high expectations for speedy responses and real-time information and offers.

Some 66% of people worldwide use text messaging to engage with companies, according to Salesforce data.

But why is it so important for small businesses to accelerate their investments in this technology?

A recent poll by SMS Comparison finds that 98% of text messages are opened and read, and that most are read within three minutes of delivery.

At 98%, the average SMS open rate is more than five times that of the average email open rate (17%). Plus, small businesses don’t have to worry about the added spend of time and money for witty or uber-compelling email subject lines.

The notification of a new message on a customer’s smartphone is typically all the motivation required to engage with your brand.

But don’t think of SMS as simply a marketing channel. This method of business communications is also a star when it comes to delivering proactive notifications about time-sensitive appointments, services, or deliveries.

Speed of support and communications drives competitive advantage, and with a professional SMS solution, small businesses can excel.

Tricia Morris at 8×8 explains three ways small businesses can leverage SMS messaging to improve customer experience and stand out in a crowd.

1. Personalized Updates and Alerts

One of the most impactful ways to utilize SMS is through personalized communication that keeps customers informed.

Customers appreciate when businesses go the extra mile to update them about order statuses, appointment reminders, or even changes in service. SMS provides an immediate and convenient channel for these types of notifications.

Order and Shipping Updates:

After a customer makes a purchase, you can enhance their experience by sending them timely updates about their order status.

For example, SMS notifications can be sent when an order is processed, shipped, and delivered. This not only keeps the customer proactively informed, but also reduces anxiety about their purchase.

Appointment Reminders:

For services that operate on an appointment basis such as dental offices, hair salons, or consultancy firms, sending SMS reminders can drastically reduce no-shows and last-minute cancellations.

A simple reminder the day before or the morning of an appointment can prompt customers to confirm, reschedule, or cancel, which helps in managing both the customer’s and the company’s schedules more efficiently.

Special Alerts:

Informing customers about unexpected closures, changes in business hours, interruptions in service, or other special circumstances via SMS can save them from inconvenience and demonstrates that you value their time and patronage.

2. Exclusive Promotions and Loyalty Rewards

SMS can also be used as an effective marketing tool, driving sales and building a loyal customer base through exclusive promotions, discounts, or offers.

Time-Sensitive Promotions:

Create urgency and encourage purchases by using SMS to send limited-time offers or flash sales. For instance, a restaurant might send a promotion for a free dessert with a meal purchase, but limit the offer to purchases made before the end of the month.

Offers such as this can increase foot traffic for small businesses and drive sales during slow periods.

Loyalty Programs:

Encourage repeat business by offering an SMS-based loyalty program which sends customers personalized deals based on their purchase history or preferences.

For example, a coffee shop could offer a free coffee after a certain number of purchases, exclusively through SMS alerts.

Small businesses can also make their customers feel extra special on significant days such as birthdays or customer anniversaries with a personalized SMS wish or thank you along with a special offer or discount code.

This not only enhances a small business’s customer experience, but also promotes brand loyalty and advocacy.

3. Real-Time Customer Support

SMS can transform customer support by providing an accessible and efficient channel for customers to reach out and get help.

This method is less intrusive than a phone call and often more immediate than email. For millennials and Gen Z especially, messaging has a big appeal.

According to EZtexting research, 75% of millennials prefer SMS communication over phone calls for surveys, promotions, and deliveries.

Query Resolution:

Small businesses should use SMS to allow customers to message with their questions or concerns and have a dedicated team member respond quickly via SMS.

Consideration for use include checking product availability, resolving billing queries, or assistance with a product setup.

Feedback Collection:

After a purchase or service, small businesses can prompt customers to provide feedback via a short SMS survey.

This not only gives valuable insights into customer satisfaction but also communicates that you value their opinion and are committed to listening and taking action to improve the customer’s experience with your brand, product, or service.

Proactive Support:

If there’s an anticipated issue, like a delayed shipment or a back-ordered item, small businesses can proactively reach out to affected customers via SMS to explain the situation and possibly offer a compensatory offer.

This approach can significantly mitigate frustration and build trust. A Forrester Research study found that 71% of customers prefer proactive customer support, and 72% of those who experienced proactive customer support reported high satisfaction levels.

Conclusion

For small businesses, SMS messaging offers a unique opportunity to enhance the customer experience in a direct and personalized way.

By integrating SMS for personalized updates, exclusive promotions, and real-time customer support, businesses can not only improve their operational efficiency but also deepen customer relationships.

In an era where customer experience often dictates business success, SMS messaging could very well be the lever that small enterprises need to maintain a competitive edge.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of 8x8 – View the Original Article

For more information about 8x8 - visit the 8x8 Website

About 8x8

8x8 8x8 is transforming the future of business communications as a leading Software-as-a-Service provider of voice, video, chat, contact centre, and enterprise-class API solutions, powered by one global cloud communications platform.

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: 8x8

Published On: 14th May 2024
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