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article imageQ&A: Things businesses need to consider with text marketing Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 14, 2020 in Business
Over 560 billion text messages are sent every month and many businesses are starting to use this as a form of marketing. However, before firms hop onto the bandwagon there are a few things organizations should know, says Tara Kelly, of SPLICE Software.
Tara Kelly, CEO of Canadian firm SPLICE Software, explains that organizations would be wise to use texting as an opportunity to build loyalty with customers. However, businesses often turn text marketing into spamming. This means retailers should take care in avoiding blasting customers when they do not having an open form of communication when their customers text back.
Kelly explains how businesses of all sizes and scopes can implement conversational text marketing, and in turn receive strategic customer insights.
Digital Journal: How important are good customer relations for businesses?
Tara Kelly: Positive customer relationships are critical for a business at any stage, but it can be easy to lose sight of that during good times. The thing to keep in mind is that when companies grow and evolve and the business landscape changes, challenges can emerge, and that’s when the business really has to draw on the trust it has built with its customer base over time. Trust-based customer relationships create a reservoir of good will that every company will need at some point, so it always pays to invest in them.
DJ: What general solutions do businesses deploy to communicate with customers?
Kelly: Companies are communicating with customers across multiple channels, including call centers, phone, SMS, MMS, chatbots, social messaging, home assistants, email and other platforms. But I think it will be increasingly important in the years ahead for businesses to stop thinking about communication in terms of channels and focus on meeting customers where they are and sending consistent messages in an efficient way. It’s not about the device anymore: “mobile” is a lifestyle, not a device.
DJ: How can text messaging help with this process?
Kelly: The great thing about text messages is that they are typically short and get straight to the point, so they’re a fast and efficient way to converse. Texting is also incredibly popular — about 26 billion texts are sent each day worldwide, and people tend to open them quickly. Text and chat have efficiency in common: both are quick, easy ways to carry on a conversation, and that makes them great for customer communication.
DJ: Do multi-media messages add anything extra to this form of communication?
Kelly: Multimedia messages like photo, video and live-streaming capabilities can be an excellent tool for customer communication. It’s a staple of interpersonal communication now across multiple platforms, so to the extent a business can use multimedia messages to engage customers and provide something of value like product instructions, tips or a timely alert, it’s definitely a medium businesses should consider using for customer communication.
DJ: How important is that businesses encourage customers to text back?
Kelly: The important thing to know is that customers WILL text back, whether the company encourages it or not. Texting is all about two-way communication in customers’ personal interactions, so those habits naturally carry over into their conversations with businesses. Companies should be aware of that, encourage customers to text back and set up intelligent auto-response solutions so that customers receive responses that are on-brand and in the correct context.
DJ: How willing are consumers to pass on their contact details? Are there any privacy concerns?
Kelly: Consumers are understandably wary about sharing contact details because of privacy concerns and fear of being hacked, but they’re also willing to share data if they receive something of value in return. That’s another reason it’s so important for companies to build trust with customers at every stage of their journey. It’s critical to capture consumer consent, gather preference data and manage expectations around communication. Respecting customers’ wishes on preferences like communication platforms and frequency, sharing privacy policies and consistently delivering value builds trust.
DJ: Do customers like receiving messages from companies? How many messages is too much?
Kelly: It depends entirely on the situation. If my electricity is out, I want frequent communication from the power company on restoration efforts. If a store I like is having a sale, I’d appreciate a reminder, but I don’t want to be hounded about it. When our national clients face a dilemma on message cadence, our advice is to recognize that there’s no hard and fast rule about messaging frequency and to consider the relevance to the customer and the surrounding information — it’s all about context.
More about Marketing, Text message, Sms, Sales
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