Business Text Messaging for More In-Depth Consumer Engagement

Business messaging has applications across a wide range of industries for building more in-depth engagement with consumers. To find out how businesses are using messaging to strengthen ties with customers, we asked several companies about how texting for business has played a role in their digital transformation. Their responses were insightful and inspiring — even heartwarming.

Encouraging Customer Communication

Messaging, whether it’s in the form of SMS, web chat, or social media messaging, has become one of the primary ways that people stay in touch with each other. Rather than making a call or penning a letter to stay in touch with friends, consumers reach for their mobile devices to send out a message. While most consumers are familiar with messaging friends and family to stay in touch, business text messaging is emerging as a powerful way for customers to connect more effectively with the brands they love.

This more relaxed or casual engagement between businesses and consumers makes for some fascinating use cases, as we’ll see in this first example. We’ll find out how ordering baby food can be a pretense for heart-to-heart connections among parents once the conversations between companies and customers are opened up. In this stunning demonstration of the potential that business text messaging has for driving deeper engagements, Michael from Little Spoon shared their story:

“Well, our use case for texting customer service turned into an entire platform for parents with questions called IsThisNormal.co. At Little Spoon, a direct-to-your-door organic baby food company, our customer care team is comprised of customer moms that work for the brand part time. When our customers would ask basic support questions through text, conversations would end up shifting from ‘where’s my order?’ to ‘why do I resent my husband?’ once they found out it wasn’t an outsourced support team, but moms like them.

We got SO many questions about the craziest parts of parenthood that our customers were too shy or embarrassed to ask their friends/family — from ‘is it normal that I now pee every time I go for a run?’ to ‘is it okay that I think my kid is just average?’ We were inundated with questions about mental, physical, and sexual health and shared these inquiries with some friends.

Our text customer service turned into a resource for questions moms have — well beyond our baby food company — into a platform that moms were begging for.”

Keeping it Simple Through Text

When asked why customers prefer messaging, two words often come up: “convenience” and “simplicity.” Consumers can message a business just like they message their friends, and can use rich messaging to express themselves however they want. Asynchronous messaging means that a conversation can be picked up at any time, and cross-channel capabilities allow for increased flexibility.

The streamlined customer experience that business text messaging offers was often reported as a top benefit by Lisamarie of PinnacleQuote Life Insurance Specialists:

“Clients like simplicity. If they can get the information and the product they want via texting, this is the world we live in today.”

Offering Exclusive Deals & Drivving More Purchases

Opening up the conversation empowers consumers to strike a deal, as Mike of UT Health shared with his experience of texting for business:

“I routinely text message or Facebook message with companies that offer an interesting product. I typically either ask about availability (if I know I want to buy it) or a discount (if I’m willing to buy it, but only at a lower price).

I ended up purchasing protein powder that I would not otherwise have bought, after I text messaged with the business and arranged a 15% discount. I also bought a $149 course that I would not have otherwise bought, after I text messaged the business and asked for a discount (they sent a coupon for $50 off of the $199 price).”

Providing Personalized Service

Conversing with customers is one of the most powerful ways to gather consumer data, as demonstrated by Lee & Associates, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the country. The firm set up 60 unique triggers to offer a personalized service to their clients. Tyler, Account Executive of BLASTMedia, shared more about this personalization:

“Each property has a unique keyword encouraging interested parties to text for more information. Lee & Associates uses this information to immediately understand what a lead is looking for in a property.”

In-Depth Texting for Business Use Cases

For a more comprehensive look at the ways that messaging can help organizations manage changes in market demand, take a look at our in-depth article on how Brinks Home Security partnered with Quiq Messaging. Texas A&M also used Quiq Messaging to graduate from emails and auto-dialers, as we touch upon in this case study.

As you can see, business messaging can transform the way that customers and companies connect. To discover the power of Quiq Messaging for yourself, try a free demo today.

Business Text Messaging for Enhanced Customer Service

We know that customers love texting for customer service. According to Pew Research, 64% of people prefer text messaging versus phone calls for customer service, and at the same time social media business messaging is on the rise. More than ever, consumers are looking to get their customer support issues addressed on their own timeline and through their channel of choice.

We reached out to various businesses to find out about their experiences with messaging for customer service. The responses highlighted various benefits for both parties involved, but convenience and efficiency were common themes. Although the power of texting for business expands beyond customer service alone, addressing customer questions and concerns is one of its most valuable applications.

Streamlining Customer Service Tasks

Rich messaging has made it possible for every step of the customer journey to be taken within a messaging window. Customers can select a product, make a secure transaction, and follow up with support inquiries, all without leaving the conversation. Many businesses are surprised by all of the benefits that cross-channel messaging can bring, as expressed by Daniel of Baker Street Funding:

“Everything from answering client questions, providing status updates; and even having clients send pictures of documents is done through our text messaging platform. We have found it extremely useful and it has been one of the main things that separates us from our competitors.”

Better Customer Service Solutions

Business text messaging comes naturally to consumers who already communicate with their friends and loved ones through this channel. As such, asking for help via messaging is often a consumer’s first choice. Many companies are seeing a decrease in support calls and an uptick in messages. Rahwa of MAIDSTR has observed firsthand the consumer preference toward messaging for customer service:

“We noticed that our customers increasingly wanted to engage via text, like they do with their friends and family, and that our inbound calls were decreasing.

So, we implement text-based customer service and found a greater level of interaction and engagement with our customers. Our customers still have the option of talking to a live person if needed, but we are definitely seeing a preference for text-based interaction via SMS or live chats over phone calls.”

Scheduling Success

Filling last minute cancellations or open schedule slots can be a challenge for virtually every direct-to-consumer service provider. The quick exchange of information through messaging offers a solution to these last-minute scheduling issues. Appointments can even be made within a message window itself, thanks to rich messaging. Gordon of GB Marketing & Communications shared a personal story which illustrates the customer experience when scheduling appointments and evaluating a service:

“When I was first evaluating [my chiropractor’s] service, text messaging was immediately used as part of the confirmation process as well as ensuring I knew where to go. Since that point, I get text messages as reminders when future appointments are set, as well as updates if another client cancels to see if I am interested in taking their open appointment spot last minute. From a customer / client perspective, I get a closer connection to their staff with texting, as you know there is a person on the other side that is there to respond to you as needed.”

Implementing Texting for Business

The successful implementation of business text messaging for customer service depends on several key factors. First, it’s critical that customers are able to access support via a channel which is familiar to them. SMS is the most popular messaging channel, though other platforms such as Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter Direct Message are also very helpful channels that offer useful tools for businesses to address the needs of customers. These include response suggestions, identity verification, and appointment scheduling.

Another important factor in providing satisfactory customer support is timing. Asynchronous messaging platforms, such as Quiq, allow customers to start and stop customer service conversations whenever it’s most convenient for them. In addition, Quiq’s Adaptive Response Timer automatically prioritizes incoming conversations for agents based on the cadence of the messages received, ensuring customers who are most engaged are taken care of first. Finally, bots can be incorporated into any part of the customer conversation from being used to route customers to the appropriate human agent, to present answers to common questions, or even to offload information collect from the agent before sending it back to them.

A Better Approach to Customer Service

As you can see, texting for business offers a far more engaging customer service experience for employees and customers alike. Quiq powers consumer to business communications over web chat and messaging. Whether the conversation happens over SMS, social media messaging, web chat, or any other popular messaging channel, Quiq provides agents with a more efficient, centralized way to address the needs of customers.

Many organizations, such as Brinks Home Security, Aspira, and Texas A&M, have achieved messaging success with Quiq. To find out what the power of true cross-channel messaging can do for your customer service organization, see a demo of Quiq today.

New Apple iOS 13 Feature: Silence Unknown Callers

Announced in June and being released in early September, iOS 13 is Apple’s next operating system for iPhones and iPads. Features include a Dark Mode, a Find My app, a revamped Photos app, new Siri voice, updated privacy features, new street-level view for Maps, and more.

While there are dozens of new capabilities in iOS 13, there are a couple new features that we find particularly notable and think you will too. The first is a great new addition that will continue to change how consumers and their favorite brands connect. This new feature builds on Apple Business Chat, released in December 2018, and is called Chat Suggest. The second is a new toggle button in Settings called “Silence Unknown Calls” that promises to make millions of iPhone users much happier, but may put your business even further than a phone call away.

Imagine you are enjoying family dinner on the one night you can get everyone around the table at the same time. Of course phones are not allowed at the table, but they are definitely laying on nearby countertops. All of a sudden, one starts vibrating and everyone pretends to ignore it while sneaking a look to see who’s phone is shimmying across the counter. At that point, someone inevitably gets up from the table to check their phone only to find it to be an unknown caller or unrecognized number. The call goes unanswered because we simply don’t answer calls from numbers we don’t know anymore.

Let’s be clear, no one actually wants to answer their phone in this day and age. Privacy-conscious Apple is just helping people do what they want – avoid calls from people they don’t know. Tucked away into the iOS13 release is a wonderful, new, little setting. Apple has come to our rescue by creating a setting to silence calls from unknown contacts. These calls will go directly to voicemail. This means you will need to find some more dinner table topics.

With iOS 13, your iPhone won’t ring if the incoming phone number is not known. Nuisance SPAM calls drive us crazy every day and with the iOS 13, Apple wants to fix the issue with the help of Siri, which will scan your Contacts, Mail, and Messages to see if you’ve previously been in contact with the caller. If you have, it will ring through. If not, it will go straight to voice mail.

While this is music to the ears of consumers, this could have a real impact on businesses that have legitimate reasons to call to reach people. For companies making outbound calls, their already low connect rate will plummet. It isn’t all gloom and doom. If your business has a mobile phone number, you can message someone instead. To comply with privacy laws and the TCPA, businesses need to have permission to text a number, but they also needed permission to call. With messaging, people open and read 96% of all text messages. With Quiq, those messages can be two-way. What does that mean? It means you can send a notification that a payment is due or something is ready to be picked up and the recipient can reply back to you.  This can be the start of a conversation that leads to more business and better customer satisfaction, and believe it or not, many messaging platforms can’t do this.

Leave the phone behind and connect via messaging

It’s been getting harder and harder to talk live to people on their phones, especially if you are not a family member or friend. Apple’s Silence Unknown Callers feature makes this even more difficult for all iPhone users. Instead of fighting this tidal wave, it is time to consider a better way to connect. Messaging is, without a doubt, the best way for businesses to engage with consumers. Messages get read. Messages get a response. Messages cost less than phone calls. Why wait? Make your life easier and your business more success. Get messaging.

As an authorized Apple Customer Service Provider, Quiq helps brands present their customers with consistently jaw-dropping customer experiences across SMS/text messaging, Apple Business Chat, Google Rich Business Messaging, web chat, and social channels. With Quiq’s Conversational Engagement Platform, companies can easily orchestrate commerce and service conversations involving both bots and humans. For more information about Quiq, go to www.quiq.com.

Four Ways to Rise Above Channel Fatigue

Consider for a moment the many ways customers are inundated with a multitude of brands, all vying for their attention. Take the email inbox, for example. Customers can’t unsubscribe fast enough from all the generic email newsletters they receive. The influx of email newsletters, social media messages, and online advertising adds up to marketing fatigue, a result of too many messages not relevant to customers. While messaging is still the most effective channel, with double the conversion rate of email, the way businesses currently communicate with customers needs to change.

Customers often unsubscribe, scroll past, unfollow, and mark as spam when messages are not relevant. What is the first sign your audience is experiencing marketing fatigue? A good indication is lower response rates, with even lower click and conversion rates.

Mastering the art of meaningful communication with customers is vital to keeping them interested, engaged, and connected. The best way to engage audiences has changed — expanding beyond the traditional phone and email, to reach customers how, where, and when they want to be reached.

A Better Way to Reach Your Audience

Web chat, in-app messaging, SMS/text messaging, social media — there’s a lot of service channels for customers to choose from (and for agents to manage!). It’s critically important for companies to consider how they define and manage communication at every step of the customer journey to ensure messaging does not add to customer and business channel fatigue.

People who are just starting their journey, in an information gathering stage, require a different kind of message than, say, a customer looking to upgrade their existing product. Don’t fall for the allure of making a hasty attempt to close the sale. Sending too many messages geared toward completing purchases to a customer who is firmly in the early stages of their journey will lead to annoyance, fatigue, and a bad taste in their mouth associated with the brand. Instead, the best way to craft the right message is to put yourself directly in the customer’s shoes  — and if you happen to sell shoes, who knows, they may just end up buying a pair!

So, how are companies battling marketing fatigue successfully reaching their customers?

Multi-Channel Messaging

The best way to prevent channel fatigue while reaching customers at the right place and time is to be available on their favorite channels. Multi-channel messaging makes your business available in all the places your customers frequent in ways that are most convenient for them — whether that’s on a Facebook Business Page, Twitter Direct Messages, Kik, SMS/text messaging, rich messaging (on Apple Business Chat and Google Rich Business Messaging), Web Chat, or In-App Messaging. 

Transform how you engage with customers by letting them talk to your business the same way they talk to their friends and family.

 

Get Personal

Companies that put effort into understanding which channels are most important to their customers are better equipped to manage channel fatigue. For example, companies can optimize their communication and define message relevance customer-by-customer, based on behavior, demographics, preferences, journey status, and purchase data.

Another way to help customize the customer experience is to keep in mind the different tools customers use to view messages.

Messages sent over Web Chat are viewed on a computer most of the time, making Web Chat a better platform for sending resources, guides, and text-centric solutions. Alternately, Facebook, Twitter, Kik, and rich messages (all which are great for sending multimedia) would  most likely be viewed on a mobile device. In this case, you might opt to engage your customers with interactive rich messaging features like images, videos, gifs, emojis, and cards that can be inserted into conversations on social media platforms and business SMS.

Focus on Message Quality

Ensure that your messages provide your audience value by making them enticing and relevant.

Not every individual within a target audience will find relevance in mass messaging. With an audience full of customers at varying stages in their journey or simply at different income levels, personalization must go beyond just using first names or location. Rather than sending out one mass message across channels, the best way to engage a varied customer audience is to segment them out into smaller groups, and target messages from there — because if a customer clicks on a message to discover that it isn’t as relevant (or specific) to them as originally implied, they will lose trust in your messages and, subsequently, your business. 

If your message is relevant to your audience, then format becomes less important. What matters is that you’re sending content that is low-effort to read and react. However, if your message is possibly irrelevant to certain customers’ interests, you should focus on capturing their attention while still keeping their effort levels low. Easy, fun, and visual is best — it gives your customers less to look through, making it a perfect fit for their busy lives.

Choose the Best Channel to Communicate

If your business keeps track of the content and frequency of your messaging, as well as your engagement across platforms and audience segments, then there are a lot of different communication channels to consider. The key is to make the most out of each channel.

Studies show that Business SMS/text messaging is the most effective channel to capture customer attention because it is a diversion from the typical email and promoted messages omni-present in their digital lifestyle, while maintaining the same level of immediacy. Text messaging is personal, download-free, and doesn’t require an internet connection. It’s also low effort to read and take action.

No matter what channel your customer base chooses to use, be sure to keep track of response and conversion rates to inform smart decision-making surrounding your brand communication. When it comes to platforms that give you insight and platforms that help businesses with messaging, Quiq doesn’t make you choose. By integrating directly into your existing CRM system, you’re able to continue receiving the reports that you know and love.

Fight channel fatigue with the proper strategy — focused on intent and personalized communication. Quiq Messaging connects your business to a variety of different platforms seamlessly. Want to learn more about Quiq’s multi-channel messaging platform? Send yourself a message today.