There’s nothing like a pandemic to shake up your life! But one thing Covid has brought with it is a giddying shift in work and shopping habits. Businesses need to understand what this means for them – whether it’s reaching their customers or staying in touch with staff. Fortunately, business messaging companies have been quietly building impressive portfolios of features that are now mature and ready to help you with your problems.
None of this is particularly new, shipping companies keeping package recipients updated, apps using OTP to validate users, banks verifying transactions, retail stores letting loyal customers know of sales and events. They were all doing it before the pandemic hit. The difference is that if you’re not doing it now you risk losing your business to a more agile competitor.
1. Use SMS to reach everyone! SMS is still the most ubiquitous solution.
Even though SMS is pretty much dead for personal messaging it remains the only single way to reach anyone with a phone. Consequently Business to Consumer messaging, particularly where features such as images are not required, cannot ignore SMS. Even in a few years time if the RCS/iMessage1 fight is ever resolved, SMS will still be an important channel so investing in the channel now will not be time wasted. Use SMS Blast to communicate with your entire opted in base of mobile numbers to raise awareness of a new product or service. Use SMS API as the ubiquitous transactional channel for notifications or One Time Passwords.
2. Use IP channels such as Viber and Messenger to reach your customers with Rich Messaging that blows email out of the water.
Open rates for email languish in the region of 20% and these days many consumers only rarely if ever open their email client. On the other hand IP messaging can get close to SMS Marketing metrics – open rates over 80%2 and impressive engagement with features such as call to action buttons. As an example, Viber Business Messaging gives you 1000 characters, an image and a call-to-action button for the same price as a single part SMS (160 characters and no rich features!). So what’s the down side? Well not everyone is on Viber so you need a way to expand your reach. That’s where a provider like Promotexter can help with their built-in SMS fallback feature to reach those not on Viber or without data, so 100% of your base can be reached. Given Viber charges on a delivered basis, a “Viber First”3 approach to messaging makes great sense for anyone wanting to send rich content to the mobile numbers of their customers.
3. A2P4 is not just for geeks.
If you need to send a customised transactional or time sensitive message you need to look at using an API solution from a messaging provider. Modern Messaging API’s let you easily connect your systems to a third party messaging platform, and these days should be straight forward for anyone with basic coding skills.
4. Customers prefer messaging for Support and Sales inquiries.
It’s well documented that people hate sitting on hold on a phone call. Surveys5 consistently show that customers would rather address their support concerns through messaging. No interminable IVR’s and no need to sit on hold for an hour waiting to be served. But your support needs to be effective. You need to ensure customers know they haven’t sent their query into a black hole! Send them a reply thanking them for their inquiry and letting them know how long until an agent will get to them. A chat user interface such as Promotexter’s Chat service, will allow your customers to easily chat with you over Viber.
5. Chatbots are a multiplier for your staff.
Give your customers a way to deal with common issues but don’t neglect the option to let them reach a real service agent if they need it. Theres nothing worse than getting stuck in a loop with a dumb chatbot!6
SMS is not dead – nor will it be any time soon. But it has limitations and IP messaging from providers such as Viber’s partner Promotexter, are here to help you enrich your customer communications.
Messaging providers are here to help you stay close to your customers and build your business in the new normal of 2021 and beyond.
For more information on Promotexter business messaging services, just visit https://promotexter.com
1Apple is holding back messaging progress across the entire world with iMessage https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/11/19/apple-is-holding-back-messaging-progress-across-the-entire-world-with-imessage/
2Boost your open rates through messaging apps https://www.smartinsights.com/customer-engagement/boost-open-rates-through-messaging-apps-infographic/
3Promotexter (www.promotexter.com) suggests sending to Viber first as default. You are only charged for delivered Viber messages and Promotexter’s SMS fallback with rich content available through a link provides the most cost effective and functionally rich way to reach all your customers.
4A2P (Application to Person) refers to the approach of having an application program, for example a CRM system, send messages via an API connection to a messaging system. Refer to https://promotexter.com/all-about-messaging-api/
5“Here’s How The New Wave Of Messaging Has Transformed Customer Service” https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2017/01/18/heres-how-texting-is-transforming-customer-service-and-customer-support/?sh=1bdd4d853681
5‘Virtual moron-idiot’: Telstra’s support chatbot backfires” https://www.smh.com.au/technology/virtual-moron-idiot-telstra-s-support-chatbot-backfires-20180309-p4z3jm.html