Ding! Another text message. You’re in a meeting and can’t check it right away…and the anticipation is driving you bonkers! When you finally are able to sneak a peek, you see your favourite pub is offering a “Happy Hour” special for loyal customers, like you. Your Happy Hour just got happier.
It’s no secret that today’s consumers are increasingly more social and mobile. Customer loyalty and repeat business are desired by all organisations, no question about it. How can brands break through the chatter and communicate with their customers in a meaningful way? Finding the right combination of communication tool and loyalty-inspiring message is the ticket to success.
Text messaging, or SMS, is one effective way for brands to communicate with customers. It’s been said that people bring a limited number of things to bed with them each night and their phone is one of them. Think about it—what’s typically the last thing you do before bed and the first thing you do when you wake up? If you answered “check my phone,” then you’re in the majority.
Approximately 90 percent of mobile phone users worldwide send at least one text message each day, so it is definitely an important communication tool for mobile phone users. Organisations can send customers text messages on any number of topics, including:
– New product promotions/introduction
– Incentives or special offers for new or returning customers
– Loyalty or rewards program reminders
– Special birthday offers
– Featured events or promotions
There are so many benefits of SMS for brands. It makes proactive communications more impactful. Most people’s inboxes are flooded with email on a daily basis, and a mass email could be easily ignored or deleted. A text message, on the other hand, pops up on the customer’s phone and garners immediate attention.
And proactive messaging can be even more effective for “more important and time-sensitive” messages. Customers can send a text to a short number and be added to a list of notifications about areas they are interested in—say, bus routes 49 and 62 or subway lines A and D—and learn about issues or delays before they are stuck. Messages like that may not satisfy customers, as they will still experience a delay, but may reduce frustration and ultimately improve the organisation’s image with that customer.
Organisations can also use text messages for customer reminders. It could be about an upcoming payment due date or a tickler about items left in an online shopping cart. Since text messages encourage immediate response, they can be effective to trigger customers to take action they may otherwise delay or ignore completely.
Text messages demand attention, so they should be tailored and definitely of value to the customer. There’s no better way to get a customer to unsubscribe than to send them, a loyal customer, an offer that is only valid for new customers at a location in another city! SMS service providers make it relatively easy to segment customer lists to target new customers, returning customers, different demographics, etc.
And organisations should be prepared—ready and waiting, if you will—for customers to reply to text messages. Technology can be used to monitor and provide simple responses to simple questions (“what time does the A train leave Main Street station?”) but timely, personal responses—from a person, to a person—will keep customer satisfaction high and frustration low.
Overall, text messages are a wonderful way for organisations to raise awareness and encourage purchases and customer advocacy. Done well—and by that I mean using text for personalised, important messages of value to customers—text messaging is a fantastic way to increase customer loyalty and engagement with an organisation. And make Happy Hour a little happier.
For more insight on this topic please read the original article, which appeared on ICMI here.
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.