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Texting Can Escalate Your Business—Or Ruin It

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Credit: iStock

As businesses start to see texting’s powerful potential, they’re also learning it can have serious limitations.

Messaging grabs customers’ attention like no other format, and response rates can top 80%. So what’s not to like?

In many cases, the answer is “plenty,” a recent IDG/Heymarket survey found.

When asked what features they wanted from a messaging service, over half of business users said they wanted a second number for their smartphone.

Good idea. Keeping personal and businesses messages separated is a must, as Heymarket founder  Amit Kulkarni learned after getting a text from a merchant he’d bought a coffee table from. The text read, “Sorry about last night, I was really drunk but it was good to see you.”

Say WHAT?!?

If you want to stay in business, you can’t risk sending customers messages like that.

With Heymarket, it can’t happen. You send messages from the app, but customers receive them as regular texts. That keeps your personal life from leaking into your business. It also keeps sensitive or private customer information out of your personal feeds.

Half the business owners in the survey said they wanted a messaging service that doesn’t require customers to download anything. That also makes good business sense. People love their personal apps, but if they have to download one just to communicate with you, you can kiss them goodbye. Heymarket just uses its built in SMS system.

Businesses said they want to reach a group of customers with a single text, but make it look personalized. They want to automate message sending and use custom templates, just like they would with email.

Then why not just stick with email? Because customers won’t open it. Texts, on the other hand, are read 98% of the time.

Accustomed to consumer apps loaded with bells and whistles, businesses also desire other features from messaging. They want it to make appointments, set reminders, add co-workers to conversations, and store transcripts. They want it to integrate with their contact and calendar apps. They want to see who opens what, and take notes. They want to share photos and videos, not just text, and they want them to load fast.

Those are some pretty heavy demands, but Heymarket’s enterprise mobile messaging can handle them all.

An interesting fact that emerged from the study is that when it comes to mobile messaging, businesses and their customers pretty much want the same things. All the features we just mentioned were requested by non-business smartphone users, too.

That means they’ll appreciate your texts more if they’re personalized. They’ll be more likely to look at your photos and watch your videos if they don’t have to wait around for them to load. They’ll enjoy the convenience of setting appointments by text instead of being interrupted by a phone call. They’ll respond to you more frequently and faster, building the kind of rapport that leads to sales.

With texting, a business is personalizing the messages and messaging customers they have a relationship with. It’s an incredible resource for businesses that use it the right way. But it can backfire on those who don’t. Before you plunge into messaging, make a list of the features you desire most, and make sure you find a service that includes them.

 

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