Aug. 29, 2019—Roughly 97 percent of adults text weekly. Thirty-six percent of customers want to connect with businesses post-business hours and do so over the phone. And, 89 percent of customers want to use text messaging to communicate with businesses, according to the SMS platform Podium.
What does this mean for the modern business? Your customers want to text you.
Offering two-way texting is likely to be beneficial for the company and increase the company’s positive customer experience. For example, maybe a customer is at work during the shop’s business hours and needs an alternative option or, for whatever reason, the customer can’t make a call and can only text wherever he or she is at.
Forty-eight percent of customers prefer to use SMS text messaging, which means that a business that wants to move the health of its business forward and stay technology-savvy, can now offer these services to the customer through one online platform, according to Podium.
“We kind of see this as a larger ecosystem,” says Brett Steele, regional sales director for Podium, an interaction platform that gives customers options on messaging and customer interaction.
He says that while the platform and others like Podium offer the customer a way to text—not just a robot—but an actual person that works at the dealership, there is also potential for these messaging platforms to become internal communication systems within the shop process.
Steele shares how a two-way texting platform can be implemented and used to better engage with customers.
Once a business signs up for the SMS messaging software, an icon will pop up on the company’s website. This icon will ask the customer to call or text the shop. Once the customer sends a message to the shop, Podium, for instance, will send an automated message back to the customer. Podium messages have no expiration date and are automatically saved in the site’s log of messages.
Steele also recommends that shops try to have a more informal one-on-one conversation with the customer and not just leave it at answering the customer’s question. He says that most text messaging that shops use is for informational purposes and to pass on facts like the business hours, connecting on a more personal level can be beneficial.
Some key benefits to SMS text messaging, Steele says, are options to set appointments and send appointment reminders, answer a customer’s product or service questions, keep the business top of mind for customers by scheduling out birthday messages, and send a quick message asking the customer to give feedback on his or her experience. Customers using Podium have seen a 26 percent increase in NPS scores.
Staying in Touch
Right now, Podium has some businesses on a trial using the program as a way to communicate within the team. The site can also act as a way for the dealership to increase vendor communication and make it faster.
If the system is used correctly with the customer, customers will open the text message within the first three minutes about 90 percent of the time. On average, shops on Steele’s system report saving five hours communicating with customers each week. The software has the potential to decrease the time spent playing phone tag, he says.
Businesses are also able to set up a Google Click-to-Message option. This is where a shop can add its number to its Google My Business page and allow customers to text them through Google.