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What the Heck is Business-Class Text Messaging and Why Do You Need It?

Posted by TextUs Team on May 12, 2016 1:25:52 PM

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You may be thinking, “Business-class text messaging? It’s just texting from your cell phone, but you use it for your professional contacts, right?”

Not exactly.

Business-class text messaging is more than texting for business. It’s even more than using a professional text messaging platform (although that’s a big part of it). Business-class texting is an integral part of the modern business communication stack that emphasizes personal conversations over volume.

  • Do you see potential customers as walking wads of cash? Or, do you see leads as opportunities to develop long-term connections?
  • Do you use the spaghetti-against-the-wall method of communication, throwing a bunch of messages out there, hoping one sticks? Or, do you tailor your messages to leads and customers in order to get a conversation going?

If you’re on the cash and spaghetti teams, short-codes are probably your thing. But, if you’re looking to reach, educate, and engage your customers, (which will naturally boost your bottom line), then read on.

 

So . . . what the heck is it?

Business-class text messaging combines the convenience of text messaging your leads and customers with the efficiency of a feature-rich application for your sales team. By implementing a professional-grade text messaging interface like TextUs, you capture the myriad benefits of the platform:

  • the brevity and ease that your customers want,
  • response rates that blow email and voicemail out of the water,
  • the brand boost of having an on-point communication strategy, and
  • much more.

With a platform like TextUs, you get all those tools without any of the limitations of device-based texting. You free text messaging from the cramped screen of your sales team’s phones and expand its capabilities exponentially. Here’s how:

 

Business-class texting increases efficiency with a computer-based app, templates, broadcasts, and more.

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How fast can you type on your cellphone? Even if you’re a speed demon, it probably doesn’t compare to how quickly you can type on your computer’s keyboard.

Painfully slow typing is just one of the pitfalls of texting by phone. It wastes seconds, maybe even minutes on every customer interaction.

Say you have a 25-person sales team and each member averages a modest 10 customer text touches per day.

If they waste just 45 seconds per customer pecking out a message on their iPhone, you lose over three hours of productivity per day. That’s 100 work days per year. Which I’m sure your sales team could better use growing your business instead of arguing with autocorrect.

 

 
Texting improves #sales productivity. Business-class texting blows it out of the water. Click to tweet

 

  

Further, phones are distracting. Your team’s attention is pulled away by the notifications and other features inherent to their smartphones (I’m looking at you, Facebook).

Customers respond to text messages automatically. This is part of what makes them so appealing for sales and recruiting. But, when your sales team is on their phones, that same automatic response can be a timesuck that distracts them from their work.

Smartphones are great, but let’s face it they aren’t always the quickest, most productivity-friendly tools in our toolbelt. They are also much more limited than computers in connecting team members smoothly, syncing information, and providing seamless integration with important tools, such as CRMs and other applications.

Take a closer look at how business-class texting wins on efficiency.

Texting by Phone

Business-Class Texting

Text from personal phone numbers, not your business lines

Text from your existing business phone number

Compose messages slowly

Compose messages more quickly, using full-sized keyboards and message templates

Lose time replicating information on the computer by manually typing it into the phone

Integrate all information seamlessly into one device for easy access

Input contacts slowly; cannot sync with many contact databases

Import your contacts with a simple upload

Cannot send personalized messages to multiple people at the same time

Broadcast personalized 1-to-1 messages to up to 250 people at one time

 

Why do you need it?

Now that you have a good idea of the efficiency, elegance, and power of business-class texting, you may be wondering, “But, do I really need to be texting at all?”

Short answer: Yes.

Here’s why.

People actually respond to texts.

Voicemail has gone the way of dot matrix printers and cassette tapes. (But it's not even cool enough to be retro). Companies like JP Morgan and Coca-Cola have encouraged employees to opt out of voicemail, saving millions in the process. And customers are ditching it, too.

 

JP Morgan and Coca-Cola are ditching voicemail. Texting is the #businesscommunication of the future. Click to tweet

 

Plus, no one ever put phone tag on their list of favorite ways to spend their time.

Email is better but still not great. Only about 32% of emails are even opened. Two out of every three emails you send out to your customers don’t even get a glance.

Texting is different.

About 98% of texts are read, usually within three minutes of being sent. Beyond underscoring the clear advantage of texting over email, these stats also show something crucial about texting: People like to do it.

They like to text so much that they can barely go three minutes without checking their phones to see if they can text again. 

98% of texts are read, usually within three minutes. Click to tweet

Response rates prove this, too. Texting has a 25-35% response rate, while phone and email are both stuck at the bottom of the barrel with a 1%-3% response rate. That means you are at least eight times more likely to get a text response than other methods of contact.

 

You’re 8x more likely to get a response to text messages than to phone or email. Click to tweet 

 

Texting converts.

People don't just respond to texts. They take action. An effective text messaging strategy can boost sales by 328%.

 

An effective #textmessaging campaign can boost your #sales by 328%. Click to tweet

 

You want to provide value.

The way you choose to communicate with your customers teaches them who you are as a company. Business-class text messaging is based on a customer service philosophy obsessed with providing value.

To master business-class text messaging, expand the way you think you can use text messaging and discover its true power. Instead of using text messaging to blast your customers and leads with information, your sales team can use text messaging to start conversations.

  • After a phone call with a customer or lead, text a quick “thank you” for their time. Include a relevant link to an article or blog related to something you’ve discussed. This is a good way to make sure the conversation keeps on going.
  • Text a customer to find out when would be the best time to call them.
  • Message customers and leads to offer them a few appointment options.
  • Create personalized, scheduled, drip text messaging campaigns, just like you do with emails, that move your customers down the sales funnel. With each text touch, you can start a conversation with contacts about what is most important to them.

And, the beauty part of business-class text messaging is customers can engage with you, too:

  • Customers can engage via text for product support and customer service.
  • Leads can ask specific product questions as they relate to their unique needs.
  • Clients can confirm appointments or ask to reschedule meetings.
  • Candidates can send advanced notice of late arrival.To master business-class text messaging, expand the way you think you can use text messaging and discover its true power.

Texting improves your bottom line.

In our recent benchmarking study, we found that fast-growth (>50% annually) staffing and recruiting firms tend to use business-class texting to make personalized, targeted touches.

Slow-growth (<5% annually) firms tend to prefer phone and email communications. When they do text, they use old school methods: sending mass blasts of generic messages. Seventy-five percent of staffing firms agreed that text messaging is an effective business strategy.

 

75% of #staffing and #recruiting firms think #textmessaging is an effective business strategy. Click to tweet

 

Millennials are text addicts.

Texting is the dominant way of communicating for Americans under 50. This is especially true for Millennials, who use their phones around the clock. During a typical week, Millennials use their smartphones a collective 765.9 million hours. That’s a lot of opportunities to make a connection.

Millennials have their reasons for preferring text to talking and other forms of communication.

  • They prize texting for its efficiency. While calls disrupt workflow, you can respond to a text without missing a beat.
  • Texting also provides a medium of streamlined communication. The small screen requires texts be right to the point.
  • It’s also a matter of respect. A call demands complete attention, requiring you to drop whatever you’re doing. A text is unobtrusive and fits between other tasks without presuming to be the most important thing on the docket.

Given that Millennials are the future of the workforce, you can see why texting is too.

You want to stay ahead of the curve.

Despite all of this overwhelming evidence about the power of text, very few businesses have yet to catch on. In fact, only a little over 2% of sales prospects receive touches by text. This is good news for you: there’s a distinct advantage to being the first one on the scene.

In a recent Harvard Business Review study, 64% of companies that identify as early adopters of the latest technology said they were ahead of their competition. One in five of these pioneer companies experiences 30% growth. Compare this to slow-adopting cautious companies: they are the companies most likely to report no growth at all.

And these movers and shakers are not adopting just any technology: mobile technologies have more impact on business operations than any other new technology. Half of those surveyed identified marketing, sales, and customer engagement as the most affected by mobile tech.

 

Business-class texting lets you schedule messages and set up auto-replies.

Texting from your cellphone is a now-or-never deal. You can’t schedule your texts. At first, you may not see how handy this can be, but think of these circumstances:

  • You want to remind a customer of a time-sensitive opportunity first thing in the morning, when they’re most likely to respond, but you’ll be on an overnight flight to Boston.
  • You want to regularly flow information to candidates via text -- interview reminders, tips, and helpful day-of info -- without having to do it manually each time.
  • You want to remember all of your customers’ anniversaries with your company and send them a timely thank you and link to an e-gift.
  • You want to respond to a customer’s question, but it’s an inappropriate time to text.

With the TextUs professional platform, you can set up messages to go out like clockwork. You can schedule messages in advance, preset messages to go out at regular intervals, and create personalized text message workflows, just like you do with email.

You can also create auto-replies to tend to your clients and customers whenever you aren’t logged into your account. Going away for vacation and worried about all those texts? Just like email, you can set a vacation message to let your contacts now how long you’ll be gone, when you’ll be able to respond, and who to contact in the meantime.

Texting by Phone

Business-Class Texting

No message scheduling

Schedule messages to go out in the future

No recurring message scheduling

Create recurring future messages

No auto-replies

Create an auto-reply or vacation notification

 

Business-class texting allows you to manage multiple conversations.

You probably manage tons of conversations on your personal cell with family and friends (we know you’re pretty popular).

Chances are, though, you and your sales team have even more ongoing conversations with prospects, leads, and customers. Plus, when it comes to professional texting, you want to clearly delineate between personal contacts and business contacts. You want to make sure that no one confuses the Allison from the accounting firm with the Allison who walks their dog.

Business-class texting allows you to manage multiple text messaging conversations with specificity, flexibility, oversight, and professionalism, just like you do with email.

Texting by Phone

Business-Class Texting

Personal and business contacts intermixed

Business contacts separated to receive business-class treatment

Difficult to manage a large number of conversations

Easy management of multiple text conversations

 

Business-class texting is all about accountability.

If your sales team is texting from their phones -- whether from their personal phones or business phones -- it’s hard to oversee their correspondence. How do you know if their communication is on point with your brand or compliant with your communication guidelines?

In the same way you wouldn’t want your employees sending emails from their personal email addresses, you want a separation between your team’s personal texts and business texts.

You also want to be able to manage conversations, jump in when a team member goes awry or is simply out of the office, and generally have the same level of oversight that you do with email. Business-class texting allows you to do just that.

Texting by Phone

Business-Class Texting

Correspondence is difficult to audit

Audit and oversee your team’s correspondence

Lack of built-in forwarding or sharing for entire conversations

Easily monitor team correspondence to troubleshoot and collaborate

Autocorrect problems, including embarrassing and inappropriate typos that can undermine your brand image

No autocorrect, just spell check

Use of personal phone encourages casual textspeak

Using business computer encourages professionalism

An increased chance that team members will text customers at odd hours

App used during regular business hours, while at work

 

Business-class texting allows multiple users to manage messages.

Cellphones are single-user affairs. Texts are meant to be answered only by the person who owns the phone. This is great for personal texting, less so for business texting.

With the TextUs multi-user interface, you can oversee your team’s correspondence. You have access to analytics, such as response time rates and correspondence volume, and can ascertain how engaged each of your team members is with their contacts.

Team members can also collaborate. If one person is unable to answer a message, any other team member can step up and make sure it doesn’t languish with no response.

Texting by Phone

Business-Class Texting

Single-user

Multi-user interface

No collaboration

Any member can respond to texts

 

Business-class texting helps you master compliance.

You probably know a little something about compliance in business communication.

Especially if you are in healthcare, staffing, finance, or law, you’re already mindful of the pitfalls that can hamstring a company when it comes to communication regulations. If your team is texting on their personal phones, you’re putting yourself and your company at risk. Client information is unprotected, and team members can breach confidentiality with the slip of a thumb.

With the TextUs messaging platform, you can audit communications and implement the same company-wide rules and regulations that currently govern your email communications.

Texting by Phone

Business-Class Texting

Phones noncompliant with many standards

Incorporated into your existing compliance systems

Customer information unprotected

Customer information protected

Confidentiality easily breached

Compliant with your confidentiality protocols

 

Business-class texting syncs with your existing analytics.

With traditional texting, you’re missing out on valuable information.

  • What kinds of text messages are getting the most responses?
  • When are your customers most likely to respond?
  • What texted links get the most click-throughs?
  • How successful are your text messaging campaigns?

TextUs syncs with your CRM so you can track your text communications with the same precision and depth that you track your emails and web touches. You can see, immediately, the success level of your communication efforts and continually adjust your strategy to best serve your customers.

Texting by Phone

Business-Class Texting

Does not sync with most CRMs

Syncs with most CRMs

Can’t provide substantive analytics

Provides detailed information on response rates, click-throughs, success rates, and more

 

So, there you have it. Business-class text messaging from top to bottom.

Want more on business texting? Check out our Definitive Guide to Business Texting.

Are you ready to give it a try? Schedule a demo today.

Start texting!

 

Topics: Business Texting, Text Messaging