When you think about texting, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Lols and emoticons?
How about closing a business deal?
Over two-thirds of business professionals are using text messaging for business-related communications. In addition, nearly 75% of business workers text colleagues while over half text external contacts like customers and prospects. With the use of texting rising inside and outside the workplace, business professionals need to start thinking about how texting can help their company.
Over 81% of the U.S. adult population texts–that’s over 250 million people. Additionally, 6 billion texts are sent in the U.S. each day, far outpacing phone traffic of 3 billion calls (which, to be fair, is still a lot). By incorporating text, your business can capture some of that valuable text traffic instead of letting it pass you by.
Below are five ways texting stands out as a form of business communication:
It’s cheaper. According to a Forrester and Oracle report from 2012, it costs between $6-20 per call in the average contact center. Web chat costs a lot less, only $2-5 per session, and automating text lowers that to just 25 cents per session. Some of our clients have redirected 1/ 3 of their calls to text and automation, decreasing costs by 25%.
It’s in real-time. On average, we get more emails a day than we do text messages, but while emails often linger in our inbox, texts are read almost immediately–just under 90 seconds. Compare that with our email response time, an average of 2.5 days (not that anyone’s counting). Add in the fact that email eats up 28% of our average work time and you’ve got one more reason to switch to text.
It’s flexible. 81% of customers are frustrated being stuck to a phone or computer for service help. With text, customers can put their phone down and check it again at their leisure (although they usually check it pretty quickly). Texting also allows users to be more discreet than they ever could with voice calls. Maybe you’re exchanging sensitive details or you’re in a loud, crowded space where making a phone call is out of the question. Texting lets you continue that conversation right where you are, when you want.
It’s short. William Shakespeare once wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” In plain English, that means “keep it short.” Rambling on and on doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what you’re talking about, or that what you’re saying is any good, and customers know that. They also know that they have a small window of time in which they want to get things done. 41% of customers who text are likely to believe that a text-enabled company values their time–they can get their problem resolved almost instantly without having to deal with a lengthy conversation.
It’s wanted. 80% of customers want to text contact centers, and 64% would prefer to perform some kind of customer service activities with text. Unfortunately, only 29% of contact centers offer an SMS capability. With texting ranked as the number one activity one cell phones and as the preferred method of communication for most of the population, you need to engage your customers how they want.
A lot of businesses don’t want to use texting because it’s informal, but that’s exactly what customers love about it. Phone and email are still integral parts of business communication; now it’s time to incorporate SMS.