You click on a live chat icon and ask a question only to have a clearly automated bot respond with several requests for personal information. Just as you’re responding, the bot replies that you’ve taken too long and now have to start the conversation over. When you finally jump through all the hoops, the bot doesn’t even accurately answer your question. 

When it comes to business communication, automation can save you valuable time, cut costs, and vet your incoming leads in ways that help you close your sales cycle faster. But if your automated features sound like a bot, you can lose customers quickly. 

Using automated texts while maintaining humanity is a carefully crafted balance that centers around transparency, convenience, and personalization. And there are definite dos and don’ts. Luckily, we’re here to get you in “the know.” 

How to automate texts without sounding like a bot: 

Have a picture of a person instead of a bot on your live chat feature. This is a very simple but extremely effective way to help your customers feel that they are connecting with a human instead of automation. Consider using a high-quality picture of you or an employee. 

Customize your message so that it sounds like you and your brand. Using personalization, conversational language, and emojis, customize your automated messages to have a tone and feel that serves as an effective introduction to your brand. 

Make the messages interactive. The more interactive a message is, the more human it feels. For example, if you have automated a text to be sent to confirm an appointment, you can use a name, informal language, and a question that can be responded to with more than a “Y” or “N.” 

Hey! This is Heidi from Podium. I have you down to come in at 10 am tomorrow. Are you still good for that time? 

Allow responses more complex than letters and numbers. Asking a customer to respond with “Y,” “N”, “1,2,3” gives a very robotic feel. With the right software, your system can recognize the intent of a response such as “Yeah, that sounds good. Thanks so much.” and trigger a response like, “Okay, great!” This substantially increases conversational feel and reduces friction between your business and the consumer. 

Tie your automated messaging system directly to your CRM. With the right platform, your automation can be directly connected to your CRM tools. This allows you to automate messages that are automatically personalized with information such as customer names, preferences, and history. 

Send messages during business hours. When it comes to things like confirming appointments and offering updates, messages feel more human when sent between 9-5 (when employees would normally be working). However, many businesses successfully use automated messaging specifically for after-hours communication. Consider actively sending texts during business hours and using automated messages when leads engage with you after-hours. An after-hours automated text might look something like this:

Thank you for contacting Belview Tires. These messages are not regularly monitored on weekends & evenings. We will reply during business hours. We appreciate your business!

Implement two-way communication on automated messages. With the right technology, you can respond automatically to FAQs with automated messages. As the conversation continues, if the consumer asks a question that requires live assistance, the right platform can trigger an employee to respond back. This saves a huge amount of time for you and your employees. 

Be transparent. When your system reaches a point in the conversation that calls for a live employee, set up a triggered message such as “a live employee will text you shortly” so that the customer knows she is changing hands. Many consumers understand the need for automation and just want to feel that they are being communicated openly and honestly.

If used correctly, automating your text messages means each of your employees can connect with more customers and have more meaningful interactions. And with those interactions, you can convert customers for life. To learn more, check out our Local Business Guide to Digital Transformation and Text Message Automation Guide.

Podium’s SMS marketing software automation gives local businesses the ability to automate text messages to customers. These messages can be timed based upon a triggered event from Podium or some other source so customers get messaged at the right time, every time. Every message remains interactive and encourages customer engagement. These messages can be customized for any purpose including sending appointments reminders, getting appointment confirmations from customers, sending customer follow-up messages in order to help you win more business, keep more appointments, convert more leads and keep customers coming back.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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