Connecting with customers in today’s business climate is challenging. Enterprise customer expectations pivot quickly and the disconnect between what businesses believe consumers want and are looking for grows wider with every new platform and technology innovation.
Customers agree. 90% believe that brands fail to meet their expectations on a good customer experience.
The pressure to keep up, maintain relevance, and stay connected is overwhelming, especially if your brand offers multiple locations or franchises. Today, most businesses still believe that email is the number one communication method customers want to use when they interact with a business, yet 90% of consumers around the world prefer interacting with brands via text messaging. It’s where they are already anyway.
Text messaging is so commonplace, 97% of consumers already send or receive at least one text per day. 82% open every single text they receive, usually within minutes. It’s time to meet customers where they want to meet you—on their phones and in their messages. And it’s time to meet their expectations throughout the customer journey.
4 Growth Strategies for Multi-location Brands
Here are four ways to implement text messaging into your customer experience:
- Set appointments and send appointment reminders
- Keep an open line of communication
- Create and close business
- Post-purchase follow ups
1. Set appointments and send appointment reminders.
$98 billion dollars per year—that’s how much is lost each year as businesses fail to provide a simple experience to potential customers. Complicated systems and outdated techniques leave money on the table as leads abandon carts and seek out competitors. While 80% of consumers say convenience is a top element in a positive customer experience, 73% say one extraordinary experience raises their expectations of other businesses and brands.
Create an extraordinarily convenient scheduling experience with text messaging.
Scheduling via text adds convenience to the customer experience, improves response times to actually schedule the appointment, and reduces no-shows. Plus, by offering a text-to-schedule option, you can combat the already low opinion consumers have of telephone response times, especially if it’s the method you’re currently using to communicate with prospects and customers—only 67% of consumers are satisfied with the response time they receive when they speak with a business over the phone.
Add convenience to scheduling:
- Offer a text-to-schedule option
- Send appointment confirmations via text
- Remind customers via text to reduce no-shows
2. Keep an open line of communication.
80% of businesses believe that they deliver a superior customer service experience. But 92% of customers disagree. One way to improve the customer service experience, and to ensure it’s a similar experience at each of your brand’s locations, is to meet customers where they want to meet you—on their mobile device. By offering an open line of communication, via text, prospects and customers can communicate in the way they prefer, reach out to brands 24/7, and ask questions with the additional detail of photos and video to describe problems or concerns.
65% of consumers report that texting makes working with a business more convenient. It’s more convenient for businesses too. By offering an open line of communication, brands can ask for feedback throughout the customer journey, addressing concerns and intercepting challenges before they make their way into a review online.
Create more opportunities for conversation:
- Ask for feedback throughout the customer journey
- Address customer concerns and challenges
- Answer questions via text with the help of photos and videos
3. Create and close business.
Nearly 1/3 of all consumers prefer a mobile payment option like text messaging, yet only 26% of businesses use text messages to collect payments. It’s a missed opportunity—45% of consumers will complete the desired action in the text they receive.
Outside of closing business, 75% of consumers want to receive offers and relevant upsells directly on their mobile device—bonus points if it’s personalized and related to their current search trends. And if branded texts aren’t part of your nurture strategy, know this—50% of consumers in the United States that receive a branded text go on to make a direct purchase.
Close more business with text messaging:
- Send payment links directly to customers’ mobile phones
- Collect contactless payment via text
- Offer convenience and speed with mobile checkout options
4. Post-purchase follow up
Traditionally, post-purchase follow-up messages are sent through email. 66% of businesses still believe that’s the preferred method of communication for customers (even though 90% report that text messaging is the preferred platform). The post-purchase messages often include a customer satisfaction survey, a check-in message to maintain contact between purchases, and a review ask.
Healthcare Playbook for Business Text Messaging
Consumers in the United States check their phones more than 50 times per day, and healthcare patients are no different. With a phone likely in reach, texting is the right channel—and the most convenient channel—to connect and communicate about their healthcare needs. Yet only 17% of patients currently engage with their providers via text. There’s plenty of room for improvement and an opportunity to reduce the 96% of healthcare complaints that are linked to poor communication or service by office staff or physicians.
Here are six critical interactions that text messaging can improve for healthcare:
- Stay connected between appointments
- Improve the healthcare appointment experience
- Educate patients on preventative healthcare
- Deliver critical care information
- Collect payment on the go
- Move from text to secure video calls, seamlessly
1. Stay connected between appointments.
Patients can often feel disconnected from their providers between appointments. Nearly 70% report that they specifically want more communication after they leave the office and before they return for their next scheduled visit. By implementing a text messaging strategy, providers can engage and connect to patients between appointments, providing convenient support that wasn’t possible years ago.
2. Improve the healthcare appointment experience.
Timely messages, such as a provider running late or an appointment time change, should be delivered in the most convenient and accessible way possible. A text to the patient alerting them that the appointment is pushed back 15 minutes allows for an adjustment in their travel time, offers rescheduling opportunities, and manages patient expectations, increasing the probability of a positive experience.
3. Educate patients on preventative healthcare.
Move from reactive to proactive with a preventative healthcare approach—delivered via text. Reminders about preventative screenings, annual exams, and even community events that center around staying healthy can help educate your patients and encourage them to participate in preventative healthcare.
4. Deliver critical care information.
In one study, patients were found to only recall 40% of the advice and instructions they received in a medical appointment. Nearly half of what was recalled was incorrect. Following up each appointment with detailed information about the appointment could greatly improve a patient’s ability to follow medication instructions, manage treatment plans, and have a better healthcare experience.
5. Collect payment on the go.
73% of healthcare providers report that it takes at least four weeks to collect payment from patients. Avoid the problems of mailing a billing statement, waiting for delivery, a phone call to make a payment over-the-phone, or worse, lost mail. Give your patients the convenience they want—nearly one-third of all consumers prefer a mobile payment option. It’s the modern way to collect payment.
6. Move from text to secure video call, seamlessly.
Pre-pandemic, only 9% of patient interaction was conducted via telehealth video calls. But with an uptick to more than 50% during COVID-19 and an expectation that video interactions will remain around 21% post-pandemic, transitioning to a video call seamlessly is more important than ever before. Send your telehealth link directly to the patient’s phone and move from text conversation to video call in a secure, HIPAA compliant environment.
Retail Playbook for Business Text Messaging
Nearly 80% of shoppers use their mobile phones to search for a product. If your retail buying experience doesn’t include more mobile options, your prospects will find what they need with your competitors. From offering a text-to-chat option in your Google My Business listing to text updates on the shipping status of an order, there are a myriad of touchpoints that today’s retail customers expect—directly on their mobile device.
Here are five critical interactions that text messaging can improve for retail customers:
- Solve customer service problems quickly
- Offer an inventory check
- Convert web chats to text conversations
- Send offers and discounts
- Close the deal (and connect payment on the go)
1. Solve customer service problems quickly.
Over 30% of consumers rate phone calls as the most frustrating channel for customer service. Move your feedback channel and customer service experience to a text conversation. You’ll catch frustrated customers earlier on and reduce the challenges that many customers find in playing telephone with customer service reps.
2. Offer an inventory check.
In today’s climate, driving to a physical storefront only to find out the product you need or want is out of stock is more than inconvenient. Offer an inventory check via text. Not only will you set your brand apart from the competition with a simple, convenient shopping experience, but you’ll also create trust and connection with every prospect that utilizes the service.
3. Convert web chats to text conversations.
Don’t let conversations that start online disconnect once the customer is called away. Convert web chats to text messages to keep the conversation going. It’s a personalized touch that meets the expectation of 84% of consumers—connecting the online and offline retail experience.
4. Send offers and discounts.
Four out of five Americans agree that finding a great deal or discount is important and something they think about during their entire purchase journey. Offer promotions and discounts directly to your warm leads via text. It’s an expected part of the buyer experience and will help your business convert more leads.
5. Close the deal (and collect payment on the go).
65% of consumers say that texting makes it easier and more convenient to work with and buy from a business. Send a direct link to checkout and purchase your product or service–right to the prospect’s phone. Nearly one-third of consumers prefer a mobile checkout anyway.
Financial Services Playbook for Business Text Messaging
Financial services products and offerings can be overwhelming. Reducing the complexity with simple, easy-to-use communication techniques creates the convenient, positive experience financial services customers expect. And with 57 million consumers already using mobile banking in the United States, over 1/3 of customers at major U.S. banks, speaking to them on their phone is exactly what they want.
Here are five critical interactions that text messaging can improve for financial services customers:
- Automate reminders and confirmations
- Deliver critical account information in real-time
- Add more security to each interaction
- Send personalized offers
- Request reviews for future prospects
1. Automate reminders and confirmations.
Reduce paper waste and staff time with automated reminders and confirmation text messages. An automated text to confirm an application has been accepted or approved and a reminder to make your monthly mortgage payment are convenient ways to keep your customer up-to-date, informed, and connect to your institution.
2. Deliver critical account information–in real-time.
Time-critical and account-based messages should be delivered directly to the device your customer uses the most—their phone. An automated text can offer notices such as past-due balances, low balance alerts, credit card overspending, etc. Your customers live in a world that already offers 24/7 updates, their financial experience should be no different.
3. Add more security to each interaction.
Text messaging offers far more than a way to deliver specific messages about an account balance or payment reminder. It’s a clear path to a more secure experience with your business. Implement two-factor authentication to increase your customer’s security in their online interactions and send fraud alerts when any suspicious activity is detected on their accounts.
4. Send personalized offers.
Over 60% of consumers prefer texting to speaking on the phone. Transition your sales reps to send personalized upsell offers directly to their customers via text. Loan offers, monthly rewards, triple points, and other financial products or offers are 750% more likely to be read and responded to when sent as a text message vs. an email.
5. Request reviews for future prospects.
The industry consumers trust the least? Financial services and banking—even lower than the media. Improve your online presence and trust in your brand with more online reviews. You can request them directly in a text to your current customers, making it easy for them to submit a review and easier for Google to serve up your brand in future customer search results.
Home Services Playbook for Business Text Messaging
The market is changing for home services brands, and what worked in the past isn’t quite keeping up with the modern customer. Even though 91% of all U.S. consumers keep their mobile devices within reach 24/7, less than ⅓ of homeowners will pick up the phone if you call them—and it doesn’t matter if it’s to schedule a service, collect a bill, or ask for feedback. Meet your consumers where they want to meet you—digitally on their mobile devices.
Here are four critical interactions that text messaging can improve for home services customers:
- Automate review requests
- Simplify customer communications with your team
- Schedule and confirm appointments
- Send invoices and collect payments
1. Automate review requests
Before a consumer will work or buy from a local business, nearly 90% will read a review to determine the quality and trust of the brand. It’s clear your business needs more online reviews for future search results. Automate the process by sending a text directly to your customer after each service and you’ll increase the chances of customers reviewing your business and prospects finding your business.
2. Simplify customer communications with your team
Whether your business is plumbing, landscaping, pest control, HVAC, or electrical, your customers need to hear from you and members of your staff. Your current process might include a phone call, direct mail, or even an email. But consider this—the average reply time for an email is 90 minutes while 90% of all texts are opened within three minutes and read within 90 seconds. Simplify your communication strategy by moving everything to text.
3. Schedule and confirm appointments
Automate scheduling and confirmations with text messages. Offer multiple options and confirm the appointment in real time. With this process streamlined, your staff will save time, your customers will respond faster, and you can connect to your entire lead base at the same time.
4. Send invoices and collect payments
Just as customers prefer texts to phone calls or even email for business communication, payment options are no different. Send your invoice or even a direct link to make a payment in the way the modern customer expects—via text. It’s contactless, convenient, and curated to the needs of today’s consumer. Plus, nearly one-third of consumers, regardless of industry, prefer a mobile checkout.
How to get started with text messaging.
Enable your landline to accept text messages. Instead of adding a textable number to your contact information, maintain continuity and consistency by enabling your landline to receive text messages. Adjust your messaging online, in-store, and in email campaigns with instructions to “call or text.”
Add your textable number to your Google Business Profile listings. Turn on messaging in your Google My Business listings to allow prospects and customers to “message” you as they find you in local search results. It’s important to remember that once you turn on messaging and you receive a new message, it’s best practice to respond quickly. Google will deactivate messaging from accounts that don’t respond to consumers within a 24-hour period consistently.
For more detailed instructions on how to turn on messaging, click here
Funnel all customer messages into a single platform across every location. Implement a customer interaction management platform to help you manage all incoming text message conversations. With the right platform you can improve customer satisfaction scores with speedy response times and reduce call volumes by moving conversations to a digital experience.
Find the right interaction management solution that will help you:
- Leverage every preferred messaging channel—one secure inbox for all messages (and every location for your brand) from Facebook, Google, and more.
- Gather reviews easily and quickly—a simple text has a higher chance of response than email and only takes 30 seconds.
- Convert website visitors to text conversations—use a web chat feature that keeps the conversation going.
- Offer speed and convenience across all interactions—find a solution that prioritizes ease in all communications including scheduling, feedback, payments, and reviews.
- Integrate with your existing tech stack—continue work in the tools you already use: Salesforce, Yext, ServiceTitan, AthenaHealth, Dentrix, etc.
Press Send with Podium.
Connect to your customers throughout the entire customer journey with Podium, the interaction management platform your multi-location business needs.
- Save time—manage all communication channels and separate systems through a single, secure platform.
- Convert leads—attract the right customers with higher local search rankings and relevant reviews.
- Delight customers—create a multi-channel, frictionless customer journey from first impression to post purchase.
Watch a demo here