SMS, or Short Message Service, has only been around since 1992. Most people now refer to this type of communication as texting. Although they began as short messages with a limited number of alphanumeric characters, text exchanges now include images, videos, sound recordings, and ever-present emojis.
Text messaging was seldomly used by cell phone customers in the first ten years of its existence. By 2007, however, SMS had become the most widely used mobile data service, with 74% of phone subscribers being active users of text messaging.¹ Today, billions of people send trillions of text messages each year, and direct messaging has also spread to apps like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.
In the last decade, businesses have also discovered the utility of text messaging. Statistics show that nine out of ten business customers prefer texting. Additionally, text messages are more likely to be seen by customers than other forms of communication; 90% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes of getting them.²
Business texting isn’t just a way to be friendly and personable with clients. It’s a serious tool for maintaining customer loyalty, increasing employee productivity, and optimizing revenue streams. Texting plays a major role in the unique combination of hardware and software solutions provided by Weave.
There are specific ways to harness the power of text messaging. Small businesses that embrace texting and utilize it in their day-to-day activities tend to be more productive and better prepared to deal with the contemporary marketplace.
Here are seven ways to make the most out of business texting:
1. Send Out Appointment Reminders and Confirmations
One of the most basic ways to take advantage of texting is to send clients reminders for their appointments. Appointments are usually scheduled weeks or months in advance, so it’s easy for people to forget about them without hearing from your small business.
Instead of relying on phone calls to contact customers about upcoming appointments, it’s advisable to switch over to text reminders. These types of texts are much more convenient for customers to accept than phone calls in the middle of a busy work day. If your office utilizes mass texting, many more customers can be contacted at a time than calling each individual customer.
Confirmations are very similar to reminders, but ask that customers respond. The simple act of sending a YES or NO to a confirmation text cuts down on missed appointments while also giving your administrative team the opportunity to fill the schedule in the event of last-minute cancellations.
Weave lets you send appointment reminders and confirmations to your customers, as well as allowing your team to reschedule based on customer responses. It also gives you the ability to personalize your message templates to convey your office’s distinct brand. Some of our clients have decreased their time spent confirming appointments by 90% using Weave Messages instead of manual calling. Weave lets you schedule personalized automated appointment reminders, so you can have more time in the day.
Stay on top of things with scheduled text messages
Weave lets you schedule personalized automated appointment reminders, so you can have more time in the day.Schedule Demo
2. Automatically Respond to Missed Calls
Most small businesses only have a handful of people working at their front desk. If they get more than a few calls at one time, it’s almost impossible to answer them all. That’s why automatic missed call texts are key to improving your business’s communication system.
Missed call auto texts let customers know that your office received their call and will shortly be getting back to them. It also gives clients the opportunity to start a text conversation with your office team. Two-way text conversations are often more convenient for both the customer and your employees.
Two-way texts allow customers to get the essential information they need without engaging in games of phone tag. They can also respond at their leisure, granting them more flexibility than phone calls. Texts also create an on-hand record of vital information like appointment times, account numbers, and office location.
When customers have this essential information in their text messages, they don’t have to bother your staff with calls double-checking information. Your staff can carry on multiple text conversations at once with Weave’s easy-to-use interface. This keeps them from spending hours reaching out to clients and then hours more following up.
3. Recover from Cancellations
A certain percentage of customers will inevitably cancel their upcoming appointments. When these cancellations are same-day or within a few days of the scheduled appointment time, they’re often difficult to replace. Mass texts are an effective way to mitigate the issues caused by cancellations.
Weave comes with a Quick Fill feature that lets small businesses send out up to ten messages at once to customers that might be anxious to fill cancelled time slots. These text blasts are much more convenient than scrambling to call clients at the last minute. If customers accept an appointment time, they are automatically removed from the Quick Fill list.
Businesses are dealing with an unusually high level of cancellations right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing Quick Fill lists is an excellent way to reach clients that might be eager to get essential or emergency services, but are scheduled further out.
Quick Fill lists also systematize and optimize the work your administrative team does in combating cancellations. They can contact far more customers in far less time, letting them manage cancellations without sacrificing their attention to other operations and customers that are actually showing up for appointments.
4. Communicate With Your Team
Text messaging isn’t only for talking to customers about appointments. It’s also a great way to communicate with your team. This level of text communication applies not only to chat within the office, but to conversations with employees working remotely.
Just as texting with customers is frequently more convenient than phone calls with them, chatting with your employees and coworkers is often easier than trying to track them down in person or call their extension. Having a team chat app that’s compatible with both smartphones and desktop computers lets your office communicate critical information in a simple and secure format.
With many businesses operating remotely, right now is a key time to implement texting between your employees. Weave’s software lets your team chat with each other through a sleek interface that’s connected to our other features. This means they can jump from texting to other crucial functions quickly, improving their productivity even if they’re trying to fulfill their roles from within their individual quarantines.
5. Collect Payments by Text
One of the most recent business texting innovations is text payment. Once your business has a customer’s credit card information, it can charge for services rendered by sending a simple payment request with a corresponding link and invoice. This payment option is convenient for both customers and staff, especially at a time when people worry about community spread through mechanisms like payment terminals.
When your business is set up with a text payment option, customers don’t have to worry about stopping by the front desk after appointments to tap, swipe, or scan for payment. They can take care of their payment from the parking lot or from home if they’re in a hurry. Our research shows that 35% of customers are interested in utilizing a text payment option.
Text payments also simplify life for your administrative team. Instead of having to go through manual processing for each person that visits your office, your staff can automate payment texts to be sent after each appointment. This method saves your employees time and promotes social distancing.
6. Ask for Online Reviews by Text
Online reviews have become a key marketing component for businesses of all sizes. Sending out review requests directly following appointments is a great way to take advantage of business texting and build a base of authentic reviews.
Gathering online reviews helps improve your business’s online presence. The vast majority of consumers now look at online reviews before frequenting a new business. By requesting reviews from customers right after they’ve been to your office, you’re likely to get the positive reviews you need to achieve high star-rankings and better online visibility.
Asking for reviews by text is much simpler than having your administrative team hand out clipboards for written reviews. In your review request, you can share a link to a prominent review site, letting customers post their opinions at their own pace. You and your administrative staff can relax and your clients can share their thoughts on your business from the comfort of their own home.
7. Establish Virtual Waiting Rooms
All of the above ways to utilize business texting also promote the social distancing that’s become standard over the last month. Two-way texting also allows your business to create virtual, curbside waiting rooms that conform with public health guidelines.
To implement a virtual waiting room, have your office staff text customers the day of their appointment, letting them know that they should check in from their car upon arriving at your office. Once your team is ready to receive them, your clients can walk straight back to their appointment, cutting down on time spent at the front desk.
Use Weave for Business Texting
Texting is a form of communication that revolutionizes the way businesses function. It makes it easy for both employees and customers to schedule appointments, pay for service, and communicate with each other. Texting is also critical to maintaining the level of social distancing recommended by public health experts.
Watch a free demo about getting Weave’s unique texting features.