Texting is one of the most popular forms of communication in our society. Some find the transition to a text-centric world to be tragic; some find it to be convenient; some even find it a wonderful alternative to calling. Regardless of our feelings about texting, we are having to adjust to this mode of communication in our personal lives, in our public lives, and even in our businesses.
Should Small Businesses Adopt Texting as a Form of Communicating With Customers?
Many businesses have not yet made the adjustment to communicating with customers through text messaging; they are still trying to communicate with customers using what practically seem to be stone-age methods, like mailers, canvassing, outbound calls, print ads, and even email. While these approaches are still effective to a degree, neglecting more modern styles of communication is, frankly, foolish.
At Weave, we understand that the task of reinvigorating your business by using technology like two-way texting can be intimidating. You may grasp the necessity of evolving as a business due to market forces altering the way our society communicates, but you may not know how to stay caught up with this constant flux. We want to help your small business be as efficient and modern as possible, and implementing two-way texting is a central part of this modernizing process.
Before we show you how Weave’s two-way texting actually works, let’s take a look at some deeper reasons why two-way texting can help your business communicate more effectively with your customers.
A Short History of Texting
Short Message Service, abbreviated as SMS, was developed in Europe in the 1980s under the guidance of German and French telecommunications engineers. These engineers decided that 160 alpha-numeric characters were sufficient to convey any message they needed through their service. The efforts of these engineers became the groundwork for the modern phenomenon we know as “texting.”
Text message functionality improved rapidly. The first phone to phone text message, which read “Merry Christmas,” was sent in 1992 by Neil Papworth, another telecommunications engineer. While he was pleased with the outcome of his experiment, he doubted whether the general public would find the function useful outside of specific cases, such as emergencies. Little did he know, this form of communication would go on to surpass phone calls in popularity.
After the first phone to phone SMS was sent, Nokia debuted the first mobile phone with texting capabilities in 1993. This phone used T9 typing technology, relying on the phone’s digits to scroll through the alphabet. Shortly thereafter, Nokia soon provided the first built-in QWERTY keyboard in 1997.
By the turn of the millennium, phones became capable of texting to different networks, and the texting phenomenon took another jump forward. Apple developed virtual keyboards in 2007, bringing QWERTY keyboarding to the digital realm. This is also the year that the number of texts sent in a calendar year surpassed calls made.
How Popular Is Texting?
Over the last decade, texting hasn’t gone away. If anything, smartphones have made texting somehow more popular, and with a casual look around a public place, you’ll notice that people are constantly checking their phone for messages. The polling data demonstrates just how common texting is:
–97% of Americans text at least once per day. Everyone is texting: the old and the young, the sick and the healthy, the rich and the poor. Texting is simply part of the way modern humans communicate.
–6 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day. Americans are especially prone to text. Six billion texts break down to roughly 18.5 texts per person. So, the above once per day averages out to a lot more than a single SMS.
–Texts have a 98% open rate, compared to a 20% open rate for emails. Because we always carry out smartphones with us, we almost automatically read out texts due to functions like notifications. Some check their emails on their phone, but the length of many emails serves as a deterrent to opening them.
–The average adult spends a total of 23 hours per week texting. Between conventional SMS messages and all of the text possibilities provided through social media, people are continually involved in some type of conversation.
–Twice as many texts as calls are sent each day. Of course, a lot more can be said in a phone call than in a text, which explains the disparity. Still, the data suggests that we like the ability to be brief and the option to reply at our own pacing and leisure.
–The average person takes approximately 90 seconds to respond to a text; email responses require around 90 minutes. Remember that seemingly random, 160-character limit established by telecommunications engineers in the 1980s? It turns out that these limitations make it easier for people to respond. They don’t feel the pressure involved with a long-form medium like email. They can give a quick answer and go back to their lives.
Clearly, texting has taken over the way our society communicates. It’s necessary to maintain relationships, to plan family events, and to reach out to old friends. But does this popularity cross over into the business sector?
The Necessity of Two-Way Business Texting
Statistics indicate that texting isn’t merely a mode of communication people enjoy in their personal lives; they want businesses to utilize this tool as well. Here are a few indicators of the demand for businesses to provide two-way texting:
–Over half of consumers want businesses to provide a texting option. Sure, not everyone demands that the businesses they frequent give them the option to text. What’s important is that your business is appealing to as many different customers as possible, including their communication preferences.
–Texting scores the highest rate of customer satisfaction (90% approval) out of all other customer communication channels. There’s something about texting that lets the customer relax. They don’t have to worry about long call queues, obnoxious voices, or unanswered emails.
–70% of consumers appreciate getting texts from their healthcare providers. Texting is especially in demand in the medical, dental, and optometry fields. With two-way texting becoming ubiquitous, the majority of patients are going to expect their provider to send them messages about upcoming appointments, unpaid bills, and appointment availability.
–77 % of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are likely to have a positive perception of a company with a two-way texting service. Let’s face it, millennials are the clients of the future. There’s an entire generation that’s grown up accustomed to texting as a primary communication method. They need their healthcare providers to match this expectation.
–Consumers’ preferred activities by text include checking their status (38%), changing appointments (32%), and making reservations (31%). As mentioned above, important yet menial tasks like checking statuses, altering appointment times, and planning visits can be a hassle to complete over the phone or even through a company website. Texting can make these vital yet mundane activities simpler and quicker.
As two-way business texting becomes standard practice in virtually every industry, it becomes more and more essential for every business to give their clientele the option to text. This is confirmed both by the numbers and by simply observing the world around us, a world dominated by interactions that increasingly take place through our smartphones. Weave wants to equip your practice with the tools to meet this growing demand.
Ways Two-Way Business Texting Can Help Your Business Communicate More Effectively
Up to this point, we’ve discussed the historical development of texting, the current popularity of texting in contemporary society, and the statistical necessity of business texting. Our discussion has maybe been a little abstract or number-centric. So, specifically, how can two-way texting help your business communicate more effectively with customers?
Texting leaves a data trail
When your customers text you or your employees, they share numerous details regarding their consumer preferences. This data allows your marketing department, whether it be yourself or a full team of experts, to understand your clientele and how to more effectively interact with them in the future.
Texting can be fun
By offering a two-way business, you can incorporate other activities like surveys, games, and contests into your marketing approach. Many customers respond enthusiastically to these types of interactions, especially when incentivized with discounts, giveaways, and other deals. These text interactions, if done in a sparing and calculated fashion, can make your customers more likely to communicate with your practice.
Texting is cheap
In the past, businesses have allocated huge amounts of money to advertisements, billboards, and mailings. They have wasted massive amounts of time dialing and redialing their clients to keep plan appointments and inform them regarding billing and test results. Two-way texting will save your business money and time.
Texting is an easy way to keep your customers informed
By implementing two-way texting, your practice can let your clients know about changes in pricing, new products or practitioners, and potential delays. It also makes you prepared for potential crises. If your customers can be informed with a short text, you can keep them in the loop.
Texting is everywhere
We’ve already shared some statistics, but we’re doubling down here. SMS is the most widely used smartphone feature. According to Morgan Stanley, 91% of consumers are within reach of their phone 24/7. The same cannot be said of computers, let alone mailboxes, newspapers, magazines, or even landlines.
Texts get read
Because the vast majority of texts are read within a few minutes, they have a much higher response rate than email. Most emails get skimmed over and then are forgotten about. Plenty of other emails just end up in a spam bin. Texting drastically increases the likelihood of your practice getting ahold of your customers.
Texting is customizable
Since texting leaves the aforementioned data trail, it allows you to gather the data and use it to customize future messages. When you have a record of important details such as health history, specific needs, and other client attributes, you can make your interactions more personable via text.
Weave’s Two-Way Texting Feature Is Available Now
Texting has gone from a small telecommunications project to one of the world’s most popular forms of communication in our lifetimes. Over the past decade, businesses have realized the immense benefits of integrating two-way texting into their communications with their customers.
Two-way texting can provide your business with essential data, offer exciting new ways to interact with clients and keep clients posted on a minute-to-minute basis. Texting can reach customers in almost any circumstance, be read and responded to in moments, and customized to the particular needs of each customer. It can save your business time and money. Learn how Weave’s phone system helps businesses take advantage of convenient two-way texting.