I don’t know about you, but when I get work-related texts on my mobile phone, things can sometimes get a little hairy. Have you ever accidentally replied to a work text with a personal comment intended for a friend, your spouse or your child? Last time I checked, most of my business associates really don’t care if I’m stopping at the store to buy milk on the way home—though my wife is particularly interested.
Though your business associates may not want to know everything about your personal life, creating a more personalized communications experience via texting is usually met with open arms. Why? Because people LOVE to text. It’s quick, easy, trackable (using the right tools) and 98% of text messages are actually read. Those are pretty good odds.
How are companies using text over their business (SIP) lines? Let me share the ways…
Customer support: Texting can be a very beneficial addition to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program. With text over SIP, your employees can send and receive text messages (texts and images) to and from existing business phone numbers. Messages that come from a familiar number are more likely to get read. And the beauty is that it can be set up so multiple users can tap into the conversation through one interface. No lost messages, no down time when someone is out sick!
Couponing (via auto reply functionality): One of the benefits of texting is that you can set up auto replies based on keywords. For example, you can tell your customers and prospects to type in the word “deal” to a given phone number and then auto-text them a special offer code if they type in that word. It’s an excellent way to generate new leads and enter into that texting relationship.
Appointment reminders: Once a customer opts into text messaging from a business, that business can send appointment reminders—great for doctor’s offices, dentists, hair salons and more—and the recipient can simply reply back with various key pad options to either confirm, deny or start the process of rescheduling.
Sending photos: Picture messages, or MMS, can be a great asset for companies like insurance agencies, for instance, where a person can take a photo of their car following an accident. That type of immediate access to visual information simply wasn’t possible 10 years ago—and even five years ago, that same picture message would likely have been taken on someone’s personal mobile phone (not great for trackability).
As you can see, there are many different ways that adding text support to a business phone line can be beneficial in building and maintaining customer relationships. Rather that one-off occurrences, text messages can now become completely integrated with every element of the CRM experience. Personally, I’ve managed a lot of teams over the years and when I didn’t have insight into text conversations, it was easy to lose context surrounding certain customer relationships—especially when one of my sales reps would leave the company I was working for or we transferred an account from one rep to another. Those days are over.
So what are you waiting for? Integrating text into your business lines is just good for business. And by the way, it’s a whole lot more efficient than accidentally texting a business associate from your personal phone, saying “no you can’t get a nose ring this weekend!”