Act! Blog

Drive Customer Engagement With Text Messaging and Act!

It’s well known that text messaging is a great way to communicate with friends and family but did you know that text messaging is also a great way to reach customers?

Why SMS/text messaging

Text messaging – also known as SMS – has been around for over 20 years, but it’s still the fastest, most reliable way to reach anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.

There are a number of reasons why SMS works better than other channels such as phone, email or social media.

To begin with, SMS is ubiquitous. In fact, according to the United Nations, 33% more people around the world have access to mobile phones than have access to toilets! SMS is also the preferred channel of communication for many customers. While Millennials’ preference for SMS is well documented, older users are increasingly adopting SMS and demonstrating a preference for being reached via SMS over other channels.

Why is SMS so popular? Text messaging boast three unique attributes that make it particularly popular – and powerful.

First, SMS is immediate.

  • Within seconds of sending a message to your customers, it will arrive at their handset. And it will get read. Compared to emails, which typically go unread for hours or even days, 90% of SMS are read within three minutes of being received.

Second, SMS is interactive.

  • SMS facilitates two-way conversation and because it’s instant, this happens in real time, making it a highly interactive channel. Customers can ask questions about a message you’ve sent, and you can reply while you still have their attention.

Finally, SMS is intimate.

  • SMS messages show up on the home screen of customers’ mobile phones, which makes them impossible to ignore. Also, unlike email, the SMS channel hasn’t been overwhelmed by SPAM, which means that almost all messages are ones the customer wants to see. Finally, SMS is a much more familiar and friendly channel that customers are used to using with friends and family.

Using SMS

There are two main ways to use SMS with customers.

The first is ad hoc, one-to-one messages. Just like you do with friends and family, you can engage customers in two-way conversations over SMS. Have an urgent matter that you need to discuss with a customer? SMS is the perfect solution. Unlike with email, you don’t have to worry about the message getting overlooked or sent to a junk mail folder. And unlike with voicemail, you don’t have to worry about playing an endless game of “voicemail tag.” The immediate and interactive nature of SMS means that clarifying questions can be asked and answered with a few short messages.

Some examples of one-to-one messages are appointment reminders, payment reminders, congratulatory messages (e.g., wishing a customer a happy birthday), thank you messages, order updates, and shipping notifications.

The second way to use SMS is one-to-many or group messages. While SMS is perfect for personalized messages, it’s also great when you want to reach a group with the same message. Address books, templates and mail merge functionality mean that you can efficiently reach a large audience with just a few clicks. The immediacy and cut-through of SMS ensures that the message will get noticed and read by your customers. And the interactive nature of SMS makes it easy for individual customers to respond.

Examples of group messages include new product announcements, special promotions, holiday or seasonal messages, and company updates.

Getting started with SMS for Act!

SMS functionality is integrated directly into Act!, which makes implementing it in your business a breeze. SMS4Act! is available exclusively to Act! subscribers and you can find out how it works and how to get started here.