Short Message Service, or SMS, are text messages that get sent to cell phones. This communication channel offers a valuable way for your business to convey important information and strengthen your relationship, but you need to know the right way to use it.
Follow the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991
Much like email has CAN-SPAM requirements, you have to follow the TCPA when you want to use an SMS solution for your customer communications and marketing campaigns. You must have permission from each consumer before you can use an SMS message to contact them. If you fail to follow this act, each violation costs $500. Also, consumers can choose to sue for three times the amount for their damages.
When Does SMS Communication Work Best?
Your business can use SMS communication to develop customer relationships in many ways. Here are a few common tactics that companies use with this channel.
Customers can ask for help with a quick and convenient text message through conversational SMS. You can tie-in your self-help customer service resources with your SMS campaigns, which can relieve pressure on your staff. A fast response improves the customer experience and encourages people to get in touch if they have a problem.
Order Status Updates
Give customers up-to-the-minute updates on their orders. They can quickly check the status and figure out when they're going to get deliveries. You can also use this type of system to give them updates on any returns, refunds and similar situations.
Promotions and Sales
Send out coupons, sale notifications and other promotions through SMS marketing. Some of these might be time sensitive, so you can get them the information exactly when they need to act on it. Make sure that you segment your SMS list so you can customize the offers based on whether the person is a current customer, former customer, or hasn't made a purchase yet. Offer promotions in categories that are in-line with previous purchases whenever possible.
Top 4 SMS Best Practices
Beyond getting opt-in permission from your customers and potential buyers, you have several other best practices to keep in mind when using SMS for commercial purposes.
1) Make Each Message Valuable
Don't clutter the customer's inbox with a lot of useless texts. Ask yourself how they derive value from the messages that you send them, and whether you would welcome that kind of text sent to your own phone.
2) Texting Frequency
Choose a communication schedule and stick to it. If you're only going to use SMS to tell them about time-sensitive coupons, make sure that you follow this promise. If you want to send out a text every week about the latest products, don't suddenly ramp that up out of nowhere. Try to let the customers know about how often they can expect to hear from you. You don't want to overwhelm them with texts and make them frustrated when they see notifications from you.
3) Check the Time
Since many people get notifications when they receive texts, you don't want to schedule messages outside of business hours. The last thing you want is for a text to go through when someone is sleeping or in the middle of the night.
Customers may change their mind about wanting to receive text messages from your company. Make it easy for them to opt-out of your communication without needing to jump through any hoops. The process should be automated and seamless so you don't risk annoying them and damaging the relationship.
SMS communication gives you many ways to build a lasting relationship with your customers. Make sure that you're following the rules for using this channel and take full advantage of its possibilities.