1. Texting is a better customer experience than other methods of communication.
Calling someone on the phone requires that person to be available right then. With most people working business hours, availability is often limited, which sometimes results in a never-ending game of phone tag. But “texting is something that they can do even if they’re in a meeting for work,” Duplain said.
It’s convenient. Almost too convenient sometimes.
Darren Dixon, founder and CEO of fyxify, a software platform for home service businesses, said sometimes he’ll be downstairs and his kids will be right upstairs and they’ll text him asking “What’s for dinner?” Because it’s just a lot easier to text about it.
2. Texting has a 98% open rate.
Compared to the gamble of sending an email or making a phone call, that’s pretty good. It’s an effective way to make sure that the information customers need to see, gets seen, Duplain said.
In today’s day and age, texting is also usually the preferred method of communication for consumers.
“I think that businesses have a responsibility to meet the consumer where they’re at, and do businesses — including the communication process — the way the consumer prefers,” Dixon said.
3. It helps contractors save time and get more done.
Texting is convenient, which means it’s super-easy and super-fast.
Businesses become more efficient through texting by missing fewer leads and responding to customers faster. They can juggle 10-plus text conversations with various customers all in the same amount of time it would take to have a phone call with just one customer, Duplain said. Some of Podium’s customers reported saving 40 or more hours a week making the switch from phone calls to texting.
Customers also personally enjoy the efficiency as well of the modality of the digital transfer of information, Dixon said.
“The way that we look at how we deal with texting is that we can text a notification or an alert to a consumer, that is a modality of communication, but a link that they can click on that will actually deliver content, that becomes very usable. It’s like an envelope, if you will.”
Consumers like quick content that they don’t need to work too hard for to obtain. Everyone is always looking to save time.
4. It’s an effective way to bring in more revenue and business growth.
Through texting, businesses have the ability to send out information in bulk to a large audience. The ability to broadcast that information quickly and reach a number of people at once is definitely a pro for businesses, Dixon said.
Also, a huge issue in the home services industry, Duplain said, is customers reaching out to businesses and not hearing back.
“They will have likely texted or reached out to several other competitors and chosen the business who responded first. So you’re missing out on business and revenue and your potential customers are having a negative experience with you from the very first interaction.”
That’s why when businesses provide an easy way for a customer to get in touch with them and receive a response — something like texting — customers take advantage of it.
Texting can also help businesses grow aside from money: It can help them grow their staff by using text messaging to help in the hiring processes.
“Think about using texts to send out a hiring campaign — where you let your customers know that your business is hiring,” Duplain said. In the text, there could be a link where anyone interested could submit a resume or fill out an application.
Business Texting 101
When it comes to texting, contractors will want to make sure it’s personalized (using customer names), be brief enough so the message can be sent in one text, and use branded links, Duplain said.
“Use a link that has your company name in it so they can trust the link when they see it, as opposed to a bit.ly or similar,” he said.
Companies will also want to use a 10-digit phone number to send text messages from. That way, the phone number looks legit and not like spam, and then customers can text the number back. Another thing is to use an actual person to reply to a customer.
“People do not want to interact with bots,” Dixon said. “We need to start balancing efficiency for the company versus the experience for the consumer. Not everything that is most efficient is actually the best experience for a consumer.”
Texting is a great complement to other methods of communication. Using it in conjunction with phone calls and email can actually be a really good strategy, Duplain said, to avoid blowing up consumers phones.
Dixon agrees. A text could lead to a phone call. Businesses just have to read the room to figure out when and when not to text about something.
“If I want to have a sincere, emotional conversation with my wife, I’m not going to text her because it’s not the proper modality,” Dixon said. “Text can be both a verb and a noun. So ‘text’ as a noun, I don’t think it’s necessarily the greatest form of communication. But ‘text’ as a verb, yes.”
As a rule of thumb, Dixon recommends never to text customers past 8 p.m.
“Once family dinner has begun, unnecessary communication should cease.”
Trust in Text
Businesses can be hesitant to text with customers, Duplain said. But what they don’t realize is they probably already have been texting with customers in some capacity, and if they haven’t, likely other employees have been sending texts from their personal phones.
If businesses know their employees will be texting customers, they can get ahead of it and invest in a cloud-based software that gives them a way to track how employees are corresponding with customers, so they can ensure there isn’t any funny business going on — and the employees are representing the company properly.
Dixon said he thinks customers want to know anything he’d have to sit around and wonder about: who’s coming to my house, when are they coming, when will they leave and when will the project be done.
Duplain said that texting with customers will make a customer feel like the business actually cares about them, and not just about their money.
Texting doesn’t take long to implement because everyone knows how to do it. Once businesses realize what the customer expects, they can meet their expectations. Consumers can start to trust businesses again, businesses can grow, and both parties save time because texting makes doing business together convenient.