3 Easy Business SMS Strategies to Increase Customer Retention & Value
Happier customers stay with you longer, give you more money, and recommend you to others. These business SMS strategies are designed to create happier customers.
Let's dig in!
A few key factors create great customer experiences, and you know what? They have nothing to do with your products or services.
What you sell has to be good, of course. But people often care more about how they’re treated.
Thus, increasing customer retention and value has more to do with being there for people than selling the industry's best.
This is vital, because even a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25%-95%! It also costs 5X-25X more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer.
Communication - particularly business SMS - has a big impact on these relationships! (For those unfamiliar, business SMS refers to texting as a brand, professionally and with a specific voice. Click here for more.)
And here are 3 easy business SMS strategies to help you increase your customer retention and value.
Strategy #1 → Use Business SMS for Customer Service and Support
When one of your customers has a need, you want to resolve it immediately. Otherwise, emotions fester, and a small issue begins to reshape their entire perception of your business!
Which would you rather be?
PC: The Comic News
Several factors go into great customer service, including:
- Friendliness, and
- Conflict resolution
Each of these impacts customer retention and value in different ways.
Speed and Convenience
Speed and convenience go hand in hand. That’s why everything mobile is so popular these days! You get instant access to everything from your pocket.
Your customer service should be the similar.
Online resources are a great start. Abundant FAQs and self help docs provide instant solutions to a lot of needs. But people are still going to contact you.
Should they email you? If so, how quick are you to provide a solution? The average email response time is over 6 hours. What if the issue keeps them from doing their jobs? That's not good!
Should customers call you? No one likes waiting on hold, as is the case with 86% of answered calls. If you're stuck on the phone, you can't do much else.
Who is that good for?
Live chat options can be okay, so long as customers can stay on your website. Yet texting - business SMS - is different.
What makes texting different for customers?
Unlike email, when people text they expect a fairly quick response. It doesn't have to be immediate, but it should be soon.
Texting also allows customers to get on with their day during the conversation, which isn't the case for calls or live chat.
More importantly, texting is how customers prefer to communicate! If nothing else, you should meet your customers' preferences.
Plus, 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent, and they have a 90-second average response time. That's the kind of quick and convenient service that will make customers happier, and keep them around longer!
How to Implement Business SMS for Customer Service and Support
There are 3 pieces to successfully implementing business SMS for customer service and support. Luckily, they’re all easy.
- Customers must know they can text you
- You need a system for handling texts (e.g. Text Request)
- You need established processes for employees
If customers don’t know they can text you, they won't. So tell them it’s an option, and what it should be used for.
Maybe your website footer should say, “Text us at XXX-XXX-XXXX for questions and support!” Maybe you place a similar notice in your FAQs and help docs, or maybe you include it in your customer portal.
If people know they can text you, they will. So let them know!
You don’t want all of your customer service representatives texting from personal cell phones. There wouldn't be any consistency or oversight!
You want 1 number for customers to text, and 1 dashboard for all of your reps. Text Request makes this easy, and you can click here to schedule your demo.
A business without processes is chaos. But you’ve already got processes for everything else you do, so this should be easy.
You’ll want to cover:
- Who’s responsible for what
- At what times they're responsible for it
- If-then’s → If a customer says X, you say Y
Once you tell people to text you and have a system in place for handling those conversations, you’re good to go!
Being able to service customers quickly and conveniently through their preferred channel goes a long way!
This kind of service creates better experiences, which increases customer retention and value. Sounds good, right?
But there are more opportunities, too!
PC: Neil Patel
Let’s say you just quickly and conveniently helped a customer. This is a perfect opportunity to get a good review!
You can end the conversation with a text like, “Glad we could help! Share your experience at goog.le/mybiz.”
Because reviews are so powerful, this will help you get more customers.
Strategy #2 → Use Business SMS to Increase Collections
When you provide services for someone, you should get paid. Duh.
But sending bills and reminders in the mail gets expensive. Does anyone open those letters, anyway?
And unless you get everyone registered for automatic bill pay, you’re subject to miss out on collections.
This hurts your business, and makes it difficult to predict revenues! There’s got to be a better way, right?
Nobody really wants to pay bills. Even if it’s on their radar, it’s probably not a priority. People are busy, and they forget.
This is bad for you, and it’s bad for the customer, because their coverage or service could lapse.
But you know this, and it’s why you send keep sending emails and mailing bills. Maybe you even try calling!
But here’s the problem.
Mailed bills are added to the stack of other mail that needs to be checked “eventually.”
Emails aren’t opened and read (emails have ~20% open rate and a 3% engagement rate).
And voicemails are almost entirely neglected (again, about ⅕ people check their voicemail within a week).
The problem is that, despite all your efforts, you can’t connect with your customers!
If the problem is an inability to connect, then the solution is a better way to connect. But what’s better?
99%+ of text messages are read.
This is important.
99%+ of text messages are read.
It’s the #1 preferred form of communication, and it’s the #1 most used feature on smartphones, even beating out the internet! Texting gives you a direct line to your customers, instantly.
So how does this turn into more money? I’m glad you asked!
Sarah, a VP at Healthcare National Marketing, wanted to improve their customer retention and collections. They couldn’t reach customers when they needed, so they tried texting.
After 3 months of using Text Request, Sarah told us:
“We have seen an increase in sales by 17%, an increase in collections by thousands a week, and a 66% increase in customer retention!”
Texting helps improve your collections, because it instantly puts your message in customers' pocket, and virtually guarantees that they'll read it.
How to Implement Business SMS for AR and Collections
You’ve got 2 options, both relatively easy:
- Automated messages, based on due dates
- Manually sending messages as needed
Either way, you need to be personal and friendly. Texts are an intimate tool, and people love their money, so the worst thing you can do is come across like a money-hungry robot.
But if you're happy and helpful (we’ll give examples of this below), everyone wins!
You have the due date for every customer's bill in your computer records system.
With a bit of programming, you can have texts automatically sent to each customer X days before their due date, on the due date itself, or whenever you think would be helpful.
You can also - actually, you should also - include a link where each customer can pay their bill. For example, you might send the following text 2 weeks before the due date:
“Hi [Jim], this month’s statement is now available! Pay it now at [mybiz.com/pay]. Thanks! - [Julie at Company]”
Or maybe you send this a couple days before it's due:
“Hi [Jim], your bill is due on the [21st]. You can pay it here: [mybiz.com/pay]. Have a great day! - [Account Rep @ Company]”
Because every text is read, because it’s so convenient, and because texts have such high engagement rates, your collections will drastically improve.
Plus, if you automate the process, it’s something you can set and forget! To learn more about automating text messages for customer payments, contact us!
Manually Sending Messages
This is a good option for businesses with a few hundred customers or less, or who might not have web development resources at their beck and call.
Each day (or maybe each week) check your list of customers to see who has an outstanding balance. Then send each of those customers a text, like one of the examples given above.
Manually sending messages is still 10X faster than calling, and 5X more effective than emails. That's definitely going to help with collections and retention!
Strategy #3 → Use Business SMS for Ongoing Customer Engagement
Why wouldn’t you want to keep them around longer and increase their value? It's a no-brainer!
Except, no one’s going to keep coming back to you without a reason. That’s where ongoing customer engagement becomes crucial, and we’ll show you how business SMS can help.
Many businesses have a process for handling new customers, and for making sure they have success with your product or service. These processes tend to involve a good deal of communication.
Calls, emails, and webinars are all powerful tools during this process! And so are texts.
How to Implement Business SMS for Customer Success
Texts are great for giving a heads up, reminders, and friendly updates. Let’s say you’ve just sent your customer an important email. You want to make sure they read it, right?
Customers will benefit from what’s in your email, and that’s good for business! So let’s make sure they read your important emails, and take any necessary next steps.
After you’ve sent your important email, send your customer a text about the email. Here are a couple of examples.
“Hey [Amy], this is [Josh @ Company]. Just sent you an email. It’s really important that you read it and follow the steps. Thanks!”
“[Amy], just sent you an email with important details for your account. Please be sure to read it when you have a moment. :) Thank you! - [Josh @ Company]”
You can also send reminders, like:
“Hey [John], looking forward to our training call tomorrow. Let me know if anything changes! - [Kim]
And then there are customer check-ins. After a customer is up and running, it’s a good practice to touch base at least every 3 months.
Emails and calls might work for this, but texts are far more powerful for building and maintaining client relationships, which is exactly what you want. So pop in with a text like:
“Hey [Stacy], hope you’re well! What can I help you with these days? - [Kelly @ Company]”
A few texts back-and-forth is a great way to update customers' goals and your value. This also gives customers a reason to stick with you.
Now all you have to do is add “Text customers” as a step in your customer success processes. It's that simple.
Promos, Recommendations, and Upselling
A customer's full value often doesn’t come from a 1-time purchase, but from repeat purchases.
Every time someone buys from you again, your cost per sale goes down and your revenue per customer goes up. That’s good for business!
So how can business SMS make this happen?
How to Implement Business SMS for Promos, Recommendations, and Upselling
If you’ve ever bought from Amazon, you’ve gotten an email about similar products that “You may also like.”
You can follow this same concept with text, whether or not you’re in retail. For instance, if you’re a home service company, you might text customers for seasonal promotions, like:
“[John], thought you might like our new [Summer Offer]. Past customers like you get an extra 20% off! Let me know. :) - [Kevin @ Company]”
It’s personal, it’s friendly, and it’s relevant. These are key factors in texting for sales and promotions, because no one wants to be spammed.
Another text you might send:
“Hey [John], just got [a new product] in. Members get 20% off. Want to take a look? - [Kevin @ Company]”
Or, let’s say you’re an insurance agent, and you notice property values have gone up. Why not text your clients to see that their policies are up to date? Example:
“Hey [Liz], I noticed property values in your area are going up. Awesome! We should make sure your policy is up to date, though. Have time for a call this week?”
In cases like this, you’re offering great service, helping people, and creating upsell opportunities. That’s good business! And it applies to many industries, whether for events, new offers, or product recommendations.
You could automate these messages, but it would be difficult to ensure every automated promo is personal, friendly, and relevant.
More commonly, your 2 options will be:
- Sending messages to groups of relevant customers, or
- Sending individual messages as specific opportunities arise
Just use messages like the examples above, and you’re off to the races! It’s a simple way that business SMS can boost your customer value and your bottom line.
Customer Touch Points and Relationship Building
People place a lot of value in being treated like - well - people. No one wants to be just a number, and your business can stand out by showing that you care.
Business SMS makes this very easy.
You see it commonly with, say, financial advisors. They’ll send you a little note on your birthday. Doesn’t that make you feel good?
Other companies, like Starbucks, will send you promotions or coupons as birthday gifts. How lovely!
Your business can follow this same approach through text, and you don’t have to be limited to birthdays (although it’s a great starting point).
How to Implement Business SMS for Customer Touch Points and Relationship Building
Customer anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and similar days are all great opportunities to show customers how much you care.
And because texts are so personal, these touch points feel special. That adds up to higher customer satisfaction and stronger customer loyalty. Plus it shows kindness.
Who wouldn’t want that?
Depending on your business, and when you’ll send texts, you might automate these messages. Or, you might send them each individually.
Customer anniversary, holiday, and happy birthday texts can all be automated, because they’re the same each year. Simply set the dates, and forget about it!
All it takes is a bit of developing to add these messages as triggers in your current CRM or POS. An example birthday text you might send is:
“Happy birthday, [Kelly]! Enjoy 50% off your next [Company] purchase, and have a great day! *birthday hat emoji* :) ”
For customer anniversaries you might say:
“[Jim] it’s been  year(s) since you started working with us. Man, has time flown! Enjoy a free [product or service] as thanks. - [John @ Company]”
For holidays, just include “Happy [holiday]” and any promotion you’re currently running.
Individual customer events can be very effective, and show a lot of consideration on your part. They tend to work best with small businesses who have account reps that work closely with customers.
For instance, if you know when one of your customer’s or client’s kids has a birthday, you might want to send them a text like:
“Hey [Kim], wishing [Alex] a happy birthday today! Hope you all are well. :) ”
Or if someone has a graduation, or if you see someone recognized in the local paper, you can send a similar message.
If it’s relevant, you might even offer a coupon. All this takes is a note or scheduled task in your calendar or CRM. That’s so easy!
Business SMS is a flexible and powerful tool. If used properly, like in these strategies, you can use to significantly boost your customer retention and value!
Who wouldn't want that?
All you need to do now is make sure you have a solid system in place for texting with customers.
Not quite sure what that should look like for you? Click here to schedule your Text Request Demo, and talk with one of our experts!