9 Smart Steps to Get More Out of Your Next Business Meeting

Smart Steps to Get More Out of Your Next Business Meeting

Some people love a good business meeting, while others avoid them. However you feel, meetings are a crucial piece to most thriving organizations.

The problem is so many business meetings are unproductive! They’re often unnecessary or mismanaged, which doesn’t help anyone.

In fact, Atlassian reports that Americans spend 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings, costing employers about $37 billion a year!

So what can you do to ensure your meetings are worth it? Plenty. Just follow these 9 smart steps to get more out of your next business meeting!

Atlassian Employee Time Wasted in Business Meetings
PC: Atlassian, Time Wasting at Work

1. Determine whether you actually need a meeting.

Each of us can tell a story of some meeting that wasted our time. No one needs to suffer through that, so use these criteria to determine whether a meeting is actually worth having.

Why do you want to have a meeting?

Business meetings typically share 1 of 2 purposes:

  • You either need to share information, or
  • You need to solve a problem

When you need to do both, then yes, a meeting is warranted. Otherwise, you might want to reconsider.

A good example is the quarterly review, where you need to share what happened last quarter, and collaborate on solutions for the coming quarter.

HBR Should I Hold a Meeting Flow Chart
PC: Harvard Business Review

Another popular example is the weekly debriefing. This is something that’s been valuable for us at Text Request, as well as other companies.

Every Monday, we take 20-30 minutes to discuss what happened last week, what’s on the agenda for the coming week, and what we need help with. 

These meetings help our team run smoother and faster, because we’re sharing and solving with a clear objective.

What’s the objective?

Before setting up a meeting, you need to know its purpose. What information needs to be shared, and which problems need to be solved?

Instead of meeting to “get everyone on the same page,” only create the meeting if you know what needs to be discussed – like, “how we can increase revenue through content.” 

You’re going to get more out of your next business meeting if there’s a valid objective that others can prepare for. Though once you have an objective, you still need to ask whether it warrants a meeting.

Could your meeting be condensed to an email, or even a text?

It’s good to communicate with each other, but that time needs to bring value to everyone. Ask yourself: Would we be better off with an email explaining this situation, or even a text?

I Survived Another Meeting That Should Have Been an Email

Sometimes the answer will be “yes,” and sometimes it will be “no.”

Whenever you can save time and accomplish your goals, everyone wins. But if there’s more to be said that won’t easily fit in an email, or you think it will take a bigger discussion, then feel free to schedule that meeting.

Related: What’s the Most Popular Form of Communication in 2017? It’s Still Texting

2. Decide who needs to be there.

Often, someone who isn’t directly tied to the meeting would still gain value from it. E.g., someone in marketing wants to better understand what you’re doing in sales.

Before sewing up your list of attendees, think of whom might gain value from the discussion. You probably wouldn’t force them to go, but you can at least make an offer.

Related: Businesses: You’re Wasting Too Much Money Talking at Work

On the other hand, sometimes a person who is directly tied to the subject doesn’t need to be there. You might need to meet with the managers and not the assistants, or just a few people instead of the whole team.

And sometimes the only “business meeting” you need is a simple conversation with 1 or 2 people.

Before scheduling a meeting, think through whom would give or gain the most value, and let the rest keep working.

3. Provide meeting materials early.

Occasionally you need to setup a business meeting on short notice. Normally, though, you have plenty of time to organize and prepare for it. Use this time wisely!

Start by giving attendees plenty of heads up about the meeting. Give them a chance to shift their schedules, re-prioritize to-do lists, or talk to you ahead of time.

You should also provide any meeting materials before the meeting itself. Create and share handouts, presentations, spreadsheets, etc. early so that others have a chance to prepare, too.

Washington Post Smart Kids Shouldn't Use Laptops in Class
PC: Washington Post

When you wait until the meeting to dump all that information on people, you leave them struggling to process what’s going on. This keeps everyone from offering their best, and ultimately holds your company back.

Who wants that?

But when you share details early, everyone gets a chance to prepare, and to come up with questions or comments for discussion. This helps you create more productive and valuable meetings where people are more engaged.

That’s what you want!

If there’s a surprise you want to keep secret, fine. Otherwise, you’ll get more out of your next business meeting by providing people with the tools they need to prepare.

4. Take handwritten notes.

Key to getting more out of your next business meeting is a fully engaged audience. Unfortunately, our awesome digital devices won’t help us here, but a good old fashioned legal pad and pen will!

Related: How Much Time Do People Spend on Their Mobile Phones in 2017?

Instead of typing notes or comments, write them. There are at least 3 benefits:

Respect

If you’re on your phone or computer during a meeting, the person speaking can’t tell if you’re engaged or distracted. And no amount of trust will fix this!

Everyone will get more out of the meeting by staying off phones and computers. It’s a best practice for showing respect to your colleagues, and by removing these distractions, you’ll also be more engaged.

Fewer Distractions

Taking notes on your phone opens the door to “just check something else real quick.” Before you know it, your attention has been stolen, and it can take 25 minutes or more to get it back!

Pens.com Benefits of Handwriting
PC: National Pen, Benefits of Handwriting vs. Typing

25 minutes is also longer than the recommended length of time to spend on business meetings. So 1 distraction from your phone or computer could make you entirely useless for the whole meeting. Who does that help?

Better Memory Retention

It’s well documented that handwritten notes lead to better retention and performance than typed notes. Sure, it might be a little slower, but that’s what gives your brain a chance to process the information.

If you want to get the most out of your next business meeting, make sure you remember what was said! Taking handwritten notes allows you and others to be more engaged, show respect, and better process the material.

5. Be concise and keep it brief.

Some of the best meetings we’ve had were several hours long, where everyone was engaged and came up with solutions to complex problems. But that’s the edge case for any company.

9 times out of 10, less is more.

Nicole Steinbok 22 Minute Meeting
PC: Scott Burken, Nicole Steinbok

The world’s greatest writers are recognized for being able to say more with less. The most binge-worthy TV shows are 22-minute sitcoms.

People listen to podcasts for 18-22 minutes on average. And the most famous speeches are often the shortest.

Related: 8 Reasons Why Texting is Crucial to Business Communication

All of this shows that keeping your business meeting to about 20 minutes is a good plan. Sometimes you’ll need to have longer discussions, but staying concise will keep everyone engaged.

6. Confirm next steps before the meeting adjourns.

It’s easy for a business meeting to end without clear next steps, but most meetings need follow-up, even if everything was “resolved” in the meeting.

Maybe so-and-so needs to finalize a proposal, or you need to talk to someone else, or a manager needs to implement the strategy that was just discussed. 

Something needs to happen next, and people tend to forget. What should you do?

Recap and confirm next steps at the end of your meeting. This ensures no one drops any balls, and is an effective step to maximize your meeting value.

7. Follow up with a “thank you” and a debrief.

Anyone worth having in that meeting is worth thanking for their input. Everyone can bring value, and it’s good to let everyone know you value what they bring!

Thanking participants shows you listened, that you care about their input, and motivates people to be more involved in future meetings.

You can thank everyone at the end of the meeting as you confirm next steps, or you can pull people aside and thank them privately later.

You’ll also get more out of you next business meeting if you send a brief email of what was discussed and who’s responsible for next steps. No one will remember everything, and this creates a good reference for the future.

Related: How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day?

8. Do those next steps ASAP.

There are plenty of reasons to get things done quickly – to propel the company forward, get things off your to-do list, even because you’re excited about the meeting you just had!

The 2 biggest reasons to follow up on these next steps, though, are:

  • To take and display initiative, and
  • To motivate others to keep the ball moving

Office dynamics are like dominoes. If you do the best job you can at a great pace, others will, too, and so on. The same dynamic works in reverse if you lag behind.

To get more out of your next business meeting, make sure the meeting isn’t held in vain by getting your follow-up tasks done quickly. In most cases, the sooner you finish, the better off everyone will be!

9. Privately ask for feedback.

The only way to improve is by a process of learning and implementing. We learn where we can improve, and we implement a tactic to get better.

Often, the best sources for learning how to improve our communications are the people we communicate with. So ask! But don’t back them into a corner.

Office Vibe Employee Feedback Infographic
PC: officevibe, Employee Feedback Infographic

Go to your colleagues individually and privately to ask how you can get better. Perhaps you phrase the question like:

“I’m trying to get better at how I communicate in meetings. We’re in meetings together a lot. What would be helpful for you, or where do you think I can improve?”

Some might be hesitant to critique you, but an approach like this will at least keep their defenses down.

Related: 6 Quick Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills at Work

Trying to improve after every business meeting (or every few) is a smart step that will inevitably help you and your team get more out of your next business meeting. If you keep getting better, you’ll keep adding value!

The Finishing Touches

Business meetings have become a controversial topic over the years, with many feeling they’re too constrained and old fashioned.

It’s a shame, because meetings can offer a lot of value with the right technique! And besides, meetings are necessary to any thriving organization, so it’s in our best interest to make the most of them.

That’s what you’ll be able to do through these smart steps. Follow this list, and you’ll definitely get more out of your next business meeting!

Related: 9 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Brand Through Small Business Texting

9 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Brand Through Small Business Texting

Powerful Ways to Grow Your Brand Through Small Business Texting

Small business texting might be the most underutilized tool you already have. Everyone texts, and we text for a 101 reasons every day, including business!

Texting has been the most popular form of communication for a decade, and it might feel like a rather commonplace thing. But that ubiquity is exactly what gives it so much power.

So, how can small business texting grow your brand? How can it take your business from point $A to point $B?

We’ll cover exactly what small business texting is, and offer 9 powerful ways to grow your brand through small business texting. Let’s dive in!

What is small business texting?

You’re probably familiar with SMS marketing, where you get an automated text from 555-55 with some business’s latest discount. Well, small business texting is the opposite of SMS marketing in 2 ways:

  • SMB texting uses long-code numbers. E.g. (423) 218-0111
  • SMB texting focuses on conversations instead of promotions

As a small business, you care about the relationships you build with your community. Small business texting reflects these values, because it’s communicating with customers, prospects, and co-workers just like friends and family.

Related: What Does it Mean to “Text Like You Text Your Friends”?

Normally, employees are already texting for work from their personal cell phones. Small business texting moves these conversations to a shared online dashboard, where they can all be managed under 1 roof.

Keep Calm and Text Friends

In short, small business texting helps you fully step into the mobile-first age while remaining compliant and personable.

Manage your business text conversations with Text Request’s easy-to-use dashboard.

Now, here are 9 powerful ways to grow your brand through small business texting!

1. Get more online reviews by texting links to customers.

Not many people want to be a business’s first customer. Most want to work with an already established business, and so we look at previous customers to gauge the company’s value.

The idea behind this “social proof” is that you want someone else to confirm your decision. When we hear “Yeah, that company was great to work with,” we think it’s safe for us to work with them, too.

This is such a powerful phenomenon that social proof – such as online reviews and word of mouth – is consistently ranked as one of the most influential factors during the buying process.

Invesp Importance of Online Customer Reviews
PC: Invesp

So how can small business texting get you more social proof? Whatever your specialty, there’s room to ask for feedback. You could be:

  • Accountants
  • Maids
  • HVAC or maintenance professionals
  • Staffers or recruiters
  • Retailers
  • Restaurateurs
  • Business development professionals
  • Agency owners
  • Or anyone else

All you have to do is ask!

It’s likely part of your process to get each person’s cell number. After a sale or appointment, send that customer a text, like:

“It was a pleasure working with you! Would you share your experience on [Google]? goog.le/mybiz Thank you so much!”

It will be best for you to encourage reviews wherever people are most likely to look for you, whether that’s your Google listing, the App Store, Yelp, or somewhere else.

These positive online reviews will bring you more customers, because other people will see how valuable your business is. And over time, these simple texts will significantly grow your brand!

2. Close more sales by following up through text.

According to this year’s State of Inbound report by HubSpot, the #1 challenge salespeople face is getting responses.

Their biggest problem isn’t overcoming objections, or creating enough qualified leads. It’s reaching people who’ve already expressed interest! That’s where small business texting will help you.

HubSpot State of Inbound Sales Challenges
PC: HubSpot, State of Inbound 2017 Report

Fist, here are a few relevant stats on texting and sales:

  • 38% of salespeople say their biggest challenge is reaching prospects
  • 35%-50% of all sales go to the vendor who responds first
  • 99+% of texts are read
  • Texts have an average response time of 90 seconds
  • Texts get a 45+% response rate
  • 90% of people would rather be texted than called
  • Texts have a 205% higher response rate than phone calls
  • Texts convert 295% more than phone calls

Together, this research shows that small business texting is a pretty important sales tool! And here’s what it looks like in practice.

Related: 63 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions

People search for what your business does, and come across your website. Then they fill out a form or send you an email – they might even call you!

But that person is going through the same process with several other companies. So how do you stand out?

Be first!

The first business to respond has the highest chance of closing the deal. And since texting is the fastest, most reliable way to reach someone, you should send a text to follow up with them.

I Wanna Go Fast Ricky Bobby

This is a process you can automate.

You can set up your CRM so that any person who submits your contact form automatically gets sent a text. But chances are you’ll want to tailor your responses to each person.

Related: 4 Effortless Business Texting Strategies to Increase Sales

Let’s say someone asks for a quote or estimate. Here’s a text you might send as soon as you see that request come through:

“Hey Jane, just saw your request! I have a couple of follow up questions. Do you have a moment to chat this morning? Thanks! – [Kim @ Company]”

What’s really powerful here is the text’s role as a wingman. Only 15%-20% of calls are answered, but a text gets your foot in the door almost every time!

SMS Marketing for Retail Wingman
Text is your communications wingman

9 times out of 10, you’ll get a response like this:

“Hey Kim, how about 12 or so? Thanks!”

And just like that, you’ve scheduled a call with someone you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach!

What’s more, we know that leads who text with you convert into paying customers at a significantly higher rate. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

These texts help you create conversations with leads before your competitors can, which inevitably helps you grow your brand.

3. Gain referrals through viral customer service.

When people have a great experience, they talk about it. They tell their friends over coffee, the bring it up at family dinners, and they share it with the entire world on social media!

Disney World’s a good example here. They could stop advertising today, and millions of people would still flood their parks every year. Why?

Because people love to talk about their magical experiences at Disney. And these customer advocates become powerful referral machines.

Referral Candy Word of Mouth Sales Generated

Or take Zappos. One Zappos representative stayed on the phone with a customer for over 10 hours! while making sure the situation was resolved.

That story has been covered more times than you can count, and that customer has told everyone she can about it!

Related: SMS for Business 101: Texting as a Customer Service Tool

Great experiences create memories to talk about, and just like Disney and Zappos, small business texting can help your business create these viral customer service experiences. Here’s how.

Far too many people abhor contacting customer support. In fact, 89% of customers want another support option!

And why shouldn’t they? When 86% of phone calls are placed on hold, emails take 6-48 hours to get a response, and no one has 30 minutes to spare for a live chat conversation. But a text cuts straight through.

Richard Branson Customer Expectations Quote

When a customer texts in their need, they can just go back to whatever they were doing before! Example:

“Hey team, why am I seeing a $30 fee on my account? Makes no sense to me. Thanks.”

A few minutes later, your representative replies:

“Hey Matt, looking at your account. It seems the fee was mistakenly assigned to you. I’ll credit your account now!”

A few minutes later…

“Matt, I’ve just credited your account. Thank you for working with us!”

The customer replies with a “Thank you for being so quick!” And now you have an awesome opportunity to text him a review link (see powerful way #1).

Customer Service Text vs Call

To create great experiences people want to talk about, follow these simple steps as quickly as you can without sacrificing quality.

  1. Acknowledge the customer’s problem
  2. Tell them you’re going to make it right
  3. Actually make it right
  4. Offer something extra as your condolence

Small business texting lets you take something people hate – customer service – and turn it into something enjoyable! And since texting lets you handle several conversations at once, you can help more people faster.

No one has to wait on hold, it’s super quick, and it doesn’t take away from the customer’s day. These are the experiences people tell their friends about!

4. Generate more leads through superior mobile engagement.

What would you do if you found out 2/3 of your customers were coming from 1 place? You’d probably put more resources into that 1 successful channel!

This is exactly what’s happening on mobile, and it’s why so many marketers, VPs, and CEOs are continually focusing more and more on mobile engagement.

A few years ago, mobile users accounted for 60% of all online traffic, and that number’s been trending upwards since.

comScore Mobile Share of Total Digital Minutes
PC: comScore

Chances are, more and more people are finding your business through their phones, and texting is the primary way people communicate from a mobile phone.

Small business texting puts 2 and 2 together to help you generate more mobile leads in 4 different places!

  • Your website
  • Adwords
  • Google My Business
  • Instagram

How to get more mobile leads through your website

The Click-to-Text button is a powerful yet simple tool. Essentially, you place a piece of code on your website, and a text addressed to your business will open whenever a mobile viewer clicks that button.

Text Request Click-to-Text Example

Mobile viewers who come to your site will be more likely to contact you, because most people would rather text you than call someone else. All you need here is a number that can receive texts (which we can help you with).

Plus, people who text you are more likely to convert into sales.

Related: What is Click-to-Text & How Do I Use It?

How to get more mobile leads through Adwords (Google Ads)

For this to work, you need to be using Google Adwords, and you need a number that can receive texts. After you’ve got that, here’s the step-by-step guide to set up Click-to-Text on your Google Ads!

1. Login to your Adwords account.
2. Go to the Campaigns tab
3. Click the sub tab that says “Ad Extensions”

Google Adwords Dashboard Screenshot

4. Click the red “+ Extension” button.
5. Click “New Message Extension.” Add your text number, call to action, and pre-filled message.

Ad Extensions Screenshot

6. Ensure bids are turned on for mobile ads under Settings >> Devices.
7. Start receiving texts through your Google ads!

How to get more mobile leads through your Google My Business listing


As of this writing, Click-to-Text for Google business listings is a pilot feature for select businesses, still in testing by Google.

According to Google, your Google My Business page administrator would have been sent an email about your eligibility.


Most small businesses have a Google business listing – it looks like this:

Google My Business Chat Message_LI

For those who don’t already have one, we strongly recommend you set up your listing! Follow these instructions to set up your Google business listing.

Related: 5 Essential Tips for Successful SMS Lead Generation

Once your page has been verified and Google has given you access to this feature, you’ll see an option to add “Chat” to your listing. To activate Chat, just enter a phone number that can receive texts!

How to get more mobile leads through Instagram

If your business has an Instagram profile, here’s how you can add a Click-to-Text button to help you get more mobile leads.

1. Go to your business’s Instagram profile, and select Edit Profile.

InkedText Request Instagram Screenshot 1_LI

2. Select Contact Options.

InkedText Request Instagram Screenshot 2_LI

3. Add your phone number.

InkedText Request Instagram Screenshot 3_LI

4. Choose the Text option.

InkedText Request Instagram Screenshot 4_LI

5. Make sure you save it!

InkedText Request Instagram Screenshot 5_LI

6. Now you can receive texts!

InkedText Request Instagram Screenshot 1_2

Texting is such a simple form of mobile engagement that you will inevitably convert more mobile viewers into leads through Click-to-Text. What brand doesn’t want that?

5. Keep more customers for longer by sending time-sensitive messages.

It’s common for customers to forget. They forget to pay you, they forget to update their credit card information, and sometimes they forget about your business entirely!

None of this is good, and it causes you to lose customers.

It costs 5x-25x more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer, and even a 5% increase in your customer retention can lead to a 20%-95% increase in your total revenue!

Clearly, keeping customers is important, but what can you do about it? Use small business texting to help you keep your customers from churning. Here’s how.

Related: 3 Easy Business SMS Strategies to Increase Customer Retention and Value

When a customer’s bill is due, or when their statement becomes available, send them a friendly text. E.g.:

“Hey Marissa, hope you’re well! Your bill is due on [DATE], and you can pay it here [LINK]. Thank you!”

Because 99% of texts are read, this reminder text will actually be seen by your customers! It’s also easy for customers to pay their bill from the message, which provides a great experience.

Through this, you’ll retain more customers, and increase your collections!

Lost Business Cartoon

Another common cause for customer drop offs is when their payment information expires, and you can’t reach them to update it. A simple text will do wonders here!

“Hey Larry, your CC is expiring. Just go here to update it [LINK] Thank you!”

These steps are simple to add into your daily routine, and will drastically improve your bottom line. Take it from one of our users!


In 3 months we have seen an increase in sales by 17%, an increase in collections by thousands a week, and a 66% increase in customer retention! – Sarah, Healthcare National Marketing


6. Build stronger customer relationships through nurturing conversations.

People enjoy doing business with other people we have relationships with. And research shows that people do more business with these contacts as the relationship strengthens.

This is what you want – quality relationships that help your company grow. So how does that work?

HubSpot Inbound Methodology

It works through “lead nurturing,” which is the process of your brand building relationships with potential customers.

What’s really powerful is that nurtured leads – those who’ve built a relationship with your brand – will make 47% larger purchases on average than leads who don’t have a relationship with your brand!

Related: How to Earn Nearly 50% More Money from Your Customers

Building relationships isn’t always easy, and lead nurturing includes many tactics, such as:

  • Email marketing
  • Promotional products, like ebooks and whitepapers
  • Conversations
  • Product videos
  • And more

The best lead nurturing strategies include all of these tactics, but the one that stands out is conversations.

Powerful Ways to Grow Your Business Through Small Business Texting

Texting is how friends communicate, share stories, and find time to get together. Why shouldn’t your business do the same thing?

Use small business texting to spark conversations, whether that means following up for sales, wishing customers a happy birthday, setting up a phone call, helping them get more out of your products, or even just chiming in to say “hello”!

Customers do a lot more business with brands they’ve built relationships with. Relationships are built through conversations, and those conversations happen through text.

7. Create repeat customers through ongoing engagement.

Brands often wonder why so many customers only make 1-time purchases, and why they don’t keep coming back for the same experience. 

They make the assumption: “If we can get them once, they’ll enjoy it, and that will make them want to come back.”

The problem is, this assumption is wrong.

Thankfully, the solution is simple. If you want customers to keep coming back, you have to give them a reason!

Facebook sends you push notifications, Entrepreneur sends you newsletters with the latest content. The best brands are constantly doing something to re-engage their audiences.

Mark Zuckerberg Messenger Business Live Texting

People spend more than 4 hours a day on their mobile phones, and get distracted by more than 150 advertisements every day!

There’s so much fighting for consumer attention that anyone will forget about you unless you’re constantly fighting for their attention, too. Small business texting happens to be a powerful way to grab someone’s attention.

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

Previous customers are a great source of sales opportunities waiting to be tapped. They’ve already worked with you, and they’re primed to work with you again. You just need to pull the trigger!

Representation Customer Journey

So whenever you have a new sale, a new promotion, a new product feature, or any other kind of opportunity, text all your customers! Maybe send a text like:

“Hey John, we’re offering a 25% discount on [XYZ] to all of our previous customers this week! Want in?”

This ongoing engagement helps you grab people’s attention and earn repeat business. Even the people who don’t bite will get a touch point from your brand, which always has its benefits.

It’s important that you provide ongoing engagement, because you need to keep reminding people about your value. Small business texting helps you do that.

8. Hold more appointments by scheduling more people faster.

Most small businesses need to set and keep appointments to bring in revenue, and there are 2 powerful ways texting helps you do this.

You’re probably familiar with the 1st way – appointment reminders. You’ve set an appointment, and you need to make sure that person doesn’t forget. What should you do?

15%-20% of phone calls aren’t answered, and less than 20% of people check their voicemail within a week. Besides, calling every appointment to confirm takes a ton of time!

You could email for confirmations, but the average working adult gets 88 emails every day (or more), and half of those are already spam!

Boost Your Sales Funnel Emails
Emails sent and received to and from business accounts every day

But 99+% of texts are opened! So send a confirmation text, like:

“Hey Scott, still good for 3pm on Tuesday? Thanks!”

Or you might send:

“We’re excited to see you Thursday at 4pm! Please confirm your appointment here [LINK].”

You could send these texts manually, or you could automate the process. If you have questions about which is best for you, talk to us!

Text or Call Us at (423) 218-0111

Whatever you do, there’s no guarantee that 100% of your appointments will stick 100% of the time. And that’s where option #2 comes in.

Many appointment-based businesses have a list of customers who need to be scheduled again. You’re also going to have people who cancel on you last minute, or who just don’t show up. That’s when you turn to this list.

Start reaching out to these “overdue” customers! Send them a text like:

“Hey Sydney, hope you’re well! Just got an opening for [DATE/TIME], and I thought you might like to grab it. Want to set it up?”

Depending on the context, you could also include a reason for why you thought of them (e.g. since it’s about time for your 6-mo check up).

Messages like these are a very personable and considerate way to set and keep more appointments. They also provide an awesome customer experience. That’s the dream for growing a brand!

Live Texting How I Met Your Mother HIMYM That's the Dream

9. Overtake your market by outcompeting other brands.

Most people don’t care about working with the absolute best company in the world. What we care about is solving our problems quickly and working with people we can trust.

Small business texting helps you solve customers’ problems faster than your competitors, and helps you build better relationships than the competition.

More people text for more reasons more times a day than ever before. By adding small business texting to your communications, you will increase sales, provide better customer experiences, and beat your competitors!

So what’s stopping you?

Start texting today.

4 Major Reasons You Should Consider SMS Marketing for Retail

Reasons You Should Consider SMS Marketing for Retail

SMS marketing for retail (or for any small business) is not a new thing, but it is a great thing.

Texting is a very powerful communications tool, but how can you use it to grow your business? And why should you?

The answers are surprisingly simple. We’ll flush out the value of SMS marketing for retail in the Q&As below. Let’s get started!

1. How easy is it to start using SMS marketing for retail?

Let’s say you use Text Request. The time and effort it takes to set up is however long it takes you to enter your contact info and upload your contacts. Maybe 5 minutes.

It’s really easy to get started

The only thing to do from there is create processes for when and why you’ll text customers. E.g. Text past customers new seasonal offers.

Reasons Consider SMS Marketing for Retail

It’s fairly common for retailers to try using a short-code number (like 555-55) instead of a long-code number (like 423-218-0111, which is what you get with Text Request).

There are 3 common problems with short-code:

  • Short-code numbers cost 20X-30X more than long-code numbers
  • They take longer to set up
  • And they come across very spammy

So unless you’re someone like Macy’s, you probably want to use a long-code number. Actually, you can probably use your current business number for SMS!

2. What are the benefits of using SMS?

SMS is a great tool, and not just in direct marketing. In fact, there are at least 8 benefits of using SMS for your business!

Related: 8 Benefits of Texting for Business That You Desperately Need

These benefits combine to increase your sales, boost your customer retention, and drive experiences that customers actually want. A short description of each is below. 

Texting helps you be quicker than your competition.

Up to half of all sales go to the vendor who responds first. 99% of texts are read, with an average response time of 90 seconds, and a 45% average response rate.

What’s faster than that? Only 22% of emails are read, and only 20% of calls are answered.

When you communicate faster, you win more business.

Texting makes your business more personal.

Texting is one of the more personal things we do every day!

Marketers send emails, salesmen make phone calls, and friends text. What small business doesn’t want to be like a friend to customers?

Keep Calm and Text Friends

Texting makes you more convenient.

No one is interested in making their life more difficult, but everyone wants to make their life easier.

Often, a text is the most convenient way to communicate. And since communication is needed for your business to succeed, texting is a necessity!

Texting makes you appealing to more people.

Texting is the most used form of communication for those under 50, and more than 50% of senior citizens text regularly!

Because texting is more appealing to more people, your business becomes more appealing.

Texting helps you be preferred.

People would rather text you than call someone else, and they’d rather be texted by you than called by someone else.

Texting Makes Your Business Popular

When you create experiences people prefer, they talk about it. They bring their friends, and they spend more with you. What business doesn’t want that?

Texting makes your business fully mobile.

Smartphones have become a staple of work and life, so much that smartphone sales have leveled off. Everybody has one!

Texting accommodates our move to mobile, and gives your business a chance to be where people already spend their time.

Texting helps you stand out from competitors.

If your competitors aren’t texting, it gives you a clear edge. If your competitors are texting, then you have no excuse not to be texting as well!

Related: 16 Reasons It’s Inexcusable for Your Business Not to Text

Texting is the ultimate wingman for your business.

You text friends to set up a coffee date or meeting. Why not text customers, and get them to come to your store?

SMS Marketing for Retail Wingman

Or you could text customers to set up a call, or to convert them into members! Whatever your goal is, texting can help you get there.

A simple text is often the catalyst that gets people to take the next step. That’s wonderful!

3. How might SMS help retailers get a customer to come back and buy?

We share dozens of other examples in the “Related” link below, but probably the most effective strategy for creating repeat customers is to send relevant promos. Here’s an example:

Related: 3 Easy Business SMS Strategies to Increase Customer Retention & Value

A customer comes in and purchases X. At checkout, you get their name and number for future offers.

Perhaps a month later, you send all customers who bought X a discount offer on Relevant Product Y.

“Hey [Jim], hope you’re enjoying [Product X]! We’re running a special this week – 20% off [Relevant Product Y]. Come take a look! – [Jeremy @ Business]”

Obviously, you can tailor your message to meet your needs (and your customers’), but texts like this make people feel that you care, because the offer is both personal and relevant.

And studies show that customers you build relationships with spend nearly 50% more with you. That’s powerful!

Richard Branson Customer Expectations Quote

4. What are your top 3 tips on SMS marketing for retail?

Text like you text your friends.

Be personal, be friendly, and be relevant. No one wants to be spammed.

Related: What Does It Mean to “Text Like You Text Your Friends”?

Don’t limit yourself.

People text for 101 reasons every day. Why can’t your business? You don’t have to stick with only promotional texts! There are plenty of options.

You could send confirmation texts for deliveries, or scheduling texts if they’d be relevant. You could send texts for collections and payment reminders, too! 

And there’s always the customer “Happy birthday!” text, which people love. Remember that for any reason you might communicate, you can send a text.

Texting is an add-on.

You can replace other process with SMS, but for most retailers and small businesses, texting is a great compliment to everything else you’re doing.

You might send out a great promotional email, and then also text past customers or members. Maybe you call to confirm appointments first, and send a text if they don’t answer.

The one thing you need to know is that when it comes to SMS marketing for retail, you’ve got options. And those options can be very powerful in helping you grow your business.

Related: 4 Effortless Business Texting Strategies to Increase Sales

7 Foundational Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

Foundational Small Business Marketing Tips Drive Exponential Growth

Small business marketing is interesting, because you probably have all the expertise of big corporations, just not the massive budget! 

So how can you stand out?

The small business marketing tips below are designed to help you strategically build a powerful brand online, whether you’re a local business or have customers all over the country!

Inspiration for the article came from an interview I did, where the interviewer focused on smaller brands, and how they can turn average consumers into loyal customers without a big budget.

Why shouldn’t every small business be able to do that? The digital world is our oyster, and if we navigate it just right, we can create wonderful, lasting results!

1. What are the best social media platforms for small business marketing?

The best place to be is wherever your audience is. If your targets spend all their time on Instagram, for instance, that’s where you should be.

As a default, I’d recommend Facebook, partially because of how many people are on it, but mostly because it’s an easier platform to share recommendations.

On Facebook, your customers can share that they’ve worked with you (and tag you in that post), which is essentially them giving hundreds of others a personal recommendation to work with you, too.

Now multiply this effect by how many customers you have, and that’s how effective Facebook can be (in general) for small business marketing.

Is Word of Mouth Still Important for Brands
PC: Neil Patel

If you run an ecommerce site, Pinterest is also a great platform to engage viewers and convent them into happy customers.

Generally, the more places you can be, the better. But you’ll usually get the most benefit from focusing on the 1 or 2 platforms where your targets spend most of their time.

2. What are 3 topics a small business can focus on to develop content?

There are so many options! Which topics your business should focus on really depends on what questions your targets are asking.

If your target customers are asking questions around, say, maintaining HVAC units, you should be creating content around that.

Related: So, Why is Content King? And Why Does Content Matter?

If your targets are asking questions about tax preparation, filings, and deductions, your content should focus around that. 

The whole point of creating content is to add value. What would add value to your targets?

Answering your targets questions brings people to you, and helps you engage, convert, and keep customers.

If you’re not sure what specific questions your target customers ask, go to your sales team or account managers. Any questions they get are prime choices for your content strategy!

HubSpot Inbound Methodology

As far as 3 areas of content to focus on, I’d recommend:

  • Questions people ask before working with a business like yours
  • Questions people ask about your specific business
  • Questions customers ask after working with you
  • Bonus option: Any topic you think would add value to your targets

3. How often should small businesses post to better engage with their clientele?

Well, it depends – on your industry, on which platform, and on which study you look at it. They all give you different answers.

The more helpful blog posts you can get out, the better. Though 1 post every 2 weeks is a great starting point for small business marketing.

Studies show the best social media engagement on Facebook and LinkedIn comes at 5 posts a week, or 1 a day. For Instagram or Snapchat, it could be anywhere from 1-5-20 times a day!

Sending 1 email a week is just fine, and tweeting 2-5x a day is good.

How Often Should You Post on Social Media

How often you should post also depends on how social media fits into your content and advertising strategies.

If you only create 1 new piece of content a month, for instance, there’s not much sense in posting every day. What new value would you bring?

Aside from new content, you should also have conversations with your customers and followers from time to time, just like you would with your friends.

This keeps relationships strong, and keeps you at the top of customers’ minds whenever they’re talking with other friends (which can lead to more referrals).

4. Why is it important to have a Facebook business page separate from a personal page?

Great question! There are several reasons.

Having a Facebook business page gives your brand and website more search engine optimization (SEO) value, which helps bring more people to you.

When someone searches on Google for, say, “pest control near me,” you’ll stand a much better chance of being found with a Facebook business page than without.

Related: What’s the Reality of Social Media for Business? [Podcast]

A Facebook business page also lets you get, display, and share reviews from clients, which are valuable in helping you get new clients.

Reason #3 a Facebook business page is valuable is that it simply makes you look more professional. It brings you more clout compared to those who don’t have one, and looking better than your competition goes a long way in small business marketing.

5. How many words and images should a blog post have?

Generally, longer posts (on any platform except email) tend to get more engagement. Posts with more images tend to get more engagement, too.

But that doesn’t mean you should write super long stories every time, or add 100 photos to every blog article. There’s always a limit.

For good, informative content, 800-1,500 words with an image thrown in every 200-300 words is great. If you’re presenting in-depth research, 2,000-2,500 words is a good range.

Blog Post Length Search Results

Posts around 800-1,200 words tend to get the most shares, while posts with about 2,500 words tend to rank highest in search results, so write what’s best for your overall strategy.

Keep in mind that word count should be your last consideration when creating content. You first and foremost need to add value to your targets, and then you need to keep their attention.

6. What tools do you recommend small businesses use to promote their posts?

Truthfully, you can promote your posts rather well without tools, just by sharing on various platforms. Although, tools like Social Jukebox or Hootsuite can help you automate this process.

You can create a bunch of posts all at once, and then schedule those posts to go out when your audience is most likely to engage with them. (Mid-morning and late evening tend to be good times.)

Mailchimp and MailJet are both great for email newsletters or promotions.

There are also a million free video tools to help you create more entertaining content, like Boomerang for Instagram or any of Snapchat’s fun filters.

For brick and mortar small businesses, you need to have a Google My Business page, and an online listing wherever else you can get one.

Yext is a great service for creating and managing online listings on dozens of sites. It might cost more than other tools you use, but over time it will be worth it for many small businesses.

7. What else would you like to add?

The only good thing that happens instantly is winning the lottery. Successful small business marketing is going to take time, and probably a lot of trial and error.

Try not to get discouraged if things don’t take off quickly, and commit to promoting yourself a little more each day.

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat & Breathe

3 Easy Business SMS Strategies to Increase Customer Retention & Value

Easy Business SMS Strategies 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%-90%! 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!

Is that something you want?

Customer service shapes businesses. For instance, the general public hates Comcast for their terrible customer service, but Zappos’s customer service made them famous!

Which would you rather be?

Business SMS Creates Better Customer Service Experiences
PC: The Comic News

Several factors go into great customer service, including:

  • Speed
  • Convenience
  • 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.

What then?

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?

Customer Service Text vs Call

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!

Consumers Always Looking for Easier Way

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
Awareness

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!

Related: 9 Ways to Let People Know Your Business Texts

System

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.

Processes

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!

Additional Opportunities

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!

Get More Reviews through Business SMS
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?

The Problem

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. That’s not good!

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.

Business SMS Helps You Achieve Your Goals

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).

Most people won’t answer unsolicited calls these days (only about 20% of people are willing to answer calls).

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!

The Solution

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. 

Related: 63 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions

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!

Automated Messages

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.

Keep Calm and Do It Better

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.

Mark Zuckerberg Messenger Business SMS

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.

Customer Success

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.

Related: 4 Simple Steps to Implementing Text Request at Your Business

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.

Richard Branson Customer Expectations Quote

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.

Online Texting from Computer

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?”

Related:4 Effortless Business Texting Strategies to Increase Sales

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.

Lost Business Cartoon

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?

Text Request Nurtured Leads Make Larger Purchases

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 [1] 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.

Related: What Does It Mean to “Text Like You Text Your Friends”?

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!

Wrapping Up

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!

7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

Simple Steps Quickly Convert More Online Leads

Your business can thrive in the digital world, if you do the right things. And first on that list is learning how to convert more online leads.

You work hard for your leads. You spend a lot of money to get them. Yet only 20% of qualified leads become customers.

Why is that?

These people have given you their info, passed your screenings, and are clearly interesting in what you offer. So why aren’t they converting?

We’ll cover several reasons why your online leads aren’t converting, and – more importantly – what you can do to convert more of them.

Keep Calm and Convert More Leads

As you read, keep your current numbers in mind. Like how much it costs to get a new customer, and what they’ll spend with you over their customer lifetime.

Even a 1% increase in your conversion rates can lead to a 10%, 20%, or higher increase in your overall profit! That means following just one of these simple steps could easily grow your business by 10% or more.

Seriously?

Yes.

Why should I focus on online leads, instead of other leads?

Great question.

If you get a lead from a personal referral (good job!), you can do almost anything and still get their business. Referrals are incredibly powerful, and we’re trusting you don’t need help there.

Whoever they are, your targets are virtually guaranteed to be online. People spend anywhere from a few hours to 10+ hours online a day!

Average Daily Media Consumption
PC: ZenithOptimedia & Quartz

We’re online for work, for leisure, for entertainment, for just about everything.

That’s why you should focus on getting and converting online leads. It’s where your audience lives!

Another reason – and a big advantage – is that everything online can be tracked.

You can know where each lead comes from, what they do on your site, what marketing messages they engage with, and more.

This data is crucial, because it gives you direction and insight for your future decisions. That’s a lot better than just blasting out commercials!

Normally, it’s more efficient and profitable for your business to focus on online leads. So how can you convert more of them?

1. Make it easier.

Whenever you want to improve something between your business and your customers, the default should be to make it easier.

Make what easier?

Everything.

Consumers Always Looking for Easier Way

You shop at the grocery store near your home or your job, because that’s easier than going to the store all the way across town.

You use Facebook to connect with friends and family, because it’s easier than writing letters to everyone.

No one wants to make their life more difficult, but everyone wants to make their life easier. When you simplify what you do and how you do it, everyone wins!

This applies to your website, your marketing, your sales funnel, and your business as a whole.

2. Follow up till you get the “no.”

Most online leads never convert, because your salesmen and your marketers give up.

Well, they should be focusing on the hottest leads, right?

Not exactly.

As impulsive as we’d like to think our targets’ buying habits are, the truth is everyone goes through a process before purchasing, particularly if it’s a big ticket item, or if it’s for their business.

This process takes time.

Related: 13 Stupid Excuses Decision Makers Give to Blow Off Sales Calls (& How to Respond)

Over 80% of sales come after at least 5 follow-ups. Yet it’s estimated that 44% of salesmen never follow up more than once, and 92% follow up less than 5 times.

That’s outrageous!

You can’t just give up on your leads! Who knows when the time will be right for that person to buy?

Lost Business Cartoon

Lucky for you, following up is easy.

It might come in emails, phone calls, texts, or retargeting online, but every lead needs to hear from you repeatedly.

If you aren’t following up with your online leads until they either purchase or tell you “never contact me again,” you are substantially missing out.

3. Make it faster.

Page Speed

Do you know how long the average viewer spends on your website?

About 15 seconds.

You might see an “average session duration” of much longer in your analytics. But if you look at individual session times, most of your viewers probably jump ship instantly.

Why would they do that?

Probably because you aren’t fast enough.

But if they’re already a lead, why would it matter how fast we are?

Because those people still need to go back to your website to read your content, buy your stuff, create their account, or learn more about what you do.

If you’re not fast enough, your leads won’t convert.

After all, 40% of viewers leave a webpage if it takes even 3 seconds to load. So your website needs to be as quick as possible.

Load Times Bounce Rate Comparison Think With Google
PC: Think With Google

Two good tools for checking your website’s speed are Pingdom and Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

If you need to get your webmaster on board, both of these tools also give recommendations on what to change.

Finding Answers

Just as important as making your website faster is allowing viewers to get what they need faster.

If I show up to your website for the first time, how easy is it to find and get what I need?

How easy is it for me to sign up, view pricing, learn how it works, or see what others are saying about your products and services?

These questions are why so much emphasis is placed on “above the fold” content – everything that’s viewable on the screen without scrolling. Your most important details need to be front and center.

I Wanna Go Fast Ricky Bobby

Whatever is above the fold will get the most attention, so plan accordingly.

What do you want viewers to see first? What will be most helpful for them?

To make things easier, you’ll need to understand your typical viewer (Lucky Orange is a good tool for this). When you more quickly give people what they want, you’ll convert more online leads.

Related: The 2 Questions Everyone Asks Before Making a Purchase

Communication

When people search online, they don’t just look at one company.

They view content, download resources, get quotes, and research several brands before making a decision.

That means your online leads are probably also your competitor’s online leads. Why should they choose you?

People generally don’t care about finding the greatest product in the world, and they don’t always care about the best deal, either.

We care about solving our problem quickly.

In fact, speed is such an important factor in consumer behavior that up to 50% of all sales go to the vendor who responds first.

Importance of Timing in Business

Not the vendor who gives the best answers.

Not the vendor who has the best products, or the most cost efficient option. And not the vendor who creates the biggest “wow factor.”

The vendor who gets nearly half of all sales is the one quickest to respond to prospects’s needs. If you want to convert more online leads, you need reach them faster.

Triggered emails are great, but the easiest way to reach your leads faster is to text them.

99% of texts are read, virtually all within a few minutes. Texts have an average response rate of 45%, and an average response time of 90 seconds.

What’s faster than that?

When you can reach your leads faster, you’ll inevitably convert more of them.

Related: 63 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions

4. Be direct.

When left alone, we tend to do nothing. It’s like when your spouse asks you to do something.

Would you have done it without them asking? Probably not. You at least would have waited longer to do it.

But when they asked you, and then when they asked you again (and again), you moved closer and closer to getting the job done. The same applies to your leads.

You need to ask them, tell them, and prompt them to take action.

Otherwise, they won’t do anything! And all those resources you spent getting those leads will be wasted.

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat & Breathe

Do you want them to read an article? Schedule a demo? Purchase?

Tell them!

Give your online leads a very simple call-to-action whenever you interact with them.

The call-to-action shouldn’t always to purchase. If they’re only cool leads, make the call-to-action something that will move them to the next stage of your funnel, like scheduling a webinar, or reading a customer case study.

Once they’re far enough along in your sales funnel to be considered a hot lead, then ask them to purchase.

HubSpot Inbound Methodology
PC: HubSpot

If you don’t encourage leads to do something at every stage, they’ll just sit around and do nothing. When your call-to-actions are clear, simple, and direct, you’ll convert more online leads.

5. Grease the wheels.

When something isn’t working smoothly – like a door hinge or a part of your vehicle – the go-to solution is to add a little grease.

When your sales funnel gets sticky, and leads aren’t flowing like they should, do the same thing. Add a little grease.

Add something to your sales funnel that will help it run more smoothly. But what?

The exact answer depends on your business and what you’re already doing, but here are a couple of options.

Add another step.

Leads often won’t make it from one stage of your funnel to the next, because you’re asking them to take too large a step.

Instead of taking a lead from new visitor straight to purchase, for instance, you might need to slip another step or two (or several) in between.

Maybe ask them to read a case study on one of your other customers (and what the ROI was, if applicable).

Instead of trying to take an email subscriber straight to purchase, maybe you should share a piece of content on the problems your product or service solves, or to watch a video.

At the end of the article or video, maybe you should ask them to schedule a call. 

People are much more likely to take smaller steps than bigger ones. If you want to convert more online leads, try adding smaller steps in between stages.

Change up what you’re doing.

Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, right?

So if your calls, emails, and other campaigns aren’t working well for you, switch it up!

If You Want Something You've Never Had

Try different advertisements and channels, different emails, different content, and different methods of communication.

Something simple that’s proven to boost sales by 100% or more is texting – actual conversations, not just blast marketing.

Whenever you get an online lead, follow up with them with a text. It’s simple and effective.

If you’re not converting online leads like you want, add a little grease! Add an extra step or change up what you’re doing to smooth out the process.

Related: 8 Benefits of Texting for Business That You Desperately Need

6. Focus on a few key numbers.

There’s a lot of data out there, and if you try to focus on all of it, you’ll just get bogged down. That’s not helpful.

Instead, hone in on a few important figures, like:

  • cost per qualified lead
  • cost per acquisition
  • bounce rate, and
  • new visitor to lead conversion rate

Lifetime value of a customer is also an important figure, but it falls more into customer success than customer conversions.

What these numbers can show you is where to focus your efforts. What part of your funnel needs to be easier?

Less is More Convert More Online Leads

If your new website visitor to lead rate is low (benchmark is 4%), you know to focus on improving your lead capture.

What can you do to get more conversions on your top pages?

Exit forms, content downloads, or other on-page lead capture forms might be right for you. You can also offer discounts and promotions.

There are plenty of options, so start by trying one or two and seeing what happens. Then repeat.

If your new user bounce rate is bad (benchmark is 25% – 30%), you might need to make your pages more relevant to your target audience.

What do people actually want when they get to your site? And what are you doing that’s driving people away?

(Note: Blog bounce rates are always way higher, and that’s normally okay.)

After you get a lead, can you ever reach them again? After someone’s done a demo, how quickly do they convert (or tell you to shove it)?

The purpose in gathering data is to see what you can improve. To convert more online leads, focus on just a few key metrics, and take action where you can.

7. Test, optimize, repeat.

The golden rule in converting leads is to test, optimize, and repeat.

If you have the resources, the easiest way to test is to pit two options against each other.

Send half of your viewers or leads option 1, and the other half option 2. This A/B testing lets you directly compare which option works better – with real results.

Solid Leads Cartoon

You should test and optimize for:

  • copy and phrasing
  • colors
  • images
  • positioning
  • call-to-actions

And every other aspect of both your website and your sales funnel.

If you don’t know what works better, you won’t be able to improve, and you won’t convert more leads.

Test a couple of options, optimize accordingly, and then move on to the next thing you want to test.

To convert more online leads, you need to know what they engage with best. The only way to learn is it to test.

Wrapping Up

There are plenty of things you can do to convert more online leads, but truthfully, it will always boil down to one thing.

Make it easier!

People always want an easier way, and that makes your job simple. Cut the fluff, and walk your leads through simple stages.

By focusing on making things easier at every turn, you will inevitably convert more online leads, and build an amazing business along the way.

Related: Is Online Texting Right for Your Business?

Does Anyone Answer Phone Calls Anymore?

Does Anyone Answer Phone Calls Anymore

Does anyone answer phone calls anymore?

The official answer is: Not really.

As far as trends show, phone calls will always have a place, but people would rather type. There will always be times where speaking is better than typing, but for now the general public says: Why take several minutes to do something that could be done in a few seconds?

There’s plenty of research and opinion as to why answered calls are steadily on the decline. Call it convenience, call it control, call it efficiency. Call it whatever you want, you’re probably right.

The bottom line is that people prefer text, email, and instant message (live chat) over speaking on the phone. Whatever your particular opinion, people tend to view typing as better than speaking. Here are a few reasons why.

Every one of us has been burned by sales calls.

And by unwelcome family conversations. We’re shy of answering calls, because we either don’t know what’s on the other end, or we don’t want what’s on the other end.

Software Advice ran a study with interesting yet unsurprising results. About 10% of adults are willing to answer calls from toll-free numbers. 15% are willing to answer calls from out of town. And still less than 30% of adults are willing to answer unrecognized local numbers.

Related: Should You Never Call a Sales Lead Again?

This doesn’t mean calls to them are answered 10%, 15% 30% of the time. It means that if they aren’t currently occupied, they would be willing to answer, which brings up the next reason no one answers their phone anymore.

Text Request Answer Phone Calls

People are busy.

Phone calls are often distractions. It’s not that the person calling doesn’t have something valuable worth sharing. They might! But that value can often be given in the form of an email, text, or any other way that doesn’t derail whatever you’re working on.

Related: How Can My Business Get More of Consumers’ Time?

People spend up to 15 seconds reading an email or text, yet the average phone call is almost 2 minutes. Plus it can take us up to twenty minutes or more to regain focus after being distracted! And we understand this.

Why accept a distraction that could ruin your next half hour? If it’s important, they can leave a message. (Except no one listens to voice mail, either, so it would still need to be typed.)

We generally want to be in control and respected.

We want to dictate our own schedules and tasks, and we want our efforts to be considered. In today’s world, phone calls are inherently presumptive. You call a person when you view your own goals or desires as more important than the goals and desires of the person you’re calling.

The unspoken response is often: How dare you try to undermine my work? When we answer phone calls, we give up control to the caller – something people generally hate to do.

If you’re looking for an exact number of how many calls are answered, there really isn’t one.

There’s no conclusive study freely available (not that we can find, at least). But all the data and trends (probably your own experiences, too) show that people prefer typing to speaking.

Even though phone calls can be valuable in certain situations, people really don’t answer their phones anymore. People really only answer phone calls when they think it will make them more money, or when they want to hear someone special’s voice.

People have found better ways of communicating that keep things under their control while weeding out unwanted solicitors.

Related: 63 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions

How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day?

how-many-emails-do-people-get-every-day

Love it or hate it, email is one of the most pervasive communications tool around. In fact, the average worker checks their email 74 times a day! (Tweet this!) Just how many emails do people get every day?

How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day?

In 2015, 205.6 billion emails were being sent and received every day. (We don’t have 2016’s solid numbers yet.) That comes to just under 6.2 trillion emails sent worldwide in a 30-day period, and equals roughly 74-75 trillion emails sent last year around the globe.

How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day

Worldwide, there are roughly 2.6 billion email users. Together, they own more than 4.3 billion email accounts – a ratio of 1.7 email accounts per user.

Related: How Many Texts Do People Send Every Day?

These users receive an average of 88 emails per day, but they only send 34 emails per day. That means people are getting more than 2.5X more emails than they’re sending out! (Tweet this!)

How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day 1

What Do Open Rates Look Like?

Email open rates are currently averaging around 30%, while click-through rates average 3.2% across industries. This means that about 1 in 11 opened emails gets a click-through.

Mobile is the preferred device for checking email, accounting for 54% to 70% of total email opens. (Tweet this!) In other words, unless your brand is atypical or targets an older demographic, you need to be focusing on mobile.

Spam messages (newsletters, marketing, promotions, etc.) account for half of all sent emails (49.7%).

When & How Do People Best Engage With Emails?

So much of the best time to send emails depends on your industry, and on what kind of emails you’re sending. For instance, Saturday and Sunday are great for publishing and media companies. 50%+ of Americans admit to checking their phones in bed, and 79% of Americans check their phones with 15 minutes of waking up. So people wake up, scroll through notifications, and start reading whatever content is interesting.

Related: 15 Reasons Why I Didn’t Reply to Your Email (& How to Improve)

However, other studies have shown that Tuesdays are best for open rates, and that Thursdays are best for click-throughs. (These are typically business-related emails.) Fridays seem perpetually awful.

The best open rates and click-through rates vary by industry. For instance, bank and credit card emails have open rates of ~48% and click-through rates of 3.8%, while retail apparel emails have open rates of ~28% and click-through rates of 2.3%.

How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day
Epsilon Q4 Industry Benchmark Email Open Rates

The best time of day varies (of course), but you’ll generally do well in 4-hour intervals. 6am, 10am, 2pm, and after 8pm get the best results.

One interpretation would say these are the times when people are looking for something to distract them. When they wake up, after they’ve worked for 2-3 hours, when the afternoon crash strikes, and when relaxing in the evenings.

10am holds the #1 spot, but again, all of this depends on your audience. If you’re a cocktail brand targeting party-goers, 6am probably isn’t a good time to send emails. But if you’re an enterprise software targeting business VPs, 6am could be your oasis!

Best Time to Send How Many Emails Every Day

What’s the Best Length for an Email?

You’ve only got 10-15 seconds to grab and keep someone’s attention, so the quick answer is: short. (Tweet this!)

Based on an average reading speed of 200 words per minute, that gives you 30-50 words with which to captivate your readers. But that’s not the whole picture.

Related: 7 Foundational Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

The highest read rates reportedly come from emails with subject lines of 61-70 characters, which might account for emails containing articles and other content with long titles. Interestingly, subject lines with 2 words or less get higher open rates.

How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day 2

Subject lines featuring the word “quick” are opened at a 17% lower rate than those without. Since people tend to view email on mobile devices, and since those devices can only display 4-7 words in a line, the subject line “Question” could be a good fit for many intro emails. (It’s certainly a popular choice.) So could your name, your company’s name, or the name of your recipient.

Surprisingly, emails with no subjects at all are reportedly opened at an 8% higher rate than those with subject lines. Apparently it makes people curious.

Those with “Alert” in the subject line were opened at an almost 62% higher rate! Though, you can only use that trick sparingly, lest you become the brand who cried wolf.

Bringing It All Together

Email can be great, but too many people get too many emails. Think of the emails you send like tweets. Short, punchy, and images can always help.

Remember that mobile is key. Most importantly, you have to test everything you do! If you don’t test between options and characteristics, you’ll never know what your best campaigns could be, or what you’re missing out on!

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

The 2 Questions Everyone Asks Before Making a Purchase

questions everyone asks before making a purchase

The customer buying process is really quite simple. Whether it’s your everyday consumer or a business owner, the criteria for making a purchase is the same.

You don’t need complicated sales strategies or an elaborate FAQ. All you have to do is answer the two questions everyone asks before making a purchase.

1. What is it?

Nobody is going to buy from you if they don’t clearly understand what it is you’re offering. Implied in this question is also “How does it help me?” and “What does it do?”

If you’re selling basic consumer goods, this question will often be glossed over, because consumers can see and immediately understand the items in front of them. For every other business, you need to explain yourself.

Brands who provide a simple and clear answer to this question will win buyers. If you’re not entirely sure how to answer “what is it,” follow this basic outline.

the-office-making-a-purchase-questions

Be short. You shouldn’t have to use more than three sentences. Just provide a statement for these three points:

  • What you are
  • How you help
  • Why you’re better than the competition

This is what buyers need to know before making a purchase. When they ask “what is it,” they’re looking for responses to these three points. Here’s an example.

Related: 7 Foundational Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

“Text Request is an online software that uses text conversations to increase business revenue and create better customer experiences. It’s simple, cost-efficient, and only takes a few seconds to get started.”

  • What you are –> An online software
  • How you help –> increase revenue, create better customer experiences through text
  • Why you’re better –> Easier and more cost-efficient

Quickly share what it is you are and do with prospects. This will improve your customer buying journey.

2. How much?

This one is even more simple than the first! People want to know how much something costs before making a purchase. Duh. This question is also very easy to answer.

If people can candidly see your pricing options, including shipping, installment, additional users, and any other potential fees, they’re going to be more likely to purchase from you.

Making a Purchase Cost Plan

About 70% of the customer buying journey takes place before they contact you. People don’t want to start a conversation for something as simple as finding out the price.

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

Showing people your prices beforehand also makes it easier for non-decision-making employees to share your products and services with their superiors. Because those employees know the two questions their bosses will ask before making a purchase are: What is it? and How much?

Bringing It Together

Gaining new customers doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the simpler you can make it for everyone, the better off you’ll be. There’s always a way to make it easier.

Every person asks the same two questions before making a purchase. What is it? How much does it cost? Answer these questions quickly and obviously, and your business will see an increase in purchases.

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat & Breathe

11 Terrible Customer Service Experiences That Will Leave You Speechless

Amazingly Terrible Customer Service Experiences

Customer service experiences are the bread and butter of dinner conversations. They’re so memorable!

When they’re great, we tell others. When they’re bad, we tell others with fervor! Here are 11 amazingly terrible customer service experiences so cringe-worthy you’ll be glad they didn’t happen to you! Take note, brands. Don’t ever let one of these stories be about you.

1. “I don’t understand”

comcast amazingly terrible customer service experiences
PC: The Comic News

You can always trust Comcast for amazingly terrible customer service experiences, like this one from Elaine B.

I was trying to get some information from Comcast about my bill, but couldn’t understand the different groupings of channels, which had no explanation, just names like ‘Extended Package.’ [The representative] couldn’t explain it, and kept getting the same channels in different groupings. I said, very politely, “I don’t understand your explanation, is there someone else who can explain it to me so I will understand it.” She replied: “You’re stupid.” Then she hung up.

[Source]

2. “Nails are only for pretty girls”

nails-pretty-girls-customer-service-experiences

If Reddit is good for anything, it’s bringing to light the worst of humanity. Here’s proof shared by user ChaosMind55.

I was looking around a new little shop that opened up in the mall. I was just looking at the stuff when a couple came in and started to look around, too. An employee went over and said: “Nails are only for pretty girls.” The girlfriend of the couple had fake nails on and just got told she didn’t look good in them in the rudest way ever.

[Source]

Related: 3 Simple Steps to Provide the Customer Experience Millennials Want

3. “A free Bloody Mary”

bloody-mary-customer-service-experiences

Nearly every restaurant says customer service is their #1 priority. Clearly that isn’t checked very often!

After spilling a tray of two Bloody Marys on my white dress shirt, the crying server returned (after I changed my shirt) to apologize and deliver a free Bloody Mary … which she then spilled on my fresh white dress shirt.

[Source]

4. “I knew you wouldn’t buy”

gasp-retailers-customer-service-experiences

Assumptions can be helpful, but usually end with everyone getting hurt, as confirmed by this horrendous shopping experience and reported by The Telegraph.

It all started on Monday, when bride-to-be Keira O’Neill, with bridesmaids in tow, tried on a pink wedding dress in their store. The shop assistant tried a hard sell and when he failed to secure the sale, he apparently suggested to size-12 Keira that ‘with your figure I really think you should buy it.’ As the wedding contingent left, he truculently declared: ‘I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in.’
The incident, unsurprisingly, resulted in a perfectly polite but indignant email from Keira to the company. The response from Gasp was, well, breathtaking. There was no hint of an apology; instead, a series of arrogant defences of the company and the ‘superstar’ shop assistant who apparently is ‘too good at what he does… and doesn’t like his time being wasted.’

On the bright side, it seems that all Gasp locations have since shut down. Apparently treating (potential) customers like filth is a poor business move. Go figure!

[Source]

Related: Should Customer Service for Millennials Be Any Different?

5. “Daughter Killed in Car Crash”

daughter-car-crash-customer-service-experiences

As if it’s not enough to lose a child in a horrific accident, Office Max took insensitivity to a whole new level by mailing this letter to the deceased’s father.

[The letter] says ‘Mike Seay, Daughter Killed In Car Crash, or Current Business…’ This is my home. Why would they have that kind of information? Why would they need that? … The [call center] manager told us ‘That can’t happen.’ Later that day, Office Max released a statement that the information came from a third party provider, and seemed to be an ‘inadvertent error.’

[Source]

6. “Why can’t you just get the receipts”

dillards-customer-service-experiences
PC: CDI Contractors

Losing a loved one and sorting out their affairs is awful. When the Dillard’s cashier gets snippy about it, it’s even worse, as reported by AOL reader KRSRSS3.

When I was 18, my mother died of lung cancer. She had clothes that she had purchased during her illness that she had never even taken the tags off to wear. My father asked me to return the clothes to Dillard’s … I did not have the receipts … [The cashier] was very rude in the way that she was asking me, ‘Why can’t you just get the receipts from your mom to get the credit?’ I then told her that she had just died and she proceeded to look into my face and say, ‘Well, you don’t look too sad about it.

7. “You didn’t need it”

hosting_party_customer_service_experiences

Hosting a mega-party is stressful. It’s downright terrible when you’re dealing with scum, just like what happened here with Lisa R.

I was hosting a party for 150 people and needed catering prices 7 weeks prior to the party to review bids, select a caterer, or determine another venue. I had a drop-dead due date and explained that. When I contacted the caterer for prices because they hadn’t contacted me by the morning of the due date, my main contact was on vacation and left no information. I was fuming. Obviously, they did not get my business. When I finally reached the caterer to determine how they could have made such an error, he said “I decided you didn’t need it by your due date.”

[Source]

Related: SMS for Business 101: Texting as a Customer Service Tool

8. “Nice act”

diabetic_shock_customer_service_experiences

Why do people instinctively think everyone’s trying to cheat and steal? Here’s another case of assumptions gone wrong in a very memorable way.

One of our friends from out of town has type 1 diabetes. While we stood there waiting for a table, his hands began to shake. It looked like he was going into diabetic shock, which can be prevented by a quick infusion of sugar, from, say, a glass of orange juice… So one of us frantically asked one of the servers behind the bar for a glass of orange juice. Our friend is diabetic, she told him, and needs some orange juice ASAP. The server looked at our friend’s shaking hands, looked at her, and said: “Nice act.” …Our friend went into shock. He shook uncontrollably and collapsed on the floor. We called an ambulance. The paramedics came, took him outside and helped him get his blood sugar level back to normal.

[Source]

9. “Your call is important to us”

It’s a fact of life that Comcast is the worst, earning them two spots on our list of amazingly terrible customer service experiences. And yet, when you try to get rid of them, they won’t let you! Maybe that’s why Aaron Spain was placed on hold for 3 1/2 hours until their service department closed.

I refused to hang up as I wasn’t going to give them any reason to keep my service active. There would be no ‘well you did hang up before we could get to you’ nonsense. I had been attempting to get a service technician out from Aug 21st through August 5th [sic?]. I’d had 3-4 service calls scheduled, all of them no calls no shows, and no reason as to why they can’t get the service done. At this point I was trying to cancel service. I was transferred to the “retention” department at 7:17pm. I’m uploading this video at 10:19pm.

[Source]

10. “We pity the groom”

restaurant-customer-service-experiences

The problem with restaurants is that it only takes one rogue server to dismantle the establishment. A group of girls went in to create one of the happiest memories of their lives, and instead walked out with the exact opposite. Here’s coverage from The Telegraph and Oddee.

Melissa Grogan-Morgan celebrated her upcoming nuptials at 47 King Street West in Manchester city with a group of 17 friends and family. Although they enjoyed the food, the party was left dissatisfied with the level of customer service they’d received from staff, and took to Facebook to complain about the poor service. The one-star review prompted a scathing response from an unnamed member of staff who called the group ‘ugly,’ ‘cheap chav trash,’ ‘the worst, most vile people to ever grace our restaurant,’ and added, ‘we pity the groom.’

[Source]

Related: Customer Experience Questions You Absolutely Need to Answer

11. “I’m a busy person”

citibank-customer-service-experiences
PC: Fickle Finance

Hearing scripts is deplorable, because you usually know it’s a script, and that the person “helping” you couldn’t care less about your situation. Citibank shows us just how miserable these situations can be, as told by Kate Nasser.

There was a charge on my Citibank Mastercard from a vendor who renewed my $400 membership without asking me. I spoke with the vendor and he agreed to send a credit into the credit card company for the charge. Since the credit card bill was due in 15 days, I called the credit card company to ensure that I wouldn’t have to pay $400 up front only to have it credited back later. The rep who answered the phone went into his long drawn out scripted answer. I asked to speak with a supervisor and after waiting on hold, the supervisor started another scripted answer. I said, ‘I am a busy person and I just need a simple direct answer instead of the script.’ He replied: ‘I am sorry you called when you were busy. We are open 24 hours a day.

[Source]

Bringing It All Together

How each member of your brand treats customers and potential customers is paramount! The one thing people remember, and the one thing they tend to vocalize most, is how they’re treated.

How simple did you make things? How polite were you? Did you go out of your way to make the situation better? These are the questions people ask during all of their customer service experiences.

What’s worse, almost 80% of consumers are frustrated with their customer service options! After all, who wants to wait on hold for half an hour (or more) before they can talk to anyone?

An astounding 82% of consumers passionately want another customer service option! They want something that’s quicker, easier. Something that’s generally more convenient and results in better customer service experiences.

Consumers want the option to text with your brand. There’s no waiting on hold, conversations can be instantaneous or over time to easily fit the consumer’s schedule.

By nature, every conversation is permanently recorded. And consumers generally prefer and do everything else through their smartphones already! It’s a win-win and a no-brainer. Learn more about how texting can improve your customer service experiences at textrequest.com.

Related: Startup Journal: Handling Customer Service