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How Text Messaging Improves the Consumer Experience

It happens all the time. You're in a time crunch, you need a quick answer from your client, and you send an email hoping they get back to you in time. You even call and leave a voicemail just to cover all your bases. You'd prefer to just send them a quick text, but isn't that unprofessional? Invasive? Inappropriate, even? It turns out, it's quite the opposite, depending on the situation.

According to a new study, "Great TEXTpectations: The Text Messaging Playbook for Sellers," a growing number of buyers prefer text messaging (SMS) as a communication channel and believe it can speed up the sales process. Let's take a look at some of the report's findings, as well as how you can weave texting into your customer experience.

How Consumers Feel About Texting

If you want to reach people in real time, there's no better way than using text. In fact, experts agree that text messages have an open rate of more than 90%. This also gives texting the potential to speed up the homebuying process. Consumers especially appreciate a text for urgent messages, so if you need your clients' signoff to put in a bid quickly, skip the email and send a text instead.

However, texting feels more personal than email, so it may not be appropriate for birthday wishes or hello messages to contacts with whom you haven’t already established a strong relationship. Buyers can also be turned off if you use text as the initial form of outreach, but once a relationship has been established, it can be an extremely effective channel.

Just how effective, you ask?

Don’t just take the consumer’s word for it. The Great TEXTpectations report also found some statistically significant differences among different types of salespeople when it comes to texting. Specifically, high-growth salespeople, or those that experience a 20% year-over-year growth, are more likely to always use text when communicating with a client. These pro-text professionals are also more likely to close a deal within just one month.

But those numbers reflect the few, not the majority. Even as the popularity of texting grows, only 28% of salespeople always or almost always use texts to communicate. That’s a golden opportunity wasted.

Texting has the ability to make your life and your clients’ lives a lot easier, but what if you don’t want to use your personal phone for texting clients? And how do you make sure your texts are compliant with your company’s legal and branding requirements? If any of those concerns apply to you, an automated text messaging service could be a solution. You can set up automated, targeted texts as well as rules for handling incoming texts so that texting can become an integral part of your sales process, with little effort.

Texting is considered permission-based marketing, and prior express written consent may be required if you are using an automatic dialing system to send a text to a wireless number Text messaging is not for everyone, and having an opt-out choice is a smart move to ensure you’re not turning off your clients. And don’t write texts like they’re just emails in a different format: Texts must be short, punchy, and to the point.

The good news is, you no longer have to trade speed, convenience, and security for personal interaction. That doesn’t mean you should switch to only using text, just make sure you integrate it into your customer experience as another powerful and useful means of communication.

Do you have tips on how to improve communication with your customers? I’d love to hear what works for you!

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