More businesses want to add text messaging to their omnichannel customer communications but aren’t sure how to proceed. To demystify the process, we held a webinar that set out the path from concept to reality. Here are some key takeaways.
- Businesses see text messaging as a way to deliver better CX and gain an edge over competitors.
While roughly 70% of consumers say they want text options for payments and billing, only 30% of organizations provide those alternatives, according to the 2023 State of Business Texting Report. Customers want to interact on their own terms and be treated as individuals: 73% of people expect businesses to understand their unique needs and preferences, according to Salesforce’s 2022 Connected Consumer Report.
To deliver against these rising expectations and differentiate themselves, 3 out of 4 Nordis Technologies clients who attended the webinar say they are extremely or somewhat likely to begin offering text messaging in 2023.
- Successful text messaging starts with a strategy and plan.
As with any communications program, companies need to determine what they want to accomplish by adding texting. Is the goal to attract younger customers? Meet existing demand from current customers? Accelerate timely payments? Reduce printing and postage costs?
In our webinar poll, everyone responded that they wanted to initiate text messaging to more effectively engage consumers. The next priorities were a tie between improving timeliness of payments and reducing print/mail costs.
A key part of planning should focus on use cases and message types. Among our webinar participants, 84% would use text messaging for payment reminders and bill presentment. Companies can include smart links in the SMS messages to payment portals and secure document links to view PDF versions of statements and other documents.
It’s important to put in place the right structure, procedures and personnel to incorporate text messaging into an omnichannel program for transactional communications. Our text messaging partner, Solutions By Text, recommends recruiting an executive sponsor and appointing at least one SMS expert to launch and help support messaging and program updates and expansion over time.
- Obtaining expert advice helps ensure compliance.
Before moving ahead, companies must understand and build compliance and customer consent management into their processes. Many state, federal and telecom industry rules exist for obtaining consent to text, and they vary depending on the type of communication, such as account-based versus marketing, and by industry. Carriers also maintain messaging content standards and prohibitions.
Other federal rules set conditions for validating and using cell phone numbers, especially if they have been transferred. Add in the rules for managing opt-outs, and it makes sense to consult with a texting expert such as SBT to comply and follow best practices.
- It’s important to weigh the pros and cons of short codes and 10-Digit Long Code (10DLC) numbers.
Businesses must register and provision for each code they use for sending text messages. The original texting short codes are 5 to 6 digits while the newer 10-digit codes. 10DLCs are less expensive to provision and have cheaper ongoing leasing fees. They also are somewhat easier and faster to obtain than short codes, but they trigger more spam filters, according to SBT General Counsel Amanda Payton. In contrast, short codes have fewer deliverability issues and companies can send higher numbers of messages with them.
- Don’t forget to set and track KPIs.
While opt-out rates vary by industry, a good rule of thumb is to keep it below 4%, according to SBT’s Todd Jenkins. Anything more may put the sender out of compliance with SMS rules. The average click-through rate for SMS texts is 19%. However, companies that opt for SBT’s SmartURL®, which provides branded and shortened links, have a 39% higher click-through rate than messages with generic URLs.
- Nordis clients can launch texting programs in roughly 8 weeks.
Nordis and SBT have established a thorough yet streamlined implementation process. SBT handles the provisioning process with the client while Nordis works with the client to define data file requirements, such as adding fields for mobile numbers, and setting up automated rules for handling bounces. Nordis and SBT also provide examples and advice on creating text message templates in Expresso and on SMS content.
Click here to view our “How to Get Started Text Messaging” webinar.
Please contact us to learn more about adding text messaging to your customer communications.