“A large proportion of customers (57%) indicate that they would like to contact the company through written communication..”
“Recognising the importance of service, today almost every company offers communication through several communication channels..”
Should you choose SMS marketing?
Starting something new or wanting to improve an existing aspect sometimes requires a little insight into history. Did you know that the first text message sent via computer was sent in December 1992 with the text “Merry Christmas!”. Since then, a lot has changed and text messages, as well as other communication channels, are now our daily routine. Every company must keep up with today's news and think about how to reach the customer using the desired communication channel, which is a very important factor influencing the future of marketing.
As an example we can look at different age groups - the situation of the chosen customer service channel is changing. There is a noticeable reluctance on the part of young people under the age of 24 regarding calls to info numbers when choosing various further options, because it takes some time, as young people are used to receiving all the relevant information quickly. There is also a tendency in this age group not to check e-mails every hour or even every day, as they are used to receiving news notifications that attract attention and can be quickly perceived in an aggregated way. As a result, email information is not opened or is out of date at the time of opening. However, different results can be seen in the age group over 25, where e-mail and SMS have gained equal popularity, but for those over 45, e-mail is emerging as the most popular service-channel. Although the chat shows relatively low indicators for the time being, its popularity is also growing rapidly and forecasts for its future development are very promising.
Recognising the importance of service, today almost every company offers communication through several communication channels. Customer requirements are growing rapidly and the things you will not be able to provide will be sought from a competitor. For example, 72% of customers have indicated that when contacting a company, they expect the service provider to know who they are, what they have ordered or purchased, and what the previous communication has been. If the problem has to be explained to several people, then it is already considered poor service. Also, 66% of consumers indicate that they use up to 3 different communication channels when communicating with a service provider and 48% indicate that they expect a special approach as a regular or good customer.
A large proportion of customers (57%) indicate that they would like to contact the company through written communication, which indicates various preferences that should be followed, as almost all (96%) customers indicate that service is one of the most important factors in staying loyal to the company and not only continuing to use its services, but also recommending it to others.
Given these figures, a critical problem is the inability to provide service between these various channels, which has been acknowledged by more than 50% of companies.
Nevertheless the financial issue is important as well. The price is one thing, but, only by comparing it with the actual efficiency, is it possible to determine the actual costs of each service channel. Although the price of SMS is more expensive, it reaches 98% of customers, while e-mail, being much cheaper, reaches 25% of customers. When comparing calls, robotic calls are much cheaper than calls made by employees, but they reach the same number of customers. Only 7% still choose being connected with the company's employees. Therefore, when choosing a service channel, not only the price, but also the desired result should be considered, because the main goal is to reach these customers, and even better if it is performed in the desired way of the customer and its communication is associated with positive emotions.
For a clearer overview, a comparison has been made between SMS and emails. As we have just evaluated, SMS shows much higher scores in reaching the customer. In the case of SMS, the reasons could be the notifications that remain activated in most situations.
Also, when using the phone, users spend half as much of their time on the SMS platform as on emails. For these reasons, it is not surprising that when receiving reminders about payments, appointment times, delivery of goods and other information, most people prefer SMS notifications.
The same type of comparison is also used between SMS and calls. 3 out of 10 customers have indicated that they would like to fully refuse telephone calls, replacing them with SMS, as most of them mostly communicate via SMS on a daily basis. At the same time, the call is still one of the most popular communication channels and these data might be influenced by the aforementioned young people who want to communicate in writing. Its time saving feature is considered to be a major advantage. Let's think, instead of calling each customer individually and dedicating time to passing on information by repeating the same information, it is possible to send out countless personalised messages at the same time. And the efficiency is already described above. The text message remains as a notification on the mobile phone and can be opened at a more convenient time, while the call may not be answered and due to working hour restrictions it is not possible to call back, therefore the information is not delivered to the customer at all.
Having described the history and the present, now we need a little insight into the future.
Surprisingly, cold calls, being one of the most successful sales methods, are projected to become extinct by 2025. However, this only applies to cold calls in the format we currently know them. In the future, it is anticipated that a contact will initially be established by sending the same text message or e-mail, or a customer's involvement on a particular topic will be observed before making the call to the so-called “warmed-up customer”. Considering e-mails, an increase in account creation is expected as this communication channel still continues to operate, especially in the B2B sector. The use of SMS has quadrupled since 2013 and is expected to continue to grow significantly, especially in the light of the increasing use of mobile phones and the popularity of written communication. Regarding chats, they even show a very rapid increase in a short period of time, having increased by 87% in 12-18 months, as its popularity increases.
You may ask, what do all these communication channels have in common? A phone. Due to the availability, most applications are also created with a telephone spreadsheet feature. According to the statistics, more than ¾ of the world's population owns a mobile phone and 89% of users say that they keep their phone in an easy and quickly accessible place. As a result, phone notifications are almost always noticed. Various smart devices are used for everyday communication, but 66% of them are telephones, while the remaining 34% consists of laptops (15%), stationary computers (11%) and tablets (8%). The number of active cards in Latvia has reached 2.8 million, which exceeds the amount of the population itself.
Not only is the popularity of communication channels developing, but also their functionality – including SMS and the two-way SMS system that is being used even more frequently. It is a handy tool that will automatically reply to the customer's SMS, provide information, as well as offer the opportunity to reply to the message both by SMS and by going to the shortened address link indicated in it, for example, to conduct surveys. This tool provides a personalised approach to holiday greetings and notifications about collaboration duration. Of course, profit is an important factor for each company, and the quote says that “time is money”, therefore every moment is very important and sending reminders/notifications has a high impact on this. SMS is a quick way to remind customers of the appointment time, date, place, payments, notes and to transfer delivery information. Without wasting time, it is also possible to involve customers in a response SMS upon event confirmation, by using the transition to the specified link or the option to be connected to the operator.
More specifically, there are various reasons why companies should consider choosing SMS-marketing as one of the communication channels:
- Bulk messages can be quickly and easily personalised, for example, by using the customer's name when addressing him/her or by answering about the activity of a specific phone number
- You can also divide contact lists according to different criteria, which is very useful in various situations. For example, Women's Day, when messages only need to be sent out to women
- In addition to the advertisement, there is an option to edit the sender's name that can display the business name for companies
- Meanwhile, with the help of the SMS portal, it is possible to see accurate data about the sent SMS and their status, clearly indicating online statistics
- In general, advertising saves money
- in addition, SMS is the only “text-only” system, available on even the simplest, older phones, without any internet connection
- And if you have your own SMS sending program, CSC Telecom offers the option to integrate it with our service via HTTP API
In general, you only need to remember what is most important - it is vital to offer the customer several communication channels so that he/she can choose the desired one in order for the communication to be pleasant. And of no less importance, is ensuring that each channel has the same quality and speed of service. Only by being aware of our customers can we provide the best service and reach the heights of our business.
ELĪZA JUDZIKA, CSC Telecom CUSTOMER RELATIONS Manager.
“Tirdzniecības nākotne, sasniedzot klientu ar viņam vēlamo komunikācijas kanālu” 26.11.2019.