What is SMS and Why Does it Matter?
The Evolution of Communication
🎶 Cave paintings, smoke signals, and carrier pigeons. A printing press, then postal systems, we had many visions. The telegraph, the telephone, and mobiles came next. Email, video conferencing, and, of course, the text. 🎶
You don’t need me to tell you what these [“favorite things”] all have in common, but of course, I will anyway. These are all examples of the technologies that have led us to where we are today, in terms of communication.
Of course, the text message, which is now 30 years old, falls somewhere into the mix, and it sure has made a name for itself.
The first SMS (Short Messaging Service) was sent from a PC to a friend, wishing a good holiday. What followed, years later, included the ability to use numerical keypads to type out text, letter predictability, and the availability of keyboards on mobile phones. By 2002, there had been over 250 billion messages sent, worldwide. Let that sink in for a moment.
Since then, Facebook Messenger showed up in the “texting” landscape, in addition to iMessage, WhatsApp, Skype, Snapchat, and various other services.
So what, you ask? That’s exactly it. Text messaging has become a part of our livelihood. However, it also plays an important role in a day at, just about, any office.
Here’s why you should use SMS for business communication.
What is SMS and Why Does it Matter?
We all use SMS daily to send messages to phone numbers. It is important to know that only text and links are supported through SMS. Many of us also use MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) to send messages with media, such as pictures and videos.
We are connected to our mobile phones and digital devices all the time. Surf the web, check email, download games, make purchases, create wish lists, scroll through social media, keep track of fitness. Rinse and repeat. We also use our cell phones to connect with family, friends, and colleagues. Clearly texting has become part of our daily lives, and that’s exactly why it’s useful for companies: it’s the easiest, and fastest, way to reach customers and clients.
6 Pros of Using SMS for Business Communication
Texting Enhances Productivity
- Phone calls and emails create limitations for customer service. However, text messages open the door to more effective and specific support.
- Using SMS for business purposes can be cost-effective. Most services offer options for its customers. Clerk Chat, for example, is as affordable as you want it to be. You can start with a free trial, and depending on your company’s needs, you can choose monthly or yearly billing with several tiered options.
- If you’re looking for a quick way to send out brief information about new product updates, mobile coupons, discount codes, and details of weekly specials, text messaging (and potentially scheduling in advance or considering bulk texting) is a simple way to reach many customers at once.
Texting Creates Customer Experience
- Texting is a more personal way to get a customer’s attention. A customer service representative can text with multiple customers at once and have several ongoing conversations, taking as long as necessary to answer questions or provide support. Whereas, in theory, if solely using a phone system, someone may end up on hold for quite a while and the queue only gets longer for the person or people managing all the calls.
- Enabling SMS on an already existing business number helps engage, acquire, and retain clients. Since people spend much of their day glancing at notifications on their phone, they are used to receiving texts from friends and family. When a text comes in from a business, the customer is immediately engaged in the conversation.
- If you compare the number of phone calls answered to emails read and text message usage statistics, you’ll find that people open, read, and respond quickly due to the high open rates.
3 Examples of Using SMS for Business Communication
Are you curious how text messaging can be used to communicate with customers? Here are a few examples of companies using Clerk Chat, a business messaging platform, that integrates directly with Slack and Microsoft Teams.
- Lemon from Heaven, an online teaching platform, has been using Clerk and Slack to power its entire operation, especially customer service. It is used for all internal communication, technical support, and all issues are addressed in real-time.
- Diacon Concrete, a construction company, uses Clerk to send SMS from Slack, connecting office employees with field workers on job sites. In fact, each construction site has its own dedicated Slack channel, and everyone on the project (whether in the office, at home, or on the job site), can communicate in the Slack channel to keep all project-related communication organized and in one place.
- Pawlicy, a pet insurance advisor that also happens to be a start-up, uses Clerk for handling customer support inside of Slack. Since it is an online-only service company, they must offer reliable digital customer service. Customer questions come through their website, appear in the customer service Slack channel, and the team replies back instantly.
These companies value the ability to use SMS for internal communication, customer service, technical support, and project management.
What if your Number is not Enabled to Send or Receive SMS?
Before you send your first text message to communicate with a customer or client, you have to look at how you’re currently having internal conversations. If you’re using a program like Slack or Microsoft Teams, then it’s recommended to choose a third-party messaging app like Clerk Chat, which integrates natively, making for a seamless experience, especially for newbies.
Next, you’ll download, install, and configure the app, which should be quick to do. Additionally, a help center or support team can guide you with installation and onboarding.
If you’ve never sent a text to a customer or client, you’ll want to practice first. Get to know the features of the platform and app you choose prior to sending your first SMS.
We sure have come a long way from cave paintings, smoke signals, and carrier pigeons. If you think about the technological advances in your lifetime, it’s pretty amazing to witness, and it’s even more out-of-this-world to think about where we’re headed.
Methods of communication with customers continue to evolve. No matter the channel your company practices, we can agree that authenticity, professionalism, and attentiveness are a few principles at the core of stellar customer experience.
Utilizing texting for business communication is not only a smart move, it will also keep your company current and in the green, a place we all strive to be!
How can you take your business to the next level by using SMS? Start your free trial today!