In today’s hyper-connected world, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to connect with their customers.
One such avenue that has gained popularity is SMS messaging. However, it’s not without its challenges.
If not executed properly, it could be costing your brand valuable Customer Experience (CX) points. But how do you gauge this? Let’s delve into this subject matter more deeply.
If you’re using SMS messaging to market to your audiences, you need to read this post.
SMS Messaging in Business Communication
Email and SMS have become the mainstays of how businesses communicate with their customers. This is especially true for highly-regulated sectors such as banks and financial institutions. The need for secure, fast, and reliable communication channels in these sectors cannot be overstated.
SMS, or Short Message Service, is a text messaging service component of most telephone and internet communication systems. With nearly everyone owning a mobile phone, it’s no surprise that businesses are leveraging SMS messaging to reach their customers.
SMS offers immediacy and personal touch. Unlike emails, SMS messages are usually read within minutes, making it an effective communication tool.
However, the potential of SMS can only be maximized if businesses take into account the CX points that could be gained or lost through this medium.
For instance, Sendbird released a report that showed …
- 49% consumers report using SMS in the past year to interact with businesses
- 34% say they get more unwanted SMS spam
- 26% ignore messages from businesses more frequently, and
- 19% block more businesses from Text/SMS messaging
In fact, 72% now say SMS / texting is the least trusted channel for communicating with a business (especially when it comes to banking and healthcare).
Evaluating SMS Messaging From a CX Perspective
Customer experience is a crucial factor in the success of any brand. CX looks at the total sum of how a customer perceives their interactions with your company. With SMS messaging playing a pivotal role in customer communication, it’s essential to understand its impact on the overall customer experience.
The Balance of Relevance and Intrusion
SMS is personal, and hence, there’s a thin line between being relevant and intrusive. Bombarding customers with frequent, irrelevant messages could lead to a negative customer experience, causing them to opt-out from receiving any future messages.
Too much outreach is bad for CX: Looking at channel noise and the desire to tune it out by generation:
- Millennials and Gen Z don’t care for increased volume and growing use of text / SMS for marketing purposes.
- 32% of Millennials and 27% of Gen Z respondents felt that companies sent too many text or SMS messages, compared to Gen X (18%) and Baby Boomers (12%)
Thus, the key is in striking a balance — ensuring messages are relevant, personalized, and sent at appropriate times.
Like this example of customer retention through SMS …
Understanding Customer Preferences
Not all customers might prefer to receive SMS messages. It’s important to respect customer preferences and provide them with the option to choose the communication channels they are comfortable with.
Disregarding your customers’ preferences can lead to dissatisfaction and potentially damage your brand’s reputation.
Respecting customer privacy is paramount. Businesses need to obtain explicit consent from customers before sending them promotional SMS messages. They also need to provide an easy way for customers to opt-out of these communications.
Risk of Spam and Phishing
SMS messages are often targeted by scammers for phishing attacks. Businesses need to educate their customers on how to identify and avoid such scams. They also need to implement robust security measures to protect their SMS communications.
Despite these challenges, with the right strategies in place, email and SMS can significantly enhance the customer experience when done right.
Like this SMS message indicating a Flash Sale for their SMS subscribed customers:
Privacy Concerns with SMS Messaging: A Deeper Dive
In our increasingly connected world, privacy has become a fundamental concern for businesses and customers alike. As SMS messaging serves as a primary communication tool, understanding its associated privacy issues is crucial. Here’s a detailed look at the privacy concerns surrounding SMS messaging.
1. Data Security
One of the most significant privacy concerns with SMS messaging is data security. Text messages often contain sensitive information, such as verification codes, transaction alerts, or personal data. If these messages are intercepted, it can lead to significant privacy breaches.
2. Spam Messages
As I mentioned above, spam messages are unsolicited texts that can be annoying and invasive. Beyond annoyance, they can also pose significant privacy threats, especially if they contain phishing links designed to steal sensitive information.
3. Consent and Opt-Out
The lack of consent is another privacy issue associated with SMS messaging. Businesses must obtain explicit consent from their customers before sending them SMS messages. Customers should also have an easy way to opt-out of these messages at any time.
4. Third-Party Data Sharing
When businesses use third-party SMS service providers, there are concerns about how these parties handle and protect customer data. If the third-party service is compromised or if they share data with other entities, customer privacy can be breached.
While these concerns are significant, they can be mitigated with proper strategies and practices.
Optimizing SMS Messaging for Enhanced CX
With the generational and other challenges in mind, how can you optimize your SMS messaging to enhance the customer experience? Here are some strategies:
1. Personalization is Key
Personalized messages resonate better with customers. Using customer data to customize messages can make them feel valued, enhancing their experience.
2. Timely and Relevant Communication
Ensure your messages are timely and relevant. Whether it’s promotional content or customer support, the timing and relevance of your messages can significantly impact customer experience.
3. Use of Automation and AI
Leveraging automation and AI can help manage and scale your SMS messaging efforts. From scheduling messages to segmenting customers based on preferences, automation can ensure a seamless and personalized customer experience.
For instance, live chat is gaining momentum. Live chat has seen serious growth as people spend more time online and businesses are increasingly deploying mobile apps that include live chat.
Last year, 43% of global mobile app users 18+ used chat to interact with a business. Of these, 55% reported using live chat via a business’s mobile app.
Mobile App > SMS?
One advantage of a mobile app over SMS messaging is the encrypted and authenticated channel. This gives users a peace of mind when it comes to phishing or smishing (yes, it’s a thing.)
Smishing is committing fraud by sending text messages that pretend to be real companies in order to entice individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
On a mobile app, user experience (UX) is streamlined. A user gets a ping that a notification is waiting for them. A fingerprint or face-scan pops them in the app. From there they can take action, like requesting support, resolving a dispute, resetting a password, etc.
Many consumers agree that push notifications are less intrusive than SMS messaging. This is likely due to the fact that you don’t need opt-in consent to send your messages, and there are fewer barriers to the type of content you can send (think formatting and character limits).
Additionally, these messages have staying power — they stay in the app’s inbox, increasing your chances of having a user engage with your message.
Measuring the Impact of SMS on CX
Just as with any other strategy, measuring the impact of your SMS messaging on customer experience is critical.
Ensure your team is constantly monitoring metrics like:
- Opt-out rates
- Response rates, and
- Customer feedback
Doing so can help you understand how well your SMS strategy is working. Or, if it’s losing CX points for your brand.
FAQs about SMS Messaging & Brand CX
- What is SMS Messaging in the context of brand communication? SMS Messaging refers to the use of Short Message Service (typically known as text messaging) by brands to communicate with customers. This can include promotional campaigns, transactional alerts, reminders, or customer support.
- How can SMS Messaging affect Customer Experience (CX)? When used effectively, SMS Messaging can enhance CX by offering real-time updates, personalized offers, and convenient communication. However, excessive, irrelevant, or unsolicited messages can irritate customers, leading to a negative perception of the brand.
- What best practices should brands follow to ensure SMS Messaging enhances CX? Brands should seek explicit customer consent before sending SMS messages, segment their audience for personalized content, ensure messages are timely and relevant, and provide easy opt-out options. Frequency and content of messages should always consider the customer’s perspective and convenience.
- Are there regulations brands should be aware of regarding SMS Messaging? Yes, many countries have regulations to prevent unsolicited SMS marketing. For instance, in the U.S., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulates SMS marketing. Brands must ensure they have consent to send SMS messages and must honor opt-out requests promptly.
- How can brands measure the impact of SMS Messaging on CX? Brands can use metrics like response rates, conversion rates from SMS promotions, unsubscribe rates, and direct feedback from customers. Regularly surveying customers on their perception and preferences related to SMS communication can also offer valuable insights.
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