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How Two-Way SMS Messaging can improve customer engagement and retention

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“Results show that SMS has a 95% read rate — way above any other similar forms of communication — and the trend with a rich content SMS is to give the consumer a complete journey to engage and convert, without them having to do any of the heavy lifting themselves.” – Mail & Guardian

The two-way SMS messaging software allows businesses to send text messages directly to customers, as well as to receive responses from customers or indications that the message has been received. Text messaging has long been used for personal interaction, but it’s fast becoming a leading business marketing and communications’ tool that improves customer engagement and retention. And once you have this engagement and retention, your two-way SMS can be used to encourage your customers to take action.

How can businesses engage customers using two-way messaging?

It’s important to implement your two-way SMS API correctly so that you’re engaging rather than alienating your existing and potential customers. Here’s how you can achieve these goals.

1. Get customers’ permission for SMS

When you’re looking to market your products and services using the SMS platform, you need to get the relevant permission from your customers. This includes an ‘opt out’ option that puts your customers in control of the communication platform. This way, they don’t feel like they’re being spammed but are rather receiving information they would like to receive. 

2. Personalize your marketing through SMS API

“Making sure customer experiences are relevant might be more important than you think. As many as 96% of consumers receive irrelevant marketing. And 94% of consumers say they would discontinue their relationship with a brand because of it.” - Adobe

You can actually segment your audience so that you’re sending more personalized messages to your targeted audience. They can be split according to region, demographics, and purchasing history, so that you’re much more likely to convert interest into sales.

3. Send time-sensitive notifications with SMS messaging

For companies in the travel, hospitality, and logistics industries, the ability to send two-way messaging is hugely helpful as it allows for urgent notifications. If there has been any change to flights or delivery delays, the customer can be quickly informed, and alternative arrangements made. While inconvenient, the customer will appreciate the timeous notification. Customers are also incredibly grateful when they’re kept updated on purchases, deliveries, and bookings, even when there are no changes. This engagement creates enhanced customer loyalty.

4. Provide constant support via SMS

Your two-way messaging service can also provide further customer support in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), a URL link to a company’s landing page, online tutorials and resources, contact details, and more. This form of interaction provides your customers with that instant response that the modern consumer has come to expect today. The seamless and immediate nature of text makes it the best way to provide customer support. 

5. Get customer feedback using SMS messaging

If you really want to know what your customers want, then why not ask them? The two-way SMS messaging truly improves customer engagement through surveys and feedback. Using these formats, you’re able to discover what is working with your business, and what you could change to increase customer retention.

6. Reward your loyal customers through SMS

Customers don’t only want to be heard and responded to instantly, they want to be rewarded for just being loyal to you. That’s why loyalty reward programs are so effective – and the truth is that retaining old customers is a lot less expensive than having to pay to secure new ones. A loyalty program run via SMS is inexpensive and simple, with customers benefitting from special offers, flash sales, and other rewards. Some specific examples of customer loyalty programs include: 

  • Birthday discount: Reward your customers with a percentage off items on their birthdays, or free gifts.

  • Product launches: Alert your customers to new products that would specifically interest them, with special offers where possible.

  • Abandoned carts: Check whether your customers have any queries about items that remain in their cart but aren’t being bought as yet. 

Why does SMS messaging work so well? 

“There is a 160-character limit on text messages. With SMS, it's simply about providing an irresistible offer. There's no point in droning on and on with a 300-word marketing message. Subscribers are opting in to receive an exclusive offer, not to hear about how your day is going.” - Entrepreneur 

There’s a reason that businesses are turning to SMS when engaging with their customers on a large scale. It actually works! And here’s a look at some of the reasons why this digital communication tool remains so dominant. 

-  SMS is conversational

The most effective business models have moved from product-centric to customer-centric which means starting a conversation with customers rather than focusing on how good the product is. Because SMS allows for a much more conversational tone between companies and customers, there’s more opportunity of reaching customers and creating a lasting relationship. It feels personal and can be made more so by customizing the communication where possible.

-  SMS is convenient

According to Statista: “In 2021, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide stood at almost 15 billion, up from just over 14 billion in the previous year. The number of mobile devices is expected to reach 18.22 billion by 2025, an increase of 4.2 billion devices compared to 2020 levels.” 

The fact is that most people nowadays have access to some form of mobile device with SMS capabilities. There’s no need for internet connection, it’s readily available and easy to use. Because of this convenience, customers are much more willing to engage with your business. They don’t have to log into an email or waste time chatting on a phone, they can read and engage with your SMS as and when they want to.

-  SMS allows for omnichannel engagement

Customers are connecting with brands across a number of platforms on a daily basis, which is why companies adopting omnichannel customer engagement strategies are making inroads. Text messaging can be integrated with social media channels so customers can initiate SMS messages from other channels.

Why choose Clickatell for two-way SMS?

Clickatell’s SMS API allow your business to send and receive bulk text messages across the globe, assuring you of seamless integration and an effective communication platform. Using Clickatell’s platform, you can get your messages to the right customers at the right time.

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