For many businesses, communication is vital to maintaining customer relationships, not to mention appointment attendance and billing. However, many businesses overlook the benefits of business texting as a valid communication tool due to the age of their client base.
“I cringe when I hear office managers say, ‘We have an older patient base,’ or ‘We think phone calls are more personal,’” said Kelly Houtchens, Director of Medical Sales at Zipwhip.
“I’ve coached my team to respond with: ‘how do you think these patients communicate with their children and grandchildren? Have you ever asked your patients how they’d like to actually communicate with you?’ Many offices usually take surveys after talking to us and find the majority of their entire patient base prefer texting, regardless of age.”
While you may make the assumption that a phone call is more personal or professional, research is showing a shift in that thinking, especially among those 45-70 years of age. Emails and phone calls are more frequently viewed as annoying and intrusive. Add to that, those of all ages including Baby Boomers and seniors, are adopting texting as the communication method of choice at rapid rates.
Research across the board is showing the rate of texting seniors is on the rise. See for yourself:
- People aged 45-64 are the fastest growing demographic on the mobile frontier. (Nielsen)
- In the 50-64 age range, 88% own a cell phone, and in the 65+ age range, 74% own a cell phone. Out of all cell phone users, 81% use their phone to text message. (Pew Internet)
- Sixty percent of over-45-year-olds say that they are just as likely to use texting as voice calling. (Mobile Marketer)
- Sixty-six percent of Baby Boomers send text messages. (Forbes)
- People aged 55-64 send and receive an average of 80 text messages per month, and senior citizens 65+ average 32 text messages per month. (Baby Boomers)
- Of Baby Boomers who use text messaging, 57% would have a positive view of a company that offers texting, and 42% agree that it would be convenient for any company to use texting for customer service. (Harris Interactive)
- Texting is on the rise for small businesses, as 58 percent text for business at least once a month. (Forbes and Cisco VNI Update)
- Only 33% even listen to voicemails from business contacts. (Forbes and Cisco VNI Update)
- Over 30% of voicemails linger unheard for 3 days or longer (NY Times)
- five times as many texts as they do phone calls. (Informate)
Think about it, just because someone is older it doesn’t mean they like listening to long voicemails, playing phone tag, or being left on hold. The fact of the matter is texting is personal, quick, discrete, and permits for conversation without interruption. It’s also easier to address awkward topics like requesting an appointment change or settling past-due balances.
“The entire business world is embracing texting. Smart successful companies target all ages and do not make assumptions that certain age groups do not appreciate rapid communication. They do not assume that a certain age group is incapable of using the number one used, pre-installed app on all smart phones,” Houtchens concluded.