More people are texting than ever, which means your customers are likely already comfortable with the medium. Over 91% of Americans own a mobile phone, with smartphone ownership growing from 35% to 81% in just eight years. And yet customers are harder to reach. They’re often ignoring phone calls (assuming it’s probably spam) or missing emails (they’ll get to it…later.)
But consumers keep texting. While at first texting was reserved for close friends and family, now it’s expanded to businesses. Two-way texting is convenient and even a preferred method of communication for modern customers.
It’s also new territory for a lot of businesses. Only 39% of companies have capitalized on texting to reach their customers, but 64% of those companies who don’t text still see the value of texting for business.
There seems to be some confusion and misinformation surrounding what “texting for business” really means. The truth is that it’s not much different from the texting that consumers use every day.
As the company that pioneered this industry, we decided to break down some of the biggest myths and misconceptions we’ve heard about texting for business:
“It’s hard to stay compliant”
Privacy and data security issues are definitely concerns for businesses, especially those dealing with any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in industries like finance, insurance or healthcare. You need to protect your customers, as well as your business.
That’s why we made sure Zipwhip’s software could be configured to support TCPA compliance best practices. In addition to providing resources like our free TCPA e-book, we have tools designed to protect you and your customers, such platform-level opt-out support with STOP keywords and spam monitoring. Zipwhip is also one of few business texting services that is SOC 2 Type 1 compliant, which means you can trust that we’re a secure company.
Lastly, direct connections to wireless carrier networks help us keep your messages secure, encrypting data while it’s in transit and at rest in the archives.
“Business texting requires a new phone number”
We understand the value of a business’s phone number.
It’s your dot com, your real estate. A phone number comes with brand recognition, so we make sure you keep it.
“No one will know we can text”
Chances are, your customers are already trying to text you. In fact, 58% of customers report trying to text a business back after a missed call, only to have the message vanish into the ether without a reply.
Since you get to keep the same phone number, there’s no need to notify customers of a new, separate number for texting. All it takes is updating your website, advertising or business cards with “Text or call.”
If you’re looking for inspiration to advertise your new texting abilities, check out what a few of our customers did to get the word out.
“Only younger generations like to text”
This is a common misconception. Everyone sees Millennials and Gen Z kids on their phones, tapping away with their thumbs. But research from The Pew Center reports that 79% of Americans aged 50-64 also own smart phones. Meanwhile, 53% of Americans over 65 years old also have smart phones.
The Pew Center reported even higher numbers, over 90%, for American adults owning any kind of cellphone, which works to the advantage of businesses looking to text instead of using a specialized smartphone app.
All mobile phones, no matter the make or model, can send and receive at least basic SMS texting. It may not be as flashy as an app, but texting continues to be a solid medium that more people can access.
It’s true that even if someone owns a phone, they may not constantly be checking it. However, our research on generational texting found that 61% of Baby Boomers checked their phone notifications one to three times an hour. Compare this to the rate of 70% for Gen X, and over 80% for Millennials and Gen Y, and it appears that older users aren’t that far behind in their phone usage.
Texting is an opportunity for businesses. It’s become a part of modern communication for all ages, and it’s here to stay.
“People don’t want to text businesses or get texts from them”
Customers want to be able to text businesses. It’s more convenient for them and less disruptive to their day.
In our 2019 State of Texting Report, we found that over 70% of customers have already received texts from a business, so it’s no longer a foreign concept.
However, 3 out of 4 customers do get annoyed with business texts that they can’t respond to (like short-code texting). Zipwhip’s two-way texting is conversational and more convenient in that it allows customers to respond.
A conversation creates a better and more useful customer experience. It becomes valuable because it makes their day easier.
Plus, 67% of customers actively want businesses to text them about appointments. Instead of wasting everyone’s time playing phone tag, texting gives businesses the opportunity to schedule more efficiently and even automate appointment reminders to decrease no-shows.
“Customers won’t read our texts, just like our emails”
Unlike email, texting is a high-priority medium. Yes, even the texts from businesses—especially when they come from a real and recognizable 10-digit phone number. The modern American is so overwhelmed with robocalls and spam email, they’re unlikely to respond to unknown contacts. It’s much easier to let the call pass and ignore the junk folder.
But texting still has an inbox zero, with 74% of consumers reporting having no unread text messages on their phone. With less clutter, your messages have a much higher chance of reaching your customers.
Because texting is high-priority and more visible, it’s highly responsive with 83% of people responding to texts within an hour. That short response period allows for more efficient scheduling, problem solving and customer service.
Zipwhip’s service is scalable from small businesses to enterprises. Because we have such a range of clients, we made sure to have pricing options so you’re only paying for functionality you need.
Two-way texting is also a cheaper alternative to short codes, which can run into the thousands just to lease a number. Short codes act more as a megaphone than a tool to increase customer communication and engagement.
And, the benefit of Zipwhip’s texting software is that there’s no hardware to buy, no antenna to install.
“It’s too complicated. It will take too long to learn and set up”
Zipwhip’s intuitive software was built to improve your workflow. Since so much of our work is done on a computer, we made sure to create a user-friendly interface for your desktop.
Conversations are stored on the cloud, so you can access all your tools and conversations, whether you’re in our web, desktop or mobile app.
You can also integrate Zipwhip with the products and tools your company uses every day. There’s no need to overhaul your entire system.
Still, adding texting to your workflow requires several steps for success. That’s why we designed a free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers, to help ease the process. It covers topics like searching for the texting service that best fits your needs, best practices to stay TCPA compliant and professional texting etiquette.
We also made a checklist to get you and your team started once you’ve adopted a texting tool.
Texting isn’t new, but it’s a big step for businesses large and small. There’s a whole world of customers waiting out there, phone in hand.
If you’re curious about how texting for business actually works, try Zipwhip out for free.