COVID-19: How to Use Texting Automation to Reach Customers With Important Updates

business person on computer

From restaurants and gyms to healthcare providers and sports teams, businesses worldwide are facing challenges as governments take proactive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. We know that texting is a powerful tool for sending important messages and want to help your business use it to reach customers effectively.  

Now more than ever, email inboxes are overflowing as businesses reach out with messages about how they’re responding to the coronavirus pandemic, including safety measures being taken and impacted hours of operation. The influx of emails makes it difficult for customers to find the updates that matter to them mostThat’s where texting helps. Our research shows that 83% of consumers respond to a text within 30 minutes or less, which means they’ll receive (and read) your text faster than an email.  

If your business is being impacted by the coronavirus and you need to reach your customers with important updates, here’s how we recommend using texting.  

Set up COVID-19 Auto Replies to ensure customers get the information they need

There’s a good chance your customers are trying to reach you through multiple channels right now. An Auto Reply is one way to ensure your customers get a response, even if you’re dealing with high-volume customer service inquiries or have temporarily closed your doors.

Office Hours Auto Replies

If your normal operating office hours are being impacted, Office Hours Auto Replies are a way to notify customers and set expectations for a reply. Set your office hours within Zipwhip and compose a message to go out any time a customer texts you outside those hours. For example, a restaurant with limited hours might send the following message.

COVID-19 auto reply

General Auto Replies

In addition, you can set up General Auto Replies that will go out all day, whether you’re in the office or not. A business receiving a high influx of texts might use a general Auto Reply to set an expectation for reply time, as well as offer helpful Keywords for specific inquiries, which brings us to our next tip.

Use Keywords to answer FAQs

SMS Keywords allow you to lean on automation for frequently asked questions such as your operating hours or safety measures being taken during the coronavirus outbreak. Choose a Keyword and then write the message that you’d like to be sent automatically using Zipwhip

COVID-19 sample text

If you’re receiving many different questions you can set up one Keyword, such as HELP, to include in your Auto Reply, emails and/or your voicemail message. That Keyword can then trigger a text with other Keywords that customers might be interested in. This approach is similar to a phone tree, where customers can choose the topic they need help with and receive automated responses based on their selection.

Reach many customers at once with Group Messages

When you need to send important coronavirus updates to your entire customer base at once, sending in bulk is most efficient. Zipwhip allows you to reach up to 50 customers with one text, and much like a BCC email, the customer won’t know they’re part of a group and only you will see messages from customers that respond. A response from a customer triggers a new 1:1 conversation, so all messages are kept private.

Like email, personalization features can help make Group Messages feel more customized. Custom Fields allow you to add your customers’ names to the text, while a Custom Signature lets them know who’s texting them right away.

COVID-19 group text

Use Templates to guide your teams’ outreach

It’s important that customer-facing employees use the right language and provide the same answers to customers’ questions during this time. Text templates are a great way to ensure continuity across your messages. Set up a template that your employees can use again and again to reach out to customers with business updates.

Want to learn about other use cases for texting during this challenging time? Read about 9 use cases for texting during the coronavirus and watch the video below.

To learn more about Zipwhip texting and how to use it to reach customers effectively during the coronavirus emergency, download our free e-book The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers.

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