With the increasing number COVID-19 vaccines available and the fact that social distancing has become engrained in our daily routines, retail locations are beginning to open up in innovative ways and many businesses have begun offering more in-person services.
That means now is the perfect time to ramp up your business to safely and effectively start getting customers back in the door. Texting can be used to spread the word about your business plans while also serving as a tool to help you conduct business while reducing personal contact.
One of the great things about Zipwhip’s texting platform is that it’s not specific to just one industry, unlike some providers. That flexibility allows our software and API solutions to work across a range of businesses as the following “ramping up” steps with text examples show.
#1 Notification of expanded services
Re-engagement with a customer base is crucial for any business as it gets its groove back and starts ramping back up depending on the level of COVID-19 within the community.
When the pandemic first hit, many businesses were forced to reduce their services, limit their hours and even close their doors to in-person customers. Now that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a good time to text customers who’ve opted in and invite them back.
While safety restrictions are still in place (masks and social distancing), a text can let customers know about expanded hours and safe seating options. It can also include a discount to encourage a visit sooner rather than later. Being proactive by texting customers to share updates will help them know that your business is moving in a positive direction.
Here’s an example of a coffee shop using group messaging to text customers to share news about their hours and their increased capacity limit. Each recipient sees their name when the Dynamic Fields feature is used, which provides a personal touch. The text also offers a discount and more details when visiting their website, with the link included for easy access.
#2 Reminders for scheduling postponed appointments
A lot of regular appointments that businesses relied on were drastically reduced during the past year. Whether it was a haircut that never got rescheduled, a vehicle tune-up that was delayed because drivers cut back on their mileage or restaurant reservations that were never made because cooking and eating at home became the new norm.
Reminding customers to begin scheduling these types of appointments again is easy with texting. With Zipwhip as part of your communication plan, you can send texts to encourage customers to make new appointments. And then as the appointment date approaches, you can use the Scheduled Messages feature to send a reminder text.
It’s best to send a reminder text 24 hours prior to an appointment, so if any changes need to be made, there’s plenty of time. Of course, the Scheduled Message feature isn’t just for reminders, it can be used for any message, including marketing and promotions.
#3 Creating safe spaces at your business
Depending on the type of business you operate, you may be wondering how to communicate to customers that your location is safe to visit. By proactively texting your safety guidelines, you can help customers feel secure knowing what to expect when they arrive. If they trust that their experience will be safe, they’ll be more likely to return.
Here’s an example of a veterinary clinic that texts customers about their virtual waiting room. They send a group text to customers with an appointment that day and ask them to reply with the word “MEOW” when they arrive. This simple step allows the clinic to maintain safe distances between staff, customers and their furry family members.
#4 Using keywords for promotional campaigns
A business can also set up a Keyword campaign where an auto-reply message is immediately sent when that keyword is used. It could be used to provide specific information about your business or as a promotional tool to attract new customers.
Keywords can be promoted anywhere: social media, websites, flyers, and signs placed in business windows. If someone walks by your location and sees a sign telling them to text a specific word and they have their phone with them, they can send the text right then. They don’t need to walk inside to get the details. They’ll receive an auto reply text with the information you’re promising, or a link to that information on your website.
Here’s an example of a gym that uses the keyword READY for a campaign to attract new customers who had previously signed up to receive their texts but hadn’t joined. The promotion can also be used to re-engage with former members whose membership has lapsed. Because both groups are interested in joining a gym, the chances that the recipients will be interested in and responsive to your marketing campaign are already higher and thus more effective.
#5 Sharing news that popular customer conveniences are available
Before the pandemic, many local businesses didn’t offer online ordering and curbside pickup. But now that consumers have gotten used to the ease and convenience of it, many say they would like it to be an ongoing option, even when social distancing isn’t necessary.
However, since we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, curbside pickup seems to be the safest and most economical option for delivering orders to customers. With Zipwhip, conversational texting makes communicating with customers a breeze, as this last example shows. It should also be noted that business texting can be used for all phases of the customer sales cycle, from ordering, confirmation, adjustments to orders and, of course, pickups.
Regardless of the type of changes your business has implemented, if it turned out to be popular with customers, remind them that you still offer it (it doesn’t have to be curbside pickup). You may even want to incorporate it into your business when the pandemic is over. It could encourage customers to shop with you more often. People love convenience.
Text enable your business number for better customer engagement
Texting for business includes taking your landline phone number and text enabling it. When you text enable the number customers already use to reach you (whether it’s your local phone number or toll-free), it becomes another way for your customers to contact you.
Text messaging is a convenient tool that businesses can use now and post-COVID. It allows for fast customer engagement. It also creates a smooth workflow for you and your staff. In fact, our 2021 State of Texting research found that consumers prefer texting over other communication methods. If you’re not already a customer, see how Zipwhip works.
More resources for texting customers during COVID-19
As the leading provider of business texting, we know a lot about reaching customers effectively. We’ve continued to work hard to provide businesses with resources to communicate with customers during the pandemic.
To learn more about the benefits of business texting in general, download our Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers e-book. It’s filled with everything a business needs to know to set up a successful texting communication strategy.
Watch on-demand webinar: 7 Ways Texting Can Boost Business as COVID-19 Subsides