If you’re texting customers from your phone’s native messaging app, you’ve likely been frustrated over not being able to schedule a text message. Only a few Android phones let you do this, and while third-party apps are available to work around the limitation, most are meant to be used with personal contacts, not with customers.
To keep up with appointment reminders, prospect follow-ups and marketing campaigns on a wider scale, you should be using business-texting software to schedule text messages. Here’s why third-party scheduling apps might not be the best fit for your business and why texting-for-business apps offer a better solution.
Limitations to schedule text message apps
Maybe you’ve heard of schedule text message apps, like Scheduled or Do it Later, for iOS or Android phones. These are good options to keep up with friends and family. No more forgetting to text Grandma happy birthday!
While there is an abundance of scheduling apps available, each comes with different features – and limitations — that may not be conducive to your business needs. A few don’t actually send the text message you’ve scheduled; instead, you’ll get a notification to send the message yourself at the scheduled time.
Depending on which app you choose, you’ll run into quite a few setbacks and annoyances.
- Your message may come from another number. Your phone number is a part of your brand. With some third-party apps, your text messages will come from a separate phone number, which can confuse your customers.
- No desktop options. Handling customers only through your mobile phone will get tedious. Instead of pulling out your phone for every text that requires your response, having software set up on your desktop will allow you to multi-task and answer more efficiently.
- No MMS support. Not all third-party apps give you the option to attach a photo in your texts. This can be especially tough for marketing campaigns where creating a fun, informational image is common.
- Too pricey. One popular app asks for $10 – $50 a month for a business plan when all you’re really getting is a scheduling feature.
- Character limit. Many apps will cap your text at 160 characters.
- Some apps need to run in the background. A few apps won’t send your texts if the app is closed. So if you accidentally close an app during your scheduled send time, you’re out of luck.
- Advertisements. Some free versions of these third-party apps come with ads unless you pay the monthly fee.
Why use a business texting software to schedule a text?
Business texting software comes with additional features that help you maximize the benefits of sending a scheduled text message:
- Auto-reply. If a customer replies to your scheduled message when you’re out of the office or if it’s in response to a Keyword option you’ve issued in your message, an auto-reply allows you to acknowledge their message and set expectations for when they can receive a response from you.
- Templates with dynamic fields. Creating a new message over and over again isn’t a good use of time. For texts that you send often, business-texting software lets you create your own templates, and dynamic fields let you easily personalize each text, even to groups of contacts.
- BCC group messages. Group messages save you time by letting you send the same message to a larger group of people. A BCC option ensures that only you and the individual recipient will see your responses.
Plus, there’s the security of your messages to consider. SMS texts aren’t encrypted, and there’s always the risk of exposing private information to third-party applications. Privacy matters to customers, and it should matter to your business, too. To ensure that only you and your customers can see your texts, you need end-to-end encryption, which guarantees that messages are protected from the moment you hit send to the moment the message is read by the recipient.
Examples of when to schedule a text
Scheduling texts to your customers is a time-saver and can free up headspace. You won’t have to make a note of when to send a text – business-texting software can automate the process for you. And with 67% of consumers wanting businesses to send reminders over text instead of phone call or email, it creates a better customer experience.
Here are a few instances of when you’d want to schedule a text message to customers or clients.
- Marketing campaigns. Pre-planning is a must when it comes to marketing campaigns. Schedule timely messages to let customers know of upcoming sales or special events.
- Deadline alerts. Sometimes customers need a little nudge. Get their attention for things like registration deadlines or reminders to send over signed documents.
- Appointment reminders. Missed appointments waste time and hurt revenue. Instead of reminding yourself to compose a reminder text the day before, schedule it right after you’ve made the appointment.
- Billing date reminder. Some customers prefer to be notified when their credit card will be charged or when they need to make a payment. A text message ensures they’ll see the message right away.
- Follow-up with prospects. Building a relationship with prospects is essential when making a sale. Stay in touch by scheduling a few follow-up texts throughout the sales cycle.
- Check-up reminders. Whether you are reminding a customer to bring in their vehicle for maintenance or letting them know that they’re due for their six-month dental check-up, scheduling a text well ahead of time will keep you and your recipient organized.
Third-party schedule apps may seem like a good idea for your business, but you’ll find yourself having to make compromises. Just like you need a business phone number and a business email account, you should have texting-for-business software. You’ll be better equipped for growth and have the flexibility to accommodate the needs of both you and your customers.