Businesses that fail to use text messaging as a key communications channel are missing out on huge savings and service opportunities
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that texting has become the preferred form of communication. Nearly all of us (97 percent) text weekly and enjoy the instant gratification of having our texts read within five minutes, according to the 2016 Global Messaging Consumer Report.
So why are businesses so slow to adopt texting?
First, many businesses are sold on the idea of using shortcodes – leasing five-digit codes rather than simply text enabling the Toll-Free and local business numbers they already own.
Second, they question if their consumers are texting them. Nine out of 10 consumers want to use messaging to talk to businesses according to the above-mentioned global messaging report. And the number of people who prefer texting to calling a business will only grow as the Millennial and Gen Z generations flood the workforce.
Now let’s tackle each objection, one at a time.
Why Short Codes are Going By Way of the Dinosaur
Wireless providers profit from pushing shortcodes. However, the difference between leasing a short code and simply text-enabling a business phone number can add up to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars – every month!
Text-enabling existing ten-digit numbers (long codes) is not only much cheaper; it’s also much better than leasing shortcodes for these five reasons:
- Greater Coverage: Shortcodes can only access cellular carriers in the U.S., while long codes offer extended reach to all wired or wireless carriers nearly anywhere in the world.
- Short Codes May Not Be Available on All Networks: End-users on some mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) carriers are unable to receive short code messaging. Not all carriers support shortcodes and carriers have been known to shut down access to this unregulated service.
- Seamless Voice & Texting Integration: Shortcodes don’t include voice capabilities while long codes offer seamless integration of voice and text as well as email and faxing.
- Customer Control: Shortcodes are leased while long codes are owned and therefore completely controlled by the business. And while shortcodes are random numbers, long codes signify a local presence, which can be important in marketing and branding.
- Ease of Implementation: Shortcodes can take months to deploy, as there’s often a lengthy approval process. Long codes can be instantly activated and managed, which is essential when time to market is important.
In short, text-enabling long codes is a win-win solution because it accomplishes everything shortcodes can do while offering a better, more cost-effective solution.
Businesses simply can’t ignore the effectiveness and convenience that texting or SMS provides. And as the preference for texting increases, savvy businesses that adapt to the new world of texting will enjoy the benefits of increased communications and better customer service. We’ll explore those benefits in a future blog.
Curious to Know Who’s Texting Your Business?
Of all the channels to communicate with customers, texting is by far the cheapest. Juniper Research estimates chatbots will trim business costs by more than $8 billion per year by 2022. Plus, while customer representatives can only handle one call at a time, chatbots can handle virtually an unlimited number of customer interactions. It’s no wonder that savvy enterprises are moving toward SMS.
Messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat are experiencing huge increases – another indication of the growing preference for messaging.
A 2017 study by Grand View Research found that 45 percent of end-users preferred chatbots as the primary mode of communication for customer service activities. The global chatbot market is valued at $190.8 million in 2016 and is expected to witness exponential growth, driven by the increasing adoption of customer service activities among enterprises in order to reduce operating costs.
Basically, a chatbot is a messaging application that helps reduce the amount of time and money businesses spend on sales and customer service. Chatbots are experiencing a huge increase in popularity as businesses realize their effectiveness in delivering timely services at reduced costs.
The biggest objection we hear is: are customers really texting my business?
We can answer that simple question with a simple answer in the form of a simple chatbot: the Tell Me Bot.
With the Tell Me Bot, you can learn who’s texting your business and what they’re asking. It’s the perfect place to start on the journey toward business messaging because you’ll then know exactly what type of chatbot will offer the best experience.
Ready to get started? We’ll set your business up with basic messaging for free for the first 30 days. And let me show you how cool this is with a free demo.
Executive V.P., Business Development and Product Development