SUMMARY: Messaging platforms are in high demand and will stay at peak for near future, probably until Augmented reality becomes the new normal! Be it SMS, Web Chat, Facebook, WhatsApp or others in the instant chat universe, messaging is now widely accepted and approved mode of communication. Calling prospective clients, consumers and leads is no longer attractive nor prudent. People are busy and hard to make time for a phone call. Emails are efficient but less reliable, as they go unnoticed.
Today’s businesses need to engage with consumers over multiple messaging channels in an effective way to connect and provide services or products. As consumers are adopting new technology and loving different messaging platforms, be sure to push your limits and go beyond calls, emails and SMS. If you are looking to extend your digital platform, these are some of the options and best practices you should consider:
Text Messaging/SMS – A text message is an efficient way to engage a consumer. They are private, views cannot be tracked, far less annoying than a ringing phone call, they get the attention needed and the recipient can engage at their convenience. SMS is a great medium to interact with prospective and existing consumers for promotions, reminders, outage and other use cases. Here are some good practices to follow when using SMS as a messaging channel.
- Keep the messages short, but meaningful and set the expectation so the consumer knows the context.
- Take consent to Text, and be sure there is a good reason to send a message – time sensitive, important to consumer or follow up. Don’t use SMS as a replacement to email or an alternative to grab consumers attention.
- Personalize the message to meet consumer needs and preferences. Avoid messages that are too generic or lead to click-baits or other marketing jargon.
- Take timezones into consideration.
- Provide an easy “opt-out” option, so that the consumer can proactively pause from receiving SMS messages. “Opt-out” is better than consumer blocking or reporting as spam.
- Consider how excessive soliciting and robo-calls have brought a bad reputation to phone calls. For your business, ensure to put the best SMS practices in place to maintain consumer trust and engagement.
Over time any medium gets abused and consumers grow resistance. Stay on top of the messaging and engagement with other channels.
Website Chat – A website chat pop-up are common these days. Consumers enjoy interacting with a chat widget to explore services and products, schedule appointments or chat with an Agent in realtime. A chat widget helps cut down “site browsing” by consolidating important actionable items into the widget. Some best practices to consider for chat widget:
- Make is easy to access and interact for consumer. If an automated trained chatbot applies, asking relevant questions to provide a good experience.
- Know that consumers are going to connect from different digital channels at their convenience, such as Phone call, SMS, Facebook. Make sure the omnichannel messaging platform supports the channels.
- If your business needs to follow regulations and security, explore options to successfully identify returning customers across multiple channels by authentication and de-duping.
- No experience is complete without a conversation. Expect consumers that prefer to chat or talk to an agent in realitime before executing a transaction.
- Don’t just build for “selling”. Consumers visit website for different reasons – buy, explore, review, leave a feedback or report an issue. Enable the chat widget to handle all these cases.
Facebook Messenger – Many consumers are on Facebook and often are looking for businesses within the Facebook platform. If you have facebook page for your business, you should consider having a Facebook Messenger chatbot, with similar features as web chat widget. Interacting from within Facebook, gives you the advantage to know it is a valid user and interested in your business services or products, making it a high intent consumer.
If you go by numbers, you will find endless research materials as evidence that Messaging is great to connect, engage and interact with consumers. Along with SMS there are more avenues to explore, such as – Web Chat, Facebook Messenger, Voice Assistants, Smart devices to name a few. Consumers are adopting new technology and you need to be where your customers are. Powering all your digital platforms with messaging is well worth exploring.
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