Businesses are increasingly seeing the value of using SMS for transactional in addition to promotional messages. Most consumers would rather text than call in a variety of situations, with a 2014 Harris Poll study finding customers preferring texting for a number of activities. These include checking order status, making or confirming reservations, scheduling or changing appointments, finding store locations, and asking questions. Customers also prefer to use texting to check balances and due dates, reset passwords, and refill orders.
It makes perfect sense: wouldn’t you rather renew a subscription to any service by texting “yes” rather than taking time out of your day to make a phone call?
Promotional Vs. Transactional
Promotional SMS texts are those that—you guessed it—promote a product or service. They can only be sent from from 9am to 9pm, and may be solicited...or not. Examples of promotional SMS messages include “Dear [name], the staff at [business] want to wish you a very happy birthday! Use the following code to receive a free gift with purchase when you visit our store today.”
Promotional codes, digital coupons, and links to coupons are almost always included in promotional SMS texts.
Transactional SMS texts are defined as those sent to customers to provide information essential for using your product or service. Such messages include those concerning customer invoice amounts and account balances, or those providing links to information about resetting a password. Examples of transactional SMS include “Your order [number] has shipped. Track your package [link] and thank you for using our services.”
Taking Advantage of Transactional SMS
Most businesses benefit greatly from using transactional SMS, however it’s important to pick the right message provider. The best provider is one that easily integrates with your CRM or other data sources, as customer numbers are recognized when they text in. Integration makes updating databases, completing tasks, and processing payment information simple.
It’s also recommended that you put a call to action about texting on all websites and social media channels, and let customers text you. Inviting customers to start the conversation not only saves you money per interaction, it also deflects call traffic.
Another way to take full advantage of transactional SMS is to send specifically-timed outbound messages your audience can and will reply to. Asking customers to reply with a phone call or email means starting the conversation over a new channel. It also means customers will probably have to repeat themselves. When sending outbound texts, ensure it’s easy for customers to text back.