As we discovered in ‘How to gain customer confidence and trust through text’, establishing trust isn’t easy. It requires commitment and dedication, but it’s well worth the effort for the long-term security and profits it will bring your business.
Now that we know the most common ways brands use texting to instil trust in their customers, it’s essential that you follow the seven text tactics to help you optimise for brand loyal customers.
Optimising for trust: the seven text tools
1. Identify yourself
What happens when you receive a text from an unknown number? Eyes narrow, body tenses, scepticism flares. It’s the exact opposite of a positive customer experience!
To make sure you get the right reaction, you should seriously consider identifying yourself to customers even before they open their message. Many businesses and brands already do this, most commonly financial institutions, government departments etc where a high level of trust is required for interactions.
There are two simple ways to do this:
A more advanced and personalised experience than alpha tags, dedicated numbers act as the best identifier for your business because:
- you own the number
- all communications come from the one number
- recipients can save your number to their phone
- allows for two-way messaging
- customers can text-in without being prompted
RECOMMENDED: All businesses.
Alphanumeric tags (alpha tags for short) are identifiers of up to 11 characters that allow you to personalise the sender name of your SMS message or campaign. Alpha tags must be relevant to business and use case, and must be approved before you can send.
A key consideration about alpha tags, however, while alpha tags look like they come from the one number they actually come from a rotary pool of random numbers that MessageMedia (or your SMS provider) owns. When a user tries to save your sender to their phone, they’ll find they can’t. Because it’s often from a group of numbers, your customer can’t text you back on that number, or text-in for customer support or query. Note that Alpha tags do not allow two-way messaging nor can customers save your contact to their phone.
RECOMMENDED: For senders who don’t require replies (i.e. using for 2FA only), or those new to SMS.
Whichever you choose, you’re on the right pathway to create strong brand trust.
2. Make it two-way
One of the simplest ways to inculcate customer loyalty is to open up your communications!
In today’s modern age, communications are no longer one-way. Consumers expect that they can participate and have a say in what businesses and brands do. Think of social media, the democratisation of the internet and even more recently, the cancel culture movement.
Customers vote with their wallets. If they don’t feel valued or heard by a business, they’re likely to take their money (and loyalty) elsewhere.
To help customers feel valued, enable two-way communications through your bulk messaging service or choice of integration. There are many ways you can use SMS chat to enhance customer relationships such as through feedback initiatives, customer support chat, internal comms, real-time sales engagement or marketing campaigns. Some brands have even become creative in their use of two-way messaging!
Telecommunications provider Port Networks used two-way messaging through text to open up a new support channel for customers wanting a non-obtrusive way to seek technical help. Trade service management business i4Tradies worked with MessageMedia to create an automated 2-way text-in line that brought new leads while helping consumers find trusted tradies quickly.
3. Follow the laws
Ensure you research, understand and follow all compliance laws – not just within your local jurisdiction but also the jurisdictions of your recipients.
The onus is always on the business or brand to ensure that compliance is followed to the letter. What may work or exist in one place, may not follow in your recipient’s locale. In Australia, for example, long codes and short codes are not tied to as many regulations as they are in the US.
We suggest consulting with a legal expert or team before proceeding with any broadcasts.
RELATED: Feel free to talk to one of our experts who can guide you in getting started on compliance.
4. Read the room
While our recent study into consumer attitudes to SMS found that more than 87% will open a business SMS, it’s important that you still understand whether your customer will have an appetite for it.
Find out what your customers think about SMS.
What do Brits vs Aussies think about SMS? Download our FREE global study now.
There are numerous barriers to participation:
- Preference for another communication channel
- Level of tech comfortability and literacy
- Fear of texting/smishing scams
Do your due diligence and understand not only what your customers want and prefer, but what your competitors are doing. One customer of ours studied their competitors and realised that they were only using email to talk to customers. By adding a texting channel, they were able to reach new customers faster over their competitor’s email-only blasts.
5. Optimise frequency
One of the most common questions we get asked is not what to send but how often to send. And it’s important! Frequency can have a strong impact on building loyalty.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to optimising the frequency of your sends. If you send too many, you may turn off customers. If you send too few, they may not be as effective in bringing about repeat customers. Different use cases and customer preferences will also affect how many you should send.
Contrast a small business that uses text to push interior design consultations to their customer base against a large financial institution that uses text for a variety of purposes including proactive outage notices as well as 2-factor-authentication resets and logins.
If you are just starting out, and only sending promotional SMS – start at 1-2 and at a maximum of 3-4 promotional SMS per month. Start to increase your frequency if you are noticing low unsubscribe rates and increased engagement and appetite for texting over other channels. Continue to measure and track and increase where relevant.
For other use cases, the frequency will often be contextual or triggered by the recipient themselves. If you’re still unsure, speak to one of our communication specialists and they can help.
6. Customise your content
Imagine your best customer service experiences. It’s likely that each of those had a high level of personalisation. A sales agent might have called you by your name. They’ll know what your product or service preferences are, the last time you came in or what you may have been interested in last time but did not purchase.
The same goes for digital retail experiences. Personalisation has proven in both cases to increase customer engagement and revenue. According to CMSWire, Amazon derives 30% of its revenue just from personalised recommendations.
You can do the same with texting – and it’s infinitely easier!
Within MessageMedia’s bulk text messaging portal, you can upload your customer database and automatically populate your message with custom parameters such as [NAME], [PRODUCT], [ADDRESS] and so much more.
RELATED: Check out our three simple tips on customising your messaging for even better results
7. Mind your manners
Finally, be aware that certain rules of engagement exist if you want to effectively deploy texting campaigns such as:
- Asking permission to send first
- Start your messages with a salutation
- Keep your content brief (160 characters or less)
- Maintain the facts, don’t waffle
- And more!
Some are simple, others are very obvious, and we recommend – all should be followed closely in order to get the best results.
RELATED: Follow our 11 must-learn etiquette rules for business texting
Build loyalty with text.
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Final thoughts, further reading
Think about the businesses and brands you love. Do you trust them? Who holds your trust and confidence in today’s business world? We look at businesses today akin to human entities as if they are imbued with the traits and personalities of real people.
With an abundance of emerging businesses, start-up disruptors, and a greater focus on local, sustainable and ethical brands, you really have to ask yourself – what am I doing to differentiate myself in the market? By focusing on the long game of trust (and the power of texting), you are more likely to see the results and customers that you want.