The way customers interact with your business has changed over the years, with the popularity of smartphones, and the culture of messaging first and voice calls second. Even before customers decide to connect with you, they’ve already done their research. Previously business owners used to put money towards billboards, radio ads, yelp, and yellow pages.
Now, the sales cycle is much more detached. While traditional as spends and marketing spending are important to create brand awareness, they aren’t the primary sources customers turn to when deciding which businesses to spend their money at and purchase your goods. Google search have been number one for many years, and the trend will continue. Today’s customer typically searches for a product or someone to fulfill their need, with Google’s local first algorithms running stronger than ever, they are pushed to businesses near them, customers reads reviews, maybe looks at your website, and then call or message you directly from your Google business listing.
The option for customers to message a business is an addition rolling out by Google in 2017. Google recognized that more and more customers would prefer to text message a business as opposed to calling. In fact, their claims are has high as 90 percent of customers want to use messaging to interact with a business – with 50 percent preferring to message via SMS text over any other method.
This is where businesses that take advantage of this cultural shift in communication where lead because the problem is only 48 percent of businesses are capable of messaging with their customers, but that number will likely increase over the years, with the launch of Google Click-to-Message and more businesses adopting it with tools like FireText. To help you get started, we have outlined the steps to get your account set up to accept messages from your customers.
Now that your business is all set up to accept incoming texts, and your staff can reply through a central portal in FireText’s dashboard, let’s review some tips that will help you successfully interact with your customers, and turning tire kickers into purchasers.
When customers are conducting an online search on their mobile device, they want questions answered immediately. This is because they are likely experiencing what Google refers to as micro-moments. These are when consumers want to know, want to go, or want to buy. If your online presence isn’t able to quickly answer their questions, they will probably move on to your competition.
One of the main reasons that online searchers want to connect with you via text is they feel like it is a quicker, more efficient method of communication. But that’s only true if the business practice is placing an emphasis on quick response times.
To ensure this happens, businesses should make sure their team is well equipped to offer quick responses to customers. If you don’t consistently respond to messages in a timely manner, customers will know because over time Google will post typical response times on your listing.
This might seem obvious, but it bears repeating. Businesses should never ask for sensitive information like credit cards, banking information, or social security numbers over text. While text messages seem secure, the information isn’t encrypted so the data could be vulnerable.
Another valuable way to utilize text messaging in your customer interactions is asking for feedback. A lot of times consumers don’t want to take the time to fill out a lengthy customer satisfaction survey, but they would be willing to answer a few questions via text. That is because asking questions via text comes across as more personal and less intrusive than a survey.
One way to approach this is by asking your customers after a transaction is complete, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend this business to a family or friend.” And then follow that up with one or two questions about the service your business delivers. Our research has shown that approaching customer feedback this way results in significantly higher open and response rates than traditional CSAT surveys.
Text messaging is also a good method for collecting public facing customer feedback on your Google My Business listing. One of the biggest reasons to use text messaging to do this is many people are already signed into their Google account on their smartphone, so it’s much easier to connect them directly to your Google reviews page.
Texting with your customers will help you build stronger more loyal customers. To help you reinforce that loyalty, try texting them a vCard with your contact information on it. If customers have access to your phone number in their contacts, it removes one of the steps in the customer journey. It will help you evolve from being just a business to being their business.
If you want to learn more about how to turn on messaging for your business, check out FireText.com
Thanks setting up messaging for your business!