A text alert system for businesses can keep your customers within arm’s reach, allowing you to easily communicate with them about order updates, account information, urgent messages and more. It works using a communications tool most people keep within a few feet of them (if not on their physical person) 24 hours a day: their smartphone.
Business text messaging serves a practical purpose–delivering critical alerts–but also contributes to a larger goal of creating an excellent customer experience. Learn the basics of a text alert system for businesses and the best practice to follow when sending mass SMS texts.
Uses of SMS alerts for businesses
SMS notification systems can be used for nearly any type of message that’s brief and easy to understand. If you can condense it to 160 characters, then you can tell your customers about it via text. Here are a few of the major use cases of SMS alerts for businesses.
For retail and eCommerce businesses, SMS alerts are a great way to get shoppers to take notice when you’re having a sale. Sending a subscribers-only discount code creates a feeling of exclusivity, while giving it a time-sensitive deadline creates urgency that drives sales.
Product-based businesses can leverage SMS alerts to keep customers in the loop at every step of the order fulfillment process. Customers love knowing exactly when their order is going to arrive, and customer service agents love dealing with fewer inbound calls asking for a status update.
Appointment-based businesses like healthcare organizations, professional services and home services providers can reduce no-shows by using alert messaging to send appointment confirmations, reminders and schedule changes. With two-way messaging, you can even allow customers to request an appointment via text.
For service providers, text alerts offer a convenient way to remind customers about their bill and compel them to pay. Prompt subscribers to opt into SMS-based billing reminders when they set up service to gather consent and boost timely payments at the same time.
If there’s one thing customers want to know about, it’s their money. Financial services providers can capitalize on this innate interest by sending text messages for balance updates, transaction alerts and unusual account activity.
Safety and public service information
Because of their speedy nature, a mass SMS text is an ideal way to get the word out about safety, weather and public service alerts in a specific geographical area. In an emergency, using texting on top of other alerts like outbound calls and emails can ensure that the message is received by as many people as possible.
Best practices for SMS alerts
Following best practices for SMS alerts serves two purposes: it ensures your messages are well received by your audience and prevents you from breaking any laws regarding business communications. Here are the biggest SMS best practices to be aware of.
Treat it as one piece of the puzzle
Individuals don’t rely solely on one single mode of communication, and businesses shouldn’t either. A text alert system for business should be used in conjunction with other channels to enhance your overall marketing strategy. This amplifies the effectiveness of your message and prevents recipient fatigue.
Account-based messages, like transaction updates, can be sent on an as-needed basis. For marketing alerts, however, less is more. If you send promotions too frequently, you’ll come across as salesly and risk a spike in opt-outs. Start out slowly when introducing SMS alerts and increase their frequency with caution, keeping tabs on engagement levels along the way to monitor for any resulting dips in subscribers.
Send during standard business hours
…or in the early evening. This not only prevents your alert from acting as an unintentional alarm clock, but ensures you’re in compliance with TCPA guidelines for when businesses can send marketing communications.
Ensure contacts have opted in
This is a big one because in the United States (and many other countries), it’s mandated by the federal government. Subscribers must give business organizations express written consent to send them communications for marketing purposes. This might be in the form of an online opt-in, physical form completion or texting a keyword to a dedicated shortcode. Keep a thorough record of subscriber consent to avoid any legal trouble.
Use a URL shortener
Prevent URLs from taking up precious space in your SMS alerts by using a URL shortener. These are free and readily available online, or you can use a service that personalizes your URLs to match your brand.
The effectiveness of SMS alerts
SMS alerts for businesses aren’t just highly versatile; they’re also incredibly effective. One reason SMS messages work so well is that mobile phones are everywhere. According to the latest Pew Research Center data, 85% of American adults own a smartphone while 97% own a cell phone of any kind. That’s higher than the number of people who own a computer, meaning your potential reach with SMS is greater than virtually any other communication channel.
SMS alerts are also so powerful because of how well they work in tandem with other channels. Brands can increase the effectiveness of their campaigns by combining SMS alerts with a medium like email. As an example, let’s take a financial services provider that needs to communicate a major update to its terms and conditions. It might send an initial text alert telling customers to watch their inbox for an important message, then follow up with an email outlining the full scope of the changes, and finish with a call to action to find answers to frequently asked questions on its website. This is known as an omnichannel communication strategy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to engage customers.
Frequently asked questions
How much does a text alert system cost?
LiveVox’s blended omnichannel communications solution for businesses includes SMS alerts in addition to voice, email, social media and webchat, so brands can reach customers on their channel of choice.
How do I set up automated text messages for business?
With LiveVox, it’s easy to set up automated SMS messages and drip campaigns within a simple point-and-click interface and no coding.
How do you send automated texts to customers?
Businesses can send automated texts to customers using a cloud contact center solution. LiveVox makes it easy to send automated messages like account transactions, order updates and service alerts via SMS, without heavy technical lifting or added infrastructure costs.