Stop Calling - Here's How to Engage Customers At Scale
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Aug 09, 2021

Learn How to Increase Customer Engagement, Save Time, and Reduce Voice Calls with Text Messages

Phone calls will always be an essential part of customer service and your conversational messaging strategy. They’re great for building immediate, personal connections. But they take time and they don’t always get the best response rates.

So what if you had a different way to engage with more of your customers? How can you spend less time making phone calls and leaving voicemails?

Consider the following statistics:

So when it comes to texting vs. phone calls, your customers prefer texting. Yes, your business will always need to make calls, send emails and make face-to-face connections.

But texting can help you fill in conversation gaps, smooth your daily business operations and maintain connections with your customers.

To prove it, we show you why texting works better than phone calls for engaging customers. And we give you eight ways to use texting to engage customers and reduce phone calls.

Read on for more

Why Texting Works Better Than Voice for Engaging Customers

Phone calls are a tried and true method of improving customer engagement. They used to be the only way to get an instant response and build an emotional connection with customers.

But customer communication preferences are changing, and telephone culture is declining. One reason why 76% of consumers aren’t answering the phone has to do with a massive rise in spam robocalls.

Customers today don’t trust phone calls, especially from unknown numbers. Which speaks to a truth:

People want honest business conversations to occur quietly, in their own time, and at their convenience.

This is why people prefer texting to talking. Texting is less obtrusive, more discrete, and just as instant as a phone call.

And because texts are instant, they frequently get up to a 98% open rate. That’s higher than any other form of communication, including email.

High open rates are also why texting is 7 times more likely to get a response. For proof, Mower Parts Plus cut their phone time by over 50% with text messaging.

Plus, texting is also more efficient than calling. Phone conversations take much longer to complete. That’s time you may not have when it comes to running a small business.

Advanced VoIP telephone systems and autodialers can make calling at scale more efficient. But they’re still not as fast as texting.

Now, there will always be a time and place for voice calls. But texting works better for things like:

8 Ways to Use Texting to Engage Customers and Reduce Voice Calls

We’ve established that it’s inefficient to make phone calls and leave voicemails and that customers prefer texting to calling.

But how can you use texting to improve customer relationships, increase your day-to-day efficiency and reduce the number of voice calls you make?

1. Implement text message automation

Text message automation saves you and your employees a ton of time. You increase efficiency when you hand off a repetitive task like message responses to a business text messaging service.

Text message automation frequently includes:

However: (aside from time savings) automation also makes it easier to create more personalized, conversational experiences for your message recipients.

And keep in mind: automation isn’t a customer engagement cure-all.

Consider the customer experience you’re creating with automation. You’ll want to think about how automation fits into your overall customer engagement strategy.

Suggested Article: Ultimate Guide to Text Message Automation

2. Integrate text messaging with your scheduling software and scheduling workflows

Scheduling meetings can be an endless hassle. Reviewing calendars, identifying compatible meeting times and places, and inviting attendees takes time. This is especially true if you’re doing it over voice.

Most likely, you’re a busy person. You don’t want your meeting scheduling process distracting you from core business activities.

That’s where having the right meeting scheduler synced with a text message appointment reminder system can help.

Integrating text messaging with your meeting scheduling software helps you keep to a schedule, and reduce no-shows and double bookings.

Texting makes it easy to front-load your scheduling and appointments and reminders. You stand to save hours normally spent struggling to reach customers through calls and voicemail.

Suggested Article: How to Text Appointment Reminders | Guide + Free Templates

3. Broadcast hours of operation and up-to-date business information

You need scalable messaging solutions when trying to reach a lot of people. This is where calling customers just doesn’t scale.

So what are your solutions for sending bulk updates and mass messages? Email and text messaging are best for messaging changes to operating hours, inclement weather notices, and general business information.

Email is the most widely adopted form of communication in the world. It’s yet another tried and true way to send a message. But many emails go unread and even get deleted without ever being opened.

It’s no wonder then that email also has lower engagement rates. We’re talking about 20% open rates and only 6% average response rates. And that’s on a good day.

Compare that to text messaging. Text messages have up to a 98% open rate and around a 45% response rate. In fact, 74% of customers will even respond to a text from a business within an hour vs. 41% for email.

Customers are also much more likely to mark advertising emails as spam. So when it comes to receiving emails, some of your customers may never even have the chance to see your message.

  1. Automatically send out-of-office text messages based on business hours

Good business messaging etiquette starts with prompt replies. This is especially important when your business is closed or you or your employees are away and unavailable.

A simple out-of-office text message can help you set response expectations. It also clearly communicates to customers what they should do and how they can take further action.

And having quick, clear responses is especially important if you’re sending messages as a salesperson, or providing customer service.

There’s debate over email vs text and which is better for reaching customers beyond business hours. But both are great tools for sending automatic out-of-office messages.

Suggested Article: How to Set an Out of Office Message for Text & Email

5. Sending invoice and payment reminders

Getting paid isn’t easy. Invoicing and collecting payments takes time and getting customers to pay their bills can be a hassle. This is especially true if you’re only making phone calls to remind people of their late payments.

In a recent survey of 400 businesses, 27% noted that they have a hard time creating and sending invoices. Another 46% said they have difficulty getting paid on time. While 49% said they have a hard time following up on late payments.

These numbers probably don’t surprise you.

What will surprise you is how text messaging can help you collect payments and send reminders.

Business text messaging providers are starting to offer text-to-pay as a simple, streamlined, cashless payment method for small businesses.

Some business text messaging apps even sync directly with small business accounting systems like QuickBooks Online and Xero.

Suggested Article: Small Business Invoicing Guide | How to Send an Invoice

6. Follow up with text messages to ensure customer retention and earn more referrals and reviews

Retaining existing customers is far cheaper than acquiring new customers. But it’s tedious work to follow up with every customer after every service or purchase.

So instead of calling to follow-up for customer satisfaction, consider sending a text message. And while you’re at it, you might as well ask your customers to leave a review too.

85% of consumers are actually willing to leave a review. All they need is the right prompt at the right moment.

Calling and asking loyal customers to leave positive reviews works well on a small scale. But improving your business’s online review presence at scale can help you drive more long-term traffic and business.

This is where text messaging can help you automated the follow-up and review collection process at scale. Most text messaging platforms even allow you to send automated texts based on customer actions.

Suggested Article: The Ultimate Guide to Google Reviews

7. Ask for information by texting links to website contact forms

Texting web links can really help your business fill the conversational gaps between email and voice. It makes it possible to collect and share information and add direct calls to action.
Some text messaging platforms (like MessageDesk) offer website contact forms that automatically text contacts when they submit information.

All you need to start collecting information from your customers is to link your form in a text message.

8. Craft SMS marketing campaigns that drive recipients to a webpage with more info

Small businesses often get left behind when it comes to marketing technology. Typically, this is because many marketing tools are inaccessible, too complicated, or too expensive.

But running successful marketing campaigns (digital or otherwise) doesn’t need to be complex or costly.

This is why more small business owners now use text messaging for marketing and promotional messages.

Unlike phone calls, text messages can scale to reach big audiences. They’re a great way to send marketing messages. You can even link customers to web pages with more info about your product or service.

Suggested Article: 5 Reasons Why Text Message Marketing Works for Small Businesses

Ready to start texting and quit leaving voicemails? MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler ways to send text messages.

Visit our learning center for information on how to get started with MessageDesk. You’ll find a quick start guide to texting, a features overview, and an explanation of what MessageDesk is.

You’ll also want to check out our list of free SMS text message templates. Just copy and paste to start texting.

Finally, feel free to start a free MessageDesk trial or schedule a demo with a messaging expert.

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