Does your Business have the Text Factor?

Gone are the days of smoke signals, carrier pigeon, pen and paper, sending a fax, or even typing an email. 

Texting is changing the way we communicate in business – forever. 

So, does your business have the Text Factor?

Whilst sending an email still remains the most usual way for a business to message a client or customer, texting is quickly taking over as the preferred method of communication. 

Although the professionalism and formality of sending an email may still be valued by some companies, business texting can create a more relaxed, conversational and personal tone in which to conduct your business interactions.

Is your business missing a tick?

According to Uswitch.com, in 2023, 98% of all adults aged 16-24 in the UK owned a smartphone, 86% aged 55-64, and 80% of over 65s.  And apart, maybe, from your gran who always leaves her phone, uncharged, in the bottom drawer, the majority of people with a smartphone will have it within their reach for most of the day. 

Therefore, over 80% of your customers will be ideally equipped to receive communications from your business all day long.

But before you and your colleagues rush for your mobiles… there’s important legal stuff to consider.

According to the ICO, businesses must gain a customer’s consent before sending them any direct marketing, such as text messaging.  Consent for direct marketing must be “knowingly and freely given, clear and specific” and non-transferrable.

Let’s look at an example.  A customer has given their consent for your business to send them appointment-reminder emails.  Does that also mean you can send them text messages with the same details?  No.  You will need specific consent to send text messages, even if the information you are sending is the same.

A client has consented to receiving texts from you about special sales offers.  Does that now mean you are also free to send them text messages with booking information?  No, again.  You will need specific consent to also send them booking information by text.

A loyal customer has recently contacted you from a different mobile number.  Does this mean you can now send them text messages to this number, also?  Have a guess…

With the above examples in mind, how can a customer give the ‘okay’ for your business to send them information by text? 

Customer details, such as mobile numbers, are usually obtained by businesses at the point of sale or service.  Paper or electronic forms function to capture contact details and also give the customer a choice of marketing preferences. 

But whether a customer chooses to opt in or out, stating their preference must always be as simple as ticking a box, or, quite literally, ticking a box. 

To comply with advice from the ICO, tick boxes for opt-in and opt-out should be equally as prominent, and neither box should be pre-ticked.

The option to opt out must also be given to a customer every time they receive a text from your business, for example, the option to send a STOP text.

Consent to send marketing texts to customers can also be obtained verbally, such as over the phone, as long as certain conditions are met, although some businesses may feel more assured by written consent or a ticked box.

Is your business missing a trick?

So, if you are not missing a tick, but you’re not already business texting, maybe you’re missing a trick.  

According to LinkedIn, in 2023, the open rate for SMS messages was 97%, with 90% of messages being read within 3 minutes.  Compare this to the 20-30% open rate for emails and we can immediately see the benefits of business texting.

Business texts are a highly effective form of conversational commerce, a term used to describe how businesses use the power of conversation to connect with their customers and start them on their sales journey.

Texting is more personal than other forms of communication because it’s how we communicate with friends and family. Texting can have a deeper and more immediate impact on a customer.  It can be more targeted and relevant, and, therefore, a more satisfying experience for your customers.  

Let’s be honest.  We’re all more likely to give a short sharp text the time of day, than we are a long and wordy email.

Whether it’s sales information, product details, reminders about appointments, customer feedback surveys, shipping details, or progress updates, texting is the less formal, more conversational, personalised way for businesses to connect with their customers. 

It’s a two-way thing…

But business texting is not only preferred by our customers.  With our mobile phones waiting patiently in our pockets – business texting is also a preference of businesses due to the speed and convenience of sending a text over an email. 

With swipe texting, voice to text, and predictive texting, business texts can be sent in seconds from the palm of your hand, saving your business time and effort. Conversation trails are also easy to navigate with texting.

So, with many local professionals now embracing WhatsApp over Outlook, mobiles over PCs, support the mobile needs of your business and consider company-owned, personally enabled (COPE) mobile devices for all your employees and team members.

Why a COPE device?

COPE is a business model whereby an organisation provides its employees with mobile devices to use both personally and professionally. 

By providing your employees with COPE devices, you can ensure everyone is using the most up-to-date mobile software and hardware.  A COPE device can be closely monitored by your IT department, meaning all security and data protections measures should be in place and always up-to-date.

With business texting booming, a COPE device means your employees only need to carry around one mobile device, rather than both a personal and a work handset, which may become laborious and confusing.  

And if an employee leaves your business with sensitive information on their COPE device, your IT department will have the ability to wipe all data from the handset, protecting customer information and adhering to data protection regulations.

A COPE device will facilitate secure and efficient business texting, enhance business-customer relations, improve sales, and give you a personal portal directly to your customer, so they will, literally, be in the palm of your hand.

Texting is changing the way we communicate in business – forever. 

Contact Initiis and give your business the Text Factor…

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Hamza Irfan

Hamza Irfan

Writes about tech, mobiles, and networks with passion, curiosity, and humor.

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