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5 ways to grow your SMS subscriber list

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By mGage

Launching your first SMS campaign is exciting! In order to get started, you will need to build a list of SMS subscribers who have opted-in to being contacted by you. Fortunately, there is plenty of opportunity. More than 5.19 billion people now use mobile phones, up by 124 million over the past year[1]. Read on for 5 ways to grow your SMS subscriber list and start seeing results!

  1. Leverage Existing Followers and Subscribers

Email subscribers and social media followers have already shown interest in getting updates and offers from your brand, so they are a great place to start when building your SMS subscriber list. Be sure to mention the additional value they will get by opting-in to SMS, like exclusive deals and timely updates.

  1. Add to Website Forms, Pop-Ups, and Footers

Providing a way for people to opt-in to receiving messages from you via SMS should become part of your regular website workflows. Add a field for phone number and an opt-in checkbox to all website forms. You can also add a keyword and short code to your website footers and even create a pop-up. Make sure CTAs are clearly visible and easy to find. This way, anyone visiting your site will also have the opportunity to receive SMS messages from you.

  1. Run Digital Advertisements

Advertising online through LinkedIn, Twitter, banner ads and other platforms expands your reach beyond those who are already aware of your brand. One huge advantage of digital advertising is targeting, which enables you to show ads to a very specific audience. You can tailor ads to specific demographics, like age, location, and even interests. This enables you to share offers that feel more personal. For example, if you’re running a promotion to get more women aged 25-35 to opt-in to your SMS campaign, you can feature products or offers that might appeal to that group alongside an exclusive offer they can redeem via text.

  1. Don’t Forget Traditional Media

Signs and mailers may seem old-school, but they are a good way to stand out and reach an additional audience that may be less active online. In fact, 42.2% of direct mail recipients open the mail they get[2]. Many brands promote their SMS list by using in-store signage or even product packaging, which are effective strategies to engage with people who already have purchase intent.

  1. Have a Contest

Contests are a fun way to get customers engaging with your brand while simultaneously encouraging them to opt-in to your SMS subscriber list. Offering the chance to win a reward in exchange for subscribing is incredibly effective. We recommend making the contest unique enough to catch their attention.

We hope these suggestions are helpful as you begin working on building your SMS subscriber list. If you’re ready to get started, get in-touch today with mGage.

[1] https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-global-digital-overview

[2] https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/direct-mail-statistics/#gref

SMS Surveys – Vital to gathering valuable customer feedback

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By mGage

For businesses looking to continually improve their customer service and experience, the need for thorough feedback cannot be underestimated. Without a true indicator or picture of the consumer experience, there is no way organisations can ensure that they are supplying the best service possible. Hence, SMS surveys are a vital tool in the ongoing relationships between brands and consumers to further develop and enhance services or products.

With Gartner predicting that 89 percent of businesses are facing competitive points based primarily on customer experience, it is imperative that brands make customer satisfaction their priority to remain engaging and relevant.

By initiating surveys brands can have access to a continual feedback loop to make the necessary changes to their business. Therefore, it is important that they listen to customer comments and learn from their suggestions to ensure the continual upgrade of products or services are in line with customer expectations. Research by Kolsky found that 70 percent of companies that deliver best-in-class customer experience use customer feedback.

Further research suggests that one happy customer can lead to nine referrals, whereas one unhappy customer can result in 26 other unhappy people; this highlights the implications that negative customer experiences can have on current and potential consumers.

Why use SMS for surveys?

SMS surveys are a quick and efficient tool for any business wishing to gather valuable insights and essential feedback to improve their customers’ experience. As mobile has become an integral part of our connected lifestyle and with people checking their phones 58 times a day on average, it is an easy way to reach your audience. In return it allows your customers to respond any time and from any place. While email may cost less, SMS has proven more beneficial as it has a 7.5 times higher response rate than email, an average 90 second reply time, and a 98 percent open rate.

By launching SMS surveys, the sender can look forward to receiving higher response rates and increased customer engagement. Here are some great examples of how you can collect feedback from your audience:

  • Customer service feedback – when a phone call has ended you can send an SMS survey to your customer asking them to rate their experience and the advisor
  • Delivery feedback – ask your customers to rate a recent delivery to see if the service met their expectations
  • New purchases feedback – find out how a customer got on with a recent purchase and how they found the overall experience.
  • Update contact details – allows a customer to update these to ensure your records are up to date

How to integrate SMS surveys

Using a mobile campaign management tool like Communicate Pro, brands have the ability to quickly and easily launch a SMS survey campaign. Brands can create interactive surveys using decision tree functionality and receive open ended responses to collect the most useful data for them. All messages can be personalised and automated and can include features like emojis.

It is important for brands to use tailored questions to ensure that they ask the right questions to the right people to increase engagement and ensure that the questions are relevant. With the data collected through SMS surveys, brands can quickly understand what their customers want and allow them to take on board any constructive feedback in order to grow as an organisation and curate better satisfaction in the future.

Final thoughts

To continue to enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction it is critical to collect consumer feedback via SMS surveys. By incorporating it into your multi-channel communication strategy it offers your audience a choice of response.  With more people now on their mobile phones for longer you can expect high response rates via SMS – highlighting its capability as a highly engaged channel and a great way to connect with customers to gather valuable insights for your business.

Improving Contact Centre Performance with Mobile Messaging

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By mGage

With 89% of consumers willing to switch to a competitor after a bad customer service experience[1], the importance of good customer service cannot be overstated. In the recent climate, increasing pressure has been placed on contact centres across various industries. Contact centres are costly, not just because of the resources required to operate them but also because of the impact they have on the customer experience. Therefore, it is crucial that businesses explore new channels that can help improve the contact centre performance – which is where mobile messaging solutions come in.

Why Mobile Messaging for Contact Centres?

There are currently 5.2 billion[2] mobile subscribers across the globe and with increasing time spent on mobile phones – the average person’s screen time is 3 hours 15 minutes a day[3],   messaging has become the leading form of communication. Public affinity for mobile messaging has led to 9 out of 10 consumers[4] preferring to message businesses as opposed to calling or emailing them.

Businesses are already seeing the benefits of mobile messaging such as increased customer loyalty and a reduction in operational costs, with 97% of companies finding they communicated more efficiently with consumers after launching texting initiatives[5].

Different Mobile Messaging Channels to Consider

SMS (or texting) Messaging

SMS, often deemed a more traditional form of messaging, is still a widely used and valuable tool in customer engagement, consisting of 160 basic characters ideal for a variety of uses. In fact, SMS has a 20x higher engagement rate than Email, Voice & Facebook[6].

With 98% of SMS messages being read in less than two minutes [7], SMS can be a very effective way of providing customers with the timely customer service updates they want. They can also utilise the SMS chat feature for two-way engagement where a consumer can ask a brand a question. A text can also be sent alerting the customer of when they are experiencing high call volumes with a call-back option. This helps alleviate some of the pressure on contact centres.

Rich Communication Service (RCS) Messaging

RCS is the next generation of SMS messaging. It brings the familiarity of SMS and adds rich media and interactive functionality which has led to RCS having a 14x higher engagement rate and 13x With the added interactive features such as suggested responses and actions, images, carousels and more, RCS creates a conversational and seamless experience for end-users, similar to that of an app.  Rather than the user having to text back a response to the brand they can tap a button from the suggested responses to navigate to the information much quicker.

Push Messaging

Push Messaging are notifications that can be delivered to the mobile device. The app does not need to be open for messages to be received therefore the message will be displayed on the smartphone’s ‘homepage’ until the user taps or deletes the notification, maximizing the messages visibility. With a 90% deliverability rate and a 7x higher click rate than email [9], push notifications are proven to improve engagement and customer retention.

How Mobile Messaging can help Contact Centres  

Streamline post-purchase customer service

72% of customers blame their bad customer service experience on having to explain their problem to multiple people[10]. This highlights the importance of gathering as much information as quickly as possible regarding the customer query prior to a call with a live agent to ensure that the query is directed to the right team with the required knowledge.

An SMS chatbot can act as the first point of contact by using a pre-programmed list of questions that the customer service team can gather before the call. Using SMS allows customers to send quick messages with the key details.

Another way to improve engagement and reduce contact centre strain is by offering call-back requests via SMS. This reduces the number of customers being left on hold which directly affects the overall customer satisfaction with the service.

Offer viable alternative calls

As we know, customer service is essential but can be a very costly function for businesses. Mobile messaging has now become a more viable option to replace the need for calling contact centres with the introduction of more interactive messaging solutions as well as helping reduce the strain on contact centres due to the high volumes of incoming calls.

A messaging option like RCS can use suggested options and image carousels to automate simple inquiries that would be costly for contact centres to process instead. The image below shows how RCS can be used to make changes to a scheduled delivery in seconds.

Increase engagement, reduce wasted time  

The most significant benefit of mobile messaging solutions is the ability to send messages in an instant, providing real time updates and resolutions to customer inquiries. This reduces the number of customers calling contact centres for updates on existing cases and allows customer care agents to better prioritise and manage queries.

Push messaging is a great way to provide updates and reminders to customers, as they appear as notifications immediately visible on phone screens, making customers feel informed and valued.

Final thoughts

Messaging solutions can be a cost-effective alternative that can support contact centres and improve the overall customer experience. These are just a few of the options available to businesses today. To learn more about messaging solutions you can use in your customer engagement strategy, get in-touch today with mGage.

References

[1] Customer thermometer

[2] GSMA Mobile Economy

[3] Rescue time blog

[4] Agility PR

[5] mGage.com

[6] Mobile xco

[7] adobeblog.com

[8] mGage.com

[9] e-goi

[10] Salesforce

 

Millennials and Next Gen are driving a message-focused future

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By Nick Millward, Vice President Europe at mGage

In recent years, smartphones have become the standard and with 95% of smartphones being used daily, coupled with the innovative capabilities and growing impact on our lives, it is a trend that businesses across all sectors need to pay attention to.  In turn, Over-the-Top (OTT) applications, or ‘social messaging apps’ such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and SMS text messaging have enabled brands to start conversations with consumers more directly and personally than ever before. However, the format and content that brands share with consumers is crucial to the success of the customer engagement.

As technology advances, smartphones continue to evolve and customer attitudes shift, brands need to consider methods that provide not only rich and engaging content via messaging but conversational commerce as a way to interact with consumers. With more than half of 25-34 year olds and 18-24 year olds favouring a messaging service or chatbot over picking up the phone to contact a business, it is evident that brands are facing a growing demand amongst the younger generation for rich conversational messaging that is not set to subside.

Despite the new technologies entering the market, text-based SMS is a communication channel that is highly unlikely to ever be replaced. This is because text messaging is still widely used and remains the preferred platform for brands to communicate with their consumers for critical applications like one-time passwords, reminders and balance updates. However, for brands to get the most out of their communication tactics they need to listen to what their consumers want. Sadly, more than half of consumers say they find marketing messages boring and would much prefer messages that are well targeted and well designed, using images and video content to bring the messages to life. This is where Rich Communications Services (RCS), the latest development in the evolution of mobile messaging, can really hold its own.

With the capability to provide a richer experience for users and the ability to encompass multimedia that incorporate offers and coupons, brands are able to open up their communication channels to consumers and offer alternatives that are personal to them. Consumers today, particularly among the younger generation, are more willing to engage via messaging that is interactive and delivers a much rich media experience. This is good news for brands wishing to expand their consumer experience.

Our latest whitepaper unearthed some interesting statistics with perhaps the most telling being that consumers of all ages wants brands to do better – to bring engaging and exciting offers and content to them in an easily-accessible format that makes them confident to buy more.   The best way to do this is to utilise rich content messaging and multimedia for marketing communications to attract the attention of consumers. RCS also brings a more conversational and interactive messaging experience in line with the demand by the younger generation to text a brand rather than pick up the phone. Utilising chatbot elements and the functionality of suggested actions and responses, brands are able to direct their consumers to the information they require more quickly and easily than trying to navigate through a clunky Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

With technology continually advancing and customer attitudes shifting towards more message-focused platforms, brands worldwide have access to innovative solutions that have the capability to transform the way that they communicate with consumers. Driven by the demands of millennials and next-gen, brands need to consider solutions that are in line with the expectations of future generations and adjust their communication strategies to meet these, if not they could see a huge impact on the success of the business.

As the adoption of more interactive and rich media messaging platforms become more prevalent, brands will be able to communicate directly with their consumers, target likely prospects more effectively, gain better campaign analytics and offer unparalleled customer service through instant responses and notifications to ensure that they give the consumers of the future the communications that they not only want but come to expect.

Click here to download the Mobile Messaging State of Mind whitepaper.

RCS: Conversational Messaging Assists Customer Service

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

With brands searching for innovative and new ways to engage their end-users they can now unlock the benefits of RCS (Rich Communication Services) business messaging. RCS is truly a conversational channel that is transforming the messaging landscape as it speaks to the need for customers to receive more personalised, richer, and engaging messaging.

RCS compliments customer service functions as its fast, efficient and an effective channel which is less resource intensive and helps reduce the strain on call centres. Using the interactive features such as suggested actions and suggested responses allows businesses to quickly respond to customer enquiries. The carousel and rich card features create a visually more appealing message that helps navigate users to information.

On top of this you have the verified sender and personalised branding that provides familiarity and trust which makes customers more likely to interact with your RCS message.

Automating Customer Experience

By enabling RCS messaging, brands can create automated conversations to make the customer experience seamless and efficient.

Click the image below to see a video example of how RCS is used to perform a simple task like updating a delivery:

Can’t see the image? Click here to view the video!

Other RCS use cases include

  • Gathering customer feedback
  • Schedule a call-back
  • Enquire about an order/delivery
  • Re-schedule appointments/meetings
  • Get account updates

Successful businesses stay up to date with current and future customer demand by adapting to new technologies in the digital era.

To learn more about how you can incorporate RCS into your customer service operations then please get in-touch with mGage today!

Why should you think about Chatbots?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By mGage

Chatbots are nothing new, having first been introduced in the 1960’s in the form of a computer programme called ELIZA. This programme laid the framework for what chatbots would become, a computerised conversational tool.

Today chatbots have become much more common in everyday usage and for many businesses it’s become an essential part of their customer service department to deliver an enhanced customer experience for its customers.  In fact, a report by juniper research shows that chatbots will be involved in 85% of all types of business-customers interaction.

What is a chatbot

A chatbot or also known as conversational agents are applications that replicate written or spoken human speech for the purposes of creating an interaction with a real person.

Chatbots can be though text or voice and can be deployed on your websites, applications and messaging like SMS, RCS, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat and more.

Why should businesses think about Chatbots?

  1. Invest to Enhance Customer Experience

Today’s customer requires quick and timely responses to their inquiries and a delayed response can often be the basis for a negative review or cancelled service. A report from Forrester Research found that 63% of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience, and almost two-thirds will no longer wait more than 2 minutes for assistance.  By integrating a chatbot this can provide the immediate and time sensitive responses consumers expect from brands. This is reflected in research by Chatbot Magazine that shows 69% of consumers prefer chatbots because of their ability to provide quick replies to simple questions.

Customer and user experience experts have realised that an omnichannel experience is essential in meeting the needs of today’s consumers. Smartphone users have access to a variety of channels including SMS, RCS, Facebook, WhatsApp and more. As brand websites and social media apps are always in operation this means that customer engagement is a constant. In a digital era, businesses no longer operate on a set time. This is where chatbots become essential to support this engagement. Once implemented they always allow each channel to effectively provide customer support.

  1. Automation Enables Operational Efficiency

According to a report by IBM, chatbots could handle 80% of routine customer questions. Customer service is an essential but costly function for businesses which is why having an automated tool like a text chatbot is vital, as it can provide customer service 24/7. The other reality is customer service reps can’t always be available.

By implementing an automated chatbot, this can enable businesses to easily answer customer service enquiries or issues swiftly and to reduce incoming call volumes and human interaction. In fact, it’s reported by IBM that integration of chatbots can lead to a 30% decrease in operational costs.

  1. The rise of conversational messaging

Conversational messaging is transforming the messaging landscape as it speaks to the desire for customers to receive more personalised, relevant and engaging messaging. By integrating chatbots businesses are able to have automated assistants that can support customers with their unique requests and interests.  We see this within the increasing popularity of NLP (natural language processor).  NLP chatbots utilise AI technology to be more natural and pick up on the context of a customer request to be in effect more “human”.

Furthermore, many businesses today are looking to new solutions like RCS (Rich Communication Services),  the much anticipated upgrade to SMS.  RCS enables conversational messaging with the chat capabilities so that they can respond to a customer’s request all within the same messaging thread on the native RCS app. Features like the carousels and ‘suggested responses’ act as automated actions that make the user experience more streamlined and enhances the B2C messaging experience to reflect the way customers expect to message today.

Final thoughts

Chatbots have been here for a long time and will continue to be an essential part of any business. Historically customers may not have liked automated and artificial customer service but the convenience and rapid service they provide has enhanced the customer experience and more importantly allows businesses to keep up with the requirements of operating within an ever-evolving digital era. Chatbots over messaging apps like SMS and RCS should not be ignored as a recent study conducted by mGage revealed that 97% of consumers use some form of messaging. It’s a widely used channel by consumers therefore the reach is remarkable.

To learn more about how you can utilise chatbots within your messaging get in-touch with mGage today!

Best practices in SMS customer care

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By mGage

Did you know that 95% of people who had a bad experience are willing to give a brand another go if they know that their issue was dealt with correctly[1]?

Customer care is extremely important for brands, and facilitating customer care over as many communication channels as possible is good business practice.

Text messaging, or SMS, is an excellent channel for customers because it’s convenient, and immediate. We ran a webinar on the Best Practices in SMS customer care and wanted to share some key points below.

SMS Customer Care Use Cases

Customers prefer SMS customer service to voice because it’s more convenient than waiting on the phone. In fact, 81% of all consumers get frustrated being tied to a phone or computer to wait for customer service help[2]. By adding text messaging to your communication, you will reduce operational and call center costs, while at the same time increase customer satisfaction. Below are a few customer care messaging examples that are used today.

Reminders: Sending SMS reminders to your customers will help decrease missed appointments and ensure payment adherence. With 98% of text messages being read within two minutes[3], sending a quick text message is a more efficient way to reach your customers than trying to reach them with a phone call or sending an email they may not see.

Bank Alerts: SMS provides a much more expedited, seamless experience for fraud notifications and charge authorizations, creating a better customer experience than previous methods. By being notified promptly, customers will feel like their bank is looking out for them.

Call-back Requests: Implementing call back requests via SMS immediately reduces strain on your call center and instantly improves customer satisfaction by reducing wait times. You can even enable your toll-free number for this purpose, so customers who are already familiar with your current contact info can continue to use the same number.

Best Practices for Delivering Customer Care Messages

Be Very Clear: Clarity is essential when delivering your customer care messages. Be upfront and set the proper expectations, so customers know what they are signing up for.

Keywords are Key: We always suggest you use the keep it short and simple (KISS) approach for keywords. Customers want to receive messages that are easy to read and digest, so keep it simple and avoid special characters. Choose keywords that won’t be autocorrected and be sure to choose keywords that are straight to the point.

Test Measure & Learn: Finally, learn from all the information you get and use it to improve the customer service you deliver to your customers. Measure the success of your customer service alerts by paying attention to the number of customers opting in and out of your programs. The number of opt-outs is a good indication as to whether the content remains relevant to your audience.

Final thoughts

Provide the best customer support by adding text messaging to your communication channel. These are just some of the best practices we would suggest for your SMS customer care strategy. To view our webinar on the best practices in SMS customer care, click here.

For more in-depth detail, contact us today and speak with one of our experts.

Sources

[1] https://business.trustpilot.com/reviews/5-reasons-why-customer-experience-is-the-pulse-of-every-business

[2] Harris Interactive, “The High Demand for Customer Service via Text Messaging”

[3] RetailDive