3 Ways to Make Customers Like Your Text Messages

They’re less likely to block you if you ask for permission, respect their data privacy and don’t bombard them with texts .

Written by Prashant Tomar
Published on Feb. 14, 2024
3 Ways to Make Customers Like Your Text Messages
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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With the proliferation of smartphones, messaging applications have revolutionized how businesses communicate with their customers. Using a variety of messaging tools and platforms, enterprises can meet their customers where they are, delivering convenient and delightful experiences on the move.

3 reasons to use messaging to communicate with customers

  1. Increased user familiarity. It’s convenient for customers to use the same applications to communicate with companies they already use to talk to family and friends.
  2. Fun and unique experiences. A series of messages between a customer and a company can integrate features such as searchable catalogs, order confirmations and updates and customized offers and coupons.
  3. Higher return on investment (ROI). Messaging campaigns have higher open rates than email rates and can potentially boost companies’ ROI.

A staggering 93 percent of consumers now prefer text-based interactions with businesses, paving the way for advanced platforms like iMessage and WhatsApp to cater to this demand with innovative business-specific features. These platforms create immersive experiences with dynamic catalogs, in-thread payments and personalized interactions that offer opportunities to better engage customers and significantly boost return on investment. 

At the same time, these applications raise potential privacy and ethical concerns, just like other emerging technologies. Here are three important considerations for companies to remember when messaging customers.

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Get Their Permission First

It is essential that enterprises are transparent in seeking specific, informed and unambiguous user consent in compliance with data protection laws. In the European Union, for example, Article 7 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) states that users must clearly consent to the processing of their data and have the right to withdraw this consent at any time.

On one hand, obtaining user consent for specific use cases, including marketing, order updates and information about new product launches, allows businesses to deliver more value and build long-term customer trust. On the other hand, tactics like soliciting phone numbers under the guise of service provision and then sending promotional messages can lead to customer frustration. 

Creative opt-in tactics are one approach. TED, the nonprofit media company behind the famous talks, personalizes its opt-in message, allowing users to select topics of interest such as the future, self-improvement and entertainment. This tailors the opt-in experience to the user’s preferences. 

Similarly, companies must make it easy for customers to opt out of a particular message type if they no longer wish to receive that kind of message. This prevents the business from being blocked entirely and focuses on delivering the value the customer seeks. In addition to federal laws, some states have their own laws regarding SMS marketing, so it’s important for companies to understand regional requirements.

 

Respect Their Data Privacy

With customers increasingly comfortable with popular apps, more personal data is shared on the messaging platforms. Protecting personal information and handling it in a way that respects individuals’ rights and preferences enhances customer confidence and encourages them to share information willingly.

It is essential that businesses establish privacy as a priority and design workflows and applications with data protection in mind. Hiring dedicated privacy teams and experts and conducting regular audits to ensure the protection of customer data is a critical part of the solution.

Encryption and strict data-sharing protocols form the foundation of data privacy. Encryption ensures that third parties, including malicious players, cannot access user data. Equally important is having clearly defined standards and protocols around sharing information with partners.

It is critical that organizations partner with vendors that prioritize privacy and have strong encryption standards. Companies should also guard their customers’ privacy by ensuring vendor contracts maintain data-sharing integrity and customer data is anonymized and only shared when necessary.

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Don’t Overload Them With Messages

Companies increasingly turn to messaging apps because they boast higher open rates than emails. A Gartner report showed that 98 percent of SMS communications from businesses were opened, and 45 percent received a response, compared with 20 percent and 60 percent, respectively, for email communications.

One of the reasons behind the shift to messaging was customers’ increased weariness in response to the number of emails they were receiving. Be aware that this can also happen with messaging. Unwanted messages may lead to customer dissatisfaction, and 79 percent of customers surveyed by WebeX said they feel they have received too many messages from organizations. 

Another survey conducted by EZTexting found that customers prefer to be contacted only during business hours and no more than once a week, highlighting the importance of strategic communication practices. Quality should trump quantity — businesses should tailor their messages toward helping customers achieve their goals and set and follow expectations for how frequently users will receive messages. Welcome texts provide a convenient opportunity to clarify these expectations, allowing customers to establish preferences for frequency and messaging options. This helps enterprises avoid the risk of overwhelming contacts while ensuring they’re on board with messaging campaigns.

Even in a tech-centric marketplace, relationships are the mainstay of business success, and every relationship begins with a conversation. Customers increasingly expect personalized messaging, and the possibilities are endless. In-app enhancements allow customers to easily browse products and services without leaving the app, streamlining the buying process. Integrated product catalogs in chat messages will make it easier to view and select items and pay on the spot. 

Despite technological changes, the key principles behind effective business messaging remain the same: ask permission, send high-quality messages and protect user data.

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