As technology continues to evolve and advance, businesses are constantly seeking out new and innovative ways to improve the customer journey and increase brand engagement. One tool that has proven to be incredibly effective in achieving these goals is SMS or short message service.
SMS, commonly known as texting, allows businesses to send and receive short, concise messages directly to and from their customers' mobile devices. This technology offers a range of benefits, including increased reach, personalized interactions, and high levels of engagement.
In this blog post, we'll explore the ways in which SMS can improve the customer journey and increase brand engagement, backed by data and research.
But first, let's take a look at the current state of the customer journey and how it has been impacted by the rise of mobile technology.
The Customer Journey in the Age of Mobile
In today's digital age, the customer journey has become increasingly complex and fragmented. With the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, customers are now able to interact with businesses across multiple channels, including websites, social media, email, and mobile apps.
This presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses. On the one hand, it allows them to reach more customers and offer a more personalized experience. On the other hand, it can make it difficult to maintain a consistent brand experience and keep track of customer interactions.
According to a study by Forbes, 90% of customers now expect a consistent brand experience across all channels, but only 25% of businesses are able to provide it. This mismatch can lead to customer frustration and ultimately result in lost business.
Additionally, the rise of mobile technology has changed the way customers interact with businesses. In the past, customers would typically visit a store or website to make a purchase or seek out information. Today, they are more likely to use their mobile devices to research products, compare prices, and make purchases, often while on the go.
This shift has led to the development of new customer touchpoints, such as mobile apps, SMS notifications, and chatbots. These touchpoints provide businesses with the opportunity to engage with customers in real-time, but they also add another layer of complexity to the customer journey.
How SMS Improves the Customer Journey
One way that businesses can overcome the challenges of the modern customer journey is by using SMS to improve the customer experience. SMS allows businesses to communicate with customers directly on their mobile devices, providing a convenient, personalized, and engaging way to interact.
Here are some of the key ways in which SMS can improve the customer journey:
- Increased Reach
One of the biggest advantages of SMS is its ability to reach a wide audience. According to a study by Twilio, SMS has a 98% open rate, compared to just 22% for email. This means that businesses are able to effectively communicate with almost all of their customers, regardless of whether they are subscribed to email newsletters or have downloaded a mobile app.
Furthermore, SMS has a high level of engagement. According to a study by OpenMarket, 90% of SMS messages are read within the first three minutes of being received. This level of engagement is much higher than other channels, such as social media, where posts are often overlooked or missed altogether.
2. Personalized Interactions
Another key benefit of SMS is its ability to provide personalized interactions with customers. SMS allows businesses to send targeted messages based on customer preferences, location, and past interactions. This allows businesses to deliver relevant and timely information tailored to each customer's individual needs.
For example, a retail store can use SMS to send personalized offers and promotions to customers based on their previous purchases and browsing history. A restaurant can use SMS to send reminders about upcoming reservations or special events. And a healthcare provider can use SMS to remind patients about upcoming appointments and provide them with important health information.
SMS can also be used to provide personalized customer support. For example, a business can use SMS to provide real-time responses to customer inquiries, such as order confirmation or tracking information. This level of personalization can help improve the customer experience and build customer loyalty.
3. High Levels of Engagement
One of the reasons why SMS is so effective at improving the customer journey is its high level of engagement. As we mentioned earlier, SMS has a 98% open rate and 90% of messages are read within the first three minutes. This level of engagement is much higher than other channels, such as email or social media.
Furthermore, SMS is a two-way communication channel, which means that customers can respond to messages and engage with businesses in real-time. This allows businesses to create a more interactive and engaging customer experience, which can improve customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty.
4. Convenient and Accessible
SMS is also a convenient and accessible communication channel for both businesses and customers. Unlike email or social media, which require the use of a computer or mobile app, SMS can be accessed directly from a customer's mobile device. This makes it easy for customers to receive and respond to messages, regardless of where they are or what they are doing.
Additionally, SMS is a universal communication channel, which means that it can be used by businesses of all sizes and industries. This allows businesses to reach a wide range of customers, regardless of their preferences or technology capabilities.
Real-World Examples of SMS in Action
Now that we've covered the key benefits of SMS for the customer journey let's take a look at some real-world examples of how businesses are using SMS to improve the customer experience.
Starbucks is one of the world's largest coffee chains, with over 30,000 locations worldwide. To improve the customer experience and drive brand engagement, Starbucks has implemented an SMS-based rewards program called My Starbucks Rewards.
Through this program, customers can earn rewards, such as free drinks and food, by using their mobile app to pay for purchases and track their progress. Customers can also opt-in to receive SMS notifications about new offers, promotions, and rewards.
According to Starbucks, the My Starbucks Rewards program has been a huge success, with over 12 million active members and $3 billion in rewards earned. The program has helped to drive customer loyalty and engagement and has contributed to the company's overall success.
Amazon is one of the world's largest e-commerce companies, with over 100 million active customers worldwide. To improve the customer experience and drive brand engagement, Amazon has implemented an SMS-based customer service program called Mayday.
Through Mayday, Amazon customers can use their mobile devices to connect with customer service representatives in real-time, 24/7. Customers can use the Mayday feature to ask questions, get help with orders, and troubleshoot technical issues.
According to Amazon, the Mayday program has been a huge success, with over a million customer interactions per month. The program has helped to improve the customer experience and has contributed to the company's overall growth and success.
Airbnb is one of the world's largest vacation rental platforms, with over 2 million listings worldwide. To improve the customer experience and drive brand engagement, Airbnb has implemented an SMS-based communication platform called Airbnb Text.
Through Airbnb Text, hosts and guests can use SMS to communicate with each other, share important information, and coordinate details for upcoming reservations. Airbnb Text allows hosts and guests to communicate directly without having to share personal contact information.
According to Airbnb, the Airbnb Text platform has been a huge success, with over 80% of hosts and guests using the service to communicate. The platform has helped to improve the customer experience and has contributed to the company's overall growth and success.
SMS is a powerful tool that can improve the customer journey and increase brand engagement. With its high reach, personalized interactions, and high levels of engagement, SMS allows businesses to connect with customers in real-time on their mobile devices.
As the customer journey continues to evolve and become more complex, SMS will become an increasingly important tool for businesses looking to improve the customer experience and drive brand engagement. By implementing SMS-based communication strategies, businesses can build customer loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, and drive long-term success.