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COPING WITH FAILURE

Connecting to Customers over Cell Phones

As more customers depend on mobile phones, business owners need to realize that text messaging may be a new way to make a sale.
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What's the one communication device that every professional, business owner, employee, baby sitter, college student, mother, father and boss have with them these days? That's right. A cell phone.

Cell phones are no longer the status symbols of the late 1990's or the bricks of the 1980's. They are tools that enable vital business communication and should be considered by your business as an alternative way to communicate with your customers or prospective customers.

Although email, websites, RSS feeds, podcasts and blogs are important communication vehicles, there are times when communicating a short text message via cell phone is important and/or welcome. This text messaging is also referred to as short message service (SMS). SMS enables brief text messages to be sent from cell phone to cell phone or from computer to cell phone.

How could you use SMS in business? There are a growing number of ways. If you are a clothing retailer in a local mall, why not send a message to your customer's cell phones about a sale when they are in the area? Maybe you could draw them in with something like this: "Fifteen percent off for the next 60 minutes."

If your customer is waiting for an important package, email them the tracking information but also text the information to their cell phone. Whether it's a message telling them the package is late or one simply telling them it's safely arrived, they will appreciate being contacted.
Of course, you don't want to communicate these messages to your customers without their permission. Before you start sending them text messages, ask your customers if they would like to receive sales or order information via their cells phones.

In order to start communicating with your customers via cell phone it's important to develop a cell phone communication plan with measurable results. Here's how to start:

  1. Develop the plan with your marketing, technology and sales departments (if you are all three departments, that's fine too).
Last updated: Feb 1, 2007

RAMON RAY | Columnist

Editor and technology evangelist at Smallbiztechnology.com, which covers technology trends for small business. His latest book is the Amazon.com best-seller Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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