Businesses are always aiming to make their customers feel satisfied, rather than annoyed. One of the ways they can do that is to communicate with them via mobile messaging platforms.

A 2016 study from Twilio found nine out of 10 people surveyed wanted to talk to brands using that method, but less than half of global companies had the technology in place to offer that option.

More recently, numerous brands and industries have started to talk to customers via text.

If you aren't already using text updates to communicate with your customers, here are a few reasons why you should start:

To Remind Them of Appointments

People around the world abide by regional or national laws that mandate annual inspections to ensure their modes of transportation are roadworthy.

In the United Kingdom, for example, drivers take their vehicles for Ministry of Transport (MOT) tests. However, statistics showed 28 percent of people are late for those inspections.

The organization responsible for overseeing those inspections launched a reminder service via text message or email that gives people reminder messages a month before they need to get their MOT inspections.

Car dealerships can also use text messages to spur interest in service appointments at local providers.

Data indicates fewer than one in three service appointments takes place at dealerships, even though those entities sell all the new vehicles and most of the old ones.

At one Toyota dealership that implemented text message service reminders, 80 percent of people who received them showed up for appointments. That was an increase of 15 to 20 percent versus before the business tried that method.

To Reduce Frustrations From Missed Appointments

When people make appointments at doctors' offices, the reception desk workers typically give them reminder cards that note the time and date of those visits. However, it's easy to lose those before transferring the information to a physical or electronic calendar app.

A study revealed four out of five smartphone users check their devices within 15 minutes of waking up.

If a medical practice sends out appointment reminder texts in batches every morning, that technique could make it highly likely people will read them first thing in the morning.

People miss more than 9 million appointments scheduled at Veterans Affairs medical centers around the U.S. every year, but one facility is trying to reduce that number by offering an opt-in text service that reminds people one week before their appointments, and then again two days prior. Recipients can confirm or cancel appointments by responding to the texts.

A study found 23 percent of patients don't show up for appointments unless they get reminders. Those no-shows cause problems for doctors who waste time by getting ready to see people who never arrive, and harms patients who need treatment and can keep appointments, but don't have opportunities due to fully booked schedules at facilities.

To Get Customer Feedback

If companies don't stay abreast of customer desires, it'll be extremely difficult to maintain customer relationships.

One Global 500 company began sending feedback surveys via text message and found 96 percent of recipients responded within 24 hours.

To Tell Customers About Limited-Time Events

Researchers found people read 90 percent of text messages they receive within three minutes. So, that communication format is excellent for letting people know about events that don't last very long, such as one-day sales, free seminars at local businesses or the opportunity to get 50 percent off a purchase for coming in with an "I Voted" sticker on Election Day.

Last fall, Target gave people a preview of Black Friday deals by launching an earlier sale on things people could use to make their Thanksgiving meals tastier, such as kitchen appliances.

Shoppers could text a dedicated number to receive a digital coupon for in-store discounts. A store could do something similar by sending text messages that detail some of the most impressive advertised deals a few days before paper flyers get distributed with newspapers.

The retailer tested a text campaign for other limited-time opportunities, too: open positions at its stores. It rolled out the effort in 170 of its locations, and about one-third of people who received notifications about jobs followed through and applied for them.

Elsewhere in the retail realm, T-shirt retailer TeePublic found text message marketing provided a 25 percent conversion rate, versus only 9 percent for sales messages sent via email. Also, Adam Lasky, the company's marketing director, reports 50,000 customers have signed up for the service since it launched in May 2017, and 40,000 still opt to receive them, which indicates they appreciate the content of the messages.

Although some of these examples of text message marketing relate to specific industries, it's easy to apply them across all sectors.

For example, hair salons or even local school districts planning parent-teacher meetings could benefit from the medical appointment scheduling tactic.

Customers like receiving texts, and they respond to them favorably compared to other methods.

That means there are few solid reasons for businesses to delay further intentions to reach out through mobile messaging platforms.

Published on: Apr 20, 2018