If you’re looking for the best way to reach your customers, know it’s not just about the method you use to contact your customers, but the timing of that communication too. We’re going to go over when to use business texting, and offer you examples of common texting situations. Whether you’re in sales, support, account management, or even operations, you can use business texting, and the timing is key.
Business texting: Timing is everything
It’s getting increasingly difficult for business owners and companies to reach their customers through the mess of emails, phone calls, and texts that people get every day. More than 269 billion business and consumer emails are sent worldwide on a daily basis. On top of those emails, more than 6 billion texts are sent in the United States alone each day, and the average person is on about six phone calls a day.
Customers are inundated with communication they don’t read, the last thing you want is for your text message to fall through the cracks. Those are some huge numbers you’re up against when trying to reach any given customer. But the timing of your text message can go a long way in making sure it’s one of the messages that gets through.
Your ultimate communication goal is likely to actually get in contact with your customer, so you can share an update, solve a problem, or win a deal. Sharing information with customers at the right time, and sharing information that is relevant and has value for them are crucial to getting the most out of business texting.
Why does timing matter? Relevancy and value
Once you know your specific communication goal, or the reason you’re texting a customer, you need to ask yourself when the text will be the most relevant for your customer.
Relevancy is going to look different depending on the situation you’re texting in. But a general way to determine the relevancy and value of a text message is by examining whether or not it’s actionable in that moment. By actionable we mean can the recipient do something with it at that moment, either by responding, completing a task, or maybe providing further information.
When your customers or clients can trust that you’re messaging them only because the information is necessary and useful, there’s a good chance they’ll read and respond to texts in the future too.
3 considerations to help determine the right time to text
So we know that messages should be actionable but what are three things to keep in mind for texting at the right time? We’ll go over it next.
Determine what you want to text your customer
This first consideration involves choosing your business communication goal and determining what you want to accomplish by texting your customer. This needs to come before timing because it will end up impacting the appropriate timing of your messaging.
You can think about your goal as the reason why you’re sending a text. The goal might be as simple as getting a response from a customer, confirming an appointment, or contacting a sales lead. To understand the best time to send something, think about when the recipient will best be able to use the information you share.
Pinpoint when they would use this information
Think about when you would want to receive the text you’re writing if you were in your customers’ shoes. The best place to start is to think about when your customer will best be able to use the information you’re sharing with them.
For example, if you work for an event venue and you’re sharing information with a customer who has a ticket for an event that night, you want to make sure you give them time to take action on any updates you share. Ideally in this instance, you’d be able to send a text a few hours beforehand, say around 3:30 or 4 p.m. to let customers know that the doors now won’t open until 7 p.m.
You can also leverage prior engagement with a customer to help discern the timing for your text. For instance, if a customer signed up for a demo, you can use that as the reason for your text.
Another example of using previous communication to prompt a text might be if you previously spoke to someone and were sending a text to follow up. You could use that time frame to show how your text is relevant and that the timing makes sense.
You can even set up regular check in times with customers so they’ll expect to hear from you. Monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual check-ins are all pacing that could make sense for your business and give you a reason to text a customer. This is especially true for businesses that involve some kind of regular schedule, like medical practices, distributors, or auto services. When a customer leaves an appointment, you can craft a text and schedule it for the relevant time later to remind them it’s time for another check.
The texts above are simply examples, but they show several instances where you can include a timeframe in your text to make it clear to your customer that you’re texting them for a good reason. This also serves to jog their memory about who’s texting them.
Craft a clear text message
Once you determine why you’re texting your customers and when they could use the information you’re sharing, you can move on to crafting your text message. This process can take some time and you should keep your business communication goal in mind. There are some other guidelines to follow too, like introducing yourself, being friendly, and writing clearly. For a detailed how-to on crafting a business text message read our article: Writing the perfect business text message: A step-by-step guide, examples.
There are a few aspects of a clear message to keep in mind when writing a text. The first thing is that your text message should be short and to the point. Your customers’s time is valuable and you should be considerate of that. Next up is the tone you’ll use to communicate. Your customers will pick up on your tone so you want to be timely and prompt the customer to answer without being pushy. You should also remember to introduce yourself so it’s clear who the message is coming from. Add any links or attachments that can further your message, or help make it more relevant. Your text should also make it clear to the recipient that the communication is two-way and that they can respond or ask any questions they might have for you.
Whatever the scenario is, make sure you’re clear, friendly, and introduce yourself. Ideally, after reading the message the customer or client won’t have any follow up questions for you. Once you have this text written, ask yourself again when is the right time?
Examples of when to text your customers
To help you get a grasp on when to text your customers here are some specific examples for various departments.
You can use business texting for sales purposes in a few different ways:
- Immediately reaching out to a new lead to qualify them
- Following up with a lead before the end of a free-trial to close more customers
After you get an initial lead, you can follow up with that person via text to get more information about them, offer a demo, or offer a free trial, like in the example below. When it comes to sales and marketing, 82% of customers expect a response within 10 minutes. That doesn’t give you much time to respond through any channel, but texting makes that task a bit easier.
The best time to reach out to a free trial lead would be early on in their trial to ensure that you understand their needs and can set them up for success. You would also want to use texting throughout the entire sales process as a way to communicate in addition to your other channels. You likely have communication touch points already built in with the free trial, the last one being when the trial is ending to help close the deal.
It can take up to a dozen touch points to close a deal with a customer, and the timing of each of those will differ for each business owner. But the better the timing, the more likely you are to close the deal sooner.
When it comes to account management, you’ll use business texting to:
- Coordinate recurring check-ins to increase customer engagement
- Proactively reach out to anticipate the regular buying cadences and renewals
For account management, the timing of texts can be instrumental in achieving goals. There are dozens of reasons why you might be reaching out to your customers. But you know that to retain customers you likely need to put in some regular work to help continually nurture those customers. That nurturing should spur engagement and should be value driven, timely, and ideally lead to higher retention.
Business texting can easily fit into the role of an account manager in a few different ways but we’ll look at an example of how it can be used to retain customers.
This can help make the customer experience easier and shows that you care about your customers’ needs. It also has a reason and timing for your text built right into the message. A text like this could also be scheduled, allowing you to manage your customer relationships more easily.
How business texting can be used for support:
- Setting up a time for in-depth support or demos
- Streamlining regular check-ins
- Quick updates on support ticket progress
Another time when it would be appropriate to text your customers is when you’re contacting them to offer support. Customers are accustomed to asking for support during business hours but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to wait, 88 percent of customers expect a response within 60 minutes. One luxury that texting offers though is the option to set expectations for communication with your customers.
An example of the right time to text a customer is to let them know that you got their text and are working on a solution. That way customers know they’ve been heard and they’re being taken care of without having to sit and wait for a response.
Being quicker to respond will help show that you’re a reliable business and help get your customers to instill more trust in you as a company. The competition is stiff, eight in 10 Americans report that the customer service they receive exceeds their expectations, according to an American Express study. This means your competitors are probably also offering good support and you have to as well just to keep up.
Operation and logistics
For operations and logistics, the right time to text will be:
- To schedule or confirm appointments
- When you need to coordinate with another business or individual you work with and offer updates
If you’re in operations and logistics you’re probably already familiar with the fact that a new tool or program can significantly impact your productivity and help you make things run smoothly. You also know that you need to be able to have back and forth communication with your customers and offer real time updates around coordinating and updates.
In the United States, no-show rates for healthcare are around 27 percent while the average no-show rate for service-based businesses in general is between 10 and 15 percent. That directly impacts your bottom line, and it’s money you can easily avoid losing by introducing business texting to your business operations. When we talk about operations and logistics that includes appointment setting and coordinating.
Jobs that involve scheduling appointments, like reception in a doctor’s office, can manage those appointments using texting far more easily than they might be able to relying on phone calls. Texting earlier also gives you the opportunity to fill any now-empty appointments and reschedule the person who canceled. So the right time to text would be a few days ahead of a schedules appointment.
Respect normal business hours, and think about when an appointment confirmation would be most useful to clients and to the business. If you have a 24-hour cancellation policy, don’t text patients 20 hours before an appointment leaving them no out if they actually can't make an appointment. You could always send a confirmation text two or three business days out and then a reminder the day before to help significantly reduce no-shows. Implementing texting during these times can save some significant revenue, some dentist offices report up to 10 percent no-show rate for appointments.
If you’re using business texting for coordination purposes, you’re likely using it in real time. Industries that deal with field, contract, or temp workers especially rely on immediacy for proper coordination because that work can be especially complex with a lot of moving parts.
The best time to share daily updates would usually be immediately prior to a shift in order to make sure information isn’t forgotten and is then acted upon. For example if you have a new health policy you would want to share that with employees before they come into work.
Another time when business texting could be used for coordination is for urgent updates and communication, like office closures due to weather or another unforeseen circumstance. In this case you’d want to text as soon as possible and then let your employees know when you’ll be following up with further information.
The bottom line on when to text
For those who have never used business texting before, the timing might not seem very important. But when you stop to think about it, timing can make or break some business interactions, so you want to take care with your business texts and your customer relationships.
Hopefully now you have an idea of why timing is important and the steps you should take to decide the right time to send a message to your customers.