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Texting 101

How to use business SMS to boost your customer retention

Nina Godlewski
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When it comes to customer retention, it can save your business a significant amount of money to keep an existing customer overspending more to convert a new lead into a paying customer. Plus, keeping a customer longer means a higher lifetime value for that customer and easier re-engagement. But retaining a customer can be difficult. Customers have plenty of choices, and research shows that 17 percent of customers will leave a company after one bad experience. A number that increases to 59 percent with several bad experiences. But there are a few ways you can increase your customer retention with the use of business texting. We’ll go over the ways it can help improve your retention in this article.

What is customer retention, and why is it important?

Customer retention usually refers to how frequently a company turns a first-time customer into a repeat customer. If you retain a customer, that corresponds to your retention rate. One of the biggest reasons you want to increase your customer retention is that it’s easier to get current customers to make a purchase than gain a new one and get them to make a purchase.

It can cost six to seven times more to gain a new customer than it does to retain one that you’ve already got. So the more you retain, the more money you end up saving.

But to retain a customer, you need to give them a good experience in the first place. Keeping customers engaged is only part of the battle; you also need to provide a good customer experience for them every time they work with you. This goes far beyond the first interaction. Your business should be striving to make every single touchpoint with each customer a positive experience that will keep them loyal to your company. Once you’ve created that experience, you have a reason to continue a conversation with them or continue engaging them. We’re going to cover just how business SMS can help facilitate these experiences and help you boost your retention.

6 ways texting can help you improve your customer retention

Here are the ways texting can increase your customer retention.

Allow you to be personal

One of the best perks of using business SMS is that it allows you to have highly personal communication with your customers. Using business texting allows for two-way communication, so it’s inherently a back and forth between you and your customers. Customers love local businesses partly because of the personal connection and the fact that they know the owners personally. If you can use texting to help create an intimate relationship in a similar way, you’ll be more likely to retain those customers.

Example of creating a personalized shopping experience via text
You can help personally shop for customers via SMS.

More than three-quarters of your customers are frustrated with impersonal shopping experiences. That’s where business texting can come in and help you create a more personal experience throughout your customer’s entire time with your business. That means from first shopping, to making a purchase, and even afterward as well. Your customers want to feel like they’re getting the VIP treatment, so why not use texting to offer them exactly that.

Texting also allows you to have more touch points of contact, meaning you can reach out more than you might via another communication channel. Answering a text requires less work or time than a phone call or an email, making it less of a communication commitment.

Texting is faster

When it comes down to it, SMS is simply the fastest way for you to communicate with your customers. Data shows that 90 percent of texts read within three minutes of being received. If you text it, your customers are bound to see it, and vice versa. Showing your customers you’re there for them when they have a question or need help shows them that customer service is important to you.

Message bubble with check mark and 90 seconds
90 percent of texts read within three minutes of being received.

But the more important part is that texting allows your business to respond to leads and customers faster than other channels allow for. The average response time for business emails is 12 hours and 10 minutes, according to Open Business Council. That is far too long to leave a customer waiting, and could be potentially contributing to lower rates of customer retention for businesses that aren’t utilizing other channels. Comparatively, the average response time for texting is just about 90 seconds. Texts are short and customers are accustomed to that. When you have response times, you get engagement, and that is an opportunity for you to demonstrate the value of your business.

Texting is easier

Another way texting can help improve your customer retention? It’s easier! No need for customers to sit at the computer on a chat, have the phone nearby to wait on hold, or obsessively check email for a response. Studies show that 52 percent of customers prefer texting over other support channels when it comes to conversing with businesses.

Phone icon with check mark and 52 percent
52 percent of customers prefer texting over other support channels.

There’s less friction with texting and it’s more convenient for your customers. The more convenient a form of communication is for your customers the more likely they are to use it and to respond when contacted. Plus, your agents can handle multiple conversations at once helping to solve problems for customers simultaneously.

Your customer has your number in their native texting app

If you offer business SMS your customers can just open their native texting app and send a message. Considering that people check their phone an average of 96 times per day, your customer’s phone is the place to be.

Communicating within a native texting app is a huge draw for customers who might prefer the option to text over waiting on hold or using a live chat option. Plus they can save your number in their phone and easily refer to it when necessary. No need to look up previous emails or search online to find a phone number. The easier it is to contact your business for any reason, the more likely your company is to be able to retain customers.

Use surveys to follow up/improve the experience

If you use business SMS with Textline you can utilize the customer satisfaction survey options built into Textline’s platform. This can give you significant insights into what your business is doing well and not so well when it comes to the customer experience.

You might use a custom survey to ask a customer any question you’re looking for data on. Or you might go with the classic CSAT survey and ask your customers to rate your business on a scale from “very dissatisfied” to “very satisfied.” Whatever you choose, Textline has a solution for you to use.

Example of using a CSAT survey via text
You can use surveys to check in with customers and get feedback.

Using these surveys you can find points of weakness that can be improved upon throughout your business that can then help you boost your customer retention. Not to mention it also shows your customers that you’re looking to improve and that you care about what they think. Both of those things can go a long way in retaining customers.

Proactively be one step ahead of your customer’s needs

When using business SMS you can be one step ahead of whatever your customer needs. You can anticipate their needs and be their personal agent who checks in on them. To help with this you can schedule messages, or set auto-triggered messages to get a response to a customer as quickly as possible.

You can even set follow-ups to go out to customers after a certain amount of time has passed since an event like a purchase. That way you’ll never forget to check in on whether a customer is satisfied with their latest buy, whether it’s working for them, or whether there’s something you can do to improve their customer experience and increase your customer retention too.

Example of being proactive with a customer via text
SMS can be used to anticipate the needs of customers.

The bottom line

Retaining your existing customers is essential to running your business well. Existing customers are easier to re-engage and nurture through the sale process repeatedly. Plus they end up having higher lifetime values and are less expensive than acquiring new customers to keep up your sales. All of this is closely tied to positive customer experiences that are fast, easy, predictive, and feel natural to your customer--all things business SMS can help you accomplish.

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