Even as you celebrate all your wins in the present, in the back of your mind you need to think about the future and your goals. Fortunately, for those who want more engagement with customers, we’ve got you covered.

“Now” is always a good time to start planning how you will get more engagement and responses to texts, so check out these tips.

Personalize the Content

You definitely want to use someone’s first name when texting them. But that’s the bare minimum for personalization.

To further personalize your messages, keep track of your interactions.

Someone who runs a gym can make notes about members’ progress and struggles and then send texts that reference recent workouts or offer encouragement after a hard session. For those who sell supplements, track what people buy and send them texts when it’s time to reorder.

If someone hasn’t been to the gym after a certain amount of time, trigger a message to go out and start a conversation about how you can help them.

A retailer can examine customers’ purchase history and group people by the types of products they buy. They can then send customers sale information based on their purchases and follow up to see how they’re liking a recent purchase.

Schedule those kinds of messages on a regular basis to get in the habit of following up.

Additionally, send texts expressing your gratitude to your customers for their loyalty. Include specifics about their relationship with your business, such as thanking them for being a member at your gym for a certain amount of time. Similarly, don’t forget to sometimes include customer appreciation promotions and deals.

A coffee cup on a table with a card that says thanks. Showing proper appreciation will help you get more engagement with customers.

Ask Specific Questions

Give people opportunities to engage by posing open-ended questions. Texting allows you to keep a pulse on how your customers are feeling and what they’re interested in as well as solicit quick feedback.

Use and adapt these types of questions to start conversations:

  • How was your recent experience?
  • What would you like us to offer in the future?
  • Are you happy with your recent purchase?
  • When will we see you next?
  • Do you need to reorder any products?
  • Is there anyone you’d like to refer?

Tailor these questions to your business for the best results. It makes sense that a trainer would regularly text people asking about the next time they’ll be in the gym or if they want to schedule a personal training session. But a customer might feel overwhelmed if after every visit to a store they receive a similar text.

Just remember that customers shouldn’t only hear from you when you have questions that would lead to them spending money — that’s a pretty one-sided relationship.

Ultimately, you’ll only get more responses to your texts if you carry on real conversations and show you’re invested in providing people with something of real value.

Answer specific questions too

Encourage your customers to text you with questions of their own. And then when people ask you specific questions, answer those questions directly. A single question could lead to an important conversation that teaches you about your customer base and help you better serve everyone.

Even if you originally texted a customer about something else and they simply reply with a question of their own, answer their question first and then follow up on your initial question. Put their needs first and it shows.

And of course, the faster you answer, the better. You don’t want to give people any reason to go looking for a new business to take your place.

Make It Worth Their While to Respond

If you start a conversation, get an engaged response from a customer, but then never follow up, was it really worth it for you to send the original message?

The bottom line: If you aren’t prepared to have real conversations with your customers, then there isn’t much point to using long code.

Sure, not every text you receive requires a reply on your end. But plenty of them do. Most of them do. A thoughtful response of any kind shows you’re interested in what they have to say — and a quick response is even better. You need to show people that you’r

When customers know they can count on you for a response, they’ll be more likely to respond when you initiate contact AND start conversations of their own.

It’s all about setting a communication precedent.

A woman walking while looking at her phone and holding a coffee cup. To get more engagement with customers, you need to have real conversations.

However, don’t feel guilty about establishing clear expectations for availability. Just like your customers don’t want to receive messages from you late at night, carefully consider your business texting hours. Once you do make it known that you’ll be sending and responding to messages during certain hours, stick to them.

When you prioritize a customer retention strategy and combine that with intentional and thoughtful communication, you build a foundation for customer loyalty. Proper follow-up shows them you’re interested in what they have to say and improving your business to better serve their needs. 

And all of that leads to more engagement with customers and more responses to your messages.

Note: This post was originally published November 27, 2018 and was most recently updated on December 19, 2019. 

The update included the entire section “Answer specific questions too” and additions to every other section regarding specific ways to build more engagement with customers.