Skipio / BLOG / A starter’s guide to business texting

A starter’s guide to business texting

Written by Anna Wendt
Posted on October 9, 2018

Keeping your customers interested starts with the customer experience you offer. And a big part of that is how you communicate.

With texting it’s never been easier to stay in touch and build relationships. But if you’ve never communicated with your customers in this way, how do you even know where to start? Taking on a new process is hard, especially when you aren’t sure what to say to actually get results.

At Skipio we teach you what to say, how to say it, and how to do it all quickly.

Here’s what you need to start texting with your customers with confidence.

Learn best practices

If you’re at a loss for what to say to your customers, start here. Yes, texting is personal, but a business-customer relationship is still that. Consider factors like timing, tone, and volume as you begin reaching out.

Timing

Just like you don’t want telemarketers calling at dinnertime, you don’t want to text your customers at inconvenient times. Generally, stick to normal business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Adjust message times depending on your services and what your customers want.

For example, if you run a gym and want to remind clients about an early morning class they signed up for, texting them before 9 a.m. might be okay and even welcomed.

When it comes to receiving messages, the greater availability you offer, the better. Clearly communicate to your customers when you’ll be available via text. If you’re willing to answer messages at any hour of the day, make sure they know it! And then stick to your promise.

A white clock on a white table next to a pen and a white phone.

Tone

The words you use also affect your customer relationships. Do your customers expect a formal, professional interaction with you? Or do they need you to be a friendly support, someone who offers encouragement? Think carefully about how you want your customers to perceive you.

Regardless of overall tone, your texts should be genuine and, if possible, include a question. Questions prompt conversations, which is exactly what you need to build relationships.

For example, a personal trainer might want to know how a client enjoyed their most recent workout. A salon owner might want to ask how a client likes the new hair product they recently bought. The questions you ask depend on the type of business you run.

Volume

Just remember that no matter how sincere your messages sound or how careful you are to text people at the right time, customers won’t be inclined to respond or stick around if you contact them too often. Running a promotion is great, and you should let your customers know about it! But they don’t need texts about it every day, every couple of hours, for a week straight.

Again, how many texts you send depends on the type of business you run and the result you desire. A personal trainer who sees a client five days a week can feasibly text the client every few days, if not every day depending on their relationship. A salon owner will obviously want to send appointment reminders a week or so in advance and then the day of or a day before the actual appointments.

When in doubt how often you should contact your customers, ask them their preferences and use their responses to create your texting schedule.

The demographics of your target audience along with the services and/or products you provide ultimately drive when and how you send messages. When you master this etiquette, engagement increases and so does customer loyalty.

Follow the advice of industry experts

What’s a better way to increase engagement than following by example? From incentives to holiday promotions, business texting offers so many ways to engage your current customers.

The business owners who are most successful at texting understand their audiences. They know what motivates their customers and what those customers value from businesses. These business owners want to create a better customer experience. So they listen and learn from those they serve.

Implement systems that allow you to receive customer feedback and ask for reviews regularly. Talk regularly with your customers about what they want from you and how you can deliver. Be there for them

Build an understanding of who your customers are and then build your communication strategy around that. Check out how business owners take advantage of texting and adapt it for your business.

Stay updated on compliance

Before you get going with texting your customers, educate yourself on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Enacted in 1991, the original purpose of the TCPA was to crack down on telemarketing calls and automated calling systems. It has since evolved to include restrictions on texting.

Simply put, you can’t text people without their consent. Your customers must opt in to receive messages from you. A customer may opt in by checking a box or typing a reply, but the option to opt in must be given to them through a means other than texting.

Do not send messages to anyone who hasn’t given express written consent to the communication. Otherwise you face the risk of legal action.

And as a courtesy, clearly outline how someone can opt out in the future if they’re no longer interested in receiving messages. Opting out may be as simple as replying “Stop” to a message. The more difficult you make it to opt out, the greater possibility you’ll alienate your customer base.

If you have specific questions, always seek professional legal help.

Avoid carrier violations

Sending too many texts, especially very similar texts, may land you in trouble. Your service provider may filter these messages as a “carrier violation.” This system protects potential recipients from spam.

If you receive a “carrier violation,” your messaging capabilities will be temporarily suspended, the length of the suspension dependent on your service provider and the number of texts you attempted to send. Contact your service provider if you’re notified of a carrier violation to ensure you proceed in the correct manner.

Again, seek professional legal help if you have questions about communication compliance.

Try templates that work

Skipio offers all users prebuilt and templated campaigns in the Success Center. (A campaign is a framework of messages that users can customize and then schedule to be sent to designated contacts.) So many business owners want to text their customers but aren’t sure what to say or how to say it. A template gives you everything you need to start.

For example, if you wanted to get more reviews, you would add your current customers to the campaign and customize the first message to include a link to whatever site you wanted reviews on. You would also customize and schedule follow-up messages for the upcoming days to remind customers to leave a review if they haven’t already.

So what happens once a customer responds to let you know that they left a review? With campaign rules set up, that customer will be automatically removed from the campaign and won’t receive future reminder messages.

Completely customizable, these campaigns help automate common processes and increase customer efficiency, and they have been tested and proven to drive results. Check out a strategy guide to learn more about campaigns.

Get inspired

Running a small business never gets boring, but it does get tiring. Learn to balance the needs of your business and customers with your own goals.

That includes figuring out how to:

  • maximize your productivity
  • listen most effectively and implement feedback
  • respond to people in an efficient manner, whether they’re customers, employees, or anyone else you interact with
  • communicate useful feedback to employees, partners, or other collaborators

Different business owners will approach these challenges and similar obstacles in different ways; all that matters is you figure out what works best for you and those you communicate with. This process requires self-reflection and a willingness to grow.

Keeping your business afloat may be the most important thing, but if you don’t learn to adapt and prepare for the future, growing your business will be more difficult.

Take the time for personal development to better yourself and your business. Your customers will thank you.

How Skipio can help

Successful, engaging communication with your customers isn’t out of your reach. We’re dedicated to giving you content that teaches you all of this and more. Let us help you tackle better business communication with quick and convenient resources.

  • Check out the blog weekly. We’ll be diving into these topics and more in the weeks and months to come.
  • If you’re a current Skipio user, utilize the Success Center. Take advantage of exclusive access to campaigns and supporting information all designed to help you succeed.
  • Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn for regular tips and to ensure you don’t miss any updates.