Guide

Business SMS Uses Cases and Benefits

A Guide on Business SMS Hero Image
Table of Contents
    Table of Contents

      The Rise of Business SMS

      SMS, also known as text messaging, is crucial for today's businesses to keep in touch. According to recent statistics, 69% of all consumers, including 75% of people under 44, want to communicate with a business via text. More than half of surveyed customers get frustrated when they can't reach a business by SMS, but only 11% of companies send these messages to customers.

      Texting offers businesses a distinct service advantage, as well as a convenient channel for in-person communication. This guide will help you understand how you can use business SMS, plus what you need to know to make it work for you.

      What Is Business SMS?

      SMS is an acronym for "short message service." People tend to use the term as a synonym for text messaging, but it's important to remember that SMS is text-only. There's also usually a 160 character limit, although some services now support up to 224 characters per message.

      Text-only means SMS doesn't support image or video sharing. However, many services allow users to subscribe to SMS and multimedia text messaging, also called MMS, which enables you to add images and videos.

      SMS messages transmit between cell phones, but users don't need data or internet access to participate. Like a voice call, SMS messages travel from a phone to a cell tower to the recipient's phone. A person needs a cell phone, but not necessarily a smartphone, to text, and that's part of why business text messaging is so broadly useful.

      Uses of Business SMS

      Businesses use SMS to communicate externally (with clients) and internally (with their own personnel). In each use case, SMS serves as a convenient and efficient way of establishing important connections.

      Customer Service

      According to a recent survey, 63% of consumers would switch to a company that offers texting as a communication method. That number includes customers from a wide variety of industries, from travel to financial services. What's more, 61% of surveyed customers would recommend that their friends switch to a company that texts.

      When you offer text as a support option, you add convenience and flexibility. Customers can text with support departments while they're at home, in the office, or running errands. They can even carry on a conversation while on the phone. With SMS, the customer is in control.

      Client Support

      Business SMS is an extremely helpful asset for companies that have long-term client relationships. You can verify details from recent conversations or double-check important information like invoice numbers and address changes, all without the need to get someone on the phone or clog up their email inbox.

      Marketing

      Statistics show that three out of every four customers welcome special offers sent by text message. Response results verify that preference — promotional texts have a click-through rate of over 9% compared to the less than 1% click-through rate for Facebook messages.

      Business SMS is effective when trying to reach people with your messages, and there are many types of messages that translate well via text. Examples include:

      • Coupon codes
      • Birthday greetings
      • Promotion announcements
      • Appointment reminders
      • Recommended service notifications (oil changes, dentist appointments, etc.)
      • Social media updates

      Team Integration

      Almost every professional team out there has experienced the consequences of crossed communication signals. A question gets lost in an email chain and the asker spends days waiting for a response that isn't coming. A team member tries to check in with a colleague who isn't in the office or online, and the lack of response delays the client's deliverable for days.

      Business SMS helps to fill in those gaps. You can use it to check-in quickly with a colleague without wondering how long it will take for the person to get back to their computer and see your message. It's a great way of making sure that everyone's on the same page so that projects can move forward efficiently.

      Collaboration

      When an internal team starts a collaboration with someone from another company, there's often a moment of realization that the collaborator doesn't use the team's preferred channels. The team can't add a freelancer to its email thread because the person doesn't have a company email address. Or, the company uses Slack but its new partner doesn't. With business SMS, you can create a text thread that works for anyone on any system.

      Benefits of Business SMS

      For many businesses, SMS is the communication "sweet spot." It combines the immediacy of the phone with the convenience of email while adding advantages that aren't available with either of those options.

      Visibility

      Text messaging has a 98% open rate, and 95% of text messages get opened within three minutes of delivery. That's a big deal for marketers, especially when you realize that email only has a 20% open rate. The more messages get seen, the more potential there is for someone to take action.

      The visibility of text also helps internal teams. When you send a quick text update to a group, chances are high that everyone will get the information and stay on the same page.

      Accessibility and Deliverability

      You don't have to be near your phone or computer to receive an SMS message. If you send an SMS message to a customer and their phone is off or out of range, the SMS center (SMSC) that processes the message will store it until it's deliverable. No more wondering if someone will get your voice mail or hoping that a message won't get lost in someone's inbox.

      Since text messages transmit across phone channels, they're accessible to more people. Pew Research data shows that as of 2019, 96% of adults in the US have cell phones, but only 81% have smartphones. With SMS, you can reach that in-between 15%.

      Discretion

      SMS is private. Most people wouldn't get on a phone call with their doctor while at the grocery store or in the break room at work, but they can text back and forth no matter who is within earshot.

      Personal Relevance

      Marketing SMS is an excellent channel for generating one-on-one conversations with customers. People are accustomed to texting with their family and friends, so texting back and forth with a service rep naturally takes on a sense of intimacy.

      SMS can even turn a mass message into a personal one. When you send out a mass text and someone responds, it goes to you rather than the entire group. A company could send out an "It's time for your appointment" message and generate multiple new touchpoints, several of which might become transactions.

      The Do's and Don'ts of Business Text Messaging

      Like any communication channel, business SMS has its norms and etiquette.

      The Do's

      • DO read your message before you send it. Typos and autocorrect mistakes don't look professional.
      • DO be friendly. Texts can quickly come across as curt. Don't be afraid to err on the side of approachability and include a warm "hi," "good morning," or "thanks."
      • DO consider the purpose of the message. A message promoting your latest sale will read differently than a reply to a support request.
      • DO make sure people opt-in. Some people pay for every text message they send and receive, so many won't want to get promotional or support messages. Always ask if recipients want to receive texts.

      The Don'ts

      • DON'T use abbreviations and emojis (unless they're brand-appropriate). People often use abbreviations like TTYL (talk to you later) and IRL (in real life) when texting their friends, but it's better to err on the more formal side for business. Brands with a more casual voice and younger audiences may be the exception. Even then, make sure your texting voice matches your brand voice. Young consumers can spot a pandering brand a mile away.
      • DON'T use SMS for serious conversations. Whether you're messaging a colleague or a customer, avoid using SMS to send bad news or discuss serious issues. That's what the phone is for.
      • DON'T send multiple texts. If your message needs to be longer than the standard 160-character limit, consider emailing instead.
      • DON'T text last-minute reschedules or cancellations. Yes, most texts get read shortly after sending, but many don't. Pick up the phone so you get immediate confirmation.

      Conclusion

      Business SMS is a convenient, efficient, and effective way to communicate with both customers and colleagues. People appreciate it because it's personal and immediate without being intrusive. Whether you're sending promotional messages or keeping your team updated on your latest project, SMS lets you send the most important information and allows the recipient to take control of how and when they respond.

      The success of any business text messaging strategy depends on having a reliable provider. Dialpad offers SMS as well as MMS and group messaging with many value-added features, including the ability to archive a conversation or search past conversations for important keywords. Learn more today and take the first steps toward empowering your company with SMS messaging.