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SMS Messaging with Your Customers

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89 percent of customers want the ability to be able to direct message a business, says Brett Steele, regional sales director for Podium, an interaction platform that gives customers options on messaging and customer interaction. One in seven U.S. cell phone owners have connected with a local business via this platform.

Not only do customers want the ability to direct message a business but 36 percent of customers are wanting to connect with shops after business hours.

Using chatbots for marketing activities such as ad targeting, lead generating and SEO is becoming more and more popular. According to a report by Digital Marketing Institute, the future of digital marketing will be heavily directed by artificial intelligence (AI) applications, including chatbots.

In fact, Gartner, research and advisory company, predicts that by 2020, over 50 percent of medium to large enterprises will have deployed the use of chatbots. A chatbot platform allows users a simple, single option. Simply type in a message and get a prompt response, which many sites report is appealing to millennial consumers.

“We kind of see this as a larger ecosystem,” Steele says.

He says that while the platform and others like Podium offer the customer a way to text not just a robot but a person that works at the shop, there is also potential for these messaging platforms to become internal communication systems within the shop process.

Right now, Podium has some current customers on a beta for team chat, which Steele says could be up and running by the second quarter of 2019.

When used correctly, text messaging platforms enable shops to capitalize on customers because 90 percent of text messages are opened within two minutes.

Steele outlines five benefits to text messaging management systems:

  1. Reduce no-show appointments by setting appointment reminders.
  2. Answer customer product and service questions quickly.

  3. Send a message like a "Happy Birthday" message to keep the business top of mind with the customer.

  4. Answer questions quicker than it would take in a phone call.

  5. Replace customer surveys with SMS-based surveys.

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