In this increasingly fast-paced world, people are looking for instant interaction from the organisations they deal with. They now expect many prompts and reminders as they have come to rely on them. They also prefer to do everything by SMS rather than going to the trouble of speaking to someone or handling email correspondence. This is the reason why many companies are moving towards Automated SMS.
Automated SMS can revolutionise the way you engage with your audience. Let us explain what they are and how they can work for your organisation.
How can I use it?
Automated SMS can work in a couple of different ways. You can send SMS messages out to the opt-in audience on your database or, bring in new prospects with a responsive marketing campaign. Both methods encourage the recipient to respond to you following a call to action.
Who does it work for?
Most organisations can put Automated SMS to good use and for a variety of different purposes. The practice is becoming more common and is a welcome addition to a service for most end-users. Automated SMS can be used by:
- Retail companies
- GP Surgeries
- Insurance companies
- Event planners
- Energy providers
- Banks and finance providers
The list is endless!
How does it actually work?
Whilst it might seem complicated, the Automated SMS concept couldn’t be simpler! Depending on the purpose of your engagement, there are a few different ways it can work. For most options you will need to purchase a designated number to launch your SMS message from. Any responses from the recipient will be text back to the designated number and either trigger a further pre-set message response or feedback to your database.
- Example 1 – Retail
Retailer: “Book a slot in our VIP sale? Starts this Sunday! Click ‘Yes’ to book yours!”
Retailer: “Congratulations! You’ve bagged a spot in our sale! Your personal time slot is 9.30-11.30am Friday 18th March”. TEXT “Y’ or “N” to confirm”
- Example 2 – GP Surgery
GP Surgery: “Your GP appointment is scheduled for Friday 18th December 2.30pm. Please confirm that you are still able to attend by replying with ‘YES’.”
GP Surgery: “Thank you. Please log into the check-in portal upon arrival”
- Example 3 – Bank
Bank Billboard Advert: “Need a flexible loan with a low APR? TEXT “MONEY” to 38475 for more information”
Bank: Respond with a quick qualifying form.
- Example 4 – Pet Insurer
Pet Insurer advert on Facebook “Protect your pet in less than 10 minutes. Text “DOG” Or “CAT” to 56398 to find out how”
Pet Insurer: Sends out a short form or downloadable details about insurance specific to dogs.
The benefits of engaging with your audience in this way are unrivalled. You can knock hours off your admin tasks each day when setting up Automated SMS. Did you know that the average text response rate is around 90 seconds. Obviously, not everyone is going to be interested in the communication but, you can catch those who are instantly and begin your interaction without delay. For those prospects who are not happy to receive your texts, they will have the option to “Opt-Out’ in the same way that others interact. Opting-out is easy and can look like this: “TEXT THE WORD “STOP to 97873”
Lets explore the top benefits of Automated SMS:
1.Save time and money
There are many industries that could benefit from less labour-intensive interactions. As a nation, we have evolved in our communications, so many of us now own smartphones and have moved nearly everything to the palm of our hands. This is the best place to grab our attention at any time.
We have no time or patience for cold calls and on our phones, we scroll so much that it’s hard for companies to get enough traction to make a return on marketing investments. Save your staff hours of time trying to chase for new prospects, or calling around issuing updates and reminders. Cut down the amount of unnecessary incoming communications by pre-empting the needs of your consumers and engagers.
Once Automated SMS are set up, they require minimal intervention and can even be scheduled to be sent out by date and time.
2. Be More Organised
Hospitals often send out letters to remind people about upcoming surgeries and treatment. An Auto-Response text message is cheaper and takes up less time. It will allow hospitals, GPs and dentists to cut down the amount of no-shows for their appointments and manage their waiting lists much more effectively. As well as SMS reminders, SMS messages can be also sent out swiftly to others on the waiting list to find out instantly if they are available to take an unwanted appointment. Following a positive response to the SMS , medical forms and letters can be sent out in a downloadable format or with a link attached.
Restaurants can also benefit in much the same way. Post–covid, the restaurant industry reported a rise in no-shows. The biggest problem was customers being forced to isolate last minute. The knock-on effects are loss of revenue, over staffing and food wastage. Since lockdown measures eased, many restaurateurs are now taking measures to limit the damage of no-shows. When all bookings are organised on the right database, reminders can be automatically sent out to customers. The option to confirm or cancel will be included in the text. This will give the restaurant an up-to-date snapshot of table covers and receiving interaction for cancellations will allow the restaurant to open up slots on their booking website, allow walk-ins, or contact the next people on their wait list. Customers like to be able to manage their bookings from their phones and are more likely to book again when it’s so easy.
3. Super-Speedy Interaction
When you set up your Automated SMS, your target audience can receive an automated response from you seconds after they have text using the keyword. So, they can get information from you instantly, which may prevent the need for them to look elsewhere. You will be able to deliver information on-demand to anyone, anywhere without even pressing a button. Most people are seeking instant responses to enquiries. Your end-users are far more likely to choose the company who came back to them immediately than the one they had to wait for. In today’s modern society, it seems that no-one has the time to wait around.
4. Brand Loyalty
Build and maintain your database and keep up-to-date records on your subscribers to enhance your brand experience. The people on your database should have given consent to receive information from you by opting-in. With an automated flow of content, businesses will have the opportunity to build a relationship with their end-users, which will boost brand loyalty. Your business will become more familiar to them than other brands. You will probably be recommended to other prospects as a trusted brand due to your accessibility and familiarity.
When people sign up to receive your updates, they will be the first to hear your news, special offers and events. They will know that this information is exclusive to subscribers and can make them feel more valued and rewarded for their loyalty.
Once you have a healthy database, you can continue the relationship with scheduled prompts, reminders and calls to action. For those who are undecided, a gentle nudge such as “offer ends at midnight tonight!” often increases take-up. You might wish to continue nurturing your prospects to encourage repeat business. You can schedule feedback surveys, gratitude discounts or even send them a birthday message. For example, a charity may wish to let supporters know how much money has been raised or what difference they have made by donating. It all helps to keep people coming back time after time.