As we discussed in a previous post, US carriers are moving to protect SMS more as a communication channel. Their intention is to keep spammers from blasting irrelevant messages to millions and prevent them from ruining text messaging as a valid channel for legitimate business communications.
Soon there will be a new route for businesses to take. They will have to be pre-approved and marked as a trusted business to text their customers. Companies that are trusted will be rewarded with higher deliverability and other benefits to streamline communications. If you’re not considered trustworthy, you’ll likely see higher fees and more filtering of your messages.
Changes is coming. Businesses should be prepared.
Trust will be rewarded
Trust is the new buzzword in text messaging communications. Right now there’s a vague line between what works and what’s actually spammy. That line will soon become much more clear. The difference between spam and trusted communications will become more stark when trusted businesses gain ready access to their customers via SMS and untrusted businesses have to shift their approach to keep up.
In a way, these carrier changes will do for SMS what search engine optimization did for websites. When standards that prioritized clear, relevant and valuable information were set, websites with those qualities were rewarded. Websites that didn’t yet meet the mark had to adapt. Now, websites are much better for it, and consumers are rewarded with valuable content almost everywhere they look on the internet.
For SMS, the transition could be similar. Rewarding trusted behavior will be key to improving the overall quality of business text messaging.
Businesses whose SMS communications fall on the trustworthy side of that line will benefit while companies whose comms fall to the spammy side will get left out altogether. The key to staying ahead of the curve is to adopt respectful, valuable communication with your customers now, rather than later.
As a text messaging solution for businesses, we’ve always encouraged our customers to have conversations with their customers. It’s what the channel was meant to accomplish, and it can do this much easier than other channels can, simply by nature.
But there are strategies that you can adopt that will elevate your conversations with customers and truly establish trust.
The first thing to note about a conversation is that it’s two ways. For far too long, business communications has been a one-way street, leaving customers with questions or concerns out in the cold, unable to communicate back with businesses. Text messaging has the unique ability to provide real-time, two-way communications that make it easy for customers to interact. That open line is essential to having a conversation that leads to more trust between your company and consumers.
But giving your customers a chance to respond is only the bare minimum. As in in-person conversations, text conversations require active listening. Listen, and only then will you truly understand the needs of your customers. It’s part of the basic skills of human interactions, but trust is built through active listening and meaningful responses. This is how businesses should think of their communications with customers.
Blast-and-measure strategies may work for ads and email, but for text messaging, you have a unique opportunity to engage consumers in a conversation — and to establish trust by doing that well.
Consumers want value. This is not just the case for text messaging marketing, but it applies to all areas of doing business. Communications that don’t deliver real value are not only disregarded but can also annoy customers on the other end. Think about it: Why would you give a business permission to text you if you’re not getting anything in return?
As with all other forms of communication, businesses need to consider the value they’re delivering with every message. This begins before the message is even constructed, in fact. It starts with targeting. Make sure you are properly segmenting your contacts and sending only relevant messages — that’s step one.
Step two is to ensure that the message itself is meaningful to the person receiving it. It could be a promotion that only applies to SMS subscribers, or a special message on a birthday, or it could even be content procured just for them. However it’s done, value must be delivered for your texts to be considered trustworthy.
This is an age of unrelenting brand connections and consumer desires to engage with brands. In fact, 81 percent of customers say they need to trust a brand before they make a purchase. Trust has become essential, and it’s built through brand image, sure, but it’s also built through meaningful communications with leads and existing customers.
The more effort your business puts into a customer relationship, the more trust and value you’re likely to get out of it. For example, if you were to win the business of Sally and then immediately cut off all communications with her, you may get another purchase from her again, but the chances wouldn’t be high.
On the other hand, if you text Sally after she makes a purchase to say thanks and send her a confirmation, then text her again to see how she’s getting on with your product and provide some expert tips on how to use it, and then text her again to let her know about a promotion for SMS subscribers for a related product you’re pretty sure she’ll love — your chances of getting another purchase from Sally would probably be higher.
This is a relationship that’s nurtured through careful attention, adding value with every message, even after a purchase has been made. This is the future of trusted text messaging.
Learn more about Avochato and how we can help your customers trust you even more: