Communication entails the process and methods of passing information from one individual to another. It is a two-way process in which people or entities exchange information. It is not only applicable to spoken conversation but can be applied to interactions between brands and their audiences. This has led to the emergence of Conversational Messaging to create more user-centric interactions.
To evoke engagement and communicate more successfully, companies should focus their efforts and strategies on creating and nurturing authentic relationships with their customers, and not just setting up one-way communication.
Audience interaction is essential as it allows companies to learn and grow from the feedback they receive and ensures that their clients feel more valued and as though the company is fully catering to their needs.
One of the most common frustrations of consumers is that they do not feel a connection to the activities and services they use and a lack a strong bond with the brand. From a brand’s perspective this equates to a lack of loyalty and the danger that the customer could switch to a competitor.
A starting point for to overcome this and increase user interaction is to incorporate 2-way SMS into your marketing and communication strategy. This enables you to create a more direct and immediate connection between the two parties and successfully remedy the lack of bidirectionality that prevents interactivity between brand and customer.
What are 2-way SMS?
2-way SMS, also called bidirectional SMS, are text messages that enable the sender to receive responses from their recipients in real time. Thanks to this feature it is possible for customers to interact with SMS received from companies and establish a dialogue with them in a simple and immediate way.
By doing this, companies can demonstrate to their customers that they are present, active and that they dedicate time to nurture the relationship by providing them with an immediate and direct response. It might seem like a small gesture but from a consumer perspective it is something that is very much appreciated and assists in increasing customer loyalty to a brand.
Why use 2-way SMS?
Bidirectional messages allow you to combine the incredible benefits of SMS marketing and its extraordinary performance, including:
- 98% open rate
- 90 seconds average response time
2-way SMS enhances these even further and provides the possibility to receive replies to your SMS. They transform the way you communicate with customers: you can send messages online via a platform and receive instant replies from your recipients.
You can then respond to establish a genuine dialogue, fully satisfying the needs of consumers who wish to obtain immediate and personal feedback from companies.
2-way SMS are the most direct, immediate and inexpensive way to show your customers that you care about the relationship. They are an extremely effective tool for increasing the engagement of your recipients.
They are also very useful for receiving consumer feedback and improving your strategy based on the opinions of those directly involved, allowing you to make useful changes to your business thanks to customer responses to your surveys or questionnaires.
Furthermore, since they do not require mobile applications or an internet connection, 2-way SMS can reach customers wherever they are, expanding the range of action of the service itself and further facilitating engagement.
In summary, the biggest advantages of bidirectional messaging are:
- More effective interactions with customers
- Greater engagement
- More immediate responses and real-time conversations
- Better customer experience
- Instant feedback
- Increase in return on investment
- Simple and immediate implementation and use
Use cases for 2-way SMS
The potential for engaging your customers through 2-way SMS is substantial. You can use them for managing appointments, participating in surveys, confirming information, for changing bookings, etc.
Let’s take a look at the main use cases of 2-way SMS.
Text messages are an invaluable tool to remind customers of appointments or events and avoiding missed appointments. This has a positive knock-on effect as it ensures that revenue is not missed via missed appointments.
The 2-way SMS, however, have an edge!
In addition to serving as a reminder, they allow you to easily confirm, cancel or move appointments without requiring calls, emails or other forms of communication from the customer.
This saves operational time for managing appointment changes and the customer can benefit from faster and easier management.
Two-way messages can also be used to administer surveys to their recipients. Compared to emails or other communication channels, SMS are the most effective tool for collecting customer feedback due to their ability to obtain significantly higher reading and interaction rates than those of other means.
Providing the ability to respond quickly (e.g., with a number or letter, or with a simple YES or NO) to your questions also ensures a higher response rate and is the most effective way to get opinions and reactions of its customers in a timely manner.
What is the best way to show your customers that you care, if not by making them feel that you are engaging with them in real time? With 2-way SMS you can enhance the assistance provided to your customers and be even more attentive to their needs.
Establishing a dialogue in real time allows you to satisfy customer requests instantly, optimising the time management of solving problems or queries and providing a better customer experience.
Using 2-way SMS it is possible to send discount codes and offers that are fully tailored to the user. By asking the recipient to confirm their willingness to receive these promotions, they are going to be interested in them and are going to be primed to make a purchase and generate revenue for your business.
Renewal of services
Customers can benefit from the two-way communication provided by 2-way SMS to renew services to which they are subscribed. For example, you can send a message as the deadline approaches (e.g., gym membership, car insurance, library loan, etc.) to urge the recipient to extend the service.
Through a quick exchange of messages, it is possible to proceed with the renewal, without having to call or send emails and embark on a longer process. Also in this case, the advantage is quantified with a huge time saving for both parties and the provision of excellent customer service by the company.
Notifications and alerts
Another way of using bidirectional messages is the sending of SMS to notify customers of particular information or news about your company.
Just think of the usefulness of receiving a message on your mobile phone that advises that a package is going to be delivered. But not only that, with 2-way SMS it is possible to reply to the communication if required, for example, to change the delivery address or reschedule for a better date or time.
Once again, you get easier management of information by the company and happy and satisfied customers due to the higher levels of customer service.
How to send 2-way SMS with rdcom
Using the rdcom multichannel platform it is possible to send bidirectional SMS to your customers. Creating a 2-way campaign is simple and immediate, with just a few clicks your text messages will reach your recipients.
Just set the campaign name and select the 2-way quality from those available. Next, you need to add the address books to which you want to send the campaign and compose the text of the message, inserting any links or landing pages within the content.
After confirming the campaign details, you can define the settings for interactions. You can set keywords to link one or more actions to. For example, if your recipient responds by sending the keyword at the beginning of their message, this will trigger the actions you set, such as sending another SMS as an automatic response to the interaction.
This feature allows you to be active 24/7, guarantee a constant presence for your customers and spend less operational time managing customer queries.
In addition to this, it is also possible to set an automatic courtesy SMS, to be sent to all those who do not reply with one of the pre-set keywords.
Finally, you can decide whether to receive a daily summary of the interactions received via email. You can enable this function for 5 different e-mail addresses, to which a report will be delivered daily, at 18:00, for 10 days following the sending of the campaign.
The highest number of interactions occur within the first 30 hours, so the 10-day window is designed to cover all responses received, even the later ones.
The statistics section shows an overview of the data relating to the progress of the campaign, such as readers, clicks and interactions. For the latter there are two dedicated sections, one based on those received in the 24 hours following sending, divided by time slot, and another dedicated to those received in the following 10 days.
Through the statistics it is possible to access the space dedicated to interactions, where the list of recipients is shown with their responses, the date and time and any keyword involved.
In this area there are also a series of additional options, called “utilities”, which allow you to download the interactions via a .csv file (all, new or selected ones), send a new campaign to those who interacted or send the interactions via email to predefined recipients.
The possibility of receiving answers from your customers and establishing a dialogue with them allows you to improve the relationship and the level of interaction between the two parties. This leads to more satisfied and happy customers and increased revenue and results for your business.
Now that you have learned the potential of 2-way SMS and have understood how to best use them, what are you waiting for?