Make Phone Tag a Thing of the Past…

Make Phone Tag a Thing of the Past…

By Christopher Leedom

CEO, Textmaxx Pro

How many of you reading this article are frustrated by the volume of voice mail—both left and received—during the average workday?  Whether it is for sales, service or collections, your staff leaves dozens—if not hundreds—of voice mails every day.  It has probably become one of the biggest drains of productivity and labor—but nevertheless necessary—until now.  Do I have you scratching your head a bit?

First, let me issue you a challenge.  Identify one employee in your business that interacts with your customer base on a daily basis—for instance, a salesperson, a collector, or a service representative.   Next, identify twenty customers that you need to communicate with that particular day.  If you are a working with a collector, pick twenty accounts that just became delinquent.  If you are in sales, pick twenty customers that need follow up.  Now, take ten of these customers and send them an SMS message initiating communication with them.  Sales, service, or collections – it doesn’t matter.  Then, take the next ten customers and call them, if you do not reach them, leave a voicemail initiating communication.

By the time you get done calling the ten “phone call” customers, chances are 50% of the SMS customers will have already texted you back!  Why?  It is because 93% of SMS messages are read within ten minutes and a return text is usually sent within twenty minutes.  How does that compare to the voicemails—no contest.  You probably will connect with two or maybe three of the outbound phone calls and will likely leave seven or eight voicemails.

I have observed this exercise with countless operations.  Our organization has worked with thousands of companies over the past twenty years.  When we started Textmaxx Pro four years ago, I could not have predicted the impact on productivity.  We see it across virtually every industry vertical we serve.  In today’s world everyone returns an SMS message well before returning a voicemail.  There are countless studies that prove this.

So how do you optimize your SMS messaging strategy?  First, think of it the same as your phone system.  You need a tool that is proprietary and resident to your business that will serve your SMS communication needs, and ensure compliance.  I hear too many dealers say, “My employees are really good at texting, they use their personal phones.”  When I hear this, I cringe.  Think about it, would you utilize your employee’s personal phone number when advertising on the web or in television commercials?  Would you give each employee a copy of their entire customer activity when they leave your company to work elsewhere?  That is precisely what you are doing if you do not have a product that allows you to store, monitor, and control all SMS activity.  It doesn’t matter whether it is sales or collections.  You need to retain and control those conversations for a host of reasons, none the least of which is compliance, but that is a topic for an entire article itself.

So, if you want to eliminate—or at least greatly reduce—the wasted time and effort of phone tag, implement a well-thought-out customer contact strategy where SMS communication is your first form of communication.  You will be amazed at the impact it will have on employee productivity.  It is an incredibly effective way to communicate with your customers.  In my opinion, it is even more effective in collections or service where you already have a relationship with the customer.  Today, studies show SMS messaging to be the preferred method of communication of most customers across virtually every demographic.  It is hands down the most efficient mode for just about every conversation.

If you would like a deeper dive into this topic, sign up for an exclusive demo with one of our sales representatives by visiting www.textmaxxpro.com for more information.

Chris Leedom is the CEO and Founder of the Leedom Group.  The Leedom Group includes Textmaxx Pro, a complete SMS messaging solution for small to medium business with a custom design for sales, service, collections, account management, and client retention communication.  The Leedom Group is based in Sarasota, FL.  You may reach Chris at chris@leedomgroup.com.

Top 3 Reasons To Text-Enable Your Business

Top 3 Reasons To Text-Enable Your Business

1) Your Clients Prefer Texting Over Calls, Voicemails and Emails

We all text our family and friends much more than we call or email, and studies show a strong preference by clients to text the service professionals they hire.  Instant, real-time, asynchronous, easy — it’s no wonder we all prefer it!  And the younger your client, the more texting may be the only way to reach them.

2) You are NOT getting your clients text messages

Clients are already sending texts to your firm, and if your business number is not text-enabled, you won’t receive them.  Once we text-enable your line, typically a flood of old texts flow through and the business quickly realizes not answering texts is like not answering the phone!

3) Risk Management

Using a personal cell phone to text clients about business violates TCPA rules because you don’t have written consent to communicate via text.  This can result in the same fine as an unsolicited phone call.  Worse, the text conversation history between employee and client has no record.  Likely your business has invested heavily in email archiving to comply with FINRA guidelines, but texts — the preferred way to communicate — aren’t similarly archived?

Are you ready to communicate with your clients the way they prefer? Easily, instantly and compliantly.  Start now, Textmaxx Pro is available to you with absolutely no software to configure or install. Our dynamic and nimble texting solution can be accessed via web browser, EasyConnect email integration and mobile app available for iPhone and Android. Included in all plans is a 10-year message archive for recording all message history and written consent for text communication.  Messages histories are fully downloadable and searchable by user, cell, and keyword.

Textmaxx Pro text-enables any number of landlines, activates any number of users, and accommodates any texting volume.  All client cells can be uploaded for one-time opt-in notification, and messages replies can be automated and customized to meet any need.

 

Easy, customized and affordable is why Textmaxx Pro is the Text Messaging Service Leader for Professionals.

6 Sure-Fire Ways to Let Your Customers Know to Text You

6 Sure-Fire Ways to Let Your Customers Know to Text You

We have found our clients are very enthusiastically text-enable their landline with Textmaxx Pro and quickly opt in their current customers. But what happens to all their new and perspective customers? How will they know they can text your business?

We have put together six sure fire tips that will let everyone your business communicates with know that their texts will be received and answered.

Google:
Google is making it easy for you to communicate with your customers via text with their text extension available both through their Google Local business listing and Adwords campaigns. With one click, a key prospect or customer can text your business.

Check out our blog on how to set up the message extension feature on your Google profiles and Adwords campaigns.

Website:
Your website is the first place most consumers engage with your business. Let them know you are welcoming and easy to contact with “Call or Text” and your phone number at the top of your web page where people can instantly tap to call or text your business.

Keep the “Call or Text” verbiage through your website and place special significance to it on your contact page. See an example below:

 

 

Email/Business Cards:

Once you have had that initial contact with a prospective customer or client, keep them engaged by being accessible to them via phone, email and text. By adding “Call or Text” to your business card and email signature you are showing them you value their business and are ready to connect with them in the way they prefer.

Social Media: Facebook/Twitter
Similar to your website, Facebook and Twitter offer a space at the top of your business pages where you can place a timeline or cover banner in addition to your profile logo/photo. This location is an ideal place to promote your “Call or Text” plus phone number feature. It is also a great place to promote your keyword to your text-enabled number to entice customers to opt in to two-way texting with your business.

Check out our blog explaining all mysteries behind keywords here:

Also, adding a “Call or Text” call-to-action message at the end of certain posts will increase responses from your customers and clients. See an example below:

 

Advertising:

As you are marketing your business to prospective clients and customers, remember to include “Call or Text” or promote your keyword with text-enabled phone number as part of your advertising campaigns placed on local radio, TV, print magazines/newspapers and in direct mail. See an example below:

Marketing and Sales Email Blasts:

Your marketing department is pushing emails out every week with sales and specials – why are you only using click-thru links, landing pages and forms to track their success. Start the conversation instantly by including “Call or Text” with your phone number, or a text in keyword to your text-enabled phone number the top and the bottom of the email.

Pro Tip: type the your phone number into the email vs inserting a linkable image, so mobile phones can click to directly to call or message your business.

 

Questions? Are you looking for more marketing assistance? Email lindsey@textmaxxpro.com with any questions. To learn more about our managed services programs email Dave Leedom at dave@textmaxxpro.com.

At 25 Years Old, SMS is the Worlds Biggest Communications Platform

At 25 Years Old, SMS is the Worlds Biggest Communications Platform

On December 3, 1992, British software engineer Neil Papworth sent the world’s first ever text message. It was to an executive at Vodafone, saying “Merry Christmas”.

SMS now stands as the  most successful communications platform of all time, connecting billions of people worldwide. Celebrating 25 years, lets review SMS’s history and the developments that have shaped its phenomenal success.

SMS origins back to 1984, when Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert from the GSM Corporation first developed the concept of sending a short message (hence SMS – the short message service) to and from a mobile device.

1992: Merry Christmas

On December 3, 1992, British software engineer Neil Papworth sent the world’s first ever text message. It was to an executive at Vodafone, saying “Merry Christmas”.

1993: Nokia Makes the SMS Commercial

Nokia released the 1011 – the first handset that enabled users to send and receive text messages – and the world was changed forever.

1995: Slow to adapt

Consumers initially failed to see the advantages of texting –  the average mobile phone user in the US sent less than one text a month:-(

But 1995 brought the invention of the T9 system for writing text messages on a numerical keypad, using keypad numbers 1-9 to type individual letters – a major solution for many mobile phone companies.

1997: QWERTY Keyboards pave the way

in 1997 Nokia released its full physical “qwerty” keyboard on a mobile phone – the 9000i Communicator. It paved the way for the BlackBerry (launched in 2002), and the rise of the way we text on smartphones today.

Mobile operators were soon hailing texting as a quicker alternative to voice calls.

1999: SMS ignites

In1999, mobile operators turned a simple messaging platform into a global billion-dollar industry. Texting became so popular that it sparked its own language. Txtspk made it quicker to text and as a result, the average number of text messages sent in the US reached 35 per person every month. At $0.10 a text, it was a gold rush for mobile operators.

2007: SMS becomes the most successful communication platform of all time

2007 was a landmark year for SMS –  it was also the first year where more texts were sent than calls made from mobile phones.

Despite rapid developments in smartphone technology, and new apps flooding the market, texting remained the number one form of mobile communication.

2011: Everyone still uses Texting from the Smartphone

By 2011, Smartphones had taken people to virtual keyboards on a smartphone screen and the introduction of Swype sped up the process of texting once again. As texting became quicker and easier, more people started using it as their go-to method of communication with not only friends and family, but with preferred businesses as well. It was in 2011 that SMS usage peaked – with 3.5 billion active users across the world.

Today: 5 billion people and counting

With the rise of instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger, many experts are predicting a decline SMS texting. But shallow thinking like that ignores the 5 billion people globally using SMS every day. What’s next, why new services like RCS, which uses SMS functionality to send information-rich, interactive messages with app-like capabilities.

And the future? Well, SMS is still proving its worth to brands looking to improve their customer experience. It remains an ideal platform for sending customers useful, relevant information in the right place and at the right time.

While new forms of communication come and go, SMS is 25 and remains the most successful communications platform of all time.

If you’d like to learn more about how SMS texting can help you make timely connections with billions of customers, ask the textperts. Call or text 866-367-6889!

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