Here’s something to think about the next time you check your text messages.
Wait…you’re checking them right now, aren’t you?
Well, you’re not alone. Most people won’t make it through an article or blog post without checking at least once. In fact, according to ImpigerMobile.com, 90% of text messages get read within 3 minutes of delivery, making them one of the quickest, most effective ways to reach consumers. This is likely why 73% of marketers now use mobile, and brands using SMS successfully reach 95% of smartphone and non-smartphone users.
Texting and instant messaging are quickly becoming the most popular ways for businesses and consumers to interact because the platform benefits everyone. Consumers get the service they need on their time, utilizing those precious free moments when they’re on the train, in a meeting, or waiting in line. Businesses get an efficient way to reach out to their customers, getting them the product info that can turn an inquiry into a sale.
Here’s a recent exchange via text between a business and customer:
Customer: Do you sell party platters of your sandwiches like Subway? I’m having a party and would like to serve your awesome food.
***5 minutes later***
Manager: We do! Just call an hour ahead.
Customer: Cool. Thanks!
What went well:
The customer received a timely response that answered his questions.
What could have gone better:
When a customer inquires about a product, alarms should go off: **Sales opportunity ahead**. This customer has intent written all over him. He is signaling, “I’m in the market”, he’s saying exactly what he wants and why – he even slips in a compliment (I know another option exists, I prefer yours).
This customer is basically inviting you to sell him—he’s just looking for a nudge in the right direction.
Make the most of this opportunity to close the sale and make a lasting impression on your customer:
- Anticipate the customer’s need for more information. Add all the info he needs to make a decision and a phone number he could call with more questions. This party host will probably want to know about pricing, and he may need advice on what items he should choose or what quantity to order for x number of guests. He will certainly need the store’s phone number in order to “call an hour ahead”, so provide it for him—don’t make him look it up! By streamlining the transaction, you create an impression of attentive, efficient service that will not only clinch this sale but also put you on this customer’s shortlist for the next time he’s planning an event.
- Personalize the interaction. This is your moment to make a memorable impression by connecting with your customer. If a customer compliments you, acknowledge it! (This manager might have said, “Great to hear you prefer our sandwiches.”) And always add your phone number and name—conversations are between people, no brands.
- Close the sale. This manager could have gotten the order right then and there by simply asking for it: “Would you like me to place the order for you? Lmk your name, the # of ppl, and when you’d like to pick up and I’ll make sure to have it ready for you. You can pay on site or provide you info now by calling…”
Instant messaging is extremely efficient—that’s what makes it such a great way to receive feedback. A customer can use it on the go, while waiting in line, while sitting in a boring meeting…He no longer has to be back at his desk to call you and ask if you can deliver 100 sandwiches by 5pm… You can make his life even more efficient and your business more profitable by helping him close the (sandwich) deal before the meeting is over.