Behind every successful business is excellent customer engagement and support. They are capable of increasing customer loyalty and sales. And every great business knows this and uses this tactic to grow their businesses constantly.
Traditionally, human specialists handle customer engagement. But, if the number of customers queries gets bigger, the process is somewhat overwhelming and may burden the company. And human resources is not an automated machine to handle all those queries effectively.
Luckily, chatbots provide a modern and robust solution to this problem. Chatbots are digital programs that mimic human conversations using the existing database. Many proprietors are now employing chatbots, including SMS chatbot, to aid them in customer engagement and provide customers with a satisfying customer experience.
SMS chatbot, a chatbot using SMS as a channel, is one of the most integrated automation of businesses. It helps enterprises by handling most of the customers’ questions and responses. It is an excellent approach to optimizing customer engagement without using any third-party application.
Sms chatbot may have automated the process of customer engagement, but that does not mean that a human is no longer necessary. Human intervention is still crucial. Nonetheless, an SMS chatbot plays a vital role in handling repetitive multiple customers engagements at once.
In this article, we will walk you through the essential things you should know about SMS Marketing and SMS Chatbot. Read on to learn more.
SMS marketing is an acronym for “short message service marketing,” which uses text messages to provide clients with promotional messages, content, promotions, updates, and other information.
SMS marketing, like email marketing, is a channel that you own. This means you have complete control over who receives an SMS marketing message, what content is shared, and when it is sent. With text marketing, you have total control over the experience you deliver to your clients from start to end.
In addition to SMS conversations, you may send MMS (multimedia message service) messages to your customers. This sort of communication allows you to send messages that include photos, videos, or GIFs in addition to text.
Why Use SMS Marketing
SMS marketing has a plethora of advantages. Here are a few examples.
Increased open rates. SMS messages have an open rate of up to 80%, which is four times greater than email’s open rate (20 percent). This implies that 80 percent of the communications you send get opened and read by your recipients, increasing your leads for more income.
Trackability. Countless text marketing programs may be tracked and handled directly from your PC, providing you with more precise campaign information.
Direct Channel. SMS is one of the most immediate channels available; with a read rate of 97 percent within 15 minutes of transmission, you can be confident that your time-sensitive messages will be received fast. When combined with other popular channels such as email and social media, 45 percent of SMS advertising provides a profitable ROI of 50 percent.
Integration with additional channels. As with all other channels in the marketing mix, SMS must operate effectively together. SMS is an excellent stand-alone channel, but it can also be used to supplement and assist other marketing channels such as social media and email.
Several additional methods utilize SMS marketing to supplement or enhance your existing efforts. For example, the messages you send to your audience might inform them about future social media events. It may also be used to publicize your unique online bargains.
Boost Customer Engagement. SMS marketing is an excellent approach to improving how your brand interacts with its customers. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, 75% of customers prefer to receive promotional advertisements via text texts. It demonstrates that consumers are far more responsive to text messaging than other advertising forms.
SMS Marketing Best Practices
SMS is a robust channel businesses can use to reach their loyal customers and potential customers. However, as with other marketing channels, its success and its extent to help a business depend on how they use it. Let’s take a look at the different best practices in SMS Marketing.
1. Send Message Regularly but not Too Frequent
Many marketers are being enticed by the power of SMS Marketing to reach an audience and generate engagement. As a result, they send too many text messages within their subscriber list, which is a big SMS marketing mistake. Your consumer may have permitted you to send them text messages, but they can also easily shoes to stop their subscription. That’s why giving them the right amount of updates is crucial.
Yes, sending regular text messages to your customers is advised, but that does not necessarily mean you have to do it frequently. Regularly sending text messages is not the same context as sending messages frequently.
It is best to send a regular update or promotional text message to your consumers without getting overboard. Sending 2-4 messages per month is perceived as the ideal frequency of sending SMS to your customers.
However, every business is unique. So, there are instances that this ideal no. of promotional or reminder text messages per month is not applicable. You should still consider your engagement metrics to determine how often you can send text messages to your consumers.
2. Send Short but Meaningful Messages
One thing is for sure; no person likes reading lengthy promotional messages. So, it is vital to make your messages compact while still delivering the core of your message. You should send text messages that are concise yet sharp and provide value to your consumers.
Relevance is still the key to a meaningful engagement. And lengthy messages tend to lose relevance. Not to mention that consumers receive long messages by batch. To ensure that your messages are meaningful and short, you can consider the following suggestions:
- Avoid using abbreviations.
- Focus on producing a brief, powerful message.
- Do not include lengthy links. Shorten a link if it’s too clunky.
3. Use SMS to Optimize Other Marketing Channels
You can also use SMS to complement and optimize your other marketing channels. It will help you drive visitors to your marketing channels, like social media, content, and email. You may send them text messages enticing them to subscribe to your email subscription. You may also send the links to your website contents to drive them to visit your website. Or, you may want them to follow you on your social media to be updated on your latest posts. The limit is endless. The core is to use SMS marketing as a standalone channel and complement your other channels.
Likewise, you can also use your other channels to optimize your SMS Marketing. For instance, you can send an email to your email subscribers, convincing them to subscribe to your SMS campaign as well.
This practice will help you generate new leads and help your business in the long run.
4. Schedule Your Messages Wisely
For sure, not that many consumers are still awake at midnight. And so, sending promotional messages during these times is not a wise decision.
You should consider several factors to determine the best time to send text messages to your subscribers. Consider the following factors in scheduling your text messages.
- What are you trying to promote? The time window in which you should deliver your communications is influenced by the content or product you are marketing. If you are promoting content on your website, you should deliver the advertisement to your subscribers when they have the time to read the information. Meanwhile, if you’re pushing a bargain, you should know when your subscribers are ready to buy. These easy choices have the potential to increase your ROI.
- How do your customers engage? Knowing your consumers’ behaviors and previous activities is also essential in selecting when to deliver your SMS campaign. You may learn more about your subscribers by reviewing and evaluating the data from previous campaigns. It will assist you in determining the sort of marketing they are most interested in and the optimal time to distribute information to them.
5. Use MMS
You may also send your Multi-media Messaging Service (MMS) text campaign to your subscribers, in addition to SMS messages. You can include photographs, videos, and gifs in this form of communication. You may also type up to 1,600 characters. The campaign and the tone you want to establish will influence whether or not an MMS is acceptable, as well as what media to use.
Here are some of the most effective ways to employ MMS in text messaging marketing.
- Send a sneak peek of new arrivals.
- Send out special coupons to increase in-store sales.
- Send an invitation to an in-store event.
- Allow customers early access to sales.
- Send a personalized message for a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.
6. Use SMS to Offer Exclusive Promo
Consider offering them an exclusive value that you do not offer through your other channels if you promote via SMS messages. This provides your subscribers an incentive to subscribe to and stay subscribed to your SMS campaign. Consider what is likely to happen if you give a value that they can also acquire through other channels to which they are already subscribed. Yes, they are likely to unsubscribe from your other channel and stay on the channel they believe is the most convenient for them. However, suppose you give exclusive offers, discounts, or content access to a particular channel. In that case, customers are more inclined to subscribe and less likely to unsubscribe after a certain period.
7. Automate Messages And Replies
One of the best practices in SMS Marketing is automating messages and responses through SMS chatbot solutions. Instead of letting your customer service employees handle all the SMS interactions, you can delegate some common and easy customer service tasks to an SMS chatbot.
In addition to answering common and easy customer questions, chatbots can also initiate and keep the conversation going. It will allow your customer to reach you through SMS instantly and get the response they need, as long as the chatbot has manageable queries. Most importantly, it also prevents losing a customer due to slow response from customer service.
Continue reading to learn more about SMS chatbots. We covered all the necessary things you should know about them.
What is SMS Chatbot
An SMS chatbot, sometimes known as a text bot, is a software application that automatically reacts to and delivers text messages to people that interact with it. A text bot can assist in the creation of an interactive marketing channel that enhances customer communication, sends mass text messages, increases consumer conversion rate, and other functions.
Since text messages are instant and accessible, SMS Chatbot is a scalable tool for many businesses of all types and sizes. This solution makes it possible to send mass messages to a list of contacts. In addition, personalizing and customizing an SMS chatbot is pretty straightforward, which allows you to start an interactive conversation with your customers without redirecting them to a website or another application. Most importantly, SMS Chatbots are highly-engaging, making them suitable for sending promotional content and sales updates.
SMS chatbot also allows you to scale customer engagement through text messages. Hence, customers can get an order update or make a purchase. Additionally, you can also automate your SMS chatbot by programming it with AI-powered responses, which will enable customers to ask questions and retrieve instant information without using other channels.
Types of SMS Chatbots
There are several SMS experiences you can provide your customers through several types of SMS chatbots. Here are the different types of SMS Chatbot:
Subscriptions SMS Chatbot
Subscription SMS Chatbot is an automated SMS service that provides your subscribers with a regular (not necessarily daily) update or content. Depending on the frequency you will set, the chatbot will automatically send a text message to your subscribers containing a promo, deals, or access to content. It is a great way to drive your consumers back, especially if you have noticed that they are engaging with your business less frequently compared to before.
Notifications SMS Chatbot
Notifications SMS Chatbot is an automated SMS service that sends notifications to a particular customer regarding their purchase or appointment. For instance, a customer made an appointment with your company; the chatbot will send a message to the customer reminding them about their appointment. The message may contain a simple reminder or an option to cancel the appointment.
This type of SMS chatbot is typically utilized by service companies, including dental and medical services. It allows them to finalize the appointment schedule on a particular day. Additionally, it automatically reminds the customers about a schedule and makes necessary changes before the actual date.
Conversational SMS Chatbots
Conversational SMS Chatbot is a step forward from 2-way SMS. Traditional two-way SMS systems reply exclusively to certain words. Conversational SMS Chatbots use artificial intelligence to establish a real two-way conversation, with human support agents on hand to ensure that discussions do not stall if the AI is unable to answer effectively.
Conversational SMS Chatbots allow you to give automated customer assistance via chat and text without the danger of providing a poor customer experience due to a lack of solutions to handle actual client concerns. This allows you to communicate with consumers in the most comfortable method while also making life easier for your customer care employees.
5 Excellent Reasons Why You Should Have SMS Chatbot
People are fond of sending text messages. In fact, they are even utilizing this communication channel to reach businesses and interact as a customer. This is only a preview of the many impressive reasons implementing an SMS chatbot in your marketing strategy is necessary. Here are more excellent reasons why you should have an SMS chatbot.
1. SMS Chatbots are always available.
As opposed to traditional means of engaging with your customers, an SMS chatbot is available 24/7. It allows you to initiate and keep a conversation even on weekends and late nights. In addition, it can handle multiple clients all at once. Perhaps, the number of conversations an SMS chatbot can handle at a particular time is limitless. The SMS chatbot is sure to handle these conversations without straining itself or affecting its efficiency.
If your chatbot is unable to answer a query, consumers can be handed over to a human employee. Outside of service hours, a note can be left for customer support, which will respond by email the next business day.
The customer might be directed immediately to the live chat during business hours. In this example, the chatbot can answer all common customer support queries, freeing up a significant load for the customer service staff. A human employee can answer the most sophisticated queries.
2. People Prefer Communicating through Text Message
According to Digital Marketing Magazine, 75 percent of the audience prefer communicating with a company through text messages. This data shows that people are way more receptive to text messages than other communication mediums. It also allows companies to engage with the customer using the preferred channel without forcing them to install a third-party application.
In addition, texting is an integral part of the everyday lives of people, especially young ones. Despite the prevalence of social media, people are still hooked up to the fact that many people can see and read text messages instantly, unlike other online messaging channels where they have to wait for the recipient to be online. By reaching your consumers through SMS, rest assured that your messages are delivered (and read) whether your consumers are online or offline.
3. SMS Chatbot can Answer All Customer Queries
SMS Chatbots help businesses save a lot of time and effort. Most of the time, customers are just inquiring. They ask questions about the recent updates and if a product is suited for this or that. These inquiries do not always convert to sales. Nonetheless, they are still significant as they can still help the business in the long run.
In such circumstances, chatbots can relieve you of the burden of having to respond to everyone. You can’t just disregard queries because you’re not convinced they’ll lead to sales. So, chatbots assist you in processing these information requests, making customer engagement simple. An SMS Chatbot also makes things easier for the user on the other end. Your website contains most of the information about your company and its goods. However, sometimes the content is so significant that buyers do not want to read it all.
4. SMS Chatbot Foster Communication
Communicating between business and customers is essential, and implementing an SMS chatbot is the best way to foster communication. Since chatbots are accessible, your consumers can easily reach you and make a complaint or ask a question. Having an SMS Chatbot makes it possible for communication to happen regardless of the time and date.
5. SMS Chatbot Makes Customer Experience Better
Sms Chatbots provides a one-of-a-kind and more interactive customer experience. Instead of having them fill out a form, you may employ an SMS chatbot to collect information from your consumers. As evident, customers hate filling out forms, which may result in losing them permanently. As opposed to forms, SMS chatbots make collecting information interactive, which consumers obviously prefer. SMS chatbots do not introduce an information request form. Instead, they bring them up based on the manner of a consumer throughout the conversation.
Collecting information from your customers through an SMS chatbot is better and less intrusive than forms. Hence, you can utilize an SMS chatbot for replacing your forms and generating more leads. In addition, you do not have to redirect your users to a website or a separate application to collect information. As a result, users find it more convenient to drop their details through a conversation than fill out a form.
Most importantly, if your customers have any trouble with their purchase, they may simply text your SMS chatbot and receive a response immediately.
6. SMS Chatbot Solves Bucket Leaks
Bucket leak has been a big concern for many businesses for a long time. It is a metaphor for losing a customer. While it is hard (maybe impossible) to find a solution to this issue, SMS Chatbot, alongside other forms of chatbots, keeps the bucket full despite the leak. Chatbots do this by ensuring that by accumulating new customers and leads.
SMS Chatbot serves as your smart virtual customer representative that is always available to converse with your potential customers. Customers are more likely to continue to a conversation knowing that the response is automatic, and they do not have to wait for a certain period for the response to their queries. Hence, they are more likely to make a purchase and potentially be a loyal customer.
7. SMS Chatbot Can Help You Cut Costs
Implementing a chatbot can help you cut costs. Instead of hiring additional customer support staff, you can easily employ a chatbot that can assist your clients all the time. This will help you save the money you will spend compensating your staff.
Chatbots perform a variety of tasks. It might be challenging to respond to people’s concerns with clarity and patience. It is much more difficult when you realize how many staff there are. Chatbots allow you to complete this activity without having to spend thousands of dollars on pay.
SMS Chatbots Best Practices
There are a few things to remember in utilizing an SMS Chatbot to assist your consumers. Here are some of the best practices in SMS Chatbot implementation.
Set clear boundaries
When your clients text your chatbot, it should be instantly evident (either by informing them explicitly or making it highly plain) that they are texting a chatbot and not a human person. Customers should also understand what they may expect the bot to perform and what they should not expect the bot to be able to achieve.
According to research, when individuals have clear and reasonable expectations coming in, they accept a failed chatbot contact. Customers are more likely to become upset when a chatbot fails to grasp seemingly basic requests or queries if it is difficult to discern between them and a human customer support person.
Let Chatbot Handle the Typical Queries
Chatbots excel at freeing up human customer service agents by resolving simple issues. Consider the issues and questions your customers are most likely to call in when developing a chatbot for your company’s customer service needs. If your chatbot can recognize and appropriately respond to the most frequently asked questions, it will be far more helpful than anything else.
Don’t Make the Chatbot Too Chatty
Too many firms are preoccupied with making their chatbots more pleasant or conversational, as human customer care employees would be. Customers, it turns out, don’t usually respond favorably to more lifelike chatbots. For one thing, it blurs the barrier between humans and computers, and, as previously said, it sometimes sets excessive expectations for chatbots. Furthermore, users like their chatbots to sound like bots. It’s frightening to realize you’re talking to a machine when it sounds so much like a real person. So simply concentrate on creating a speedy, efficient bot with a neutral but friendly tone.
Have a fail-safe
Make use of a variety of polite rejections and error messages. The chatbot should be straightforward and say that it doesn’t understand or can’t help with a specific issue than for the chatbot and consumer to go in circles.
In addition to fail-safe, make it as simple as feasible for the client to interact with an actual human when a chatbot cannot assist the customer. Even if it cannot grasp how to answer the client’s issue, a well-programmed chatbot can frequently link the consumer to the proper customer support representative. Don’t have the consumer listen to many selections, wasting valuable time, as many automated phone answer systems do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about SMS chatbots and marketing.
How does an SMS bot work?
SMS chatbots work for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and, depending on how they’re configured, can answer questions even when you’re not present. This type of bot uses a combination of smart automation, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning applications to formulate a text message in a usual way, responding as if it were a real human response.
If a notion that the chatbot is unfamiliar with is introduced into the discussion, it will either refer the inquiry to a human operator or deflect with a different response. This is all dependent on how it is programmed. The intricacy of the bot’s replies is determined by the software it runs on and the data it has access to. However, regardless of how the bot is configured, it will save information from a discussion for future reference.
What happens when you text a bot?
When a user texted an SMS chatbot, the bot will analyze the content of the message. Depending on the keywords detected on a particular message, it will give a pre-determined response.
Once the chatbot realizes that the query is too complicated, the conversation will escalate to a live human agent.
What is an SMS chatbot?
An SMS chatbot is a text-messaging-based conversation companion that is automated. It promotes communication between a human and a computer. Typically, you will communicate with another individual using text messages. However, while using chatbots, you are not conversing with a human but with a machine.
How do you use an SMS chatbot?
Here are a few examples of what you can accomplish with an SMS chatbot:
-Respond to questions
-Provide customer assistance
What is a rule-based chatbot?
A rule-based chatbot uses a tree-like flow rather than AI to assist visitors with their inquiries. This implies that the chatbot will assist the guest through a series of follow-up questions in order to arrive at the proper solution. The structures and responses are all pre-defined, allowing you to maintain control of the discourse.
Rule-based chatbots are ideal for smaller numbers and simple inquiries, such as reserving a table at a restaurant or inquiring about operating hours. Choosing this form of the chatbot has various advantages, including:
-Because the chatbot does not require considerable training, the installation process is faster and more straightforward.
-Because the technology and execution are more straightforward, the price is generally lower.
-You may better manage the chatbot's behavior and responses by pre-defining the structures and answers.
Who will be the chatbot users?
It is critical to keep your user in mind during the chatbot design process since it will help you define the correct chatbot features and functionality and construct human-like interactions. To develop a user-friendly chatbot, consider the following questions: What sorts of issues do your consumers want to solve? Are they more inclined to connect with your brand by text/messaging or voice? Do they contact you through your website, phone, social media applications, or another site?
Where does chatbot information come from?
Training a chatbot happens at a much faster and broader scale than human schooling. While typical customer care agents are given written instructions that they must follow to the letter, a customer support chatbot is fed a vast number of conversation logs. The chatbot can understand what sort of query requires what type of replies from those logs.
How long does the implementation of a chatbot take?
The time a chatbot implementation takes depends on the complexity of the client’s requirement. However, creating and implementing a simple SMS chatbot usually takes 4-6 days. However, in more complicated cases, such as when the client’s needs are unclear or need for many construction phases, it may take 2-3 months.
How easy is it to build my own chatbot?
With our AI-powered SMS chatbot solutions, creating your own SMS chatbot is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is choose your SMS platform like Twilio, connect your chatbot to your nerDigital SMS channel add a workflow to start chatting with your current and prospective customers.
When will the chatbot escalate to a human agent?
There are several cases where an automated chat cannot meet the client’s expectations. Human assistance is essential in these situations.
An escalation to a human agent may be necessary to guarantee a smooth client transition when a customer:
Makes a phone or video call request.
Frequently asks the same question.
Asks a query that the bot is unable to answer.
SMS Marketing provides many organizations with the chance to increase audience engagement, which leads to increased revenue and return on investment. As a result, many marketers increasingly utilize this medium to elevate their marketing efforts. And the number of firms using this marketing approach will only grow soon.
In addition to SMS Marketing, SMS chatbots are also increasingly popular. When properly configured, SMS chatbots are a robust tool. They can help you enhance your consumer interactions and create great relationships with them. Automating a portion of your customer interaction process not only allows for real-time contact but also frees up your human employees to conduct other valuable duties.
Suppose you want to implement an SMS chatbot in your marketing tools, no need to look further than the chatbot marketing solutions offered by nerDigital. They offer various marketing automation, including SMS and WhatsApp automation. Contact us today to learn more.