For many of us, these days it’s actually quite rare to receive a phone call from a close friend, family member, or colleague. That’s because, in most situations, a quick and concise text message satisfies our needs.
So, how come so few businesses have integrated text messaging into their communications and customer relations plans? A new report shows that at least one industry is leading the charge in making text messaging a key part of how companies interact with their customers.
The report, which was compiled by mobile engagement research firm mGamingWatch, argues that the hotel industry is acting as a pioneer in short message service (SMS) interactions with customers. Specifically, hotel firms like Marriott and Starwood Hotels are testing SMS platforms that allow customers to confirm room and dining reservations, resolve problems with their booking, or even contact hotel staff for help.
Natalie Petouhoff, a research analyst at Constellation Research, says it’s a fascinating new trend that other companies in other industries – such as retail – should embrace. “One of the retailers I worked with used text to let a customer know the thing they wanted online was there,” Petouhoff said. This allowed the customer to “text back and make a reservation to come in.” Petouhoff believes this is an excellent way for companies to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers and get a leg up on the competition.
According to Holger Mueller, another analyst at Constellation Research, the emergence of SMS text interactions could also be beneficial for companies that operate in remote areas or places where calling is expensive and Internet connections rare. “In countries with weak, nonexistent or expensive cell data coverage, SMS has been the backbone for many enterprises. Consider micro banking from India and Africa that are solely SMS-powered,” Mueller said.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that text messaging represents a huge opportunity for companies looking to build deeper and richer relationships with their existing clients. Of course, it could also allow firms to branch out and win the affection of entirely new customers.