Texting is nothing new, but if you’ve been using your personal phone to respond to business inquiries – or worse yet, not texting with customers at all – it’s time to discover the emerging world of Business Texting.
Business Texting, of course, refers to the ability to send SMS messages back and forth with your customers or potential customers using your existing business phone number. With Business Texting, you can also text-enable your existing landline number, eliminating the need to purchase an additional piece of equipment or add a second phone line.
Today’s Business Texting has a number of cool, new features that make it extraordinarily helpful to business owners, and SMBs in particular. But before we get too far into the features, let’s start at the beginning with the important question you may be asking: Do I need Business Texting at all?
Why You Need It
The first and foremost reason you need Business Texting is because customers want it. A recent survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers found that 94% want to support local SMBs, and 78% said having the ability to text with small businesses would increase the likelihood they follow through on that intention. That’s especially true if your business falls into certain categories: Three-to-one, respondents wanted to text personal care businesses (hair salons, spas) over calling, and two-to-one preferred to text restaurants and retailers, rather than call. If you suspect you’re in an industry where a large percentage of customers would prefer to text, you must make a move now to make sure your customers don’t gravitate toward vendors who offer that service.
What Business Texting Can Do
In addition to meeting customer demand, Business Texting expands your capabilities through some very useful features:
1. It allows more seamless communications with customers.
Most SMBs have a patchwork of customer communications cobbled together from phone messages collected on the business voicemail and texts or calls sent to various personal phone numbers. If you have to call a customer back, you may not know when the last communication occurred and what was said. Business messaging refines this process by connecting all interactions into one seamless communication stream. With Cloudli’s TalkNText, for example, voicemails, texts and phone call records are visible in our app, neatly pieced together by customer and date. You can review the entire record of correspondence before you reach out to a customer.
2. It enables shared phone numbers.
Some Business Texting products allow you to share company numbers so everyone can stay in the loop. This is helpful for several reasons. First, you can know what calls and messages are coming in or going out, whether they go to you or one of your employees.
Second, having shared numbers makes it easier to delegate a customer call or message to your employees so you can serve customers faster. Finally, you can set up the system to automatically alert another employee if a call or message arrives when you’re unavailable. That means you’ll never miss an important or urgent message. You can review the conversation later to stay in the loop and follow-up as needed.
3. Better boundaries between work and home.
We all know how hard small business owners work. But if you want to prevent burnout and stay energized for the long run, you’ll want to establish some boundaries around when you’re available to talk to customers – and when you’re not. A Business Texting application can help.
With a product like Cloudli TalkNText, you can specify business hours and create a text message auto-reply that lets customers know you’ve received their message and will respond the next business day. You can also establish guidelines around when a call should be forwarded to an employee versus go straight to voicemail.
Business Texting eliminates the need to use your personal phone for business communications. That keeps your work and life communications separate, but it also ensures business calls and texts don’t get lost in the shuffle, or diverted to an employee’s personal device where you don’t have access or visibility. You can relax away from the store or office because you know all your calls and texts are available within your secure and separate Business Texting platform.
On the flip side, Business Texting allows you to work from anywhere without missing a call or text. Need to pick up a child from school? Going on vacation? Have to catch a plane? Your business communications can be accessed from anywhere you have Internet access, simply by logging into your account.
How to Get Started
Business Texting can be easy to implement and affordable if you choose the right product. Thanks to VoIP technology, the only setup needed for products like TalkNText is to log on and set up an account. Within minutes, you’ll be ready to connect all your devices and start texting.
Keep in mind that some businesses decide to establish a new, dedicated business line at the same time they adopt Business Texting, or convert their existing number to the new telecom provider; however, it’s not absolutely necessary. With Cloudli TalkNText, you can choose a new number or you can keep your existing one by porting it over if you want to take advantage of the platform's phone service. You can also decide to keep your existing carrier and layer TalkNText on top of it as a separate service to enable Business Texting.
One final note on shopping around: you’ll find that prices vary considerably. Check out our comparison guidewhere you can see various plans’ costs and features side-by-side.
Ultimately, the best way to see if a Business Texting service is right for you is to give it a test drive. Cloudli currently offers a free 7-day trial of TalkNText – and you don’t even need to provide a credit card number. Give it a try and tell us what you think!