More and more, consumers are relying on business text messages to communicate with their favorite businesses. Text-enabled landlines puts SMS to work for SMBs.
In 2015, a data point was released that attracted a significant amount of attention: 90% of people read their text messages within 3 minutes of receipt. Since then, businesses of all types and sizes have tried to figure out how they could leverage this fact to their advantage. But for many businesses with a landline in place, the question became how to text customers without sacrificing an established business phone number. Enter, text-enabled business line and business texting platforms.
Business Texting: How It Works
A text-enabled landline provider works with the traditional landline carriers to divert text message traffic sent to a landline, to their app. So, if you authorize a business texting tool to text-enabled the landline for your business, they will work with the carriers to ensure any text messages sent to your landline number are delivered to you, via their app.
Business texting software also allows businesses to reply to received text messages – or send new messages to customers – using the business texting platform. The result? Your dedicated business phone number becomes a multi-channel coordinate for your customers.
Business Texting Apps: A Dedicated Solution
In 2013 – and maybe even earlier – dedicated business texting solutions began to emerge in the market. These solutions allowed business landlines to send and receive text messages “over the top.” These apps focused exclusively on enabling businesses to communicate with customers via text, as frontrunners in the business texting market.
Costs and Benefits
In theory, texting for business seems like a no-brainer: customers want to text, the customer is always right, so give the people what they want. If only it was that simple.
The fact is, many of the dedicated business texting apps and platforms on the market are tailored to the needs of larger businesses – with a hefty price tag to match. Pricing starts at $25/month for one user – and grows from there. This price is often on-par with (or may even eclipse) the cost of a single phone line – meaning doubled telecom costs. While these platforms can deliver economies of scale for larger businesses, for SMBs, realizing an ROI on this outlay is a big bet.
Cloudli TalkNText is an example of this solution evolution. It unifies voice and text capabilities into a single solution, for as low as $9 per user per month – making it an affordable alternative to the business texting solutions geared toward mid-to-large enterprises.
Text-enabled business solutions geared towards SMBs might be small in price, but are certainly not short on features.
If you own or manage an SMB, the following business texting features are critical when you evaluate the solutions on the market:
Text-enabled landline: This sounds basic, but make no mistake – you shouldn’t need to give up your established phone number – or risk porting it over to a new provider – to take advantage of business texting. A true business texting solution will allow you to keep your main landline with your existing provider, while simultaneously enabling business texting capabilities on your end.
Shared company numbers: Text-enabling a landline is a good first step, but you probably don’t want to be the only person responsible for receiving, replying to, and sending customer texts. A solution that permits you to share company numbers amongst your team, enables a more efficient response strategy – and ultimately a better customer experience.
Text Auto-replies: There will be times when customer texts will come in and you just can’t reply right away – after all, even SMB owners need a break! Here, text auto-replies are the unsung hero of your team – just program how you’d like text messages to be answered when you’re off the clock or on vacation, and the business texting app takes care of the rest. You don’t need to set up auto-replies to cover 20 different scenarios, just a few simple messages that let your customers know you’ve received their message can go a long way.
Dedicated Business Numbers: The beauty of business texting apps, is that you can create different numbers for different functions. When you’re evaluating your options, you’ll want to look for a solution that lets you easily – and cost-effectively – add different numbers for different functions. For instance, you can create a dedicated text support number – shared by your entire support team – for existing customers to contact you for customer care. You can post another number on your website for your sales team, so new customers can reach out and connect with your key business closers right away. The only limit should be your creativity – not your budget.
Business texting has been around for a while, but many of the established business texting solutions have priced SMBs out of the market. As new solutions emerge in the crowded communications marketplace, progressive SMBs will take advantage of competitive pricing to offer their customers an enhanced experience.