As many as 94% of companies think their customer communications are good, while 96% of consumers disagree, according to a study released by Twilio.
Most agents aren’t giving their clients what they want on the communications front, which is making their sales, marketing, and efforts to increase customer satisfaction ineffective. It’s also frustrating to their clients. The solution: Texting.
Phone call answer rates are as low as 5%, according to Text Request, and only 13% of insurance emails are opened, according to Constant Contact. Meanwhile, an overwhelming, 89% of people want to text your agency with their sales and service queries, according to Twilio’s 2016 Global Mobile Messaging Consumer Report.
Text messaging is the most requested communication channel by both employees and consumers, according to a 2017 survey by Smarsh, which showed that 42% of financial services employees requested to use text messaging for business purposes, while text messaging was also the most requested channel for business use.
To get started on texting clients, your agency will need to invest in a professional texting tool. Here are a few functions a good tool should provide:
- A secure multi-user dashboard that provides access to different people in your office
- Cloud access that enables you to text from any computer or smartphone
- Auto responses, out-of-office replies, appointment scheduling, individual and group messaging options, and picture messaging
- Ability to text office phone numbers
But how do you apply text messaging to your agency operations? Here are five easy ways to text professionally and make clients happier:
1) Lead generation. People are searching for your services online and they’d rather text their questions than call or email. Therefore, you should let prospects text your agency from your website.
Chat functions enable potential clients to text you through your website with the click of a button. Messages can be forwarded to a phone number of your choosing and your replies can be set up to be sent to a prospect’s cell phone. Clients love this experience and it’s a great lay-up for sales.
2) Sales. Prospects come to your agency for quotes all the time. But once you have the quote they requested, you struggle to reconnect with them. Sound familiar? Texting solves that.
When you get a quote request, you can immediately follow-up via text saying that you received their request. Then, once you have their quote ready, you can text them to ask for a moment to talk through the details.
3) Scheduling. You thrive on scheduling appointments, but find it difficult to nail down a time to see or talk to clients. Even when a meeting or call is scheduled, you still have to confirm and remind clients about them.
The average response time for a text message is only 90 seconds, according to CTIA, which means you will have a much easier time scheduling and confirming appointments when you text. With a good system, confirmations and reminders can be scheduled in advance.
4) Payments and renewals. Missed payments hurt both your clients and your agency. Often, people miss payments simply because they forgot. You can avoid that happening by texting your clients in advance.
Send and schedule payment reminders to one client at a time, a specific group, such as life insurance clients who pay quarterly, or all your clients at once. If they can pay online, include a link to your client portal. Texting is also a great way to remind clients to update their information around renewal time.
5) Reviews. People need to trust you before they work with you, and most consumers turn to online reviews to help them make that decision. As a result, the agent with the most positive reviews normally wins the most business. So, text your clients to ask for them to review your agency on Google, Yelp and Facebook.
Kenneth Burke is director of marketing for Text Request, a business text messaging software company that works with clients from a wide variety of industries across North America.