How SMS Supports Every Stage of the Customer Lifecycle
- 06 Jun 2023
From the day we arrive on the planet
And, blinking, step into the sun
There’s more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
— The Circle of Life
Just as there’s a circle of life that moves us all, so too is there a customer lifecycle for businesses. Marketing teams know that customers have to be acquired, supported, and retained to maximize customer lifetime value.
SMS can be a useful tool for every stage of the customer lifecycle.
Why SMS? Because everyone who owns a cellphone can use text messaging, and that means almost everyone there is. Worldwide, 91% of people have a cellphone; in the US, it’s 97%, and in India 96%. And SMS is most people’s preferred communication channel: According to Bloomreach, 90% of customers prefer text messages over phone calls, and 93% have more trust in text messages than in email. The average open rate for SMS marketing is 98%, and the average click-through rate is 19%. 95% of text messages are read and responded to within three minutes of being received.
How SMS helps at every stage
Once you accept the logic in using SMS for customer outreach, you can start thinking about ways to take advantage of it. We looked at a number of stages of the customer lifecycle and thought about ways SMS can help an organization.
SMS can be a key tool for raising awareness of a company’s offerings. You can use it to promote products or services through targeted SMS campaigns to attract new customers. You can also allow prospects to sign up for newsletters or special discounts by texting a keyword to a short code.
SMS is a vital part of many organizations’ onboarding process. You can send welcome SMS messages to new customers that include information about your products and services, as well as limited-time discounts or promotions to incentivize new customers to make their first purchases.
Once you’ve acquired customers, you have to keep them engaged. You can use SMS to send notifications of upcoming sales, product launches, or in-store events, as well as targeted deals or discounts based on customers’ preferences or purchase history. You can also use it for two-way communication in the form of SMS surveys to gain customer feedback to improve products, services, and customer experiences.
Other forms of engagement are just good business practices. For example, you can provide shipping and order status updates as well as delivery notifications.
Some customers also appreciate payment reminders, while your accounts receivable staff would probably appreciate your sending overdue balance notices to customers.
Even engaged customers run into trouble sometimes. SMS can serve as a secondary channel for support questions — probably not your primary, as you’re better off having customers submit support tickets so you can handle them with a defined process — but SMS can be a premium support channel, providing real-time assistance.
But support isn’t the only time you want to keep in touch with customers. You can foster higher retention rates by identifying and targeting inactive customers with SMS notifications about special promotions or offers to encourage them to re-engage. The same approach works for win-back campaigns, in which you reach out to past customers with incentives or offers.
If you’re very lucky, your customers will become your best salespeople. Use SMS to encourage satisfied customers to share their purchases or experiences on social media, which will raise brand awareness.
Make the most of SMS
SMS can help at every stage of the customer journey. But how do you get the most impact from using SMS campaigns? We’ve written a blog post on best practices for SMS to help you craft, format, and send great messages. It covers:
- the use of different number types (long codes, toll-free, and short codes)
- the importance of opt-in consent
- setting expectations for what customers can expect
- what not to do to avoid triggering a carrier review of your campaigns
You should also pay attention to regulations in the countries where you’re sending messages to. For instance, before you send messages to India, you must register on a DLT platform.
By integrating SMS into the customer lifecycle, businesses can foster stronger relationships with customers, enhance their experiences, and ultimately drive growth and profitability.