By Lance Cherry, Council for the Advancement of Hunting and the Shooting Sports
It’s time to hang it up! There’s no need to pick up the phone and try calling to talk about it.
Following two years of lockdowns and travel suspensions, supply chain and labor shortages and the overall demise of the business models as we know them, customers have had enough of the lip service, and they are tired of waiting in the queue.
Can you hear the dial tone clearly now? Our customers have hung up, and they are looking for other ways to communicate with you. If the numbers are true – and they are – that way is through text messaging.
Current open rates and click-through rates have shown an average of 98% of all text messages are opened, and 95% are responded to within 3 minutes of being delivered. The speed of response alone is enough to change consumer behavior.
A Facebook survey conducted by Nielsen in May found that 64% of their users prefer sending a message over making a phone call. eMarketer took it a step further, breaking down the types of digital communication and found 48% of consumers prefer direct communication via SMS text messages followed by email, apps and direct mail. The traditional phone call didn’t even register enough response to make the list. The study found that 90% of customers surveyed preferred text messages over direct phone calls.
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to any of you and if we’re being honest here, we probably recognize ourselves in these statistics and changing behaviors. We likely must also admit we’ve been caught flat-footed once again when this market shift occurred.
Hootsuite’s 2022 Customer Care Survey indicates that 71% of us haven’t even begun investing in systems to communicate with our customers via text. That mean that nearly 3 in every 4 of us are in catch-up mode.
I know some of you find this discouraging and frustrating, but in government, it’s the nature of the business when it comes to staying on the cutting edge of consumer trends. It’s not the first or last time you will find yourself digging your agency out of the hole.
Before you hang up on me, the ACI is here to share experiences, find solutions and to simply help each other succeed.
Here are 5 of my best helpful suggestions for consideration:
- Add SMS text to your marketing strategy. Look at the products you currently use and explore the feasibly of adding the service to your existing messaging. Products like GovDelivery make this easy and affordable.
- Create auto-responses within your license system sent via SMS to your customers. They are five times more likely to respond to your message than the same message sent by email.
- Use chatbots, an automated messaging software that uses artificial intelligence to converse with people. Not only can they answer common questions quickly and effectively, but they can also do so 24-hours a day, 7-days a week including holidays.
- Evaluate and set goals for your social media messaging response times. Social media should be considered as an extension of your customer service strategy, and dedicating staff time to engaging with your customers has never been more important.
- Merge your conversations in one tool. Products like Loomly, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite can help, but nothing beats a comprehensive CRM (customer relationship management) system. There are many great products available.
Hopefully you will find these useful, and if you want to brainstorm more ideas, call text me.