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Doctor Will Text You Now

The Doctor Will Text You Now

by Angie Ash, Executive Vice President

If there’s a certain segment of technology that’s seen a surge in growth in 2018, it’s business to consumer texting, surprisingly even by conservative corporations.

In just this year alone, I’ve received texts confirming my mammogram, that my contacts are in, that my receipt from a purchase made on Square is ready for my review, and I have two days left to use my Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon. It’s not just big hospital systems, big-box retailers and businesses making the most of this opportunity, though.

Case in point – my local dentist. This is a small, 2-dentist office with some amazing hygienists and an outstanding scheduler. They’ve been calling to confirm appointments for years and recently got into the texting game instead. It’s easy to see why texting is the next logical step for consumer communication. As consumers, we’re more likely to reply to texts. Those pesky reminder phone calls have sometimes hit our phones at less than ideal times when we’re not able to answer. In those cases, a voicemail reminder was left. With text messages, though, you have to confirm your appointment. For my local dentist, and for the healthcare industry at large, this adds up to fewer no-show appointments and more opportunities to schedule other patients when the person getting the text can’t make the appointment after all.

If you don’t think texting is something you should consider yet, think again! CustomerThink released some compelling statistics in their 7 Essential Text Messaging Stats article in February of 2018, listed below:

  • 98% of adults ages 18 to 29 in the US own a device capable of receiving a text message.
  • 90% of business leads would rather receive a text message than a phone call (FranchiseHelp)
  • The average response time for a text message is just 90 seconds. The average response time for an email reminder is 90 minutes, according to CTIA.org
  • And, of course, 75% of Millennials would rather communicate via text about appointments, coupons, and the link.

In addition, SMS texting is not saturated with spam and junk mail that plague email, so customers tend to view it more positively.

A few other convincing stats by Zipwhip:

  • 97% of American adults text weekly (Pew Research Center)
  • 98% of texts are opened, compared to just 20-30% for email (Adobe)
  • Texting is the highest rated contact method for customer satisfaction compared to all other communication channels (Text – 90; Phone – 77; Facebook – 66). (eWeek)

Retail jewelers, who may have been introduced to, and considered, texting models over the past several years, now have better opportunities to actually put SMS messaging into practice. If you’re chomping at the bit to get started, just know it is absolutely necessary to get permission from your customer. Once you’re well underway with this, think about the information you want to send to them. Alerting customers about the status of their repair is just one example. So is letting that young guy about to propose that his custom ring is ready for his final review. So is sending a special discount for holiday purchases. Podium, which has helped retail jewelers effectively increase the number and quality of their reviews, is now helping retailers get into the texting arena with their Web Chat component. Not on Podium? You can still look into setting up Google’s click-to-message capability, and you can work with your local phone company to have your store’s landline become text enabled. There’s more information about that here in this helpful tutorial. Text messaging can also be a powerful tool if your store has an active and effective loyalty program. The possibilities are actually quite vast.

One thing’s for certain. Text messaging isn’t going away any time soon and now seems like a pretty good time to start looking at it in more depth, before the holiday frenzy ensues. While it shouldn’t necessarily replace other marketing channels, it can provide a significant boost in engagement, and perhaps reduce your overall marketing spend while providing a boost to in-store traffic. If you’re ready to step up what your store’s doing with available technology, contact suits@fruchtman.com.

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