Did you know that you can send text messages to improve your visitor’s experience before, during, and after their in-office visit? With a fine-tuned text messaging strategy, you can effectively communicate with your visitors and gain their trust at the same time.
In this guide, we’ll discuss why you should incorporate text messaging into your visitor experience, and how to do it.
Why Send Text Messages to Your In-Office Visitors?
Text messaging can elevate the visitor experience for any type of space, whether you’re running a behavioral health practice, a school, a law firm, or a coworking space, just to name a few examples. Here are some of the benefits of using text messages to communicate with your visitors.
Ability to Send Urgent Messages
Text messages are great for sharing urgent messages that need to be read and responded to quickly. Text messages aren’t formal, which means they don’t require all of the greetings and salutations of other forms of communication, such as email. You can quickly send out a one- or two-sentence message without worrying that you’re coming across as unprofessional.
Easy to Use
Most visitors are familiar with how to use text messages. The majority of American adults have sent and received text messages. When compared to a proprietary app, interacting with your company’s text message is a lot easier for your visitors.
Get Opened Immediately
Text messages enjoy an incredible 97% open rate. By comparison, a good email open rate is around 21%. (This number fluctuates by industry.) If you send a text message, you can rest assured that your message will be read.If you send a text message, you can rest assured that your message will be read. Here's why: Click To Tweet
Enjoy Greater Delivery Rates
Not only do people rarely open emails, but sometimes they don’t even see them. Some emails are immediately flagged as spam by a person’s email service provider. This means that your email may not get through to your intended audience. However, text messages have a 98% delivery rate.
Get Quicker Answers
If you need an immediate response, a text message is the way to go. Most text messages are read within three minutes of receipt. Your visitors are more likely to respond quickly to an urgent text message than they are to an email or voice call.
Can Communicate Both Ways
Text messages aren’t just one-sided. Visitors can respond to your text and keep the conversation going. Because text messages are interactive, they allow you to forge a relationship with your visitors one SMS at a time.
Enhance Your Security
Cybercrime is on the rise, and passwords aren’t as safe as they used to be. To increase the security of your app or website, incorporate text messages as part of a two-factor authentication process.
Scale Your Communication
Text messages can be sent on an individual basis, but you can also leverage the scalability of text messages to increase your staff’s productivity. You can create a library of text message templates that you can use over and over again. This reduces your input but maximizes your output.
Increase Your Newsletter Subscription
Do you regularly send out newsletters to your customers, vendors, and/ or patrons? If you use text, you can give visitors the ability to opt-in to your newsletter from their cell phones. They can conveniently scan a code and sign up, which is a lot easier than asking them to first visit your website to sign up.
Remain Top of Mind
There’s a long list of useful text messages that you can send to your visitors, including news, upcoming events, and visit confirmations. These text messages will help you stay at the top of your visitor’s minds so that they don’t forget about you.
It costs pennies on the dollar to execute a text message marketing campaign or send out relevant transaction messages. Text messages are an affordable way to connect with your visitor.
How To Send Effective Text Messages
Let’s discuss how to create an impressive text message strategy for communicating with your visitors.
Explain Why the Visitor Should Sign Up
Get your visitors onboard with the idea of receiving text messages from your organization. Give them reasons why they should sign up to receive your texts, whether it’s for an immediate coupon or future updates. Spelling out the benefits will improve your text message opt-in rate.
Makes Signing Up Easy To Do
Post signs around your office that not only encourage sign-ups but also show your visitors how to do it. To make it even easier, you can do the following:
- Add a QR code on your signage that the visitor can scan to be taken to the opt-in page
- Ask visitors to sign up at the bottom of your emails (along with a link that directs the visitor to the opt-in page)
Get Permission to Text Your Visitor
Be sure to get the visitor’s permission before you send them marketing messages of any kind. This protects you from running afoul of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). TCPA states that organizations must receive written permission before sending automated SMS or text messages to an individual.
Only Send Texts During Normal Business Hours
When sending text messages to your visitors, keep it set to office hours. According to TCPA, organizations are not allowed to send text messages before 8 AM or after 9 PM. However, it’s even better to stick to standard office hours of 9 AM to 5 PM. Receiving a business-related message after those hours can be jarring. Also, remember to send your text messages on weekdays only. No weekends and holidays.
Send a Variety of Text Messages
As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of text messages you can send to your visitor to stay top of mind. Here are the most common types of text messages to consider sending:
- Welcome – Thank the visitor for joining the texting community
- News and updates – Share what’s happening in your organization that will impact or interest the visitor
- Confirmations and cancellations – Send out a note whenever the visitor makes or breaks an appointment
- Reminders – Notify the visitor of an upcoming appointment
- Visitor information – Share pertinent information about your office, such as parking detail, lock box codes, and security checks
- Invitations – Ask the visitor to come to an event
- Billing reminders – Send out a notification on an upcoming bill and due date
Templatize Your Text Messages
Instead of creating all of your text messages from scratch, consider creating a main template that you tweak with new information. This will reduce the number of errors that you send out and it will also minimize the occurrence of inconsistent messaging.
Strike a Positive Tone
Text messages can be flat. Add life to it by being positive. Use friendly and natural in your word choice. If you wouldn’t say “submit” in real life, don’t do it in your text messages.
Keep It Professional
While your text messages should be friendly and welcoming, avoid slangs that could be misinterpreted. Favor clarity over cleverness. Use emojis to add context, but don’t go over the top.
Keep It Concise
You have around 160 characters, so get to the point quickly. Avoid sending the recipient more than one message at a time, but if you must, be sure to label them accordingly (i.e. “text message 1 of 3”, “text message 2 of 3”, and so on).
Choose a Local Number
Instead of sending your text messages from a long-distance number or short code, use a 10-digit number that’s local to visitors in your area. This makes your messages feel more familiar.
Make It Relevant
Before sending out a text message, always ask yourself if the recipient will find it immediately valuable or not. This can help you determine if you should send the message as a text or if the information would be better packaged in email form. Messages that are urgent tend to do better when sent in text form.
Be Careful With the Welcome Text
Introduce yourself and remind the sender how you got their number in the first place. For example, thank them for signing up for your texting community. If your text message isn’t immediately deployed after they opt-in, your welcome text can jog their memory and decrease the risk of them opting out of your future text messages.
Also, make it easy for your subscribers to unsubscribe. Include instructions on how to stop future text messages.
Use text to survey your visitors. Send out a text message at the end of each visit to ask the visitor questions that will help you improve future visits.
By incorporating the above tips, you can improve your text messaging communication with your visitors.
Did you know that The Receptionist for iPad enables visitor text communication? Two-way messaging is a built-in feature that enables you to interact with your visitors once they arrive, and provide them with further instructions on what to do next.
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