You’ve made your decision: you need to use a business text messaging service. But now you have to actually choose the business texting software that will allow you to engage with customers effectively.
Evaluating software for your business is always a tough task. If you look at software review sites like Capterra and G2, there are plenty of business text messaging services that appear. Yet there is no way you can actually evaluate all of them.
How do you narrow it down? It’s critical to ask the right questions so you can be confident that the business texting software finally implemented is right for your business’ needs and goals.
Here are the questions to ask while deciding the texting software to use for your business.
While it is an obvious question to ask yourself, it’s important to choose a software provider that knows the ins and outs of text messaging for business.
You’ll want an experienced partner that can guide your business toward success with fully developed features and capabilities. Startups with extremely low prices may seem attractive on the surface, but their technologies often lag behind established software providers with several years of experience in text messaging. In choosing an experienced software provider for business texting, you’ll feel confident that the platform is reliable and made to meet your needs.
Be wary of software providers that aim to strictly sell. Once you start meeting with software providers, listen to what they say about their history with business texting.
Knowledge of your industry and experience with other companies in it is crucial because not all industries are the same. If you find a software provider who’s achieved success with other companies in your industry, you’ll feel much more comfortable.
Experience in the same industry indicates the software provider already knows how a business like yours operates and what the customer journey typically looks like. It’ll be simple for the software provider to lay out how you can interact with customers via text messaging.
Worried that your competitors may be using the same business texting software? It shouldn’t be a real concern. After all, a significant portion of your tech stack today is likely used by the competition as well. Choose a software provider that will examine your business with a unique lens to design a strategy to best serve your customers.
Free trials are always beneficial — while deciding on a software provider, a free trial allows you to evaluate a business text messaging service and make an informed purchasing decision.
Sales demos are good and shouldn’t be dismissed, but you’re unable to use the product yourself to get familiar with the user interface, specific features, and how customers actually respond. Of course, sales demos also hide potential shortcomings that may disappoint you. If a free trial is available, you’re far better off taking advantage of it than solely watching a sales demo and making a decision you could regret later on.
Imagine if you were buying a car – would you buy a new car without test driving it? Probably not. As you’re shopping for texting software for business, have a similar mindset.
The sales process is sometimes full of promises that cannot be delivered, and the only way for you to find out is to get into the product yourself so you can be confident it’s exactly what you need.
If text messaging is your business’ vehicle for customer communication, the data is its fuel. No matter how you plan to use business text messaging, understanding customers is important to engage in relevant conversations.
Look for a software provider that integrates with your customer relationship management (CRM) tool to funnel in data to personalize and streamline communication. CRM data helps your business and staff quickly respond to inquiries by knowing which customers are in touch and their history with the brand.
As a result, responses are tailored to meet expectations and have an extra touch of personalization because your business text messaging service recognizes who’s on the other side of the conversation.
Hotels, for example, turn to a property management system (PMS) such as Amadeus Hospitality’s HotSOS to seamlessly direct inquiries received via text messaging to the appropriate departments and fulfill requests faster and more efficiently.
Text messaging is a direct, personal way to interact with customers, but you still need automation features and capabilities to keep up. Automation allows your business to easily process and reply to common questions and requests from customers without the need for an actual employee to respond.
In your search for a business text messaging service, you’ll want to choose a platform that offers automated responses using not only keywords but also intent. If you limit your automated responses to only keywords, customers might not get exactly what they expected. Intent, however, means that your business texting software utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to understand the context of a customer’s inquiry.
Overall, it’ll save your business and staff time from manually sending out messages that can and should be automated.
Ask each software provider that you’re considering to explain how their automation features and capabilities work so you can see the potential for your business in action. Be sure that AI is part of the platform you choose, too.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are nearly as popular as SMS and MMS messages in certain parts of the world. More than 1 billion users are active on each platform, so there’s no question that people love using internet-based messaging apps today. By allowing customers to do so, it expands your brand’s reach and engagement. The ability to integrate with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp is important because it allows your staff to manage all message-based conversations from SMS, MMS, and both third-party messaging apps in one place instead of struggling to jump between several platforms simultaneously.
Choose a partner, not a vendor. Client success-focused software providers help you through every step of the way. From initial setup to ongoing support, make sure the partner you choose for business texting will be there whenever you need them.
Pricing will most likely vary between every business texting software provider you talk to. The most important thing to uncover here is how they charge and if there are any hidden fees.
Business texting is typically priced based on text message volume and the number of users with access to the service with all features and capabilities included. But there are some software providers charging fees for add-on features and capabilities.
Make sure the software providers you talk to clearly explain their pricing structure — that way you’re not left with costly surprises every time you’re billed. Know whether you’re getting an all-in-one price at a fixed rate or if any variables may lead to a fluctuation in pricing.
Every business desires to grow — whether it’s opening new locations or entering new markets. The ability for a business text messaging service to scale with your company is important as you may outgrow other platforms and need to change to a more enterprise-friendly software provider.
Working with a software provider who’s experienced with larger companies in addition to startups suggests they can handle larger message volume with stable infrastructure in place.
Businesses often want to implement text messaging for customers but worry about breaking laws. In short, there are several ways to get permission from your customers to allow you to send them text messages.
Ask your customers to fill out a form, or use manual outreach during a phone call, email thread, or live chat.
While those are only a few ways to get customers to opt-in to text messages, an experienced software provider will offer a complete step-by-step guide for you to follow and enroll customers easily.
Knowing exactly what to look for in business texting software isn’t easy, but the questions to ask any software provider while you’re searching for the best solution should get you closer to the finish line. Instead of listening to empty promises, discuss the topics laid out above and make a software provider earn your business’ trust.
Medallia Concierge is a business texting service with more than 2,000 clients in healthcare, hospitality, dining, and other industries relying on text messaging to drive customer satisfaction and revenue growth. As a platform to service customers, optimize processes, and grow business, Medallia Concierge is ready to provide experiences that differentiate your brand from the competition.