Thursday, January 1, 2015

Many businesses have difficulty connecting with customers and prospects due to their reliance on traditional communication and marketing channels. In today’s emerging technological landscape, however, financial services companies are finding ways to take advantage of mobile technologies to enhance their relationships with customers, particularly through the use of SMS texting. There are four main advantages to SMS for financial service professionals: broad connection, payment reminders, increased ROI, and brand loyalty.

A Broader Connection

SMS provides a way for banks and insurers to reach their customers via mass communication. Because over 90% of U.S. adults own a mobile phone and 75% of these owners send and receive text messages, SMS texting has become a robust communication method across the board. Furthermore, 95% of all text messages are opened and read within 15 minutes of receipt. Compare that to a measly 10% of all emails. Finally, SMS texts are not going anywhere: around 95% of youths between ages 18 and 29 use text messages frequently. There’s no better way to reach a broad range of clients quickly and affordably.

Payment Reminders

SMS text messaging can be used to remind customers of upcoming payments or payments that are past due. When attempting to collect, the old fashioned accounts receivable methods include sending out letter or email, making phone calls, and hoping that customers will answer. As with the email statistic mentioned above, these correspondence channels don’t always prove fruitful: letters get shifted into the junk pile and forgotten about, calls from unknown numbers are ignored, and due dates are often overlooked. With SMS text messages, customers can be alerted immediately when their bills are due, and links can be provided within the text message for electronic payment options – a very convenient and non-invasive payment reminder for the customer.

Increased ROI

Let’s face it, compared with other means of contacting customers, text messages are relatively cheap. The technology is easy to implement, and it requires little or no training for salespeople and end users. Moreover, the average SMS user continues to use SMS services for future transactions, thereby revolving their balances and generating more income for the financial service provider. Sending out communications by SMS text is significantly more affordable than other marketing channels, and hence makes for greater ROI potential.

Brand Loyalty

Last but not least, SMS marketing is a great opportunity for businesses to increase their loyalty with customers. Text notifications can be used to inform customers of financial news, interest rate changes, new opportunities, policy changes, and helpful financial tips. Also, customers can be notified of suspicious transactions by text. And because these notifications are useful and personal to customers, they are more likely to respond to targeted promotions in the future. Creating VIP programs whereby customers on a text list receive freebies and promotions is a great way of building loyalty.

SMS text messaging has grown into one of the most useful tools for financial industry professionals. Consider your financial services marketing and communications strategies, and how SMS text messaging can fit into your customer relationship toolbox.