Do you sometimes feel like businesses are cold and unapproachable? That's because a lot of the time, they are. Companies often send out robotic text messages that don't consider the human element. This can be off-putting for customers.
It's like some business leaders are proud of removing themselves from necessary interactions with other humans. And, you can bet that customers see the apparent disinterest these companies display for all the world to see.
Have you ever called a business's customer service line only to be put into an infuriating automated menu? You know, one of those annoying calls where you never get to talk to a real human being?
Or what about getting shunted over to a "help" forum where a company aims to provide answers without interacting with the customer? (And without giving another way to contact them.)
We've all been there, and consumers have had enough.
They want to feel like the companies with whom they do business care about them. But that's a hard sell when the company won't even talk with them as if they matter.
In this article, we will discuss 17 tips to help your business text like a human! By following these tips, you will create more meaningful and engaging interactions with your customers. And they'll thank you for it.
1. Start With Connection
Communicating with your target audience, whether those are people who want to buy your stuff or who align with your organization's social goals, isn't just about sounding more human than a robot.
It's about displaying uniquely human behaviors that show everyone that you're like them.
And why is that important?
Simply put, people purchase from those they know, like, and trust.
Consider the analogy renowned marketer, Jay Abraham, painted in an interview with Tom Ferry, a well-known real estate educator, "It means instead of helping people ‘buy a house' you're 'advising people to help them discover the mecca for their family's growth.'"
Do you see what's going on there? Those simply "selling a house" keep everything cold, distant, essentially surface level.
Those who dig deeper and communicate the value of the house by connecting it to the hopes, dreams, and desires of the customer on a uniquely human level are reaching those individuals at a significant, relevant place in their lives.
Of course, we're not suggesting that all your texting communications must be uber deep. Still, they have got to be more than automated sales pitches and coupon deliveries.
2. Personalize Your Texts
Sure, you can set up a rule with your bots to ensure that they always use customers' first names on your SMS subscription list. But dig deeper.
Texting is an intimate way to reach your customers. When you mass message or launch drip campaigns, you can easily customize each message to each subscriber's needs.
This is done by segmenting your subscription lists and using tags to tailor each subscriber's message with their name and a value proposition they care about.
Think of personalization as a way to create unique customer experiences, which is essential for building deeper relationships with your audience and getting them back through the door.
3. Send a Personal Message
How is this different from personalization? The fact is, you can personalize automated messages. You can ensure that your chatbots or group chat messages are personalized by using the first names in your subscription list.
We're talking about knocking off the automation entirely from time to time. In other words, you take the time to write out a message that means something to you personally, and you share it with your audience.
Of course, you still "personalize" that message. Hopefully, it means something to you and to those with whom you share it. The point is that it comes from an actual human, and it contains real significance.
4. Write the Way You Talk
All too often, businesses text their customers in a stilted, entirely unnatural fashion.
"Time is up! The sale is on! Don’t miss this deal!”
Notice that nobody talks like that. It sounds super salesy and perhaps even spammy. It doesn't identify who is sending the text and insults the reader.
If you want to be seen as a company that cares, be polite. Identify yourself. Cut out the hype and speak as you would to a friend.
5. Don't Use Texting Abbreviations
You might think that using abbreviations in your text messages might help your business sound more human. Well, it might. But, it can also make you sound unprofessional.
That's right - jargon and abbreviations may be acceptable when you're texting your friends, but they definitely don't belong in business communication.
Not only do they make you appear unprofessional, but they can also lead to misunderstandings. After all, how is your client supposed to know that "brb" means "be right back" if they're not familiar with the jargon?
So next time you type out a quick business text, take a moment to check for any jargon or abbreviations. It'll make a major difference in how your customers perceive you.
6. What About Using Emojis?
This next one is trickier than a hard and fast rule to ban text abbreviations from your SMS marketing practices. That's because emojis have become a great way to add personality to texts.
A good rule to live by is to avoid emojis altogether if it's a serious conversation. Just as you wouldn't laugh at a funeral, it's inappropriate to use emojis — which tend to be fun and light-hearted — when delivering bad news.
Some emojis (like the woozy face 🥴 ) have dual meanings that others may get the wrong idea after seeing. So before you add an emoji to your text message, consider if using one sends the right message.
With that said, for more casual exchanges, emojis can be an effective way to humanize your brand and lighten up your tone of voice. Just use them wisely!
7. Less is More
In business, less is sometimes more.
Remember the part about texting as you would to a friend? Would you obnoxiously bombard your friend with texts all day and night? Probably not.
Frequently, as business owners, we feel like we have to tell our customers all of the reasons why our product or service is the best thing since sliced bread. And sometimes, we think the customer won't "get it" unless we're beating them over the head with our messaging.
However, the truth is that you can make a more significant impact and create a better impression by only texting when it's truly relevant. When you do, give clear, easily digested nuggets of value that the receiver cares about.
This way, you'll not only respect your subscribers' time, but you'll also help develop a rapport that encourages long-term loyalty.
8. Watch the Time
Speaking of respecting your subscribers' time, speed is essential when it comes to customer service and a myriad of other business functions and services. No one wants to wait around for a response, and text can help you deliver the speed your customers crave.
Sending out a quick, personalized response lets customers know that you are on top of their issues and helps keep them from getting frustrated about wait times.
Face it, being snappy when it comes to response time can keep customers happy and coming back for more.
9. Provide Options
The importance of providing customers choices can't be understated. In real life, you have multiple ways to deal with a situation, so offer your audience the same opportunity and let them choose through text how they want to do things. You show that you appreciate your customers' time and preferences by offering choices. And that's always a good thing.
10. Get Feedback from Your Customers
It can be as easy as asking, "How do you feel our customer service is doing?" However, it can get a lot more in-depth than that. It all goes back to the human element of texting. You put a human touch to your business by showing that you care what your customers think of your products and services.
Think about it. In today's business climate, customers are more vocal than ever before. They're quick to post a positive review on Twitter or Facebook, but they're also quick to post a negative review if they're unhappy with your product or service.
As a business owner, it's vital that you listen to your customers and address their concerns.
One way to do this is to send out a text message with a survey. (It by no means is the only way.) Whatever method you choose to get feedback from your customers, it will show them that you're interested in their opinion and that you're willing to make changes based on what they have to say.
11. Take the Initiative
When you're reaching out to your customers, it's essential to strike the right balance between helpful and intrusive. No one likes to be constantly hounded by a well-meaning but ultimately annoying business representative.
At the same time, though, customers appreciate getting a heads up on relevant offerings, customer service responses, and just knowing that someone is there to help if they need it.
The best way to strike this balance is to take the initiative with a friendly offer of help, but make sure to give customers a chance to opt out if they don't want or need assistance. This way, you come across as caring and responsive without crossing the line between annoying and overbearing.
12. Don't Make Customers Repeat Themselves
Remember which customers are which. One of the things customers can't stand about service phone calls is repeating their problems.
Luckily, text eliminates the need for having to repeat something because there is a written record. Reviewing and incorporating data from previous interactions shows customers you've been paying attention to them.
By keeping track of customer interactions, you can provide a more personalized experience that will keep them coming back. So next time you're on the phone with a customer, be sure to take advantage of the written record and eliminate the need for them to repeat themselves.
13. Make Yourself Available
Sending a text is often the quickest and most convenient way to communicate, which is why SMS text messaging has become such a popular business communications tool.
Chat bots, for example, allow companies to respond to customers any time of day without the need for live agents. However, you can't always resolve complex issues through automated text.
For those times, it's important to make sure your customers know when you are available to chat and make sure they have the ability to speak with a real person.
If no one is available, program a quick response so they won't be left hanging.
14. Ensure Your Entire Team Is Integrated
This might sound weird, but your team's internal communications can directly impact communications, including texts, between you and your customers.
For instance, if the information you collect from your customers is scattered across different departments (which don't readily share data between them), that data can be hard to utilize correctly.
It's a best practice then to ensure there is a central, CRM database where all customer information is stored.
That way, you can draw on any of their past data to solve a problem. Having all the information in one place also makes it easier to track customer trends and spot potential problems before they become a full-blown crisis.
So save yourself some headaches down the road and create a central customer database today.
15. Set Clear Expectations
In today's age of constant connectivity, it's essential to be responsive to your clients, even outside of business hours. If you're busy when you get a text or receive a message, you can send auto-reply texts to help inform clients when they can anticipate a response.
If your company responds the next business day, let them know. If you say you're going to do something, do it. It's easy to say you'll have an answer for someone soon, and that reply slips through the cracks.
Make sure to leave your messages "unread" until you're ready to respond and follow up before your promised response time ends.
By being responsive and following through on your promises, you'll build trust with your clients and show that you're truly invested in providing them with the best possible service.
16. Transition Difficult Conversations Elsewhere
This one goes back to talking to a real person. Want to make sure you lose a customer? Ensure that their frustrating issue is handled exclusively by an automated text or pre-made chatbot conversation.
If you've been in a conflict with a friend or loved one at any point in your life, you know how easy miscommunication can happen over text messaging, phone calls, and even in person.
When you're having a complicated conversation, it's best to move it to another channel. Phone calls and face-to-face meetings (virtual or in-person) are better for lengthy, difficult discussions. This is because phone calls allow for the tone of voice and body language to be communicated.
Face-to-face meetings also allow for immediate clarification if miscommunication does occur. If you're having a complex or emotional discussion, opt for a phone call or meeting instead of text messaging to help prevent misunderstandings.
17. Be Graceful When Ending a Conversation
As the old adage goes, it's not just about what you say, but how you say it. The same is true for text messages. How you start the conversation is important, but it's just as important to end positively.
Thank your customers for reaching out and let them know that you appreciate their business. A simple "Thank you for reaching out to us and have a delightful day" is a great way to end the conversation on a high note.
Remember, always be empathic and helpful towards your clients. That's what all great businesses thrive on - so make the experience with your customers a delightful one!
It's a simple truth: customers will keep coming back if they feel like they've had a good experience. So how can you enrich your relationship with customers and make sure they have a positive interaction with your business?
There is a time and a place for automation, but don't leave everything to it. Be actively involved in your business communications.
Give your customers the means to follow up with you if they need to, or send a personalized thank-you note after making a purchase. There's something to be said for that human touch.
It'll show your customers that you care about their satisfaction and are grateful for their business. That kind of personal attention is bound to make a lasting impression.