Most small businesses are unaware of the power of a simple text messaging reminder. While you may know the convenience and simplicity of texting in your personal lives, you may not have seriously considered its potential to grow your business.
An SMS remains one of the easiest forms of communication. It doesn’t take any effort or expertise to read one and it takes a matter of seconds. For those who don’t follow tech trends, and others without advanced smartphones, it is the most common mode of communication.
But for text messaging reminders to be effective, they should be customised to the needs of the business. Knowing the possibilities in your category will help you make the most of it. To make it easy, here’s a guide to using text messaging reminders according to their functionalities:
It’s human to forget. Even if someone loves your independent business and has been supporting it for years, they may forget their next appointment. That’d leave you unoccupied for that particular slot and affect your revenue.
Even if they remember their appointment but arrive late, it could create problems. Other customers will have to wait longer, which will affect their perception of your business. So, text messaging reminders are an excellent productivity tool for small businesses.
If you run any of the following businesses, you should be using SMS to remind your customers of their appointments.
Hairdressers, nail salons and spas: To remind people not just of their appointment but also the specific service they have requested.
Veterinary services: An overcrowded vet’s reception can be a scene of chaos, so these messages should be sent with clear instructions, including date and time.
GP surgeries: To remind people of the date and time and also to convey any other additional information about diets, medication, safety precautions etc.
Restaurants: To remind people of their reservation and inform them of any health and safety protocol that’s in place.
SMS is one of the most effective ways to ask people to leave online reviews of your small business. Reminders can help you get more reviews, which will go a long way in building your online reputation.
No matter what category you operate in, you should be diligent about sending text messaging reminders for online reviews.
Experience-based businesses: These include restaurants and cafes where the review will be about the product as a whole. That includes the ambience, decor, hygiene, quality of service etc. Here the request should focus on the customer’s last visit.
Service businesses: These would be hairdressers, salons, spas, vets, plumbers, utility repairs, auto and bike repairs, for example. In these cases, the request should be about the service you delivered that would also include factors such as whether it was on time, whether you communicated all the issues and whether it was within budget.
Product-based businesses: These are for businesses like boutiques, groceries, butchers, antique dealers, or any other kind where you sell a product. You’ll have to remember that although the request might be about the quality of the product, the customer will also judge you based on other aspects of the process, such as packaging and delivery.
A proven method to increase interest in your small business is to hold events. These can be as low-key as discounted sales or more elaborate like a relaunch. If you are in any of these categories, you could use text messaging reminders to get your customers excited about your event.
Shops: You could use reminders to inform people about annual sales events or special weekend sales. You could also let people know about sales in a particular product range or any limited-time offers.
Bars: These could be reminders about happy hours, or discounted sales during typically quieter periods. They can also be used to inform patrons of live performances, karaoke nights and pub quizzes.
Hotels: Other than special sales, hotels could use reminders to communicate any special conference, or concert happening at their venue. They can also send reminders on safety protocols that they have taken during the pandemic and beyond.
Reopening: Text messaging reminders are an effective tool for businesses reopening their services. Along with talking about any hygiene measures and safety guidelines, businesses can thank customers for their patronage and request them to support them during challenging times. This will also have the added bonus of helping to humanise the business.
Business growth happens when you step beyond the obvious. Expanding the use of text messaging reminders beyond the obvious need is how small businesses can inform and influence their customers. If done well, it’ll also help businesses to create lasting relationships with their patrons.
Wondering how to word that text message reminder asking for a review? Here are 17 templates you can use, in a variety of voices and styles.