How to make your transactional SMS stand out from the crowd!

On: Jul 2, 2014    In: Tips & Best Practices

Many brands are learning that transactional communications are far more likely to resonate with an audience that plain old marketing messages. However, how should you be using your transactional comms as a way to market to or potential sell to your customers, as well as to improve customer experience?

The transactional SMS probably accounts for more than half for A2P messaging. Brands all over the world see the benefits of letting a customer know the progress, success, failure and status of their purchases. There are all sorts of examples, including;

  • Updates for deliveries for click and collect
  • Notification that your pizza is on its way to you
  • Information about the delivery driver bringing your grocery shopping
  • Reminders for appointments

These types of messages have traditionally been one-way, not generally allowing the recipient to respond to or engage with the message. However, there are a few ways (without increasing your workload) to give your customers more in your SMS.

Allow responses to rearrange, alter or update an order

Where a user is required to take action, for example attend an appointment, collect their delivery or accept an order, they need to be available to do so. Life can often get in the way and as such things are missed, forgotten or ignored. Why not make your customers life easier?

Simply include a keyword in your message for a user to reply with to change the time or date. For example;

“Hi John, your package has been waiting for collection at the shop for 7 days. If you want us to keep it for another week, reply KEEP to 60006.”

This way, you save time and expense and the recipient’s overall experience of your brand is improved.

Include an offer for loyal customers

This is a great way to keep customers coming back for more when they purchase regularly. Adding in a little treat for your customers, like a little loyalty scheme will put your brand at the forefront of their minds when they next look to purchase.

For example, something along the lines of;

“Hi Lyndsey, thanks for your order #1234 to check its status visit http://bra.nd/wert1. As a thank you for choosing us, here’s 20% of your next purchase. Just use code 4567 at the checkout.”

Keep the updates coming

Once your customer has booked or ordered with you, there are multiple occasions at which you can connect with them. In any normal marketing situation it would be unable to communicate at every one of these stages, however, when the customer is awaiting delivery of a product or service, they will want to receive your updates. So keep them going!

An easy example for this one is a pizza delivery. Many fast food delivery companies offer the “pizza tracker” where the preparation status of the pizza is displayed in the app on the website, live while you watch. There’s no reason this couldn’t be communicated to the user. For example;

SMS #1

“Hi Matt, thanks for your order, your pizza is on its way! Steve is putting the cheese on now.”

SMS #2

“Phew! We’ve just got your pizza out of the oven. It looks great. Hope you are hungry, Matt?”

SMS #3

“The pizza has left the building! Prepare yourself…as we like you, here’s a £5 voucher for next week. See here for more info

The pizza ordering process is enjoyable for the customer as it is, so why not enhance that experience with a little extra. These extra communications also give you a chance to offer extra goodies, or vouchers for money off.

Use those URLs

As you may have noticed, the above couple of examples include shortened URLs. Using tracked URLs in your SMS allows additional tracking and analytics of the campaigns. If we take the last example of a money off voucher for pizza, we can suggest the following:

The URL should take the user to a landing page or PDF where they can view more information on the offer and get their code to redeem. Their click through is then individually recorded as a lead in the Dynmark portal for you to follow up on.

The action of clicking through can also be forwarded to a third party system to trigger a business workflow, so this time it could trigger another SMS or email with details about the offer, or update their record in your CRM.

All Dynmark’s URLs can be customised either with a prefix on our URL, for example; or completely, by purchasing your own custom domain, as we have shown above. Following the domain we use unique identifiers to allow us to track each recipient’s interactions individually.

A few points to remember

When you are communicating with your customers, for whatever purpose, don’t forget to make sure you are adding value, improving the experience and delighting your customers.

Don’t pepper people with messages, but at the same time, use SMS as a way to share useful information and updates as much as you need to.

Also, remember that any opportunity to communicate is also a chance to sell, you can use your transactional messages to promote alternate products or offers to your customers.

Finally, be personal. In all the above examples, the message is personal and relevant to the recipient. Use all the data available to you to make sure your message is as targeted as possible.

10 Best Practices for SMS in the Retail Industry