It’s 2020—is your brand texting with customers yet?

by | Jan 9, 2020 | Public Relations

Consumers these days prefer companies that offer text messaging as a communication channel, according to new research from B2C comms firm Avochato. In fact, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents would switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel.

Interactive messaging and immediate communication are desired, but the vast majority of consumers (92 percent) expect to wait 5 minutes or more on hold before they speak to a real person, according to the firm’s new survey of 1,000 U.S. adults with smartphones. A majority of respondents (90 percent) would prefer to speak with an employee of a company when they have questions, rather than reaching an automated bot or answering service.

Accessibility and communication mean higher returns and greater customer satisfaction for companies

Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents are more likely to purchase from a shopping site communicating with them about their products in real-time, with a real employee, via chat messaging. In fact, they are so enticed by these services that they would even recommend their friends switch to the site (63 percent).

Similar trends were found across all four industries surveyed—respondents would rather schedule their hair care appointments via text (60 percent) and use a financial service that communicated about accounts, bills and payment reminders (65 percent) and over half (60 percent) would switch to brands that offered those services. Consumers would rather book their travel with a company that communicated travel plans, reminders and updates via text message (72 percent) and would switch from the travel company they use to one that offers these services (69 percent). In all four use cases, well over half (61 percent) of respondents said they would recommend their friends switch to these companies as well.

Customers are choosing messaging for their communication needs, more than all other formats

Just over 70 percent of respondents would prefer a vacation rental manager texted them with updates and instructions instead of calling, and three quarters (75 percent) felt the same about a rideshare service texting rather than calling when they arrived to pick them up.

Three quarters (75 percent) of respondents said they find it helpful to receive texts for appointment reminders. Other helpful texts include banking alerts (45 percent), travel updates (39 percent), deals and promotions (39 percent) and food delivery updates (36 percent).

Consumers expect personal communication from the companies they are doing business with, yet with scam calls becoming more prevalent than ever, over three-fourths of respondents don’t answer phone calls from anonymous numbers. As younger generations continue to move away from email, it’s never been harder for companies to effectively reach their customers.

So how can businesses communicate with their prospective clients and current customers, without getting lost in voicemail boxes and unopened emails?

The survey showed that across all generations over two thirds (69 percent) of respondents would prefer an unfamiliar company to contact them via text rather than a phone call. Unsurprisingly, younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z) more often prefer texting over voice and other forms of communication. In some cases, Gen Z eclipsed Baby Boomers by 20 percent in preferring text over all other forms of communication.

It’s 2020—is your brand texting with customers yet?

Other interesting stats Include:

  • A majority (85 percent) of respondents keep their phones within arm’s reach a majority of the time
    • In fact, 38 percent of Millennial respondents always have their phone within arm’s reach
  • Respondents found text message notifications helpful for appointment reminders (76 percent)
  • Over half of respondents (61 percent) get uncomfortable when their phone isn’t near them

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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