When it comes to texting, there’s an interesting dynamic: while we constantly text our friends, relatives, and co-workers back and forth, we never send text messages to businesses. In recent years text message marketing has become popular so businesses are texting us, but we’re not texting back. And even if we did, there wouldn’t be a human on the other end to read it and respond. About the only two-way texting that bulk SMS marketing platforms handle are one-word or one-number responses like “STOP” for opting out or a number between one and ten for the purposes of SMS-based surveys. There’s a disconnect here between what people want and what businesses are offering because people love texting. We now spend more time texting than speaking on the phone and many would prefer to be able to resolve a complaint via text instead of having to speak with a customer service representative over the phone. Well the airline industry--one not known for it’s great customer service track record--is looking to change that with two-way SMS customer service.


How it works


Airlines have long used one-way SMS to conveniently inform customers of gate chances, flight status changes, etc… but if you need any follow up information or if you want to log a complaint or to try and get some flyer miles for your trouble, you’ll have to call their customer service line. Currently, two airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue, are investing in a software upstart that will add SMS capabilities to their customer service centers. What this means is that customers can either choose to call or reply to a text sent by the airline. One team of customer service agents can handle inbound calls while the other can read and respond to texts. Since the team that’s texting can balance several conversations at once--they can respond to one text while another person is formulating a response to another text--it can free up resources for the inbound call time, reducing wait times for those who prefer to call and overall improving the customer service experience.


Better for customers and companies


Adding SMS to customer service teams makes sense all around. For customers, just having the option to text instead of call makes the entire experience easier. When a customer calls and is put on hold, they have to navigate a convoluted system of options and responses to try and get connected to the right person. Often, they will still need to wait on hold until a person can assist them which means walking around awkwardly with the phone pressed against their ear or putting the phone on speaker and staying within a few feet of it for however long it takes. With SMS, they can send a text and go about their day and their phone will alert them when the company has responded. Then can text back at their convenience and continue about their day again until they get another response.


Because of the immediacy of texts, customers have an outlet to vent frustrations that doesn’t require them to wait. It’s during the waiting that many customers turn to Social Media to air dirty laundry and damage a company’s image online. SMS customer service can help reduce this.


What about chatbots?


Two-way customer service and chatbots go perfectly hand-in-hand and while there aren’t any airlines investing in chatbots yet, it’s a natural extension to their plan of two-way SMS. Chatbots can further free up the resource of human customer service agents by automating some of the texting back and forth. Through machine learning and natural language processing, a chatbot can determine the nature of the person’s complain, pull up pertinent account info and route the customer to a live agent who can continue the texting conversation from there.


Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com


Source: bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-10/furious-about-delays-and-lost-luggage-text-your-airline

Design your blog - select from dozens of ready-made templates or make your own; simply “point & click” - click here!

Likes

Comments

Chatbots are the latest craze in the world of mobile and artificial intelligence but they’re new enough that many people still know very little about them and some have never even heard of chatbots. Here are some answers to some of the frequently asked questions about chatbots.


What are chatbots?


As you might be able to guess just from the name, chatbots are bots, or more accurately, computer programs, that are programmed to “chat.” Chatbots communicate by sending and receiving texts either through SMS or social media messaging services or other internet-based messaging platforms.


What’s the point of chatbots?


There are many implications of this technology, many of which we haven’t even thought of yet but one of the most common and practical applications which we’re already seeing is the use of chatbots by businesses to automate various business-related processes such as customer service. For instance, instead of waiting on hold to speak to a live customer service agent, a customer can initiate a conversation with the company’s chatbot who will try to resolve their issue or at least, ask a few preliminary questions to pull up that customer’s info and direct them to a chat with the appropriate live agent who can assist them. Chatbots can also be used as digital personal assistants to coordinate schedules and meetings between employees. Other chatbots help people shop, book travel or lodging, or check the weather.


How are chatbots developed?


Chatbots can range from the very simple to the extraordinarily complex depending on how much time and money they want to put into programming it. On the simpler side, chatbots are programmed to handle only a specific set of related tasks. Based on keywords and some basic natural language processing, they can be quite accurate at figuring out what a person is asking and choose from a bank of predetermined responses the one that is appropriate based on what is being asked. For people communicating with these kinds of chatbots, it’s pretty obvious that it’s a computer program and not a person. These chatbots are typically designed for industries that have very structured processes like healthcare and financial institutions. More advanced chatbots, on the other hand, are programmed with cutting edge artificial intelligence research. Using more advanced natural language processing, machine learning, and complex decision trees, these chatbots can more realistically simulate human conversation and can even fool humans into thinking they’re speaking with a real person. The latter kind of chatbots is where the most exciting implications of chatbot technology can be found.


How will chatbots continue to develop in the future


No one can say for sure, but one thing is certain: as more advanced chatbots become less expensive and more practical to deploy, they’re going to drastically change the way that consumers and companies interact with each other by becoming a realistic alternative to more human-centric industries like customer service.


Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com


Source: forbes.com/sites/laurencebradford/2017/07/24/how-chatbots-are-about-to-change-communication#1157a48e4aa8

Likes

Comments


Currently, there is no marketing channel that can compete with SMS when it comes to the percentage of target audience reached. When you send a text message to a database of customers who’ve opted in, approximately 98% will open that message--most within just a minute or two. Email open rates are about 20% and who knows how many print mailers go straight to the trash can unopened?


But some marketing experts believe that open rates for promotional text messages are going to begin dropping. The same thing happened to email when consumers started getting too much junk in their inbox. The truth is, each year more and more businesses are sending texts to customers and as a result, businesses are going to have to do more to stand out. If you make sure that your text messages have the following five qualities, odds are your messages will stand out.


Conciseness


The beauty of SMS is that messages are short and direct. The channel is designed for this but so many businesses try to do too much with the texts they send. Every text message needs to have a clear aim behind it and the message should be worded such that the absolute fewest number of words needed to convey that message are used. Smartphone users have a very short attention span when it comes to how they use their phone. If a text looks like too big a chunk of text, there’s a much higher chance it goes unread.


Direct call to action


Going along with this idea of conciseness, a well-crafted text message will be very direct about telling people exactly what it is they need to do. Calls to action like “click on this link” or “like our Facebook page to…” are great because they don’t leave it up to the customer to figure out what they’re supposed to do. You’ll see better click-through rates on links and redemption rates on mobile coupons if you’re directly telling customers what they should do.


Exclusive


A customer giving you permission to reach them directly on their personal cell phone number via text is a big deal. They won’t do that for just any business. In return, the special offers, news, or other content you send them shouldn’t be out there for everybody either. Customers like to feel special, they like knowing that by subscribing to receive your texts, they’re getting something non-subscribers aren’t. If you make the same deals available to anyone, people will opt-out as they realize that receiving your texts doesn’t offer them any additional value they can’t already get elsewhere.


Personal


Some bulk SMS marketing solutions will allow you to auto-fill the customer’s first name at the beginning of text messages to make the message more personal. Depending on the nature of your business and the products and/or services it offers, you may also want to create various subcategories within your phone number database so that you’re only sending relevant messages to the people who’ve opted-in. If you can get customers to reveal certain information about themselves through surveys or other means, you can use this info to sort customers into these subcategories.


Interactive


Most important of all, a good SMS campaign is interactive. All of the communication shouldn’t be one way. Advances in artificial intelligence have allowed business to develop chatbots which customers can ask questions of. Deploying a chatbot for SMS is a great way to add some interactivity since customers can now text back and forth with your business. Another great way to add interactivity is through included hyperlinks, contests and sweepstakes, and customer feedback surveys.


Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com


Source: bizcommunity.com/Article/196/78/164000.html

Likes

Comments

Though chatbots have been growing in popularity in recent years, they are still somewhat limited in their capabilities. One of the things holding them back is the difficulty in programming chatbots with advanced machine learning and natural language processing that would enable them to communicate in a way that more closely resembles human speech. One of the reasons chatbot users cite for being dissatisfied is that chatbots often get stuck and need to be bailed out by live customer service agents.


Facebook hopes to address these issues by developing chatbot programs that can negotiate and reach compromises that are satisfactory to both customers and the company the chatbot represents.


The project


Facebook’s artificial intelligence branch, FAIR (Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research), are working on a project that creates an open-source code that any company could use to make their chatbots that operate on Facebook messenger better negotiators. In order to facilitate the necessary machine learning for the project, Facebook collected transcripts of thousands of negotiations between real people and then fed them into the program so that their chatbots, or “dialog agents” as Facebook refers to them, could then discern patterns of speech that led to effective outcome during negotiations. They further developed the accuracy of dialog agents by having them enter into negotiations with each other and taking note of what led to successful outcomes and what did not.


Finally they tested the dialog agents in conversations with real people. In these experiments conducted by FAIR, the majority of people didn’t even realize there were chatting with a bot and not a human. Their best dialog agent was found to be as effective as human negotiators achieving a better deal about 50% of the time.


Implications


The majority of today’s chatbots are rather limited only responding to simple questions or helping people perform relatively simple tasks. FAIR’s work on developing chatbots that can effectively negotiate in a way that’s indiscernible from human speech is a powerful first step towards the ability to develop more advanced chatbots. As machine learning and natural language processing research advances, we could eventually see chatbots that can effectively handle increasingly complex issues for customers. This will free up human resources and lessen wait times for customer service issues that can’t be handled by bots. For the time-being, chatbots will continue fielding the easy questions and routing the harder issues to live agents but that could change soon.


Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com


Source: mobilemarketingmagazine.com/facebook-artificial-intelligence-research-ai-chatbots


Likes

Comments

Major tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook have been working for several years to infuse artificial intelligence into their devices and platforms. This allows users to communicate with their devices which in turn can infer meaning and “speak” in a way that replicates human speech. These are called chatbots and they’re not some fad here now and gone tomorrow. Chatbots are the future of customer-business interactions.

The implications of chatbots

Chatbots are digital entities programmed to communicate with people and automate various tasks and processes that we would usually have to do ourselves. For instance, if you’re hungry and in the mood for pizza, you could ask a chatbot to place an order for you. You could also make dinner reservations, book a flight, get a weather update, or reschedule a dentist’s appointment. What makes chatbots so exciting is that they’re getting smarter and more accurate. They use machine learning and natural language processing to infer what users are asking them to do. They’re also gaining the ability to cross platforms more effectively which means they can communicate with other apps to find information and/or complete requests.

Chatbots and customer service

Another popular use for chatbots is responding to and resolving customers’ problems. Many businesses are seeing the value of having chatbots on social media platforms since it frees up their call center associates to work on only the most difficult situations. Customers experiencing a problem or customers that have a question can communicate with a chatbot instead of waiting on hold to speak with a human. Customers can pose their question or explain their problem and chatbots will provide the appropriate response or guidance or transfer the person to the appropriate customer service agent.

The value of chatbots

Chatbots will never lose their temper with customers. They also learn from each customer-interaction which means they are always drawing from an ever-growing database of information to better assist customers. Though their ability to understand verbal speech is not yet on a level with human customer service representatives, their ability to immediately access vast stores of information is unparalleled. Chatbots will also provide businesses with insights into their customers since they track behavior and interactions. This will enable businesses to offer customers a more personalized experience.

Furthermore, chatbots are available 24/7, highly flexible, and inexpensive to develop. They free up human resources and increase productivity and they provide a fun and interesting way for customers to engage with brands.

Chatbots and the future

As machine learning and other AI tools become more advanced and as older generations give way to younger ones, the popularity of chatbots and their usefulness to businesses of all sizes is only going to grow. The day will come when chatbots will be playing an integral part of our day-to-day lives and virtually every business will be employing them.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: business2community.com/customer-experience/chatbots-next-big-thing-customer-engagement-01846855#

Likes

Comments

SMS marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, but only when you’re using it in the right ways. One strategy for using SMS marketing more effectively is to offer variety in the types of messages you’re sending. In this aspect, you can learn a lot about SMS marketing from direct mail marketing strategies. Here are three direct-mail techniques that apply equally well to SMS marketing


1. Offers that motivate

The most effective direct mailers resonate with customers. These are the ones most likely to motivate customers to act on them. There are a few qualities that a motivating message will have:

    • Personalized. Customers should feel like the message was directed straight at them even if it was sent to thousands
    • Exclusive. Recipients should feel pampered—like they’re getting special treatment that other customers don’t get. You can accomplish this by making certain offers exclusive only to those who’ve opted in to receive your texts
    • A clear call to action. Don’t leave it up to the customers to realize what you want them to do, come right out and tell them.


2. Appointment reminders

Every missed appointment is a missed opportunity for a sale. It’s also lost productivity. For years, companies have been using direct mail to send appointment reminders. Studies show that a simple appointment reminder can reduce no-shows by about 35%. SMS is an especially effective channel for appointment reminders since it’s immediately received once sent and much more likely to be read. Not only will appointment reminders improve productivity and increase profits, it can be a great lead-in to getting customers to opt-in for promotional text messages as well.


3. Coupons

Coupons are the oldest marketing trick in the book but they’re still the most popular because they work. In 2015 alone, American consumers redeemed a total of 2.5 billion print coupons in stores. Approximately 87% of Americans report using print coupons that they receive in the mail. The numbers for SMS coupons are even more startling because they’re more immediate. While the average direct mail coupon is held for 17 days before being redeemed, SMS coupons are more likely to be used within the first few days. Though you might assume coupons are old-fashioned, they’re still a powerful marketing tool especially when combined with newer marketing channels like SMS.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: business2community.com/digital-marketing/3-things-can-learn-text-message-marketing-01813543#pfSpQi7qkk1VdsRy.97

Likes

Comments


SMS messaging is a powerful means to spread your marketing message to the masses. Millions of people have cell phones and use text messaging as a means to communicate. In fact, Forbes reported in 2013 that more people had cell phones that toilets. So if you are trying to decide between marketing through SMS messages or through bathroom reading material, you can be assured that marketing through SMS messaging will reach a whole lot more people.

We know that SMS messages are a powerful means to market to people. You can get marketing material in people’s hands within seconds or minutes that the message has been sent. But what kind of messages will be most impactful to those receiving your messages? To know what to send, we should understand how people like to message others.

Texting with Emojis

According to a report from Appboy, a customer relationship suite for marketers, the use of emojis is rapidly increasing in a variety of mediums. They also reported that people and brands use different types of emojis. For example, when people send messages back and forth, face emojis are the most frequently used. Emojis are used by people as a means of self-expression and to express their emotions. But no matter what emoji is used, the point is that people are using emojis. Despite the brevity that text messages already allow, emojis make messaging even more simple. When some texts a friend a joke, the friend can respond and say, “haha, that is so funny,” or they can simply respond with a laughing face emoji. Or if someone wants to show agreement to a message they received, they can write a message back or they can simply send an emoji of a thumbs up.

How Companies Use Emojis

Brands use emojis more to gain attention or to evoke an emotion. Companies want emojis to catch the eye of the receiver in their marketing messages. It is significantly easier to get a message across to someone if you have their attention. So are emojis a good way to catch people’s attention?

Since people use emojis within their own texts, companies have the opportunity to use the growing fad to their advantage. And companies are. Use of emojis in marketing messages has grown 20% a month, on average, this year alone.

Best Practices for SMS Message Marketing and Emojis

There is no harm in throwing an eye-catching emoji in your SMS message market campaigns. But if you do, there are ways to work them to your advantage.

Pair your company and brand with a correlating emoji. If you sell ice cream, make use of an ice cream emoji. For example, Domino's Pizza used this idea to run a pretty successful Twitter campaign: they invited customers to order something by tweeting the relevant emoji. Use emojis that will make the most sense to your marketing campaign.

Most of all, make sure you know your audience so you know what messages to send and which emojis to use. Younger people might appreciate emojis more than older people will. Make sure the emojis you use match the audience and the message that you want to send.

People are using emojis in their various means of messaging. Companies have the opportunity to personalize their marketing messages and catch the attention of their readers if they use emojis that relate to their audience and to their message.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Sources: forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/03/23/more-people-have-mobile-phones-than-toilets/#589123565699

appboy.com/blog/emojis-used-in-777-more-campaigns/

marketingprofs.com/charts/2016/29617/the-emojis-used-most-by-brands-in-marketing-messages

socialmediatoday.com/marketing/marketing-emojis-8-dos-and-donts

Likes

Comments


If you are wondering about whether SMS messaging is an effective marketing approach, you need to consider where you audience is and what they are paying attention to. If you go anywhere and stop to just look around or watch people, what do you see? People on their cell phones. Which means people are sending and receiving text messages.

People are constantly bombarded with marketing campaigns. When you walk through the mall, you see big signs for clothing sales, new products, and delicious food. Some of those signs might be bordered with neon lights or bright colors. But where are people really looking? They are looking at their phones. Whether they are walking through the mall and simultaneously pulling up a coupon from on online ad or they are comparing prices at another store, people are constantly on their phones. Reaching people on their phones might be the most powerful and effective approach to get people’s attention and market your campaign.

Reaching your Audience through SMS Messaging

SMS messages are short and powerful messages that can be sent directly to a customer or a potential customer. The reach of SMS messages is endless. People can read SMS messages while walking down the street. They can read SMS messages while on the bus, or on a train, or on a boat. You might even reach them while they are driving a car (though for safety’s sake, we hope you cannot reach them then). You can reach people in the most private situations: while they are lying in bed, while they are eating a midnight snack, or even while they are sitting on the toilet. People read texts more often then they read the weekly ad or an email or a social media post. So if you are still wondering if you should market through SMS messages, consider the people you can reach at any moment of the day wherever they happen to be.

The Limitations of SMS Messaging Marketing

While marketing through SMS messaging is effective, there are limitations that should be realized. For example, federal regulations require that people opt in to receive marketing messages before a company can send them any messages. Do not make the mistake of sending messages to people who have not officially opted in to receive text messages. There is a hefty fine for anyone who breaks the regulations defined under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In fact, Papa Johns and Clickatell Inc. are both facing lawsuits by consumers who claim they received text messages before they opted in or after they opted out. So if you do decide to reach your audience through SMS messages, make sure you know and understand the regulations.

Once you understand the limitations of SMS messaging, you can design an effective marketing campaign. SMS messaging limitations should not stop you from marketing via text messaging. If you have any concerns about the worth of SMS messaging marketing, remember that billions of text messages are sent, received, and read every day and that a global audience is in your hands since you are sending messages directly to the devices that are in people’s hands.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Likes

Comments


SMS messaging is the current standard when it comes to sending messages through your phone carrier. Simple text, image, and video messages can be easily shared with anyone in your phone’s contact list. But as technology advances, our desire for improved messaging also increases, and fortunately for use, messaging is starting to get a whole lot better.

From SMS Messaging to RCS Messaging

SMS messaging, or text messaging, uses communication protocols to allow mobile devices to exchange short text messages. Some basic messaging also allows for sending small media files such as images, audio clips, and videos.

Mobile messaging is starting to adapt Rich Communication Messaging, or RCS messaging. RCS messaging is the next phase of SMS messaging. According to initial use and reports, RCS messaging will allow for higher quality picture messaging, group chats, location sharing, and video calls, as well as read receipts and typing indicators. RCS messaging allows users to share media, location, and other information during a telephone conversation. The technology of RCS messaging evolves further than simple messaging. RCS messaging provides a means to share quality media and information across devices and contact books and open up a forum for expansive messaging capabilities.

While RCS messaging is available on some devices, there are limitations in that to send and receive RCS messages, both sender and receiver have to have a device featuring the messaging app and a compatible network. However, even if messages are sent in RCS messaging style, users that do not have compatible systems will receive a message (just without the flare of a RCS message).

RCS Messaging and Business Opportunities

RCS messaging will allow businesses to better reach their customers. In fact, Google recently released a new messaging platform, essentially RCS messaging, that offers businesses upgraded services to communicate with customers. The platform will include message branding, so a business can send a message that will feature their logo instead of just a phone number or name. The upgrades will also utilize group messages, alerts, and other communications not available through SMS messaging.

Essentially, the RCS messaging options will allow businesses to meet the communication needs of every customer by providing rich communication through the new and improved RCS messaging or simple messages through SMS messaging for customers who do not carry the upgrades.

From landlines to cellphones to smartphones, mobile communication technology is evolving and RCS messaging is the next step in that evolution.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: recode.net/2017/2/24/14721896/google-rcs-expansion-carriers-businesses-android-messages

Likes

Comments


Every time a holiday comes up, your company has an opportunity to capitalize on it and make some extra money. Valentine’s Day is the next one that is coming, and you may be able to bring in some extra business with the holiday. Even non-traditional things make great Valentine’s Day gifts. You just have to get your audience to realize the potential of your product or service as a gift as well.

Valentine’s Day Stats

Did you know that over half the population celebrates Valentine’s Day? In fact, Americans will spend $19.7 billion or more on Valentine’s Day this year. People will spend about $4.4 billion of that on a night out alone. The rest of the billions are spent on gifts for significant others. And on average, $147 per person is spent total. There is some serious money to be made on the holiday, but you have to put yourself in a position to earn it first.

Text marketing ideas

To market to your customers, you have to make sure they realize your company offers something to make their Valentine’s Day even better. And since the most money is spent by 24-34 year olds, marketing by text is the best way to reach them. Here are some strategies to selling your stuff as part of the holiday.

  • Remind about a week before: You can send a text to your customers about a week before February 14 and let your customers know you have a product or service that makes a great gift for a loved one. People are last-minute shoppers already, but with this holiday, it seems to be especially bad. This gives them time to consider your business as an option.
  • Text a deal: You can text a deal to your customers as a “holiday special” for loyal customers. This will make them feel as though they are being rewarded, and it will encourage them to choose your business over others. You are giving them a deal right when they need it.
  • Personalize your texts: You can separate your audience by gender, age, or interests to determine what kind of messages to send to each of your customers. You might even choose to only send text marketing to specific demographics. For example, you can send different messages to men and women based on the types of products they would be more likely to buy for their partners.

Profit off anti-Valentine’s Day folks too

Since just over half of the population is celebrating Valentine’s Day, that means that nearly half won’t be. Many people opt instead to have anti-Valentine’s Day parties and events. If you don’t serve the traditional chocolates and jewelry crowd, you can opt to target the other half of the audience and remind them that you offer great snacks or services for their anti-parties. Text marketing can be done to meet the needs of you and your customers.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: business2community.com/email-marketing/designing-valentines-day-email-campaign-01764870#IIbYiQfJVtxayOzY.97
fundivo.com/stats/valentines-day-spending-statistics/#

Likes

Comments