Do you ever look at your iPhone’s screen time report and think, “Wow, I spend a lot of my time on my phone?” You’re not alone.
It’s no secret that most of us spend a lot of time staring at our phone’s screen. Our own study found that–on average–most people spend close to 3 hours on their phones every day. As a whole, Americans spend an average of 20 hours a week on their phones.
So, it should come as no surprise that 90% of people read a text message within three minutes of receiving it. If you want to communicate valuable information that is time sensitive, SMS is the most effective channel.
Whether you’re looking to confirm customer appointments, send shipping updates, verify account activities, or confirm orders, you should consider sending transactional SMS.
Want to learn more about supporting your audience along the customer journey? Let’s dive in.
Transactional SMS is a type of SMS between a business and a customer. These texts contain information that is critical for your customers to use your product or service. For example, if you enable two-factor authentication on your email account, then the email provider must send an SMS when you access your inbox from a new device.
We wrote an entire guide on the difference between promotional and transactional SMS. In short, transactional texts are triggered by events, interactions, or preferences within a service or application rather than by a company’s marketing campaign.
The lines sometimes blur when transactional emails help fulfill marketing needs by–for example–recovering abandoned carts or re-activating inactive users. Still, these texts are functional and provide an expected response to an (in)action or a request.
It can help to think about it like this: Unlike promotional texts, which are bulk distributions of the same marketing message to many recipients simultaneously, transactional SMS are personalized and are typically sent to individuals one at a time.
Let’s take a look at a promotional SMS example.
And here is an example of a transactional SMS.
If you’re wondering why this difference matters–after all, you’re just texting customers–it comes down to consent. While you always need to have permission to send texts to your customers, the level of permission varies based on whether you’re sending transactional or promotional messages.
To illustrate the unique benefits of transactional SMS, let’s quickly compare different communication channels.
You can use transactional SMS throughout the entire customer journey and across business functions. Just take a look for yourself.
You can send customers a text message when they sign up for a new account, whether that be online or in-store.
When people place an order online, they expect immediate confirmation that they’re good to go. When you need to communicate information immediately, SMS is your best bet.
Two-factor authentication adds a layer of security. SMS 2FA has become the industry standard, as most people carry their mobile phones at all times.
Appointment reminders allow you to reach out to your customers in advance of an upcoming appointment, reducing no shows in the process.
These types of transactional emails keep customers informed of when payments are due on their accounts and also help improve cash flow.
Support-based transactional SMS can help both customers and your support team by aiding the communication process and notifying each party of status updates.
For example, if a customer submits a new ticket, you can send them a text to let them know you’ve received their request and will get back to them ASAP.
Depending on the volume of transactional SMS you plan on sending, there are a couple of ways you can get started.
There is so much competition for your customer’s attention. Between social media, messaging apps, and email, people receive a lot of notifications. Sending a proactive notification or reminder via SMS can help you cut through that noise.
No matter what kind of transactional message you decide to send, the speed and effectiveness of this proactive messaging keeps your customers happy and helps you get ahead of potential issues.