It is always difficult to trust the people we don’t know. It’s the same for people, for brands and for messages coming in the SMS channel.
The rise of messaging apps has made it easier than ever for mobile users to connect with businesses. While this can be great for a company, it also comes with a lot of new risks for brands who aren’t careful about how they use these channels in their communication strategies. Businesses that understand the power of SMS channel and its ability to build trust will see results from their channel in a shorter amount of time than those who don’t. Let’s take a look at why trust is such an important factor when using text message as well as how you can use some common practices to improve your brand’s trustworthiness so you see better results from your SMS strategy much sooner than you may think possible.
What is Digital Trust Anyway?
Digital Trust is the confidence that customers put in your organization to collect, store and use their data in a way that is safe and beneficial for them.
The main concept of digital trust is the idea that users can’t fully know the other side of the message. They have to make assumptions about the source and intentions of the message based on their own previous experiences.
Why is Digital Trust Important in a Text Message Strategy?
There are many benefits to building digital trust outside of just improving the overall experience of your customers. That means that you may be more likely to get a response from a customer if you have a request. For instance if you are using SMS to remind customers of payments you will get more payments and be more effective at collections. Also, with trust, customers would be more likely to grant you permission to contact them by any channel.
SMS is the king of channels when it comes to immediacy and opening rates and effectiveness in many areas such as billings, payments and any kind of follow up. Nevertheless, when the customer lacks trust on the source of the message, your links are not clicked and your requests are ignored.
How to Build Trust in Your Text Message Channel:
- Use always the same number to send messages.
- Use on-brand URLs in your links.
- Use SMS to send transactional messages.
- Include customer’s personal information in the text message.
- Always Identify your company in the message and greet consistently.
- Reinforce your communication culture in other channels.
- Educate your customers about how you deal with fraud.
A strategic view in how to build trust in your SMS channel:
Above, we only provided the bullet point how-tos. Below, we elaborate on each point so you can actually create an actionable SMS communication strategy that works for your business.
Use always the same number to send messages: The first concern when we receive a text message is who is sending me this. From the beginning of the relationship, consistency is the key to establishing trust with your customers. Start by sending a welcome text message at onboarding time so customers would know your number from the start and have a chat history stored in their phones.
Use on-brand URLs in your links: These days, when there is so much phishing and malware, nobody will click a link without knowing the source. Again, consistency is key in trusting the links. Using your brand in the URL of links, and always using the same in all channels, will let customers know that is actually your company sending the message. The difficult part of using on-brand URLs is the longitude of the link, since the text messages are limited to 160 characters. This means there is not much space left for the message itself. In order to resolve this issue, use a Bulk SMS provider that lets you use your own on-brand short URLs. As there are few companies that offer this, this can also be challenging (Editor’s tip: DANAconnect offers this feature).
Use SMS to send transactional messages: Using SMS as a response to a customer’s actions makes it evident that text messages are coming from you. An example would be if someone asked for a password reset on the company’s website and received an SMS immediately, the source of the message would be validated due to action and reaction. Therefore, the customer will have a history of text messages with your company stored on their phone. Using the same number is key, as we mentioned before. This is strategically important, because when you send another kind of text message to make a request, like for instance asking for payment, you will get a more effective response.
Include customer’s personal information in the text message: When you see your name and account information in the message you receive it is easy to understand that the source is legitimate. Sometimes this is difficult to do, since the channel is so restrictive in terms of character quantities. It is better to separate the communication into two messages in order to be able to identify yourself.
Identify yourself: This may be obvious, but sometimes it isn’t done due to the lack of space for more characters. Be consistent in the way you greet your customers and identify your company on other channels.
Reinforce your communication culture in other channels: Using other channels to support your text message communications is also important. Remind your customers and talk about the messages they will receive. Include information about the URLs you use in the text messages.
Educate your customers about how you deal with fraud: In order to gain visibility and adapt your SMS strategy appropriately, you must let your customers know the risks, how you handle them, and how they can inform you if they have been subjected to fraudulent messaging.
Build Trust in Your SMS Channel: Takeaways
SMS can be just as effective in connecting with your customers as other channels if not more. The key to building trust in this channel is to make your communication consistent, with an easy to identify source. By doing these things, you will be able to improve the overall experience of your customers and build more trust with each interaction. Text messages can be an incredibly powerful tool for brands looking to build a connection with their customers and be effective. Developing a reliable method of communication is essential to creating confidence in your SMS channel. Establishing trust through this channel is possible by having a well-thought-out strategy.