No doubt the Duchess of Cambridge will have received several text messages today congratulating her on becoming pregnant or sympathising with her for having to endure extreme morning sickness. It is fitting that on the day that the world hears about a new member of the Royal Family that it was also the 20th Birthday of the humble text message, the SMS (Short Message Service).
But even though Kate may have received dozens of text messages from her family or the Royal Household, they will only add a tiny number to the 8 trillion text messages we send each year. Two decades ago when engineer Neil Papworth sent “Merry Christmas” to Vodafone Director Richard Jarvis he could have had little idea of the impact his company’s invention would have.
Having said that, however, only 40% of phone users actually send text messages. So there is plenty of scope for growth. Equally, many companies who cold use text messages do not do so in spite of the fact they can be used to enhance and deepen customer relationships.
For instance, some organisations send text messages to confirm appointments, to send order details or to provide information to add to emails or other communications. There are plenty of creative ways your business could use text messaging – perhaps even saying “Merry Christmas” to your customers, adding a little promotional code for them to spend with you.
Text messaging is largely untapped for business relationship building, probably because when it is used it is done badly with SMS Spam being a particular invasive problem. Yet it is a useful communication tool – so useful that we send tens of thousands of the little blighters every second, putting Facebook and Twitter messages into the shade. True, these are growing areas – but not everyone wants to get messages from their suppliers on their personal Facebook account or clogging up their own marketing Twitter account.
So on this day of birth announcements could you give birth to a new way of deepening relationships with your clients?
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+