Up until recently, I would have told you that texting did not create much of an opportunity for businesses as it might be considered obtrusive. Of course, for critical communications like flight delay info, I’ve given out my text for a notification to airlines. A few friends of mine, have their bank balance texted to them to avoid over drawing their account. Other than that, it seemed like most consumers only want to receive person-to-person texts (and not to often!).
As a result, most companies don’t integrate text notification into their customer relationships. They gather physical mail addresses, email addresses and phone number (without validating that they are mobile or home phone numbers for text notification purposes). If they gathered a text number, along with “would you prefer text notifications?,” they could leverage it to save or make more money.
I recently shred this advice to the owner of a chain of dry cleaners, and to him, it was an unproven concept. He needed a case study where it could actually save or make him money, otherwise “why recreate the it’s-ready wheel?”
Mobile1 Lube Express offers an example of how retail businesses can leverage text notifications, an offshoot of the same technology that drives social media, to drive customer engagement and loyalty. Their results likely scale to the general population, beyond their category.
In 2012, the Willow Grove Pennsylvania location created a program where customers were offered an oil-change reminder via direct mail, email or text message. Surprisingly, 32% of all participants requested text notifications. When they received a text notification, 35% of them came into the shop for service within 45 days. In sharp contrast only 21% of those who were sent a reminder in the mail came in for service during the same period. Text driven customers spent almost 15% more than the average, proving that not only is digital communication a great way to connect, it often reaches the most lucrative customer segments.
The company will replace their print mail notifications with digital ones to both increase marketing effectiveness as well as reducing costs. This is the true promise of connecting with customers where they are, as opposed to continuing to use legacy ways of communicating. In any event, Mobile1 Lube Express learned that keeping in touch with customers pays off…it’s just a matter of how much.