• March 5, 2020

Business Texting: Who Started It?

The vast majority of consumers and businesses are now using texting as a main form of communication, Zipwhip states in its "2020 State of Texting" report.

Of those surveyed, 91 percent of consumers reported receiving texts from businesses (a 20 percent increase from last year), and 68 percent of businesses report texting their customers.

The annual report showcases that consumers expect texting to be an option for reaching out to businesses. More than 40 percent of consumers said they have proactively texted a business, whether they even knew the company could accept texts, and one-third of consumers have tried to text a business without ever getting a response back.

Of the businesses that haven't incorporated texting, 22 percent say it's because they don't think their customers want to be texted. Guess that idea can be thrown out the window!

"We are long past the point where businesses should think their customers just don't want to text them," said John Lauer, CEO of Zipwhip. "Texting is the form of communication that people know the best and prefer to use, so if you're not letting your customers text you, you're sending them to a competitor."

Seventy-seven percent of consumers most frequently use the native texting apps on their phones.

Eighty-eight percent of those who text use personal or company-provided cell phones. This introduces significant personal privacy risks for consumers and compliance liability for businesses.

"I understand why so many individual employees are texting customers from their personal cell phones," Lauer said. "They know texting is the most effective way to reach their customers, so if their company doesn't provide them with approved texting software, they're left with no choice but to go rogue. But companies should consider implementing texting software so they can access the tools and safeguards necessary to keep customer data and information safe."

The rise in texting comes as email and phone calls, which were historically the dominant channels, are falling out of favor. A previous Zipwhip survey found that 96 percent of people find phone calls disruptive, and 97 percent ignore them from businesses or unknown numbers, which explains why 60 percent of the businesses who responded to the State of Texting survey said they often end up playing phone tag with customers.

Zipwhip's research also finds that some emerging alternatives to email and phone calls continue to miss the mark. Sixty-four percent of consumers said they're unlikely to download branded apps to communicate with companies, and for those who do, 60 percent say they're very likely to delete them shortly thereafter. Chatbots also go against consumer preferences, with nearly three in four consumers saying they prefer to communicate with a person when conducting business rather than working through a chatbot, according to the research.

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