Regardless of a business’ industry or size, the holidays are likely one of the most important times of the year. For many of us–consumers and companies alike–the “most wonderful season” is also the most busy. During the stress of the holidays, businesses need to stand out by providing smooth, helpful and hassle-free experiences for their customers. Delivering an impeccable user experience is one of the best ways to boost a company’s reputation and, ultimately, bottom line.
SMS messaging can play an integral role in reducing potential holiday stress for both businesses and customers by keeping both sides connected, protected and engaged with real time communications. It’s a fast and powerful way to deliver important information to consumers. With more than 4 billion people using SMS on a regular basis, today’s businesses can be sure that they reach the majority of their customer base and that those users are seeing their alerts, notifications and reminders — more than 90% of customers read an SMS within the first minute of receiving it, compared to the 20% percent who do the same with an email.
Cloud Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) companies now enable businesses to target, personalize, send and receive SMS messages directly from their web and mobile applications based on the specific, real-time needs of their customers. Here are some examples of how SMS can be used to bring even more joy to the holiday season.
1. Provide flight updates
Airlines and travel companies can help customers’ holiday travel proceed as smoothly as possible by using SMS to provide information on flight delays, cancellations, and gate changes. Customers will appreciate the advanced warning during the busy and hectic travel season.
2. Send weather reports
Hotels and airlines can ensure customers are packed and prepared for the weather at their destinations by sending advance weather reports. Weather reports can also be used to alert them to possible delays at their destination.
3. Update gift shipping status
Shoppers get peace of mind that their gifts arrived at their intended destinations when they receive shipping updates and delivery notifications via SMS. These communications prevent unneeded stress that last-minute orders aren’t going to arrive in time.
4. Share special holiday promotions
Businesses can invite customers to shop their pre- or post-holiday sales with SMS, or send their most valuable customers exclusive discount codes they can use on their next order. Customers are bombarded with emails for Black Friday and Boxing Day sales – companies can make their sale stand out by sending information about it through a medium their users consistently prefer.
5. Use two-factor authentication to protect accounts
Online fraud increases by 31% during the holidays. Business can help protect their customers by offering two-factor authentication through SMS on their online accounts. Knowing that enabling this security feature helps prevent account takeover will give consumers one less thing to stress out about during the holidays.
6. Provide back-in-stock updates
If a business sells a hot-ticket item that flies off the shelf during the holidays, customers can be kept up-to-date on restocks through SMS. They will appreciate immediately receiving a notification when the popular items they’ve been eyeing are available again.
7. Set up two-way SMS for customer service support
Whether they’re dealing with a lost package or an incorrect order, calls to customer service lines spike during the holidays. Skip the hold music – two-way SMS makes it easy for customers to communicate with businesses.
Integrate SMS Messaging Into Your Holiday Strategy
Businesses can utilize CPaaS providers to add communications to web and mobile applications with easy to integrate APIs that provide timely, personalized information through SMS-based alerts, reminders, notifications, invites, one-time-passcodes (OTPs), and other automated messages. No matter which side of the holiday hustle and bustle you’re on, SMS can help keep the focus on enjoying the season with friends and family.