Case Studies: How 4 Startups Used SMS for Customer Loyalty

How 4 Startups Used SMS for Customer Loyalty

The future of the Philippine startup ecosystem is bright. With an active startup community of over a hundred companies and a strong push from the government, the country aims to have 500 startups with a total valuation of US$2 billion by 2020.

As the local startup industry grows, a key area that entrepreneurs need to look into for long-term better returns is customer retention. Up to 70% of companies agreed that retaining a customer is cheaper than generating new ones. A 5% growth in customer retention can yield a 75% increase in a company’s user base, with happy customers sharing through their social media channels driving most of the growth.

Many customer retention strategies exist today, but SMS remains to be a powerful means to engage customers and encourage brand loyalty. In the Philippines, 400 million text messages are being sent every day, emphasizing the importance of reaching and engaging the Filipino customer via SMS API and other text messaging strategies.

Here are some success stories on how Philippine startups have used SMS to provide a better customer experience and improve customer loyalty.

 

zap

1. ZAP

ZAP is a loyalty-based rewards program that lets users earn points from partner merchants. With the goal of re-targeting existing customers, ZAP created an automated customer journey program, which enabled them to automatically send SMS when certain triggers are met. The objective is to encourage users to make a return visit by sending them reminders about rewards and freebies they can claim with partner merchants.

The triggers were activated after the first visit (to encourage a second visit as soon as possible), after 30 days, 60 days, and 120 days with no transactions, and 7 days before a customer’s birthday to encourage the user to celebrate with a partner merchant.

The messages were based on how many points a user had, and the length of their inactivity. For example, users with more points were offered bigger redemption options, as seen below:

Claim your FREE Steak & Frites at DRAFT Gastropub by redeeming your 1000+ ZAP points! More places to use ZAP: www.zap.com.ph/app

ZAP’s SMS strategy returned impressive results. Within a week, 17.1% of the customers who had received an SMS returned to make another purchase. Within a month, the number of returning customers increased to 41.5%. And after implementing the program for a year, they saw an ROI of over 100% for 95% of their merchants, 1000% for their top 6 merchants, and a whopping 5000% for the top merchant.

 

Kalibrr

2. Kalibrr

A job-matching platform that allows talent and companies to connect, Kalibrr learned that most candidates do not always have immediate access to a computer or even mobile internet. So, they decided to facilitate communications between themselves and jobseekers, as well as recruiters and jobseekers. Using an SMS API, Kalibrr automated sending text notifications for job opportunities and interview reminders to applicants.

Since every single mobile phone has SMS capabilities (and there are more cellphones than people in the Philippines), texting has enabled Kalibrr to reach and engage with 100% of their user base at all times.

Based on qualitative feedback, Kalibrr’s texts to jobseekers have been “very useful and well-loved” for giving timely updates.

 

pinoytravel

3. PinoyTravel

PinoyTravel is an online long distance bus, ferry, and hotel booking website. Similar to Kalibrr, PinoyTravel has found that the Philippine market is not yet ready for a purely online strategy because many of their customers do not have continuous access to the Internet or mobile data.

Thankfully, Filipinos almost always have enough cellular reception to receive texts. So, PinoyTravel uses SMS to send reminders about customer bookings, payments, and other updates.

PinoyTravel received positive feedback on their SMS strategy and their customers enjoyed receiving the text notifications.

 

OLX

4. OLX

OLX is an online marketplace that hosts the largest buy and sell community in the Philippines. To make sure the sellers are legitimate and easy to contact, OLX vets their numbers with a 2-step SMS verification process.

They also find that most of their users are not always online to receive email and app push notifications, making SMS the best way to connect with their user base. OLX users are notified via SMS when important action needs to be taken, including but not limited to: messages to buyers when sellers accept their offer, and messages to sellers when buyers are interested or when they need to repost their advertisement for better results.

 

The startup scene in the Philippines is ripe for growth, and these case studies have shown that SMS will remain an important channel for customer engagement, retention, and overall experience. Since every mobile device can receive texts even without internet connection, marketing messages sent via SMS are almost impossible to ignore.

Use SMS to your advantage today and reach the widest possible number of customers, engage them, and retain them through text messaging campaigns.

SMS for Business: Trends and Statistics [Infographic]

SMS for Business: Trends and Statistics

Short messaging service (SMS) has been around for over two decades. According to Mashable, most early mobile phones did not support the ability to send text messages—until Nokia manufactured the first GSM phone line that enabled users to exchange SMS in 1993.

Like most new technology, the adoption of SMS was slow, with the average user sending 0.4 texts per month in 1995. Come the year 2000, this number increased to 35 texts per month.

At present, SMS remains to be the most used data in the world, with 4.2 billion people around the globe still using their phones to text. In fact, more than 8 trillion text messages are being sent annually—that’s almost 16 million messages per minute.

In addition, a study by Pew Research Center reported that texting is widely practiced in both rich and developing nations, in which sending texts is common among cellphone users in Indonesia and Kenya, two of the poorest counties surveyed.

Even in this smartphone age where chat apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are being used by many, a study has found that 94% smartphone users still sends texts.

While SMS is a 20-year-old technology, these statistics prove that text messaging is not a fad that’s about to go away anytime soon—and businesses realize that. Sending texts or doing an SMS blast is viewed as a great tool for companies to reach new customers as well as support and retain existing ones.

Check out these emerging trends and powerful statistics on the advantages of SMS for business.

SMS for Business: Trends and Statistics

With billions of texts being exchanged every single day, SMS is here to stay and will play a key role in connecting the latest of technologies. It is a feature available on every mobile phone you can acquire today, making it the most effective and direct means of reaching the most number of customers.

Whether you are looking to enhance your marketing and boost sales conversions, improve customer service, and/or increase user security, SMS is a channel that needs to be included in the strategy.

It’s a great time to reconsider the impact that text messaging can make for your company.

 

Infographic References: Business2Community (5 Reasons SMS Can Improve Your E-commerce Experience); Cross-Cultural Marketing: Theory, Practice and Relevance; CTIA via Hubspot’s 9 Amazing Mobile Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know; Digital Marketing Magazine (7 Key Statistics for SMS Marketing); EFL (Alternative Credit Scoring in Emerging Markets); eMarketer (Three in 10 Retailers Rely on SMS for Customer Service, Promotions); eWeek (Businesses Texting Grows More Widespread; Consumers Like Using Text Messages to Solve Customer Service Issues); Forbes (Fifty Essential Mobile Marketing Facts); GMA News (Philippines still text messaging champ -US study); ICMI (I’m Excited to Enable SMS in My Contact Center, But Should it Integrate with Other Channels?); MarTech (Text Messaging); Media Post (How Brands Can Reach Consumers In Emerging Markets); Mobile Marketing Watch (SMS Marketing Wallops Email with 98% Open Rate and Only 1% Spam); Mobile Ecosystem Forum; Morbie (Filipinos, Morbie and 400 Million Text Messages a Day); Portio Research; Ring Central (Infographic); SpamFighter (Flooded Inboxes: 84% of All E-mail is Spam)

5 Business Tips for a 45% SMS Response Rate or More

Business Tips for a 45% SMS Response Rate or More

There’s no doubt that SMS can reach audiences other business strategies such as email can’t. While email is easier to measure in terms of open and subscription rates, SMS has an advantage for a variety of reasons—there are more phones than people and 60% of the world remains offline. This means that most people don’t have 24/7 access to the Internet and mobile data, which are essential in receiving and responding to emails.

Businesses also enjoy a 45% response rate with SMS, while emails can only reach up to 6%. It’s no wonder 36% of businesses use bulk SMS for their campaigns.

The question now becomes: How exactly do you reach that 45% response rate benchmark or even exceed it? We’ve listed down the best SMS practices you can use for your next campaign.

 

sms

1. Write simply, but do not abbreviate.

It only takes under 5 seconds for your message to be read. Keep your message short and sweet, but don’t abbreviate. Abbreviations and “text–speak” are hard to decipher and can come across as unprofessional.

If your message is longer than 160 characters, send it in parts. Avoid shortening words just to cram everything in one message.

 

branded ID

2. Use a branded ID.

Customers do not think twice about deleting text messages from unknown numbers. Identify your company using a branded Sender Name to let them recognize you as a legitimate organization and avoid being mistaken as spam. Be sure to follow the guidelines of setting a Sender ID. Do this right if you want customers to respond to your SMS!

 

minions

3. Be personal.

Establish a personal connection with your customers by calling them by their first name or offering a personalized discount code. You can use the customer information in your database to your advantage. For instance, you can send personal messages or special offers on their birthdays. This way, your customers will feel valued and appreciated.

 

4. Use a compelling call-to-action.

Adding a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your message provides direction to your customers. Just be clear with what action you want them to do. Do you want them to click on a link, visit your website, or drop by your physical store? A compelling CTA can encourage interaction and increase SMS response rates, so write it well.

 

clock

5. Know the right time.

Since SMS is received immediately, it’s essential to determine the perfect time to send your SMS blast. After all, you want your customer to reply at first glance. Busier times of the day could mean your message gets ignored. Instead, mid to late afternoon is the best time to send an SMS blast.

Sync your SMS blast based on your niche and promotion. For example, an SMS that is promoting a weekend sale at your store should be sent on Saturday morning or Friday night the earliest. This will help your customers make the necessary plans for their weekend and make them more likely to visit your store and shop.

 

Understanding your target customers is important in determining how to send SMS for business with the right message and at the right time. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but be sure to maintain professionalism at all times. Analyze your results and evaluate how you can improve your campaign to surpass the industry benchmark of a 45% response rate.