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How to… use SMS as part of a holistic e-CRM programme

5 April 2016
by Nick Washbourne

It is predicted that, by 2017, 4.77 billion people will have a mobile phone – that’s more than two thirds of the world’s population. Add to that the fact that 63% of smartphone owners keep their devices with them for all but one hour of their waking day, even on a weekend, and it’s no wonder that mobile marketing is such a big deal!

But what value can SMS add to your e-CRM strategy? Why? And what are the key things to remember, to ensure best practice?

SMS should be used throughout the buying cycle

This is definitely one of those ‘right message, to the right people, via the right channel at the right time’ moments. SMS shouldn’t be thought of as an acquisition tool. Instead, it should be respected as a powerful medium to drive customer loyalty, satisfaction, brand advocacy and retention. It creates a sense of, we’re always on, and we’re always with you.

How to make it work?

It’s important to note that you’re only going to achieve these benefits from SMS, if you ensure the communication is timely and relevant. Bombarding your customers with ad hoc, impersonal and uninteresting messages will be purely viewed as spam!

The content therefore needs to mimic that of human conversation, whilst working at an acceptable speed. Our research has found that consumers are more likely to keep replying to SMS messages if the response takes into account information already known about the individual, and is received within 10 seconds. This is no mean feat of course (but we’ll come on to that).

Key principles to remember:

  • Personalise the content with the customer’s name and data such as order details, to increase relevancy.
  • Primarily use SMS for service-related communication, such as questionnaires, reminders and confirmations. Ask questions, sent in order of importance, to encourage dialogue but keep the responses closed where possible.
  • Don’t exploit the SMS as an opportunity to sell. If you have to use it for sales, try to offer an exclusive incentive for using the channel.
  • As a guide, ensure an informal, friendly but succinct tone. However, ensure you stay true to the character of your brand and what customers would expect from you.
  • Pay attention to frequency, ideally sticking to no more than 2-4 messages per month.
  • Do not disturb – text only during normal hours!

So, armed with this advice, how could you utilise SMS effectively within an e-CRM strategy?

We said at the outset that SMS should be used throughout the buying cycle, where relevant. There are therefore a number of ways to use SMS to ensure lead nurturing best practice and brand advocacy, across varied B2B and B2C sectors:


  • Useful contact numbers
  • Short term availability/flash sales

During an order/purchase process

  • Order/application status
  • Reference number confirmation
  • Delivery tracking
  • Appointment confirmation/rebook/cancellation
  • Brochure safe receipt
  • Transactional requests, e.g. latest balance

Post order/purchase

  • Thank you
  • Satisfaction survey
  • Update marketing permissions, e.g. SMS opt-in
  • Digital receipt request
  • Meter readings
  • Request a call back.

How can we help?

We’ve just launched a highly-efficient SMS decision engine – one of the new features to be developed in our platform’s first major update of 2016. Capable of managing thousands of concurrent conversations whilst maintaining ‘real life’ response times, this release brings a new layer of relevance to automated mobile marketing. Now, the sophisticated two-way process ensures responses truly mimic that of a real human being, without any detrimental impact on speed.

So, in less than a second, you have the power to process, queue and send a personalised SMS.

So, why use SMS?

  • When timely and relevant it boosts brand loyalty and advocacy
  • SMS reduces post purchase cognitive dissonance
  • It is effective for collating and measuring KPIs, e.g. satisfaction levels or Net Promoter Scores
  • It achieves a percentage of data accuracy and deliverability, so is time well spent!

Interested in generating more powerful conversations with your customers? Contact us to find out more.


Photo of Nick Washbourne
Nick Washbourne
Commercial Director

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