As a small business owner, it is your job – no, your responsibility – to make sure your customers can conduct business with you in the easiest way(s) possible.
We’ve discussed in previous blogs, how small business owners can reach customers in myriad ways, from direct mail and in-store activities to the latest tech options, including emails and social media sites.
While I’ve been watching my teens text friends, teachers, and even their bosses more frequently over the past few years, I realized there is indeed merit in providing customers an option of texting their favorite small business for a smooth transaction, too.
And if you think this idea is not fully formed, think again. Recently, I entered a deli and noticed a pile of business cards on the counter. Figuring they were either for the store or nearby small businesses, I took one. Surprise! The cards promoted a text-in-your-order option.
Seemed simple enough. A brightly colored card with the store’s phone number directs the customer to text in their order. When finished, the customer receives a number in reply that corresponds with their order, and presents the number to the cashier in exchange for their lunch. Restaurants can utilize services, such as Zingle or Mobilserv to set up the process.
No waiting in line at the counter – which gets pretty crowded between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. due to the limited lunchtime options in this neighborhood. Besides, who wants to wait in a long line at the sandwich counter?
Quick. Convenient. And smart move on behalf of the store. Forward thinking in terms of technology, and practical since they may have been losing business when customers see the long line to order.
Texting orders does not pertain only to food outlets and coffee houses. Many small businesses that are inundated during specific times of the day or year could benefit from this type of ordering.
However, be mindful of your audience. Texting might not be for everyone and every business. Older customers, for example, may not understand this approach. Forcing a change upon this group could lead to frustration rather than a pleasant experience.
Also, if texting is right for your business, be ready to monitor the text line continuously during business hours to avoid orders being missed and customers annoyed (not fun, especially if you are dealing with hungry clients).
Should you decide this high-tech approach requires minimal effort and makes your business more profitable – and interactions easier for your customers – then take that next step. It is worth investing the money to set up the texting system. Maybe you will LOL all the way to the bank.