Debbie Mayo-Smith international inspirational motivational how-to speaker technology, time management, improving business performance
Motivational Speakers, Sales, Marketing, Time Management, Productivity, Technology, Tips

Text is a tool, not just kids' stuff

When was the last time you adapted the way you communicate with clients? Have you thought of incorporating text messages into your repertoire? "Too hard", you're thinking, or, "My clients are adults". They won't be receptive. Who wants to push all those tiny buttons? Or mess around with predictive text? Or try to learn that text shortcut lingo like "gr8"?

Let me try to persuade you to change your mind.

Preparing for a national speaking engagement around Australia to the Allied Medical Health industry in May, I telephoned the five main practice management software suppliers, to learn what marketing modules are built into their products.

Next, I telephoned and visited many practitioners. I asked everyone what they did for marketing and communication with their patients.

The pattern that emerged was clear. Practices with high equipment costs (dentists, optometrists) routinely called their patients as appointment reminders and telephoned/mailed for recalls. They were not using, didn't understand the value of, or were simply prejudiced against doing anything other than speaking, or writing to their patients.

However, their software has modules that allow them to easily send personalised text messages (as well as email).

With one push of a button they could send customised text (or emails) to patients. Email - no cost. Text - 18c each. Compare that over a year's time with the cost of a receptionist dialling away (wages) and phone charges.

The smaller practices, such as podiatrists, physiotherapists and massage therapists, prompted clients only on an as-requested or as-needed basis - those chronic no-shows or tardy patients they knew about. Yet what is the cost of a no-show? Or someone arriving late?

Furthermore, they rarely did any marketing to patients - trying to add on healthcare products, prompt them to replenish used supplies, or event marketing (such as a physiotherapist suggesting a gift of a massage for Mother's Day).

This week, I had another speaking engagement in New Zealand for an insurance company. The audience were risk insurance brokers.

You might think insurance brokers run a completely different business from healthcare. But they, too, fill time slots seeing clients, and have to keep their clients informed (on the progress of their insurance as it goes through underwriting). They, too, have to see them at least once a year for a check-up, and are trying to increase business turnover and profitability.

Yet only a few said they were using text messages with clients. One clever individual in Tauranga said, "When I have to drive to see clients, I don't want to turn up to an 'I'd forgotten you were coming' and find no one home. My time is too valuable to waste, as is petrol. I find sending texts to remind about appointments adds to my customer service and ensures my time is not wasted."

If you have appointments, you should you consider text messaging. Why?

Evolving habits.
Can you remember the last time you saw someone young actually talk on their cellphone (even if they're lying on the sofa at home)? If you asked why they text their friends rather than speak, they'll look at you as though you're insane. "Because I can communicate with many at the same time," is the answer I get from my kids.
Of course, the fact that they go through 2000 texts in less than a month is enough to make any parent cry.

Cheap texting compared to high call rates has caused this comprehensive change.
It's not just kids. Many business people and other adults send and receive text messages. Beyond their children texting them to "call me", adult texting is for more immediate and important reasons.

Phone changes. 
I predict that the iPhone is just the tip of the coming storm of change in mobile phones. They'll evolve to make it easier to write and read text messages for us less nimble-fingered and sighted adults.

Via computer. 
Texting doesn't have to be from your phone. Use the ease of your computer keyboard. If it isn't built into your software, you can use a service, such as Skype or Vodafone.

Immediate, inexpensive attention.
If you want to be fast and get attention, you know their phone will be with them and it's less than 20c a pop. Email is free, but for those without internet- and email-enabled cellphones, it's chained to the computer.

How would you use it? You have two types of text messaging at your disposal: words only, called SMS (Short Message Service), and MMS (multimedia messaging service), which includes audio and video.

Text ideas
Reminders, prompts (meetings, events, appointments, renewals).
Updates ("I'm running late", or "Come early - we had an appointment cancel").
Pick-ups (something is ready).
See you tomorrow.
Lovely meeting with you yesterday.

Debbie Mayo-Smith (BSc Hons Econ) is an International Motivational Business Speaker and Managing Director of SuccessIS! (http://www.successis.co.nz) and a leading specialist in easy practical ways to improve business profitability, personal productivity and Internet marketing. Debbie lives in NZ and travels the world speaking, writing and training. By the way, if you'd like to get lots of neat tricks like this, plus marketing and business development tips, why not enrol for our free newsletter?


This article is copyright to Debbie Mayo-Smith & SuccessIS. You may use it for your newsletter, website or as an article. It can be reproduced - but in its entirety and with inclusion of Debbie Mayo-Smith as the author and the weblink www.successis.co.nz


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