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How to send SMS notifications your customers will LOVE

Post by on November 11, 2016

“You star, you’ve saved 10 grand!” – the SMS notifications I wish my bank sent me.

“You’ve made a $106.00 payment to a new BPAY biller” – the SMS notifications my bank does send me.

Quite the contrast. It’s actually an achievement they’ve managed to make it this boring and unengaging.  Their automated text or SMS notifications would be perfect – if I was a computer. But at least for the short term, I’m stuck in human form.

That means I have motivations, a personality, I have my ups and downs. And yet the bank’s SMS notifications don’t make any effort to understand my human relationship with them and the role they play in my life. And that’s a massive missed opportunity. Automated notifications, including this automated SMS messaging example, don’t have to be robotic.

Deconstructing the banking example, Paula Pant’s AffordAnything.com blog is hugely popular because it comes at savings and personal financial management from the human perspective.  It’s less about the $50 a week savings plan or the 3.2% interest rate account. It’s much more about the holiday to South America, the new motorbike and wiping out your student debt.

Understanding that, how much more engaged would you be with your bank if they came at it from your perspective. Instantly they’d be re-thinking what they communicate, and how. I’m not saying I shouldn’t be getting the ‘new BPay biller’ security message. But that’s pretty much all I get that warrants an SMS alert from them. And that doesn’t reflect the role my bank accounts play in my life.

Where’s the “You’ve done it! You’ve hit your holidays savings goal!” SMS? Or maybe the less positive, but still needed “You literally haven’t saved a cent in a month. You’re not going anywhere this Summer” SMS notification?

Even when it comes to savings plans, Paula advocates acknowledging your own savings personality.  Are you an anti-budgeter, a micro-planner or an erratic saver that does it in fits and starts? Not a problem says Paula, humans are different and all methods can be effective, so long as the overall trend is getting you to your long term goal.

And yet, this human element seems completely ignored by the banks in what they communicate, and how they communicate it.

I’m not suggesting every customer needs their own fully personalized SMS notifications.  But elements of personalization would help, and can be achieved easily in automated communications. For example, the bank could insert a variable field in their comms with the customer’s savings objective – their holiday, the motorbike, the debt erasure. That one step would make a massive difference to my engagement and overall view of them.

At the bare minimum, think through the following before setting up your automated communications:

What is my customer’s RELATIONSHIP with my brand or product? What role do we play in their life?

WHAT do they want to hear from us and WHEN? 

What is the CONTEXT for the SMS notification or communication? Is it urgent? Is it an important milestone? Is it just an update? Do we need them to take action?

How do we want the recipient to FEEL when they get this? If it’s a security alert, make them feel like you’ve got their back. If it’s a savings goal reached, make them feel ecstatic and you were part of the success.

Your companies automated communications shouldn’t be soulless. Remember you’re speaking to humans, this is a great opportunity to boost brand engagement, and one you should make the most of. So start the conversation today.