SMS text message marketing is an ideal marketing strategy for energy and utility providers, both for running marketing campaigns and for providing timely customer service to existing energy recipients.
What is SMS Text Message Marketing?
SMS, or short messaging service, is another term for text messaging. SMS text message marketing refers to using text messages to communicate with existing or prospective clients about your business. One of the benefits of SMS marketing is that it provides an automated process for communicating with people on your contact list. This allows companies to nurture leads and provide quality customer service without slowing down their daily routine.
How to Expand Energy and Utility Businesses with SMS Text Message Marketing
Before we get into what you can do with SMS marketing, let’s have a quick discussion about what you can’t do. If you’re specifically looking for how to nurture cold leads, SMS marketing may not be the right strategy just yet. It’s illegal to send text messages to someone who hasn’t given their consent, and the FCC has begun cracking down on SMS misuse in recent years. You don’t want to run into legal issues for using this marketing tactic incorrectly.
But while SMS marketing may not be the right strategy for nurturing cold leads, it’s a great option for improving relations with customers already on your contact list. Here are five surefire strategies for using SMS marketing to bolster your energy business.
Strategy 1: Communicating Outages
When the power goes out, energy companies face two major challenges. The first, of course, is the challenge of getting the power back on. But the second challenge is fielding all the incoming calls reporting the same power outage or asking for updates about when the power will come back on.
With SMS marketing, you can send automated text messages to all the customers affected by a power outage. By pushing out messages acknowledging the outage and offering updates about how soon the power will be back, you cut down on customer confusion and frustration while simultaneously freeing up the phone lines so your customer service team can work with customers whose problems haven’t already been reported.
Strategy 2: Energy Reminders
One of the best ways to retain customers is to show that they matter to you and that you see them as more than just a monthly paycheck. Sending out energy reminders — such as a reminder to turn the heat on before a big storm to prevent the pipes from freezing, or a reminder to limit AC use during a heat wave to reduce energy bills — can make customers feel valued while also communicating important information.
Energy reminders can also be used to encourage customers to schedule maintenance checks of their systems or review their billing plans. Any automated message that you can push out via text message marketing means fewer phone calls for your customer service representatives and a more informed customer base.
Strategy 3: Communicating with Field Teams
SMS marketing isn’t just for your customers. Field service professionals are often traveling to meet customer needs. Cell service can be spotty, and radios are unreliable, but text messages often get through even when reception isn’t strong enough to support a phone call. SMS messaging allows you to communicate last-minute service changes to field employees in a flash.
Texting field service members doesn’t just reduce employee frustration, it also reduces customer frustrations. Fewer miscommunications and less lag time between communications mean that customers who need an emergency handled are more likely to receive quick response times, which can mean the difference between a satisfied customer and a customer who’s going to begin shopping elsewhere for utility providers.
“Using launch.ai has been imperative for us during hurricanes, power outages and more. I’m so grateful that we invested in this tool!””
Elisa, PR Director
Strategy 4: Account Alerts
Automated text messaging can also be used to send customers individualized alerts about their accounts. By sending automated text message reminders about new bills, unpaid bills, and declined payments, you increase your odds of receiving customer payments in a timely fashion.
You can improve account alerts by linking relevant web pages directly from the SMS. For example, if you’re reminding customers about a bill payment, link directly to the Bill Pay page on your website. This level of convenience makes customers more likely to take action as soon as they receive your text message, which helps both you and your customers in the long run.
Strategy 5: Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Instead of asking customers to stay on the line after a customer service interaction, you can reach out via text message to gauge customer satisfaction. Customers are more likely to respond to surveys if they can do so on their own time frame rather than feeling like they’re stuck on a phone call longer than they’d like.
The good thing about offering customer satisfaction surveys via text message is that you’re not just limited to asking about their satisfaction with a particular phone call. You can also reach out to all the customers on your contact list to get information about how satisfied they are with your services in general — and potentially even get ideas for improving your business.
Use SMS Marketing to Expand Your Marketing Reach
Using SMS marketing can help you expand your reach to new markets and strengthen relationships with existing customers. As long as you’re staying in compliance with laws governing customer privacy and SMS marketing practices, text marketing is a valuable tool that your company can use to increase customer satisfaction and improve communication between you and your customers.