SMS text messages are regularly used by GP’s, dentists and hairdressers to reduced missed appointments etc. SMS messages can also have positive applications in the social housing sector. Although it is common place for many housing providers to send repairs appointment confirmations via texts, further more innovative uses of text messaging in social housing are less widespread.
A number of our customers are now using SMS messages to increase awareness of and attendance at community events and have reported great successes due to using this.
There are a numerous benefits to using Text Messages as a communication method. As some of these statistics show:
- 98% of text messages are read, compared to 22% of emails, 29% of tweets and 12% of Facebook posts. (Frost & Sullivan 2010, Slick Text)
- Text messages are read on average within 5 seconds. (Frost & Sullivan)
- SMS is the most popular form of communication in the UK. (Ofcom)
- The average click through rate (CTR) of URLs included in SMS messages is 19%, compared to just 4.2% CTR for Emails. (TextBoard and Mailchimp)
- The average person looks at his/her phone 150 times per day. (Nokia)
The above statistics were accessed from Oxygen8 Blog.
- Cost per text message is at least 89% cheaper than sending a 2nd class postal message.*
- Reduces the need to ring a large phone list therefore saving time and resources.
- Can communicate with residents almost instantaneously and with up to the moment information.
- If you are using communication software to send you texts (e.g. Tracker) you can easily send to large lists of tenants and will automatically get; a) full delivery confirmation and audit trail reporting, b) a record of the exact message sent and c) an automatic communication record next to each tenant.
*Using Max price per text sent in Tracker and 2nd Class post stamp using Royal Mail.
Best Practice guidelines and top tips
Text messages are a very direct form of communication, which makes them a very powerful tool. Based on our experience we recommend you follow these guidelines when using the text function within Tracker.
- Allow tenants to ‘opt-out’ of receiving text messages if they wish.
- Make sure messages you send are relevant to your recipients.
- Keep texts professional and avoid colloquial ‘text speech’
- Segment your send to lists to increase relevancy (e.g. if an event is only relevant to people in a certain area only send to those who are in that area)
- A maximum of 3 messages per week to any list.
- Make sure you include who the message is from and a contact number to reply to.
- Send a test message to yourself or a colleague first so you can see how the text message will be displayed.
- Check the number of text credits that are going to be used per message before sending to make sure you get the most out of your credits. (In Tracker 1 credit = 120 characters).
- To save character space use a URL shortener (e.g. bitly), if you want to send an email link within the text.
For our customers using Tracker software if you want help and guidance on sending out text messages please call the support desk on 01603 813932. Alternatively to find out more about our Tracker software packages please click here.