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Text Messaging Is Absolutely Eating Phone Call's Lunch

Girl texting

The single most popular article that we published in 2015 was from back in May. In “Call Me” Has Turned to “Text Me”_for Franchisees, we began to craft an argument for why text messaging was becoming the preferred methodology for communicating with potential franchisees.

(Our experimentation actually began all the way back in July 2014. Our first findings were reported in a post entitled What We’ve Learned Sending 6,636 Text Messages in the Past 4 Months.)

Before we get to our newest findings, I wanted to give everyone a quick update on the information that we found back in May. To that point, we reported that when given the choice between verifying their information via text message and verifying their information via telephone, that almost 90% chose text message.

Here’s how those numbers have evolved since last May:

June 2015 - January 2016 Franchisee Communication Preference

Quite interestingly, we haven't seen much of a change at all. To this day, almost 90% prefer text message and just over 10% choose call.

Now that text messaging is core to our processes around here, we’ve begun to collect information on not only on how people want to be contacted but also how engagement differs by method.

(For those of you confused by how we use text messaging in our verification process, you can get an idea for that here.)

When we send out a verification attempt, there are 3 different outcomes that we can expect. The first layer to look at is simply whether or not someone responds in any way shape or form. (For a telephone call, this means pressing a key on their dial pad. For text messages, this means responding to the message.)

After that initial layer, you can break the responses into positive and negative interactions. A positive signal means that their request is verified (Pressing 1 or texting back “”Yes”) and a negative signal means that their request will be terminated (Pressing 9 or texting back “No”).

Here’s what the data looks like for phone call vs. text message response and verification rates:

January 2016 SMS vs. Phone Response and Verification Rates

When you’re simply looking at any interaction (response rate), that’s both positive and negative an interactions, we get a 209% increase in engagement with text messaging!

Furthermore, text messaging is far more effective at eliciting a positive reaction (verification rate). Text messages are a shocking 295% more effective at getting people to verify their information relative to phone calls!

It's official. The future is here.

These numbers, just two years ago, would have been construed as conspiracy! We’ve been at the forefront of this stuff for years, and even we are shocked by how intense the disparity is. Why is it that text messages have come to completely dominate calls for communication purposes?

I don’t think we know the answer to that, but a big part of it is the continued rise of telemarketer spam over the phone. Anecdotally in the past few years, I’ve continued to receive more and more unwanted phone calls. Because of this, the phone as a medium of communication gets devalued to me. I don’t want to answer my phone as much. And even more so, I don’t want to talk to people I don’t know.

Texting, and its impersonal touch, allows for a buffer that allows people to engage with people they don’t know more easily. And ultimately franchise lead generation is about cultivating a relationship between people who don’t currently know each other.

So, to me, the challenge is clear. If your franchise isn’t using text messaging in your engagement plan, you’re falling behind. Calls still work. They do. And I’m never going to recommend that you forego calls to simply text. However, the people have spoken. Texting is the preferred method these days. Welcome to 2016!

If you’re interested in learning more about FranchiseHelp’s lead generation programs, click here.

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