Text Messaging: 8 Benefits for Employment and Social Services
Communication is important in any business or organization, but it is of the essence for those of you working in the employment and social services space.
Without efficient and reliable communication, you can't do your job.
Your clients are often challenged financially and have limited means of communication, which means your options for connecting are limited.
However, text messaging is…
- Low tech.
… and it works on phones long considered obsolete, with no Internet data plan required.
As a result text messaging is used by the vast majority of the population and is often the primary – and occasionally the only – communication channel for the people you serve.
In this article I will outline 8 benefits your social service or employment agency will reap when using our CONNECTsms platform to reach your audience with text messages (also known as “SMS” or short message service).
Let's get started…
Although CONNECTsms is now used by many different types of businesses and organizations, it was originally designed for use in employment and social services. Its functionality was largely developed in consultation with agencies in this space.
Benefit #1: Reach Clients on their Preferred Communication Channel
Today, 80% of people say texting is the best way to reach them.
And certain demographics like those that you are likely to serve – those between the ages of 18 and 35 – are even more likely to use text as their primary communication channel.
For some, especially those facing financial challenges, it may be their only option for communication.
Sending text messages accomodates your audience's preferences and guarantees a quick and timely response from your clients.
It works almost like magic. One customer related to me…
“I have been trying to reach a specific client for months with emails and voice calls. Nothing. Crickets. I fired up CONNECTsms and sent them a text and got a response in 90 seconds. Crazy.”
Statistics show that between 96-99% of all text messages are read (although I think today the number is much closer to 100%) and most within a few minutes.
The reason why people are quick to reach for their phone and read a text has nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with their relationship with the message's sender: 99% of the time, text messages originate from someone within your immediate social circle, someone you have a close relationship with and as a result you are extremely invested in what they have to say.
Benefit #2: Eliminate Missed/Forgotten Appointments
CONNECTsms includes an appointment reminder module which allows you to send up to 3 automated text message reminders in advance of an appointment.
I have written elsewhere how effective these are in reducing missed and forgotten appointments (50-75% reduction) so I won't repeat myself here.
If you'd like more information in this regard, you can find it here.
Suffice it to say that for most of our clients, this feature more than pays for the cost of a subscription all on its own.
Benefit #3: Easy Messaging Oversight
Before we built CONNECTsms back in 2015, we consulted with several prospective customers in the employment and social services vertical.
One of the things on the top of most managers' wish lists was the ability to oversee their staff messaging, to confirm it conformed and adhered to established communication policies.
This is impossible to do if staff are communicating with individual devices.
With CONNECTsms, this is never an issue. As an administrators you'll be pleased to learn you can review any conversation on the system at any time.
CONNECTsms features a “disable conversation deletion” feature, which prevents staff from deliberately or inadvertently deleting messages or message archives. This ensures you always have a record of every text message ever sent in your organization.
Benefit #4: Retain & Review Conversation Records
On the heels of the previous benefit, the next most popular requested feature was the ability to retain ALL conversation records for as long as necessary as well as being able to review the content of those conversations at any time.
This immediately became a standard feature of CONNECTsms.
Adminstrators can print off or access any conversation at any time.
What do we report for every text message sent on the platform?
- Date and time stamp.
- Delivery status.
- Staff member who sent it.
- Client who received it.
Now you never have to worry about getting conversation records from cell phones.
Benefit #5: Boost Response Rates of Government Mandated Follow Ups
If your employment or social services organization is either wholly or partially funded by government monies, chances are those funds are tied to a performance metric.
An inability to reach your audience can seriously impact your ability to maintain your performance standards.
And that’s a problem.
In other words, if you can’t reach people, it’s impossible for you to fulfill your mandate, and if you can’t fulfill your mandate, funding for your organization is in jeopardy. Yes…
When it comes to securing and maintaining government funding, it all comes down to metrics, and that means proving how well you’re connecting with your audience.
In Ontario, where we are based, Employment Ontario agencies are constantly looking for ways to boost the response rates from their required 3, 6 and 12-month follow ups (this is usually done by email where the response rate is around 20%. Not surprising since your audience doesn't use email much).
The surefire way to send these response rates is to reach out to your clients by text message, with our CONNECTsms platform.
Benefit #6: No App Needed
In today's increasingly technological world, there's a natural tendency to gravitate towards more complicated technologies for communication when simpler ones will do.
Such is the case with mobile apps over text messaging, which at first glance seem like the ideal communication channel for reaching an audience whose primary (and often only) communication device is their phone.
However, this tendency to lean towards more complex solutions is rarely in alignment with the needs of your client base, who…
- Prefer to communicate by text.
- May not have Internet data on their phones, and thus will be unable to access an app.
- Are unlikely to have new phones and may run into technical issues with apps due to older and unsupported operating systems.
- Will need to be informed and educated about your app and the need for it to be installed.
- Will actually need to install it and use it.
And then of course, apps themselves are prone to technical glitches and need to consistently monitored and updated.
Text messaging, of course, comes standard on all phones (even those old enough to be considered obsolete) and requires no “app install” or Internet data to access.
All you need to do to reach your audience is message them.
Benefit #7: Cloud-Based.
The CONNECTsms platform is in the cloud, which means a couple of things to you…
- It's accessible anywhere you have access to the Internet and access to a modern Internet browser. That means remote staff can access their accounts wherever they lay their hats. (Prefer to restrict access to office machines only? We can do that too, by restricting access by I.P. address).
- It has no impact on your local systems or IT (your IT department will love this!). That means there's no software to download and install and no potential conflict with local systems because everything happens in the “cloud.”
As a result, the software can be implemented quickly, with none of the hurdles associated with “local” based solutions (i.e., those that require an installation on local machines).
In fact, we can usually have your CONNECTsms account up and running in less than 20 minutes.
Benefit #8. Cost Savings
CONNECTsms allows your staff to send text messages to their contacts without the need for multiple handheld devices.
A $40/month subscription, which is plenty for a small organization, gives you access for 5 users.
What are the costs associated with 5 individual handheld devices? Many times that, to be sure.
There's no easier and more affordable way to scale the use of texting in your organization without an accompanying increase in cost.
CONNECTsms: Why it's the Perfect Solution for You.
CONNECTsms is already being used by many of your colleagues to send text messages to their contacts (see some of them here). Here's why it's also the perfect solution for you, too..
- It's affordable (purchasing multiple phones for all staff members is simply not financially feasible).
- Sharing a handful of office phones between staff members isn’t efficient or practical.
- Sharing phones means your clients can’t have an expectation of privacy in
conversations with case workers, since those messages are viewable by anyone
with access to the phone.
- There’s no way to monitor messaging for compliance to communication policies.
- There’s no easy way to archive conversations or obtain records of them for your records.
- There's no way to prevent messages from being deleted.
We also offer a 30-day unrestricted trial of the software so that you can confirm the software's value to your organization.
To learn more, drop us an email (below) or book a call or a demo here.
For a one-page overview of the software, click here to download our PDF whitepaper.