In the financial services industry it can be tough to differentiate your brand because, well, you’re not all that different. Chances are that you offer nearly the same services as most of your competitors do. So how do you stand out in a crowd and give your brand that top-of-mind awareness that’s key to winning business for life? It’s called It’s called Financial Messaging.

Be the brand that creates demand as a result of being so easy to work with because you actually bring value to your customers. And what adds value? Getting a text notification that branch offices will be closed so the tired new mom doesn’t waste her time driving over to you in person. Or approving the nervous first-time home buyer’s mortgage application while they tap on their phone screen sitting comfortably on the couch.

Aside from the fact that more and more customers prefer text messaging over voice calls, sometimes it’s just not a good time to talk on the phone. When a customer is in a restaurant, for example, or on a train, calling your 1-800 number just isn’t feasible. Two-way messaging lets you offer a platform customers can reach you on in a way that’s convenient for them anytime, anywhere.

Send proactive notifications

Two-way SMS messaging is a no-brainer way to instantly be recognized as a brand that has its customers’ interests front and center in everything they do.

SMS is a major value-add

5 billion people globally send and receive text messages every day. 292 million people in North America — that’s 80% of the continent’s population— text daily. Because most people always have their smartphones within reach, these statistics aren’t surprising. What is surprising is the amount of untapped potential SMS messaging holds for financial services contact centers.

Being the belle of the ball in an oversaturated market is never easy. To differentiate your brand, focus on what customers want and build strong relationships with them. To that end, you need to clearly state the value-add of doing business with you. Two-way messages are an easy way to create a personalized experience by leveraging what you already know about your customers— that they want to text!

You can use the data you collect with each interaction to build on that value and generate new opportunities for more meaningful conversations.

5 financial services use cases for two-way SMS

How do you get started? Below are the top 5 use cases for two-way SMS within financial services:

1. Applications & personalized offerings

Studies show that consumers are actually willing to provide more information if they know they will receive more custom offerings. Sending a welcome SMS + personalized offerings during the service onboarding is not only a chance to create a relationship with your customer but also gain insight into additional value adds you may be able to provide.

2. Account & on-demand service

Automatic text reminders can help you reduce delinquency risk and encourage customers to bring accounts up to date on time. 85% of texts are opened within 5 minutes of receiving them, so agent efficacy will skyrocket with the increase in the number of customers contacted per minute. The average length of time for an account resolution call is 6 minutes. The average length of time to receive and respond to a text is 90 seconds. That’s a 5X savings. What could your agents do with that time?

3. Compliance & security

To build your SMS messaging database, you first need consent to engage with a consumer. To do so, you essentially need to ask permission from the consumer. Built-in consent mechanisms help you maintain consent across channels in real-time.

Additionally, deploying automated messaging technologies such as bots can be a proactive measure in more quickly detecting risks or potential compliance failures. SMS messages can serve as a convenient two-factor authentication measure, helping you to be sure you’re handling customer information with every precaution necessary.

4. Upselling campaigns

You can weave upselling opportunities into two-way messaging campaigns almost too easily; it’s like they were made for it. Imagine you have a customer preparing for a vacation and they want to up their credit line in preparation. When they text you to do so, you can seize that moment to suggest special international fraud protections or even offer them traveler’s insurance within the same service interaction.

5. IVR-alternative

You can leverage SMS as an alternative to waiting in line. Unlike voice where the service ratio is 1 to 1, SMS allows agents to handle multiple interactions at once, increasing the chance of faster service times for the consumer and enabling them to go about their day without waiting by the phone.

SMS is a conversation starter. Expand SMS to 2-Way interactions as a way to make service available right to your customer’s fingertips 24/7. SMS is one of the fastest-growing channels for business communication because it’s great for building customer relationships. It’s also the perfect tool for streamlining everyday processes and introducing automation.

Whether you’re an enterprise-sized contact center or a few agents serving a small mom-and-pop shop of financial advisers, the SEC and FINRA regulations are important to keep in mind. Only messaging platforms with built-in compliance-first principles should be used for customer interactions. Encrypted messaging and text message archiving are just two key components to keeping customer information secure and accessible while still maintaining a conversational communication flow.

The benefits of a two-way SMS tool in financial services

Keep customers apprised of account activity

If there’s one thing pretty much all financial service customers have in common, it’s that they want to know where their money is and what it’s doing. Financial messaging solutions make it easy to deliver on this demand. Use texting to create a digital record of financial transactions like ATM withdrawals, inform customers about straight-through processing transactions like direct deposits, and keep them updated on the status of transactions that aren’t processed immediately, like large deposits.

Curb fraud

In addition to being well-liked by customers, financial messaging is a powerful way to stop fraud in its tracks. For example, if a customer’s debit card is suddenly used in a different state, you might send a text confirming whether it’s them using the card. For online banking, you might require a unique identifier code that’s sent via text message to log onto the customer’s account from an unknown device.

Easily generate new leads

What do people do while they’re waiting in line? You guessed it: they pull out their phones. Keep customers occupied while they’re waiting in your physical branch locations–and generate new text messaging subscribers in the process– by putting your firm’s dedicated mobile number on various display materials.

Spread the word about important company information

A financial messaging solution facilitates fast and easy information sharing among groups of customers or your entire customer base. Before a long holiday weekend, send a text alert to remind customers that regular payment processes will take place on the next business day instead of Monday. In case of network maintenance or outages, let subscribers know when service will be back online.   

How financial institutions can use SMS software

Enhance customer support

Cut down on incoming calls by pushing out helpful information and resources via text. When you make changes to your account policies, send a link to the updates via SMS message rather than distributing them by email, which is less likely to be opened, or snail mail, which can be costly.

Appointment reminders

Cancellations are a major time-waster for your staff. Get customers to keep more of their scheduled meetings and consultations by sending automated appointment reminders directly to their mobile devices.

Payment reminders

Bill payments can easily fall through the cracks when life gets busy. Financial services customers will love the convenience of text-based payment messages so they’re never hit with an unnecessary late fee. Your company collects more revenue while agents spend less time chasing down payments and more time serving customers.

Promote events

Whether it’s a live webinar with a retirement expert or a limited-time bonus offer for opening a new credit card, SMS messaging is great for promoting special events. Use a simple mobile signup form to increase registrations, then follow up with a confirmation message and any further details.