How and why businesses can use SMS to communicate better with their employees

We aren’t going to start this post by going into the whole, “SMS has a 98% open rate whilst email only has a 22% open rate” and “email inboxes are filled with spam messages” spiel, just to show you that sending a text message is MUCH better than sending an email . . . Oops, we did, oh well.

What we really wanted to start with was a fantastic quote from Richard Branson . . .

Ruchard Branson quote

This sounds simple enough but can be hard to achieve. To improve employee satisfaction, businesses will look at improving the office, making it homelier and less like an office, or improve benefits they offer like extra day offs, bigger bonuses, flexible hours.

All these are great and will help to improve employee satisfaction, which will then feed down to your customers, but a big area that businesses are missing is communication.

You can have all the benefits and freebies in the world, but if your communication is poor, then your staff won’t be happy.

Bad communication can range from; too many emails, too few emails, emails at the wrong time, emails about unimportant things, not emailing about important things, employees not knowing what is going on, the list goes on. But one thing it has in common is emails.

A study found that managers who were spending around 100 hours per year on unimportant emails, didn’t want their email access limited. They did however, want policies put in place that would reduce the volume of emails sent to their inbox. (Source: Grossman Group)

We all get thousands of emails and very quickly we start to scan them and not fully take the information in. But if some of those emails were sent via SMS instead, employees would not only receive fewer emails but would take these emails onboard more as they know that these fewer emails are important and not just mass updates.

But how do you go about deciding which emails would work better as a text message? Below we have outlined 3 different scenarios where SMS would work better than emails, and why you should move to internal SMS communication.

How to use SMS for internal communication
SMS can be used instead of emails in most areas, we would, however, advice that you to start by looking at 3 different areas to implement SMS; alerts, reminders, and questions. These 3 options are easy to change to SMS and you can then see what impact that has on employees.

Alerts – Major updates and alerts should be sent out via text message and not email due to the importance of them. Because these alerts are important, you want to know that your staff have received and read the message almost instantly. These alerts can range from office issues, road closures, media events, and a change of meeting time to name just a few.

Reminders – A great way to use SMS internally is for reminders. This can be set up automatically, so 10 minutes before a meeting or event, those attending receive an SMS message reminding them. Staff away days, work parties, and end of month expenses are just a few more ways that reminders can be sent out via SMS instead of email.

Employee Feedback – Whether it is an end of year survey to find out the overall satisfaction of your employees, or a single question to ask whether you should implement a new policy. Using SMS Surveys to collect quality feedback from your employees is the quickest and easiest method.

Why should businesses use SMS for internal communication?
To put it simply, employees don’t always have access to their emails, meaning they may not see your message for an hour, day, or even week. Unlike with our mobile phones that rarely leave the palm of our hand and we check multiple times every day.

On average people check their phones 150 times per day and spend 177 minutes using them (Source: Device Atlas)

Reasons why your employees may not have access to their emails:
– Working remotely/off-site
– Out on the road and no access to the internet
– Lunch break
– On the shop floor

You may even to get a message out to everyone in the morning, say if there has been a crash and to get to work safely they would need to take a different route. Sending an email about this would mean the majority won’t see it as they are unlikely to check their emails in the morning.

All this means that if you need to get an important message out to everyone, the quickest and most effective way is with a text message. With 90% of all text messages being read within 3 minutes, you know that using SMS instead of email your message will be read almost instantly.

Using SMS ensures you reach all employees at the same time, and in a much faster manner than relying on emails alone. At Text Marketer, we take our own advice on board and use SMS for internal communication, which has been received extremely well of course!