Updated July 2021
Does your business have its bases covered when it comes to customer communication?
Sure, phone, email, and even video now are usually the go-to channels for sales and marketing.
But the importance of texting really can’t be overstated—especially for small businesses.
Think about it. Our colleagues and customers alike are constantly on the go, right? Not only are we more glued to our smartphones than ever, but buyers are increasingly comfortable with making mobile purchases.
At RingCentral, we’ve seen firsthand the boom of mobile communication for companies of all shapes and sizes. That’s why you need a reliable text messaging service for business.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of business texting services to put your company in the (literal) hands on your customers. If you want to, you can skip ahead to see which text messaging tools made the list:
The top eight business text messaging services today:
🛒 Shopping for a reliable, affordable messaging platform? Find the right one for your business with this free checklist.
But first, let’s look at why we’re putting the spotlight on text messaging in this blog post when everyone’s all atwitter about video conferencing.
If you’re skeptical about the benefits of texting for business, we get it.
Again, the bulk of your company communication probably happens via phone or email. The concept of doing business over text might seem tough between character limits and fewer face-to-face interactions.
That said, adding text messaging to your communications arsenal is a must-do for companies today. Below are some key benefits to consider:
Text messages are can’t-miss versus calls and emails
Calls go unanswered. Emails get buried between messages or stuck in the “Spam” folder.
But text messages are a different story.
Food for thought: text messages boast a 98% read rate versus emails (20%).1 Couple that with the fact that the average person checks their smartphone a staggering 96 times per day.2
Translation? Texts provide a way to reach out to your customers without interrupting or annoying them, all while putting your messages front and center where they’re most likely to see ‘em.
So many customers prefer to communicate via text
You need to be able to communicate with customers on their terms.
Based on our own customer experience statistics, an overwhelming number of customers would rather hear from businesses via text in certain situations. For example, customers under 55 will happily confirm appointments or accept offers through text messages:
Particularly if your customer base is part of the younger crowd, you really can’t sleep on SMS. Additional research shows that 75% of millennials prefer text-based communication over voice.3 Conventional wisdom says that consumers’ reliance on text will only grow among Gen Z and future generations of buyers.
Why so much love for texting, though? Well, texting is time-efficient. In today’s hustle-and-bustle world, time is money. Although SMS might not be ideal for building personal relationships with your customers, it’s an ideal channel for quick check-ins and confirmations.
Take 24 Hour Tees, for example. As their name suggests, they turn around custom T-shirt orders in an incredible 24 hours. Which means they have to be able to stay in touch with their customers around the clock.
Rather than resort to lengthy emails or phone calls back and forth, clarifications and confirmations via push notifications can do the trick. This sort of speed and accessibility provides a distinct competitive advantage to businesses working with multiple clients at once:
SMS is a low-maintenance way to make sure your business is always “on”
Piggybacking on the point above, availability via SMS enables your business to be “on” at all times.
For example, any given text messaging service for business enables users to confirm orders and appointments beyond business hours, once again avoiding the need for another email or customer call.
These autoresponders make your business more accessible and likewise appeal to customers who might not want to talk to anyone directly.
If nothing else, writing texts for your business doesn’t have to be rocket science. Whereas email and call scripts are lengthier, character limits (~160 per text) ensure that the average business text is shorter than a Tweet.
The fact that most business texting services allow you to create and customize templates and autoresponders means that you can “set and forget” many SMS campaigns. Of course, you always have the opportunity to follow up through phone or email if necessary.
What makes a great business SMS app?
Like any other type of software, companies are spoiled for choice when it comes to texting apps.
Below are some key must-haves to consider as you pick a text messaging service for business purposes.
Does it keep your customers’ information safe and secure?
As noted in our guide to secure messaging apps, people rightfully value their privacy.
And if someone hands their phone number over to your business, they’re trusting you to keep it safe. That means no spam and definitely keeping personal data out of the hands of hackers.
This is why businesses should be wary of tools like WhatsApp4 or Facebook Messenger5 as replacements for business texting, particularly because they’re susceptible to security snafus.
Instead, you need a dedicated texting app that’s tied to a proper business phone number. Relying on consumer apps is careless for protecting both you and your customers’ personal and financial information.
Does it give you scalable messaging that grows with your business (without breaking the bank)?
The good news for the sake of our list is that all of the services listed are budget-friendly for even smaller businesses and teams.
Keep in mind that business texting is something that needs to be scalable, though. Once you get on board, you’re committing to sending and receiving texts from customers for the long haul. How often and how much you’re going to use texting really depends on the size and scope of your business.
For example, the cost of texting is different when you’re paying for a service that covers a handful of customers versus hundreds or thousands of them. Some services offer a credit-based payment system, while other tools (like RingCentral) provide unlimited access to SMS.
Either way, make sure you’re investing in a system that you can commit to both strategically and financially.
Is it easy to use and does it integrate with tools you’re already using?
For the sake of saving time and money, you should use apps that integrate with each other versus bouncing between a ton of different tools.
It obviously makes sense to couple your SMS campaigns with your existing communication tools (think: phone system, email marketing software). For example, RingCentral’s integrations allow you to text your customers within your email inbox, CRM, and more.
Also, you should choose a text messaging service for business with a low learning curve. Tools like RingCentral make it a cinch to send texts via our desktop app, which looks akin to a traditional business messenger. Below is our texting integration with Salesforce, for reference:
So, what are the best texting services for business?
Onto the good stuff! We’ve highlighted eight texting tools that can help you reach customers on the go, all of which are easy to use and are friendly to a small business budget.
1. RingCentral: A complete communications suite with unlimited, integration-friendly texting built in
First thing’s first: RingCentral is about much more than just texting.
The platform lets you provide omnichannel customer service, which includes phone, email, and SMS (among others) to reach your customers anywhere and everywhere:
Now onto texting.
Through RingCentral, you can send unlimited texts up to 1,000 characters from a single business phone number. This includes meeting requests, files, links, and anything in between. Whether you simply want to be able to confirm meetings with clients or run full-blown marketing campaigns, you’re covered.
The biggest upside of using RingCentral is that all of your business’ communication is consolidated into a single platform. For example, you can track all of your text messages via your RingCentral dashboard or take advantage of our in-app integrations for your inbox or CRM.
Translation? You can instantly send and receive texts via RingCentral regardless of which business app you’re using.
For example, integrations like Trumpia Connect allow you to roll out RingCentral’s texting capabilities directly into Salesforce. Chatting with your customers via text is as simple as writing any other message on your desktop:
Here’s another example, this time of RingCentral’s integration with amoCRM, which allows you to log all of your customer interactions including calls, emails, and texts. This gives you a more comprehensive history of your customer relationships, all without any note-taking on your part:
Meanwhile, tools like SalesNexus allow you to set up texting templates and autoresponders for text-based confirmation messages:
Another benefit of using RingCentral is that our texting features are unlimited. In other words, you aren’t tied to per-message rates or pricing. If you have a large customer base, this means you don’t have to worry about blowing out your budget or rationing your texts.
Also, RingCentral is one of the best business texting services for your customers and colleagues. For example, you can use our platform to send internal texts to your team members. Don’t have the time to hop on a call or write an email? Why not just do a quick check-in over text?
🕹️ Get a hands-on look at how RingCentral’s robust business texting features work by booking a product tour:
💰 You can also use this calculator to see roughly how much your business could save by using RingCentral to support your team’s communication with each other—and clients.
ZipWhip is a pretty comprehensive texting tool that looks to save users as much time as possible.
For example, the platform allows you to create a variety of templates for text-based announcements and confirmations such as check-ins, payments, and appointment reminders. Creating workflows that you can put on autopilot, ZipWhip does a ton of legwork when it comes to otherwise tedious tasks on behalf of your customer service team.
Another cool feature of ZipWhip is the ability to create autoresponders based on specific keywords and queries for customers. For example if someone’s text contained “hours,” then you might have an autoresponder detailing your company’s hours of operation.
Beyond these automations, ZipWhip also allows you to chat one-on-one via text messaging with your customers akin to live chat. You can likewise add personalized signatures to your business-based texts to give your messages a personal touch.
EZTexting is a mass-texting tool with features centered around marketing-based campaigns. For example, the platform allows you to set up the following within its platform in a few clicks:
- Coupon codes
- SMS-only offers
These sorts of exclusives are fantastic tools not only for customer retention but also to incentivize customers to become part of your texting list. The fact that EZTexting also includes analytics and integrations with email marketing tools means you have a more holistic view of how SMS factors into closing customers.
Beyond these marketing features, you can likewise set up automated reminders and alerts akin to ZipWhip. The platform is straightforward and offers both flexible-use and high-volume plans depending on your needs. You can also add on extra business numbers or extra messages if you’re looking for a la carte messaging features.
TextRequest is a texting tool that’s made specifically for small and service-based businesses. Autoresponders and confirmation texts are pretty standard, as is the ability to save text campaigns and create templates for later use.
Perhaps what makes TextRequest notable versus some of the other apps on this list are its lead generation features. For example, features such as “click to text” enable mobile customers to immediately get in touch with your business via your website, Google ads, or Instagram profile. This means that you can start texting with customers directly rather than have to reach out to them via an opt-in form.
SimpleTexting lives up to its name pretty well—it provides a sleek, easy-to-use platform that gives you the flexibility to switch between one-on-one texts with customers and dedicated marketing campaigns.
Features such as scheduled texts, auto-responders, and direct customer communication via text are built in. Meanwhile, you can quickly upload your existing list of contacts to get started.
Standout features such as text-based polls, voting, and push notifications make for more meaningful texting interactions with your customers. Additionally, link-tracking analytics can help you better understand which interactions are working and which aren’t.
The platform’s pricing is based around purchasing “credits” for use. However, it is also technically a free text messaging service for business for up to 14 days (with 50 outgoing texts and full features to start out with).
Clicksend’s platform is an “online SMS gateway” for companies looking to begin messaging through text with customers. The fact that Clicksend is pay-as-you-go makes it unique among our list, giving users some flexibility in terms of how much or how little they want to text.
The platform therefore makes sense for companies that want to provide simple, text-based customer service or run as-needed marketing pushes. One notable feature of Clicksend is the ability to integrate with your email marketing platform (think: Outlook) to send and repurpose emails as text messages.
Textedly is a texting messaging platform that looks pretty standard on the surface, but is surprisingly powerful. Many of its features, like mass texting, scheduling, and automated replies, are par for the course based on the other apps on our list.
That said, the platform’s massive list of ready-made, industry-specific templates are a huge time-saver for service businesses. For example, appointment or reservation-based businesses could set up most of their SMS campaigns “out of the box” without much hassle. Textedly is also renowned for their awesome customer service, ideal for those who might need some hand-holding to get started with SMS.
8. Google Voice: A basic text messaging services for companies that already use Google Workplace (formerly Google Workspace)
Okay, so Google Voice isn’t the most robust tool for texting.
However, the tool does provide an easy-to-use option for companies who want to be able to shoot a few texts to customers and call it a day.
For example, let’s say you only have a handful of clients or your company already relies on Google’s suite of apps. If so, you may not be interested in having to pay for mass texting or running full-blown campaigns.
Assuming you use Gmail for your bulk of your communication, Google’s Voice’s texting capabilities provide another option for checking in with customers and keeping in touch with them on the go. Texting via desktop is perhaps the bare minimum that businesses should offer when it comes to mobile messaging.
That said, the app has you covered in that department. Nothing much more, nothing less.
And although the capabilities of Google Voice are limited text-wise, the fact that it’s a Google tool means that it’s both relatively trustworthy and reliable.
Are you using a text messaging service for business yet?
Listen: texting isn’t just something businesses should offer. It’s something you should do well.
Because mobile messaging is a key component of the customer experience these days.
With a dedicated texting tool, you can roll out and scale your mobile campaigns to reach more customers faster. Doing so is seamless with RingCentral, allowing you to manage all of your internal and external business communications in one place.
Originally published Nov 03, 2020, updated Jul 21, 2021