Master Class: How to Improve Responsiveness and Capture Leads Through Text Answering and Other Solutions

Elizabeth Lockwood

In a webinar recorded on August 26th, 2020, Kelsey Johnson, product marketing manager at Smith.ai, is joined by Brian Elrod, CEO and co-founder of Text Request, to discuss the importance of implementing quick and efficient processes for connecting with clients amidst not only COVID-19, but the new digital age as well. They also explain how businesses who offer accommodating solutions, such as 24/7 text message answering, can improve their responsiveness, better their lead generation, and increase their overall revenue, among other benefits. 

For a more in-depth look into this discussion, we've provided a full transcript of the webinar below, edited for readability. You can watch the full webinar by clicking on the video below. This webinar is also available to watch for free on YouTube. For more tips and tricks on capturing and converting leads, subscribe to our YouTube channel!


Moderator

Kelsey Johnson

Product Marketing Manager at Smith.ai

Speaker

Brain Elrod

CEO and Co-Founder of Text Request


INTRODUCTION

KELSEY, PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGER AT SMITH.AI:

My name is Kelsey Johnson. I am the product marketing manager at Smith.ai. Today, I'm joined by Brian Elrod, who is the CEO, and one of the co-founders of Text Request. And we are going to talk a little bit about responsiveness and text messaging and just getting in front of those clients and new leads to generate more revenue for your business.

I'm going to go ahead and let Brian take it away. He's going to talk for about 20 minutes and then I'm going to talk for about 20 minutes as well. And then we are going to be able to answer some of your questions at the end. So, go ahead and get started Brian. 

BRIAN, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF TEXT REQUEST:

Thank you very much. My name is Brian, and I'm going to talk texting with you.

HOW TEXTING IMPROVES BUSINESS

There's a couple of things that I'd like to point out that texting is the preferred way that consumers today like to communicate. So in your business organization, it is something that you need to take a look at, and you need to figure out how you're going to handle that, you know, whether it's with Text Request or someone else. 

And we all spend a lot of money driving people to our websites – spend lots of money in marketing and creating content. 

And you know, a lot of times, we don't give customers their preferred and easiest way to connect with you. 

So we're kind of missing something there and with text requests, we can do some very simple things such as text-enable your business number; the one that you're advertising everywhere; the one that's being called, it can be a landline or a VoIP number can be direct, dials, whatever you wish. Everything, but a cell number. 

And you can say call or text us at this number now. And you're going to see opportunities because of that. 

We also offer an SMS chat where you can put it on your website, someone lands on your website, you give them a way to connect with you.

So a lot of different avenues that let people, you know, text with you. So I've got a presentation. Maybe I'll show you a little bit about the product.

So texting is the new normal. 

What's been very interesting about this year is that businesses were moving in this direction, but because of COVID, they've been forced to move much faster. So, it's interesting, watching really large and small organizations having to make communication decisions and strategies that they take for a very long time.

Exactly what we do at Text Request, in a nutshell, is we give you all of the tools and organizational features that you need so that you can text professionals as a team. That means everyone can see what's happening with your messages. You're not passing around a phone; you have an online dashboard.

We offer a Chrome extension and even a mobile app. So you have it on the go and you can have as many users in your organization as you need. 

And it's very flexible in how you set Text Request up. So if you would like to use Smith.ai, you can certainly add them as users. You can follow their activity; you can track it the next morning.

You can see what was said. So it gives you that tool. 

And then there's a lot of other things. Tools and features built around this, like “out-of-office” auto-reply templates, you can even create things for your virtual receptionist. 

So you can do a lot of things to make it very easy, but that's really what text requests do. Just kinda moving here, what we see across all industries we work with—about a hundred different industries. 

TEXT BENEFITS FOR SMBs 

SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) are our main customers, but essentially, they're making decisions very quickly and everyone wants to be digital now.

People want to communicate, they're seeing much higher engagement rates when they start offering to text. 

Some of the things that have happened because of COVID: virtual check-ins, virtual waiting rooms. We hear this word “contactless engagement” a lot because you can send your quotes, obviously send people into an office, tell them that you're ready for them to come in, all this sort of thing.

And again, Text Request will give you an easy way to manage what your customers want. They want digital, they want it on the go, they want speed. 

And that's really what texting is about and so we've identified a few areas here. Speed, attention, engagement, and preference. That's why texting is something that you need to look at in your business.

And we're going to show you some examples as well. 

So here's one of our customers, the average response rate for the text is about 90 seconds. So think about when you're trying to engage someone and get an answer, you can see that it's going to improve the efficiency of everything that you're doing.

IMMEDIATE ANSWER

I had one time—I liked to talk and give examples. It was a car dealer in the service department. They've got a car that needs repair. They're trying to get approval. 

So it's up on a rack and they're calling the customer trying to get approval. They need to move it off or not that bay is money.

They sent a text, boom. They get approval within a few seconds and they can't reach that person with a call, so you can see here is an insurance company talking about how they get responded to quickly. 

HIGHER RESPONSE RATE

If you're texting someone, it's going to get past their lock screen because most of the time, you've got a push notification or drop-down at the text and you can see that they're inundated with emails and ads and phone calls.

But a text gets their attention. It has a 99% read rate. 95% of all messages are read within under 3 minutes.

So, here's a staffing company talking about how they were feeling, you know, every position for a home opener of a soccer event. And they did it through texting engagement. 

We talked about this; response rates are extremely high click-through.

If you're sending a link, a payment link, that sort of thing. A review link is another thing. 

We'll talk about that as well, and this is a home improvement company. And it's a preference and they always come back to this because in texting, if 9 out of 10 customers would like to text your business, that's 90%, and not a lot of businesses are still doing that. 

And, you know, you've got to come here, Kelsey, you need to join the conversation with your customers. This is a school. 

BOOSTED SALES

So now we're into an organization away from a business, but simply how they're servicing their parents by allowing them to text and not having to make that phone call, go through a phone tree, or maybe even to a voicemail in the sales process.

And I'm sure Kelsey would talk about this. The sale normally goes to the first person that responds and, you know, you can be very fast with a text and get their attention. 

IMPROVED LEAD GENERATION

One of the ways that we're seeing texting used is lead generation.

We do offer an SMS chat. You can custom design this chat and put it on any web page. You can design the colors. Where's the popup, the logo, the form questions that you may like to ask and the great thing is it's different in a live chat in the sense that when you, you know, answer their message, it's going to go to their SMS app on their phone. 

What I like about it is that you have their cell number and you also have permission to text them.

So because they’ve texted you first— I know a lot of times with live chat you sometimes lose them when they leave the computer screen or they give you a bad email address. 

Well, you’re going to have their cell phones. So you’re going to be able to communicate. So lead generation is a great way.

PROMOTIONS, UPDATES, ANNOUNCEMENTS

Obviously, promotions have been around for a while, but you can certainly, you know, create promotions, send them to your customers, they’ll go individually to each one. And it does, we provide all the opt-out and compliance features that you may need, but you can certainly do promotions, updates, and announcements.

This is coming from the non-profit here where a message from the CEO to their volunteers was certainly appreciated. Again, that’s using our group messaging feature, something very popular now is to replace a physical lobby. 

So folks don’t have to stand around in a lobby. That obviously could be in the medical field, that could be in any field that has a waiting room, and in automotive as well.

They drive in, they text you, you tell them when to come in. Your entire team is managing the text. Everyone can see it and know that that customer's been serviced. 

QUICKER ACCESS TO REVIEWS

One of my favorite ways was not on our focus list when we were building text requests, but online reviews are so important. You send those out through emails, you know, emails open rates, less than 20%.

They rarely get completed. And reviews are critical to your SEO strategy, that it's active, that you're getting a lot of reviews per month, that that's a growing list and sending a text link to do a review is a great way to do that.

So, you know, here are some examples with texting, you know. I haven't talked about this, but you could certainly send full MMS. And when you send MMS, I'm referring to pictures, brochures. You can make them very nice and you'll get to include an SMS where you can put hyperlinks. 

EFFICIENT SCHEDULING

So essentially also scheduling, that's around in the medical and dental worlds for a long time and in the home service as well.

Professional services, where you can send out a calendar link, they click on it, they schedule it, that sort of thing. This is a salon talking about their success with texting for setting up appointments. And payment and collections, as everyone likes to get paid. 

You can always send text reminders, payment links we're getting in the near future. We're adding text to pay. So a person would be able to reply via text and make a payment. So today, we do offer the pay through links, but we will be adding text to pay in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

And one way to grow your subscribers: we do offer keywords and we're going to offer that as you can see right here. Text the word normal, down in the bottom right-hand corner, to 4232180111.

And we'll send these slides to you, but it's also a great way for you to grow your list.

And here's an example we're showing you from where subscribers are texting you. And so that they get and keep updated on things that are happening with COVID in the region. 

So, that's my presentation, Kelsey, you can tell me how I'm doing on time.

I've got a few minutes left here before I could quickly show you some of the products here. 

KELSEY:

You showed us a little bit about your product. I mean what I'm taking away from this is that, you know, text messaging as a business owner, especially if you're a small or even medium-sized business center, it seems like something intimidating.

Like even when my mom texts me on my cell phone, I'm like, “Well, I'll deal with that later” sort of thing. And, the point that I'm taking away from this is really that there's a software to help make this easy for you.

 It doesn't have to be this overwhelming thing to offer text messaging to your clients and your new leads.

You want to take us around the dashboard a little bit and just show us from the backend? 

HOW TO USE TEXT REQUEST

BRIAN:

What you said is right, I mean, what we're doing has given your organization the tools to do this professionally as a team. Whether you're outsourcing it or you're turning on autoresponders or you're managing it on-the-go, you'll certainly be able to do that.

CHROME EXTENSION AND MOBILE APP

But I'm going to jump in through the browser. We do offer Chrome extension and mobile app, but essentially what I'm doing here is I'm just logging into the dashboard. And you can see here, these are new messages coming in. 

And essentially, when one person on the team starts to manage the message by topping, it's going to tell everyone else that a user is on this dashboard.

SIGNATURES, IMAGES, AND TEMPLATES

You can set up signatures for individual users, you can send images, and you can create templates. So it's very easy for you to manage these. 

And when I reply to this message, essentially what's going to happen is it's going to gray out. You can have quite a few locations. Each dashboard represents a location.And you can move around these different locations like this. So what I need to do is get this message resolved, and I can do it by replying to it. Or if it's good, I can click resolve. 

And again, you can have as many users. There are different permission levels for these users, whether you or they can be anywhere in the country, or world actually. And you can manage their user levels and what they can see and do inside of the text request. 

It does create a permanent record of all your messages, so you’re always able to jump into a message and follow the history of the message. So you can see who answered it, when it was answered, that sort of thing.

Every outbound message will go with a confirmation. So you know it was delivered. If it wasn't delivered, it's gonna prompt you and tell you. 

And again, every first message will go with an opt-out message, so that you're staying compliant. If someone replies “stop”, it will do that. 

GROUP MESSAGING, TAGS, AND KEYWORDS

Group messaging is something we talked about. You can create groups and send out group messages to your opt-in clients. 

And then when you get into the settings, you can do a lot of things here. You can create tags and templates and keywords and all of that sort of thing. 

Now, the final thing I would tell you is that we do free demos

You can go to our website at textrequest.com. We do these demos every 30 minutes and you just simply pick a time. 

And one of our account executives will walk you through the product, listen to your case, show you how to use text requests, and you can go from there and decide. 

We're a no-contract SAS. So you don't have to sign a contract or anything like that with us.

TEXT REQUEST INTEGRATIONS

KELSEY:

Brian, we've got a quick question: does Text Request integrate with Clio

BRIAN:

You know, that's a great question; and we are actually working on that right now. 

Alright. Coming up soon, we have an integration team; I know that is in their top three, maybe the top one priority. I know they've started the process. They've had the conversations with Clio

In the meantime, we do have something called a Chrome extension and a Chrome extension is a very neat feature.

Basically, regardless of the software you're using, you can slide out and use text requests as long as you're using Chrome and you can use text requests and your software at the same time—doesn’t even put a little text icon by any number on a webpage.

So you can text right from there. So while it's not true integration, it really works a lot like an integration

So here, if I wanted to text that number, just like that, I just hit the little cue that popped up, and I can start texting.

KELSEY:

All right. Well, great. That was really informative, I think. Was there anything else that you wanted to mention before I take over for you here, Brian? 

BRIAN:

No, please. I want to sit back and relax now. 

RESPONSIVENESS TO GENERATE LEADS

KELSEY:

Well, what I'm going to talk about today is sort of the other side of sending these text messages out. Brian was talking a lot about sending text messages out, asking for reviews, getting things scheduled, and responding in-house. 

And what I'm going to talk a little bit about is just the responsiveness and the need for you to be responsive to your leads and clients 24/7.

I do have these slides available at bit.ly/texting-with-smith

I'm Kelsey Johnson. I'm the product marketing manager, but I'm also very interested in tech-enabled operations, digital marketing, and communications for small and solo businesses. I'm very interested in these technical solutions to things that we can find really overwhelming as a business. 

This is something we, as a virtual receptionist service, we do phone calls, text messages, website chat, and Facebook. And the point of this presentation, basically, is that it is important to have immediate responses to your leads and clients for new business growth.

We're no longer in the time where you get to put your service out there and expect your clients to come to you. You need to be creating a process, not just in your marketing, but in the way that you respond to your new leads and your clients. 

That pairs with their behavior that you're meeting them where they already are to respond to them in an effective time.

According to a HubSpot consumer research report, 82% of consumers expect an immediate response to sales inquiry

So these are people who wouldn't just think it's nice, but when they inquire with your business, 82% of consumers expect to be responded to immediately and 90% of consumers expect it on a support request.

Plus, 80% of consumers say they've stopped doing business with a company because of a poor experience

So we all know that a new client to bring in is much more expensive than making a current client happy or turning a current client into a repeat client or even somebody that recommends your service.

So really that responsiveness is the key to being able to keep those clients and that revenue coming in regularly. 

But especially for solo business owners or for small businesses with a very small team where you're offering this service or you’re putting together the products or you have a million things going on. It isn't always feasible for you to be responsive, especially 24/7.

Nevertheless, your clients and leads are expecting this responsiveness. 

And so, this is really the dilemma that I'm going to address in this presentation: how to maintain that coverage, maintain that responsiveness without going crazy, without trying to answer text messages on your own and answer every phone call on your own and being able to still get that business done.

Omni-channel is the new word that everybody's talking about.

It's not just responsiveness. It's not just picking up the phone every single time. It's not just being where you want to be again, back to that consumer behavior. It's a function of being on the channel that your clients and your leads are already on.

And because everybody is now—and the younger generations are now online, they're on social media

They want to be texting – texting isn't even just something for the younger generations. It's something that older generations are doing. My grandparents are comfortable sending text messages.

It's something where your clients are already there. And so being responsive to them immediately is not just about picking up the phone when they call anymore. 

BUILDING RESPONSIVENESS WITH VIRTUAL RECEPTIONISTS

And so you talk a little bit about how a virtual receptionist can sort of fill these holes. 

You might be able to pick up the phone all the time, but you might want to take on a virtual receptionist service to answer your website chat for you or to answer text messages after hours or to do a Facebook response to all your Facebook leads.

Maybe there aren't as many leads who turn into real clients. And so it's not as good of a use of your time to be on Facebook responding to all of these people, but you still need that responsiveness.

I know, at least personally, anytime I get on Facebook, that's 15 minutes gone, at least, because I've got my notifications when I'm responding to people.

24/7 AVAILABILITY

So this is really a good solution to offer that 24/7 responsiveness and to plug the holes. 

So I'll talk a little bit more about this, but you could have a virtual receptionist service as that first line of defense, taking in everybody who wants to contact you and then qualifying them and serving you those right leads who are actually high quality, who are actually more likely to convert into actual clients.

Using a virtual receptionist service for after hours, weekends, vacation coverage, temp coverage. Setting rules for the receptionist where they just have taken on new leads, but you handle all of your client communications or even for answering phones.

And then it rings to our service instead; this is what I'm talking about a little bit with the first line of defense. You've got this funnel and all of your marketing is bringing in these new leads, but there's a new lead and then, there's a quality new lead. 

And so, even with something like text messaging, you can have a virtual receptionist service as your first line of defense taking in all of these new leads, qualifying them, and then sending them further down the funnel where your staff is more qualified to handle those high-quality leads or the clients themselves. 

We obviously have – phone calls are our bread and butter here at Smith.ai, so we can provide that responsiveness after hours, on the weekends’ overflow, the first line of defense. 

OUTBOUND CALLS AND TEXT MESSAGES

We can even do things like outbound calls for you and temp coverage, especially in this new era of working remotely, having that kind of plug-and-play type coverage for your phone calls can be really useful. 

But in this presentation, I’m talking a little bit more about text messages, right? 

So, as Brian was saying, my source might be slightly different, but 90% of text messages are answered. Like, all of them. Right. 

So I'm like, thinking about the email marketing that you're doing right now, sending out these emails and only 20% of people are opening them. That could be 98% if you just, try out this new avenue in text messages, even less to compose than an email.

If you are doing something just like SMS, just plain texts, there's no design effort in it, you can test it out. And then the conversion rates of text message marketing right now is 45% versus 6% for emails. 

So this is just something that you need to start thinking about using because it's so useful; it's going to be so much more productive in bringing those new leads to your business. 

Obviously, a lot of the reasons to use text messaging, increased marketing ROI, you can throw your text message number on a slideshow-like behind it, text us for this, or you can put it on something like offline marketing (like TV ad or a billboard or business card), or any mention just shoot us a text and everybody's got their phones on them all the time.

That's something that they can do really simply. 

One of the greatest things about text messaging that I truly believe is that it improves accessibility for people with visual impairment. So somebody is going to be very comfortable using a text message with their Siri or with our Google Voice dictating.

And you can really open up that level of communication with that client or with that new lead in a way that you just can't do on a website. They might not always want to call in and it really provides that accessibility to them. 

BILINGUAL ANSWERING AND SCHEDULING

I didn't mention it in this presentation, but with software like Smith.ai, we can also translate back and forth from Spanish and into Spanish and English

So that even if our receptionists are answering your text messages with people who speak Spanish, they can translate that in real-time and provide that accessibility. 

And then the schedule is, if you schedule a new lead via text message, they have those text messages on them all the time.

Nobody ever leaves their phone behind when they go anywhere. So they're much more likely to show up to tend to that meeting that you set up with them or follow up with you if they have that reminder in their texts already and then the most important thing that I can hammer in is that these responses are incredibly important 24/7.

So if you do have something like Text Request you’re using during the day, during the week, you’re doing high-level support, you’re handling those leads who are very close to converting to a sale. You’re providing that real expertise that only your in-house service can. 

You can still have a service like Smith.ai cover answering these text messages for you after-hours, the new leads and qualifying them, responses to the outbound marketing that you're doing, taking care of initial support requests and passing those along, and then just covering those after-hours. 

And somebody is sending you a text message. They get a text back. “Hi, we'd love to schedule an appointment. The availability is starting on Monday at 9:30 AM central time.” 

And then that person knows, even though they texted you on Saturday night at 10:30 PM, that they've got that appointment booked for Monday morning. Or if you do provide 24/7 service or you provide Sunday service, you can still get that response sent if that's somebody that needs that immediate service. 

You don't have to answer all those text messages initially, but you can get it sent to you if it's a very high-quality lead and you can take care of it at the moment.

There's a couple of next-level solutions I'm not going to get too into because they're fairly technical. 

CRM INTEGRATIONS

We do something called an email to SMS gateway, which is basically you're able to set up a system that sends out these text message marketing, and then, Smith.ai can respond to those initial requests.

And then you can set up, obviously, these integrations with the CRM

We can do scheduling and payments via text message as well. I'll go into this CRM a little bit further, but basically, that way you have all of your communications in the platform that you use to manage your new leads as well.

I'm also touching a little bit on our live webchat; it's the same receptionist answering, all of the same questions, the same queries, but on your website, we can also do this on a 24/7 basis.

We can do it with just AI or with our live agents backed by AI and we can provide after-hours coverage as well.

So you just plug in some code into your widget and all of a sudden, if you answer during the week, it's answering on the weekends or at night, and we also do some Facebook messages.

Again, the exact same receptionists are answering your leads, in the exact same way, based on the exact same instructions that you gave us.

And then handing you off the high-quality leads or handing off support questions to the right team. 

LIVE WEB CHAT SERVICES

With Smith.ai’s live chat service, you can literally add these things on in minutes. If you have a website widget and you are only getting a couple of these chats a day, right?

If you just started out or your website volume is kind of low and you just don't have a lot of people engaging. 

You can set up these extra channels. It's in the same area, same platform, same billing, same quota, and really just offers Facebook messenger responsiveness, SMS messaging responsiveness, in addition to the web widget. 

And you actually don't even have to do the webchat if you already have a different solution for that.

So it really can cater to what you specifically need here. Now, I would like to talk a little bit about the process because bringing on either a new technology like Text Request or bringing on a new service requires taking a very clear look at the process that you currently have. 

I say never automate a bad process, never outsource a bad process.

We'll obviously work with you on getting a process set up for you, but this is something that you should think about in terms of your own process as well. 

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LEAD CAPTURING

So, when you are capturing leads, how are you doing it right now? Is it all phone calls? Are you doing website forms? How are you following up on that?

Do you have any leads coming in through Facebook? Have you checked? Have you tried a website chat? You know, chat on your website to see if you're getting new leads

That way, I'm really figuring out where you can capture those leads and where you are currently capturing them and where the holes are there.

How would you prioritize them? Are there certain people that need to be immediately sent to your line for you to call them back or is it something where you can get a text message or Slack message and get back with them? 

How are you qualifying your new leads? 

A lot of people, if they are solos and small firms, or just doing this kind of naturally on their own, I always urge you to think about the way that you take somebody who is interested in your service, and you really understand whether you were the right service for them or the right product for them and whether they are going to make the sale with you.

So location-based, price-based urgency, whether they need your service, whether you offer what they're looking for. 

Scheduling and Payments

And then what's the process to follow up on for the new leads that are coming in? Take a look at your scheduling and payments. Are you scheduling new leads? Have you set up the technology to do so?

Are you scheduling the new leads that are qualified immediately? Are you providing that immediate responsiveness? Same thing with payments? 

Are you taking payments for consultations? Are you doing it via phone text message? Facebook message? And are you using technology for that, you know if you're a lawyer or something like LawPay?

But with just PayPal and Square, you can set up these links that make payments really easy from the beginning. 

Follow-ups and Notifications

And then what is your process for follow-ups? If somebody is a new lead, are they getting sent to a member of your sales team? If you have them, do you want to hear about them? Are you following up?

What is your process for bringing on these new leads? 

That is really making them feel seen and heard and responded to in a way that is going to help convert them, but also without driving you crazy. 

And then how often are you checking in with those leads over time? Are you setting reminders for yourself to go out and see if those leads are still coming in or are you nurturing them?

Are they not ready for you yet? 

And then, are you fully integrated with your CRM so that you have all of your communications logged without you having to think about it? 

I did just get a question about the recording. Yes, we are recording this, and we'll have it up on YouTube and I'll send you all a reminder. So, if you did get distracted and needed to run, go ahead and look out for that. I'll send everybody an email after the presentation. 

Alright. So the last thing that I will say is often we'll start to talk about all of these processes and all of these new technologies that you can take on.

And I see it especially in people who are special, but not necessarily incredibly technically inclined, their eyes get big and they start to go, “Oh my gosh, I have 18 million things to do. Like, how do I get started with this?” 

And I’ve just got a couple of tips. 

TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED

The first is: figure out what your clients are doing first. 

So take a friend or a nephew or a couple of friends or your spouse or something and have them pretend to be a client. And contact your business without letting you know, how long are they waiting to hear from you? Did somebody pick up the phone when they called? Did they try to reach out to you on Facebook? And did you get back to them? 

And let that person really poke holes in the process and see if you're providing that responsiveness to them

Figure out where you might have been missing out on some of these leads. Are you looking at phones? Are you able to offer this text message? 

If you already have a Smith.ai live chat plan or you want to set yourself up with a trial, create a TA Number where people can text you and just see if they're going to text you. Are they on social media?

And you hop into Facebook, and you're like, “Oh my gosh, eight people contacted me. And I just haven't even been in here.” Are people coming into your shop? Is that the main way that they're contacting you? And how are they able to follow up with you in the future? And then, are they coming in on your website?

Just log those. Don't even think too much about it, just log it. See if you can, in just writing down all of the ways that they're connecting with you, find where you might be missing something and then go through that process. 

If you can, again, take 15 minutes and just write down what you're doing now don't think too much about it. 

You'll see that you can find these tiny little holes and be able to use technology like Text Request and like Smith.ai to fill some of them. Maybe you are great at responsiveness except at three o'clock in the morning when you're sleeping. And is that something that you really can use a service for or a technology to cover?

And start small, just do one of these to start and then next month do one other thing. 

We're all overwhelmed with the opportunity for improvement right now. So just take it easy, just take a couple of recommendations and then just really see if you can find this service or this technology to fit in.

If you do want to get started with Smith.ai, go to smith.ai/pricing. Texting and chat pricing will be at /pricing/chat, but you'll be able to find it easily. 

You can start off with a 20 chat or text free trial. You can set that up with Facebook too, and no credit card is required.

If you do decide to sign up for a plan starting at $140 a month, you can use “textrequest” as a code for $100 off your first month and then just sit back and see how you're able to bring in more leads and reduce interruptions. 

Alright, I think that we now have a little bit of time set aside in case anybody else has any questions for us. You're welcome to email me or Brian if you have questions in the future, too.

But I think I've got a question for you, Brian: how do you set up a number that somebody can use with your platform? Do you port in the number that they have been using for their phone line or do you provide them a new phone number that they can text you on? 

TEXT REQUESTS’ OPTIONS FOR PHONE NUMBERS

BRIAN:

So we have a couple of options. The first option is we can SMS host their current number or numbers that involve no porting. So we don't take control of all of their numbers.

They don't have to change voice carriers, but all landlines, VoIP numbers have SMS roots exactly the same way as the cell does. 

So we're essentially able to put our routing code on what's called an “east bed”, an SMS profile, and the text will come into our platform. Text and voice calls travel differently.

So there's no interference at all. If you're getting a hundred texts and a hundred phone calls, there's no interference at all with the two. 

So that's option one, option two is we can provide you a local area code number, provision you a number as well if you want, we'd call that a text-only line, and you can choose to put call forwarding on it or potentially use our voice recording. 

We offer a couple of options there.

KELSEY:

I actually have another question for you. What sort of automated responses does text request have, like if somebody was to text in a certain thing or text to that certain number?

Like for the slides, do you have automations that you can set up and how do those work?

TEXT REQUESTS’ OPTIONS FOR AUTOMATION

BRIAN:

So we have kind of what I like to call first level automations that you can turn on or off. It's not really AI where it's listening to a question or replying to it. 

But basically, it auto-replies. Or it can just be on all the time. 

So a message comes in—it could be, “Hey, thank you. We received your message. Someone will text you back in the next whatever.” So that scenario would be on all the time. 

The next scenario is we have the ability to schedule when it auto-responds on its own. So some people do that after-hours or maybe they include an emergency number, like an HVAC, or something in the reply.

And then, the third way is through keywords, which is how I was sharing my presentation, where someone would text in a certain word and get a certain response based on that word. 

So those are the three that we currently offer. 

That sounds like the kind of thing that is already comfortable for people when they're like, “I understand the concept of keywords.”

When I text a system, when I say stop, they'll stop texting or it'll prompt me with – I can usually say help and it'll let me know what the keywords are. 

Well, I've definitely seen people get creative with keywords where they kind of build their own AI through our system where maybe they can get to the knowledge tree in little ways.

So the first replies you texted in the word, then the next one says, “If you would like this text, this, or this...”, or maybe it's got three and then it builds a little bit of a knowledge tree. 

CONCLUSION

KELSEY:

All right. Great. Well, thank you for joining us today, Brian.

Thank you to everybody who joined us for the presentations. 

Again, we are recording this and it should be up on YouTube within the next couple of days. I will send out an email with just a reminder of the promo code and how to look at a demo and Text Request in case you have any other questions, feel free to email me anytime, kelsey@smith.ai if you have any questions.

Questions? Contact Us.

Have any questions about Smith.ai's virtual receptionists services or anything else? Call us at (650) 727-6484 or email us at support@smith.ai.

If you’d like to learn more about how Smith.ai’s virtual receptionists can help your business, try out our 14-day/20-call free trial – no credit card required! 

To watch more webinars like this one, check out our YouTube channel or access articles, guest blog posts, and other resources on the Smith.ai Blog.

Elizabeth Lockwood

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

Try Smith.ai for free

Accelerate growth with live receptionists and AI. Get a 20-call/20-chat trial now!

Contact our sales team today at (650) 727-6484 or schedule a call.

Share this on Twitter | Facebook