Heads Up, Brand PR: Texting Is the #1 Preferred Channel for Business-to-Millennial Communications

By Bulldog Reporter

Forget Social Media Interactions—Even Postal Mail Has a Higher Preference

Hey brand communicators, Millennials have an important message for you: SMS, or text messaging, is their top choice for customer engagement, with texting cited as the most preferred communication channel for receiving notifications from businesses, according to new research from enterprise mobile engagement firm OpenMarket. The company recently polled 500 U.S. Millennials on their use of SMS communications with businesses, with a focus on two-way texting capabilities.

While 72 percent of Millennials note they text 10 or more times a day and 31 percent cite they text more than 50 times a day, the leading factor in Millennials’ preferences for texting is its ability for two-way communication with businesses—an aspect which provides convenience, speed and ease of use.

As a follow-up to OpenMarket’s first Millennial survey earlier this year, this new research aimed to understand not only what communication method Millennials prefer (overwhelmingly SMS), but also why and how they’re utilizing the channel with businesses. The results revealed that the mobile-friendly sector is highly accessible to businesses through SMS, with over 83 percent of Millennials polled citing they open a text within 90 seconds of receiving it. In addition, 60 percent of Millennials want to be able to text their preferred businesses—but currently they’re only receiving five or fewer messages a week from companies, with 20 percent noting they don’t receive any texts from businesses at all.

The survey also reveals key customer engagement opportunities for companies to leverage with SMS. Nearly 50 percent of Millennials polled said they would like to receive fraud alerts from their financial service providers (only 19 percent currently are). When it comes to real-time communication, 80 percent of Millennials would prefer to text a company’s 1-800 customer service line versus dialing direct and waiting on hold.

“The goal of this survey was to dive deeper into the mobile-Millennial mindset and learn not only why this age group prefers text messaging as their main communication tool for business interactions, but at what level they are looking to engage,” said Jay Emmet, general manager for OpenMarket, in a news release. “These results show that the capabilities of SMS are very prevalent with Millennials, who desire more opportunities to communicate through texting, including more personal two-way interactions. Businesses need to further harness the ubiquity of SMS to realize better overall engagement and customer loyalty with the Millennial generation.”

Other key findings from OpenMarket’s survey include:

  • Texting is the #1 preferred channel of notifications from businesses, with email coming in a close second, and voice a distant third. Social media channels aren’t a significant factor for business-to-millennial communications as of yet. In fact, postal mail has a higher preference than Twitter and Facebook.
  • Millennials prefer to receive texts from businesses for appointment reminders (62 percent), delivery notifications (59 percent) and payment reminders (48 percent).
  • Currently, less than half of millennials actually receive appointment and payment reminders from business—signaling an engagement opportunity for companies.
  • Millennials desire a combination of both one-word responses (yes, no, help, info, etc.) and natural language feedback capabilities when it comes to the level of two-way communication with businesses.