Another COVID consequence: Consumer preferences for text communications just got a lot more pervasive.

Text messaging has been with us for a long time now. It’s only natural that its popularity would grow in tandem with the increased adoption of smartphones. 

But as late as 2019, field studies conducted by research companies like Lunar and Twilio showed that email communications continued to be the preferred way for consumers to receive communications from businesses or sales personnel.

Of course, both text and email had already eclipsed voicemail in popularity long ago – not to mention hanging on the phone for minutes (or hours) at a time to interface with companies in real-time.

Then COVID came along — and with it came stay-at-home orders from governments and employers. Its impact on consumer communications behavior was huge. New research reveals that the majority of people surveyed have increased their cellphone usage since the onset of the coronavirus – in most cases dramatically so.

In fact, nine out of ten consumers surveyed now report that they prefer receiving text communications over email when it comes to interfacing with businesses — and such text messages are also more likely to be read than email communications.

Moreover, consumers prefer texting with customer support reps more than real-time phone calls. They expect quick and accurate responses to their text inquiries — and don’t seem particularly concerned about the “digital paper trail” that might be less easy to document and preserve with text messaging than with email.

This shift in attitudes is actually pretty intuitive: Texting with customer support personnel allows anyone with a mobile device to get answers and resolve issues quickly, without enduring long hold times and transfers. The shorter resolution times that texting can deliver also encourage brand trust.

Chalk it up as yet another trend that was already happening — but COVID’s given it a big boost.

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