In a world that is awash with communication it is easy for a business to get carried away isn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to sign up customers to mailing lists, get them to follow and share your material on social media, texting them your latest offers and alerts and maintaining a strong blog on your mobile-friendly website. Quite the opposite. These are all great examples of how to operate in the modern digital market.

In fact, when you add in existing traditional marketing methods such as TV, radio, print, phone calls, flyers, post, etc then you could say that we’ve never had more chance to talk to customers.

That’s good, of course. We should always want to talk to customers as often and in as many ways as possible and the predominance of mobile makes it even more effective to reach the right customer at the right time and in the right way.

 But businesses doing all of that external communication shouldn’t lose sight of one thing: their own staff.

In many respects it’s just as important to talk to your own employees as it is your customers. These are the ambassadors for the company – the people who take your corporate values, embody them and spread them. If your staff aren’t engaged and you don’t interact with them then no matter how much you reach out to customers, your operation will be based on flimsy foundations.

An open environment in which staff feel empowered to air and share their views is a healthy one. Businesses that display this practice are geared up for success for two reasons. Firstly, they have employees who feel motivated and want to deliver success. They aren’t just going through the motions to pick up a pay packet but are working towards clear goals that they have been a part of setting. Secondly, businesses with strong internal communication benefit from being able to identify and address things that aren’t working. Staff, on the frontline, can tell you what’s not working and you, as an engaged employer, can listen and act upon this vital information.

It’s all well and good aspiring to being an office with an open and engaged workforce but, as with many ideals, the key is in how to deliver this, especially if you have a large organisation spread across several sites where workers and management don’t always get time to talk face-to-face. That’s where SMS can really help.

All of the benefits of SMS as a marketing tool apply just as easily to internal solutions as external ones. The mobile phone is a device that all your employees will own and use on a regular basis. They are likely to open an SMS – unlike an email which can be lost among the barrage they face on a daily basis – and, crucially, this a medium that is more personal. 

A staff member who receives an SMS will feel they are able to respond on their terms and should, hopefully, feel able to be open and honest. They are interacting on their device and can take it away and answer you from the comfort of their own home, for example, rather than in the heat of the moment in between tasks at their desk.

From a company point of view, SMS messages can be just as quick as an email and offer the sort of speed that put letters in the post to shame. But, perhaps most importantly of all, SMS can be used for two-way surveys. These are a great marketing tool – gaining insight into the opinions of customers – but also work perfectly for getting the views of staff members. SMS surveys allow the sender to tailor the questions to the answers to get the most rounded view possible. So, if for example you ask someone for a score out of ten on a question and they answer ‘2’, the very next question can explore why they’ve scored this so low.

Making surveys is one thing, but analysing and acting upon the results is the vital part of the job. This is another string to the bow of SMS. Mobile platforms and data are happy bedfellows. For every survey or message you send you can mine a wealth of information, all of which can provide an invaluable insight, giving a snapshot into the way staff are feeling as well as identifying underlying issues that might otherwise be tough to discover.

There is also no reason not to use some of the other benefits of SMS in a staff context. Why not keep your employees up to date with new products and services so they’re in the loop and why not let them in on the sort of offers your customers are getting? If your staff value your products enough to be customers themselves then they ought to be given an incentive to continue their relationship with your business.

SMS messages then, in sum, are powerful communication tools that are a vitally important part of the modern marketer’s armoury. When considering using them, companies should make sure they don’t only talk to the outside world, but harness the tools at their disposal to gain a valuable insight into their workforce. This insight can be the key to keeping a happy, switched on workforce and, as such, running a successful operation.