Blog & Insights
One Step Ahead: Adopt Texting to Embrace Your Future Digital Citizens
Government agencies are adopting digital channels to communicate with citizens as well as enable constituents to pay bills, make appointments, and conduct a myriad of other business. And your constituents, armed with smartphones and other smart devices, have embraced these tools. While online payments, self-service portals, and the like are acceptable for your current constituents, it’s incumbent upon these agencies to get ready to adopt technologies that meet the requirements of the next generation of digital citizens.
For many, the answer should be…texting. Here’s why.
Online is fine
Government agencies have never been known as “early adopters” when it comes to technology. This has been, in part, due to the common belief that older citizens were hesitant to trust and use online tools to conduct business. It was believed that these baby boomers preferred to pay bills or schedule appointments in person or over the phone. However, a recent study proves otherwise. In fact, 65% of U.S. adults 65 and over believe that paying bills online is secure. And 67% prefer to pay regular monthly bills online.
Regardless of age, your constituents have quickly adapted to scheduling appointments, paying monthly bills, and gathering information through an online portal. And your agency has likely seen the benefits.
Giving your constituents these self-service tools has likely boosted employee productivity, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks that need a more human touch. And any payments made by your citizens are processed more quickly and accurately than when done by hand. In addition, you likely have a much more satisfied group of citizens who appreciate the convenience of these time-saving tools.
However, one tool that many government agencies have yet to adopt is texting. In part, their resistance to adopting this tool goes back to not being early adopters. But there is also a practical reason. Many of its older citizens haven’t yet embraced texting for more than communication. Only 21% of baby boomers in a recent survey were aware of the technology that allows them to pay bills by text.
Yet, government agencies must understand that its current citizens who aren’t yet 18 years old and aren’t paying bills or scheduling appointments will soon be digital adults who want to use the technology they’ve practically grown up with — texting.
The more, the merrier
Texting is popular. That might be one of the biggest understatements, especially when you consider that around 23 billion texts are sent every day.
Texting is becoming so commonplace that 78% of consumers wish they could text a business for such things as checking on the status of an order, scheduling or changing an appointment, asking questions, and more. People are more apt to open and respond to a text than any other form of communication. The most recent stats show that text messages have a 98% open rate and that 95% of text messages are read within the first three minutes.
This is especially true for Gen Z and Generation Alpha citizens who have only known a digital world where practically everyone has a smartphone. For them, texting is more natural than a phone call. In fact, 91% of teens with cell phones actively text. And your college-age citizens who are just beginning their relationship with your agency, also prefer texting. According to one study, 77% of students want relevant information from colleges via text. Another 59% of students say a college can text them first.
These types of behaviors have prompted many businesses and organizations to explore the various ways to use texting, as it is also the least expensive way of communicating with customers. But incorporating texting for communications and other activities, such as paying bills, can do more than just please your constituents. It also has a wide range of benefits for your organization.
Convenience and more
Using text messaging is an easy way for citizens to pay bills at their convenience. With no apps to download, text payments are a fast way to request and submit payments. Agencies can simply send a text message to your constituent with a link to a payment portal. The recipient taps the link, opening the payment portal and allowing the individual to make their payment.
This process will help increase revenue, as no more paper bills will be mistaken for junk mail or simply ignored by citizens. It also lowers the cost of collecting. The process of using text messaging to pay bills is guided entirely by artificial intelligence (AI). This eliminates the high administrative costs of manual tasks and posting errors. Data is transferred in and out of your payment system without the need for human intervention.
It helps improve citizen satisfaction. Constituents don’t need to spend time typing in account information or other details, as that data is already in your system. This is exactly what your Gen Z and Generation Alpha citizens require. They expect their online transactions to be completed in seconds, not minutes.
Aren’t you tired of being seen as always late to the party when it comes to adopting technology? It’s time for government agencies to lose their reputation for not being early adopters and, instead, jump on the texting bandwagon now. Start incorporating text messaging for communicating with your citizens, as well as for conducting other business now. That way, when your Gen Z and Generation Alpha citizens become old enough to conduct business with you, the process will be frictionless. And your newest digital citizens will be able to continue using their favorite communication method.
It seems like adding text messaging to your online toolkit is a no-brainer.