Those long-established landline phone numbers many businesses have counted on for decades as their primary connection to customers just got an upgrade: Thanks to Zipwhip, the world's first text carrier, existing business numbers can now be used to send and receive text messages.
Zipwhip's revolutionary approach adds a second carrier -- a text carrier -- to existing business landline numbers, allowing businesses to take advantage of the increasing ubiquity of text messaging in consumer culture. The service requires businesses to make no changes to their existing number or hardware -- customers keep their current voice providers, and simply sign up for a separate cloud-based texting service at zipwhip.com, text enable their existing landline numbers and start texting from any connected device in a matter of minutes.
"Landline text messaging is a disruptive force that will transform both the wireless and wireline service provider businesses," said David Diggs, vice president of Wireless Internet Development at CTIA - The Wireless Association. "CTIA supports Zipwhip's efforts to equip landline numbers with a capability that is so prevalent and popular in the mobile world."
Most businesses have built up years of equity in their landline numbers -- their primary identities in the customer world. Now they can leverage their existing landline numbers to communicate the way their customers want to -- leading to better customer responsiveness, satisfaction and loyalty. Zipwhip's landline texting capability also means business owners don't have to rely on their personal mobile numbers and devices to be able to use texting to communicate with their customers.
"Short form communication is defining modern culture, and every phone number -- wireless or wired -- should be able to support the text medium," said John Lauer, CEO of Zipwhip. "There are more than 140 million existing landlines, and they're always on -- if the power goes out, those phones still work, and they provide superior call quality to alternatives like VoIP. Zipwhip is bridging the gap between wireless users and landline users for what is now the go-to mode of communications for billions of people."
Businesses can now use their existing landline numbers to field customer inquiries, schedule appointments, send out reminders, take orders and invite their customers to text them back -- the way the vast majority of consumers prefer to communicate.
"Why do some tools succeed while others fail? It's simple. People tend to use and recommend tools that are easy to use and avoid tools that are complex. That's why the capability of sending and receiving texts with any existing landline phone number already associated with businesses will be very compelling," said Mark Levitt, director of Business Cloud Strategies for Strategy Analytics. "Enabling texting on businesses' main phone numbers, not just on individual worker's mobile numbers, will mean greater efficiency and immediacy in communications with customers and others."
Text messaging is an increasingly valuable way for businesses to bolster relationships with their customers. A recent study by Neustar found that more than 90 percent of all text messages are opened and read, compared to less than 40 percent of all email solicitations. What's more, 90 percent of those texts are read within three minutes of delivery, and recipients eventually read more than 99 percent of all text messages.
For businesses that rely on text messaging to manage complex scheduling challenges, Zipwhip's service is invaluable.
"Voicemail is inefficient, and most of our patients prefer to do their scheduling and confirmations via text," said Dr. Michael Kitsis of Supertooth Dentistry in Seattle. "Zipwhip's service will transform our landline phone line into a powerful scheduling tool, and streamline the entire appointment process for us and our customers."
Zipwhip's service means customers of the upscale San Francisco dining spot Marlowe can now use the fast and easy format they prefer to communicate with the restaurant.
"We recognize the huge community of people that text, especially our tech-savvy customer base, and we're thrilled that we can finally enable them to text our existing business number to book a table, place an order, or simply ask a general question that can easily be answered in short form," said Anna Weinberg, owner and operator of Marlowe. "This is a no-brainer."
Zipwhip pioneered the concept of "cloud texting" -- freeing text messaging from the mobile device to allow mobile subscribers to text from virtually any connected device with a fully synchronized experience to their main mobile number. Zipwhip has partnered with many mobile operators to offer this new functionality, and Zipwhip text messaging supports all web browsers, all desktop operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux), iPad, Android tablets, Amazon Kindle, and Windows 8 desktop. Now, as a text carrier, Zipwhip's goal is to work closely with the landline operators to proliferate its new offering.
Zipwhip is offering the service free to businesses for a 14-day trial. After the trial, the service is available for just $19.95 per month. Businesses interested in having their landline numbers text-enabled should contact Zipwhip at email@example.com or sign up for service at zipwhip.com.