SMS Customer Service: Definition, Benefits & Tips For Providing It
When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you generally do?
Though we’d love to claim that our day starts with a good sunrise stretch or mantra session, the truth is that most of us actually reach for our cell phones before rolling out of bed for a shower or a hit of caffeine.
Our phones today are more than just communication devices – they’re our lifeline to the rest of the world, the tools we use most to access news and current events, and generally, how we stay connected with others.
So, why is it that many businesses still aren’t utilizing SMS texting to support their customers?
Though 66% of consumers want to receive service notifications via text, only 23% of businesses have incorporated SMS texting into their customer service strategies.
If most of the world is so quick to reach for their phones when they need to chat with a friend, Google a quick factoid, or heck – enjoy a bit of online shopping – then many brands are likely missing out on opportunities to increase their revenue and provide a well-rounded customer service experience.
What are the benefits of SMS customer service?
SMS customer service has the potential to be a game changer for your brand’s customer service experience.
Where emails are opened only 22% of the time, text messages are typically opened 98% of the time. Customers’ willingness to be contacted by customer service via SMS texting creates a vast opportunity with a wide range of benefits for brands.
Here are a few benefits of implementing SMS texting into your customer service strategies:
Acknowledging Consumer Demand
With 68% of consumers spending at least 3-6 hours a day on mobile devices, it’s no wonder that many customers are happily accepting SMS texts from businesses when working through a customer service inquiry.
It’s also not a one-way street – customers actually want to start a conversation with your business, and 60% of consumers want the ability to respond to text messages they receive that pertain to customer support issues.
Think about it: if you’ve just gotten a text containing a broken tracking link to a product you’ve purchased, you want to text back immediately to let customer service know the tracking link isn’t usable. Otherwise, you’ll probably get quite frustrated if you have to contact customer service through an entirely separate support channel.
Keeping Costs Low
Cost is nearly always a factor regarding which support channels a brand can feasibly manage, and luckily, SMS texting is super affordable and efficient.
Not only is SMS a worthy investment, but offering it as a support option can actually bring down 95% of costs due to support calls that many consumers would otherwise utilize in its place.
Additionally, because most people typically answer text messages faster than emails, SMS will allow your agents to resolve more inquiries in less time without sacrificing the quality of the overall experience.
SMS texting is rife with opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to increase both CLTV and overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Over 33% of SMS recipients will react to CTAs in SMS marketing messages, and 47% of them end up making a purchase.
By allowing your customer service and marketing departments to share data and enable an opt-in for customers to receive regular text messages from your brand, you can create highly-targeted marketing promotions for new products and services, sales, and special offers that may result in high return rates.
Improving Customer Satisfaction
Let’s face it – texting is the wave of the future, and it’s the easiest way for consumers to contact not only their friends and family but also their favorite brands.
One in three consumers has actually tried texting a business but never received a response. The demand is there, and meeting customers where they’re comfortable in regard to customer service will increase trust, loyalty, and overall customer satisfaction within your business.
Best practices for implementing SMS texting as a customer support channel
To make sure it’s performed properly, let’s go over a few of our best practices for implementing SMS texting into your existing customer service strategies.
1. Balance human interaction with automation
Utilizing automation in SMS texting is helpful for offering proactive support, but it’s important to have skilled customer service agents to back it up where necessary.
For example, anticipating a customer’s questions by providing timely updates on order adjustments or shipping delays will show initiative, but also giving them the ability to text back and connect with a real person immediately will create a truly well-rounded customer experience.
2. Use tagging to prioritize messages based on urgency
If you’re considering offering SMS text messaging as a support option, it’s important to respond quickly to each customer. However, ticket spikes do happen, and having a tagging system within your helpdesk that can organize SMS inquiries based on urgency will set your team up for success.
Plus, a strategic tagging system will ensure that even if there is a brief hold time, no customer will be accidentally ignored during busy seasons.
3. Collect customer feedback to make continual improvements
Since customers are so quick to read and respond to texts, take advantage of this availability by collecting customer feedback to help you fine-tune and adjust your support methods accordingly.
Offering an incentive for completing a survey is another factor that sways a customer into providing feedback, and offering it at the right time – such as after an interaction via text – will often yield better completion rates.
4. Integrate SMS into your omnichannel customer support strategy
The truth is that though text messaging is an excellent support channel, it’s not always the right fit for complicated inquiries. Therefore, be sure to use an SMS texting platform that seamlessly integrates into the rest of your omnichannel customer service strategy.
If a customer’s ticket needs to be escalated, having to re-explain their issue to an entirely separate agent on a new channel will disrupt the flow of the conversation and contribute to a poor customer experience.
5. Follow up with customers to elevate the relationship
Following up with a customer after they’ve interacted with customer service shows them that you truly care about the quality of their experience with your brand. By making follow-ups a signature part of your processes, you can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and ensure that each customer is getting the attention they deserve.
Enhance your customer experience by adding SMS texting to your customer support strategy
Offering SMS texting as a support channel is an excellent way to reach customers through a platform where they feel comfortable.
The key to creating a successful SMS text message strategy is ensuring that it is used strategically and given ample attention by your customer service team.
If you’re ready to add an SMS text messaging platform to your existing customer service strategy, TalentPop can provide you with the skilled, dedicated agents your brand needs to make it work effectively for your team and your customers.
From training in all the top e-commerce platforms to understanding how to communicate with your customers to create a quality experience, we have the right agents standing by to support your brand.
To learn more about how TalentPop’s seamless recruiting and onboarding processes can match you with agents in as little as 3 weeks, schedule a call with our team today.