In a sea of devices, channels and platforms, delivering exceptional customer support is more important than ever. As businesses strive to deliver personalised and efficient assistance, they must explore innovative channels to connect with their customers. One such powerful solution is SMS for customer service.
With its ubiquity and simplicity, SMS has emerged as a game-changing solution for enhancing customer service. In this blog post, we will explore how businesses can effectively leverage SMS to provide seamless and efficient customer support.
What is SMS customer service?
SMS for customer service or customer texting refers to using SMS messages to provide quick, direct, and personalised customer support. From checking order status, sending confirmations or helping customers complete transactions, text messaging allows businesses and organisations across industries to send faster responses and improve customer experience while reducing costs.
Why is SMS so important?
As customers’ behaviours and expectations change, businesses must adapt their communication strategies and incorporate new channels to reach, engage, and support their audiences. According to Textline, more than 50% of consumers prefer to text a customer support agent than have a phone call.
While a phone call can take several minutes, text messaging allows customer service teams to increase response times and send automated and personalised messages that will be read in only 3 minutes of being received.
Besides, SMS remains the most cost-effective communication channel for businesses. A recent study from Freshworks states that messaging channels, including SMS, can cut up to 60% of support costs per customer interaction.
Below, we’ll dive into the benefits of implementing SMS customer service both for companies and customers. Keep reading to learn more!
Benefits of SMS for Customer Service
Customers prefer SMS for customer service
The most important benefit of using SMS for customer support is that it’s what customers expect from your business. As mentioned, more than 50% of consumers prefer text messages to phone calls.
In a business world where a good customer experience is fundamental to retaining customers, listening to customers and meeting their expectations is more crucial than ever. According to recent research, 70% of consumers are eager to spend more money with companies that deliver positive customer experiences.
After just one negative experience, more than half (61%) of the customers say they would move to a competitor; this number rises to 76% in the case of multiple negative experiences.
Many customers do not appreciate being placed on hold, constrained to a computer, or waiting several days to receive an email response. Business texting is a highly convenient tool as it does not interrupt their daily routines while also enhancing your customer support team’s time, productivity, and well-being.
Using SMS for customer service is cost-efficient
While a phone call can take minutes, an SMS message is immediate and effective. According to research, the SMS open rate is 98%, and people read them within 3 minutes of being received.
SMS for customer service boosts productivity
Texting allows employees to spend less time per ticket and manage numerous conversations simultaneously. Automated customer service texts further free up time for your agents. This helps reduce the stress on your team and can improve customer service KPIs like first response time and the number of successfully resolved tickets.
SMS is accessible
SMS has a unique advantage over other instant messaging apps – its global reach. All smartphones are capable of sending and receiving SMS messages worldwide, making it easier for you to connect with a diverse audience regardless of their age or nationality.
In the United States, nearly 97% of the population possesses a mobile phone. Unlike Facebook Messenger, texting does not necessitate downloading an application and can reach customers even without internet connectivity.
Best Practices for Leveraging SMS for Customer Service
- Optimise Your Customer Support Strategy: Before diving into SMS-based support, it’s essential to ensure your existing customer support strategy is solid. Evaluate your team’s capabilities, response times, and customer satisfaction levels. Understanding your current standing will help identify areas for improvement and set realistic goals for implementing SMS support.
- Establish a Dedicated SMS Support Line: Set up a dedicated phone number exclusively for customer support via SMS. This ensures clear communication and prevents potential confusion between general business inquiries and support-related messages. A unique SMS support line also allows for focused tracking and measurement of customer interactions.
- Implement Automation and Chatbots: Automation and chatbots play a crucial role in SMS-based customer support. Use SMS automation to provide instant responses, acknowledge customer inquiries, and set expectations for response times. Chatbots can handle common questions, provide self-service options, and assist with basic troubleshooting, freeing up your support team’s time for more complex issues.
- Offer Personalised and Contextual Assistance: To provide a seamless experience, leverage customer data and context. Use SMS integrations with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to access relevant information about each customer, such as their purchase history, preferences, and previous interactions. This data empowers your support agents to deliver personalized assistance, making customers feel valued and understood.
- Use Templates and Predefined Responses: SMS support thrives on efficiency and brevity. Develop a library of predefined responses and templates for common queries. This allows your support team to respond quickly while maintaining consistency and accuracy. However, it’s important to balance templated responses with a personalised touch to ensure customers feel heard and cared for.
- Respect Customer Privacy and Data Security: Customers entrust their personal information when engaging with SMS support. Ensure your business adheres to strict privacy policies and complies with applicable data protection regulations. Implement secure data handling practices and communicate your commitment to customer privacy to build trust and loyalty.
- Track and Analyse SMS Support Metrics: Implement a system to track and analyse key metrics related to your SMS support. This includes response times, resolution rates, customer satisfaction scores, and trends in customer enquiries. Monitoring these metrics provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your SMS support strategy and helps identify areas for improvement.
- Promote SMS Support Channels: Inform your customers about the availability of SMS support channels. Include your dedicated SMS support line in your marketing materials, website, social media profiles, and email signatures. Consider proactive measures, such as SMS opt-ins during checkout or post-purchase communications, to encourage customers to utilise this convenient support channel.
- Continuously Improve and Evolve: Customer expectations evolve, and so should your SMS support strategy. Regularly collect customer feedback, conduct surveys, and monitor customer sentiment to identify pain points and areas for improvement. Adapt your SMS support processes and tools accordingly to provide exceptional customer experiences consistently.
SMS has emerged as a powerful tool for delivering efficient and personalised customer support. By implementing a well-rounded SMS support strategy, businesses can streamline their support operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and build long-term customer loyalty. Embrace this game-changing approach to connect with your customers like never before, and stay one step ahead in the competitive marketplace.
Want to learn more about how you can use SMS for customer service? Let’s talk!