Online shoe retailer Zappos is famous for its customer service, and Founder Tony Hsieh has described the company as a “customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Making customers happy is so ingrained in company culture that call center reps are allowed to take as much time as they need to solve a customer’s problem. The record for the longest call is over 10 hours.
That focus on customer service helped Zappos grow from sales of $1.6 million in 2000 to $1billion in 2008. Ultimately, Amazon bought Zappos in 2009 for $1.2 billion and the company has continued to thrive.
You might think that, even though this is a great success story, it doesn’t have much to do with your business. You might not have the luxury of reinventing your company like a startup might. If you operate a call center or interact with customers via email and messaging, however, the Zappos story is relevant. It sets the goal for great customer service and the benefits it brings.
What the Zappos story doesn’t address directly, however, is how much lackluster customer service can cost your company. According to Tele-Net-America, U.S. businesses lost more than $75 billion in 2017 due to poor customer service. You already know that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer, and that 90 percent of unhappy customers will take their business to your competitors. What may not be as apparent is that customers who have good customer service interactions spend 140 percent more than those who are unhappy. It’s good business to support your customers.
So how can you raise your level of customer service? The good news is that we have a way to communicate with customers and provide the service they need – messaging. Texts have been around for decades, but the use of messages in all forms (SMS or MMS) is coming into its own, and customers in the U.S. want to message customer service reps in the place of calling or emailing them.
Nathan Eddy reports the results of a recent survey in eWeek, “Over half of respondents (52 percent) said they would be likely to text with a customer support agent. Similarly, 52 percent would prefer texting customer support more than their current preferred method of communication.”
Those statistics are not surprising, given that globally we send more than five billion texts a day – not counting other types of messages – and we open 98 percent of them. Conversely, we only open emails 22 percent of the time, according to Gigaom. Research from Asurion shows that we look at our phones 96 times a day or once every 10 minutes.
Clearly, we like to text and find it helpful in personal interactions. The next big business opportunity is to make messaging a regular part of customer support.
How Can Messaging Help You Support Your Business and Your Customers?
Fortunately, customers already have a preference for messaging, and say they would use it for customer support issues, if it were available. Messaging can be immediate and catches customers at their moment of need.
Messaging support allows a customer to contact you exactly when they need you, and the nature of the platform encourages them to quickly describe the problem. That brevity saves your reps time, thereby saving you money.
Customer service phone calls, according to a Forrester Research study, cost the sponsoring company about $16 each. A text thread, however, averages out to between $1 and $5.
As the United States becomes more diverse, you can expect your customers to speak languages other than English as their first language. Some will be able to communicate in English, but others may not have the necessary fluency. Messaging apps like WhatsApp can help with on-the-fly translations within the app, making the information communicated more understandable. With one adjustment, you can expand the number of customers you can help.
In addition, messaging allows the company and the customer to send photos, videos or other media within a service request. These multimedia messages can help diagnose a problem quickly and lead to a satisfactory resolution.
How Can SMS-Magic Help You Support Your Customers?
Let’s assume that launching a messaging component of your customer support system is appealing. We know that customers have a variety of choices when it comes to sending messages, some of the most popular include native message capabilities like iMessage and Android, but also include apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
John Allen lists preference for the most popular messaging apps in a Hubspot blog:
In the United States, native SMS apps and Facebook Messenger account for more than two-thirds of the messages sent. Internationally, however, WhatsApp is the global leader, handling almost 100 billion messages a day. WhatsApp has more than 2 billion active users worldwide. WeChat, most popular in China, has 1.2 billion users, and 20 percent of people over the age of 13 use it each month. If your business has international customers, you’ll want to explore the difference between the popularity of messaging in the U.S. and in other countries.
Receiving, logging and responding to that variety of messages may seem daunting. SMS-Magic, however, works with all of them. SMS-Magic not only receives these messages, it logs them so that anyone in the system can see the discussion. Your customer’s choice of messaging system doesn’t matter to SMS-Magic. In addition, if your reps are working on a complicated matter, the system will log all interactions, including phone calls and emails, eliminating the need for the customer to explain the situation every time they change reps.
If you use a customer relation management system, we can integrate SMS-Magic into your system. We work seamlessly with Salesforce and Zoho, and we have the capability to work with most systems.
If this capability sounds exciting to you, please contact us. We’d love to start a conversation about how we can help you flip your customer support from flat to fabulous.