Though SMS is not a new technology, it’s experiencing a renaissance as the most used function on smartphones worldwide. The largest generation is the world—millennials—prefer it over any other form of communication for interacting with the brands they love. Using SMS for customer service can help you build better relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and solidify loyalty.
Given the fickleness of consumers and the low cost of switching brands, companies large and small can take advantage of SMS messaging to grow their business.
Customers want to be understood and appreciated by the companies they choose to do business with. They hate waiting and they don’t want to have to explain themselves again and again as they move from one agent to another to resolve an issue.
Automated messaging flows can be set up to answer FAQs instantly in response to a customer texting a keyword to trigger the answer. A standard HELP keyword can be routed to the next open agent to respond directly to the customer via text while an automated response is asking for the customer to explain their issue. Your agent steps in seamlessly and your customer is overjoyed at your in-the-moment responsiveness.
Advanced messaging platforms also help you meet these needs by archiving every message exchanged with a customer so that they’ll never have to explain their issue again. Even if a different agent must step in, they’ll be up to speed in seconds by glancing through the conversational history with the customer.
Online chat has taken off for customer service, but there’s a problem. Once the chat is over, so is your customer’s access to the information shared. When you use messaging, the customer has a record of your exchange in the messaging app on their phone. This way, if the agent has shared any links or instructions, the customer can refer back to them as needed. They can also choose when to delete the message thread, putting them in control of their issue resolution.
If they find they need additional help, they can send another text and it will be archived in the same conversational thread, making it convenient to see all the information in one place—for your agents and for them. If they returned to an online chat, it would start a new session which may or may not be connected to any past inquiries about the issue that needs to be resolved.
Keeping your customers informed about the status of their resolution of a complex issue is of the utmost importance in keeping frustration at bay. Text messages can be automated to send a status update that lets them know where the issue is in the resolution. If your company needs to send out a service technician, a message can be sent informing your customer the name of the technician and what time he or she will arrive. Yes, SMS messages could put an end to the dreaded 4-hour service window.
Messaging also offers an easy way for you to get additional information needed to resolve a customer’s issue. Simply text the question and you should receive a reply within minutes due to the responsiveness to messaging by consumers. This results in customers knowing that you’re actively working on their issue, as well as shorter time to resolution—and that means happier customers.
SMS texting hasn’t become the most used function on a mobile phone because it’s difficult. It’s native to mobile phones and always within arm’s reach. It’s concise and immediate and many of your customers grew up using it to communicate with friends and family. They’re now telling companies that it’s their preferred communication with brands, as well.
As with any channel, there are best-use applications for it and times when an alternative channel is better suited to serve your customers. If you’re unsure if texting is a preferred channel for your customers, have your agents start asking them if they’d be open to using SMS for customer service. Giving customers what they want is definitely smart business.