It has been discussed and proven on several occasions that SMS is an effective and flexible tool that business owners can use to enhance customer retention and brand loyalty. Given that SMS is a simple, automated communication channel, entrepreneurs, especially those who own a fairly small business, are enticed to include SMS into their existing marketing and communication strategy to expand the reach of their services.
Integrating SMS into your services is a must if you are a customer-centric business.
Your customer service software should be flexible enough to meet the changing demands and expectations of both old and new generations of customers. Otherwise, your channels will stay stagnant and one-dimensional, eliminating your purpose of expanding your services’ capability and competence. More importantly, you must use SMS to merge together two key factors in delivering highly satisfying support to your audience: technological advancement and excellent people skills.
Generally, small businesses can outmatch their larger competitors in the field of customer assistance. For example, if your business mainly offers public assistance like healthcare and insurance, or provides travel, tourism, and hotel reservation services, the presence of mobile messaging will likely be appreciated by your customers. It lets your customers reach out to you whenever and wherever, and you, in turn, can address and resolve their concerns in a timely and immediate manner.
At times, some business owners simply include SMS into their existing support channels, thinking that it would operate like an automatic button—instantly creating a boost in inbound customer interaction and sales. The reality is, designing your SMS customer service channel should be patterned after your branding along with your business’ core goals and services. It should perfectly match how you run and execute client assistance while complementing your existing solutions and other services as a whole.
There are two forms of texting you can use depending on your preference:
- One-way texting: This is ideal for building your brand by sending important alerts and notifications, and ‘Thank You’ notes to customers if they participated in service-related surveys you may have conducted online or via SMS, or availed certain promotions or coupons offered by your trade.
- Two-way texting: Two-way texting enables interaction between you and your customers. When you choose to use two-way texting, ensure you have carefully planned how you manage communication with your audience.
When you integrate SMS in your customer service software, determine how you can enable 24/7 availability to meet customer expectations. If you have enough manpower, have your support agents rotate shifts. Otherwise, you can add in automated messages in place of agents to inform customers that they will be contacted once business hours resume. Automated messages will provide customers with the notion that although there is no staff available when they raised their queries; their concerns are still prioritized and given value rather than ignored. There is also an option called Opt-in and Opt-out. Don’t assume that once you have integrated an SMS feature for your support services that you have the freedom of contacting anyone regardless of the time. Opt-in and Opt-out give your end-users the freedom of choosing to subscribe or unsubscribe to your mobile advertisements and alerts. This will also prevent you from violating federal rules and laws.
Think of how SMS customer service can benefit your business and clients in more ways than just functioning primarily as a communication tool. Indeed, SMS effectively establishes rapport with your customers; but transforming SMS into an entryway that links and prompts your end-users with more detailed or technical queries to other forms of customer support you may have available maximizes its efficiency. Keep in mind, not all client queries can be resolved via text message. There may be concerns that are very detailed, confidential, or sensitive and customers may not be comfortable discussing it via SMS. Assimilate your SMS into your company’s departments and internal operations, and then use it to redirect your end-users to more appropriate personnel or authorities in your company, especially if these individuals will be able to provide sufficient assistance and solution to their inquiries.
On the other hand, if you already have existing communication channels like live chat, social media, or email, consider employing an omni-channel customer engagement platform so you can simply integrate SMS into your existing channels instead of eliminating previous modes of contact you’ve employed. An omni-channel platform will enable your agents to access all customer information and message history, seamlessly use different channels to respond to clients, reduce expenses and costs all while enforcing multitasking and efficiency.
Use SMS customer service for your business’s long-term success. The key is to prevent SMS from functioning as anything more than an alternative to emails.
SMS lets you have a more personal experience with your customers because you can initiate a two-way conversation with them using a personal item which they use on a daily basis—their mobile phones. In turn, you will likely pinpoint what your customers really expect from you as most SMS conversations will happen in real-time.
Instead of waiting for customers to initiate contact, try using your SMS-enabled customer service software to make them aware of your products or services. Depending on the type of service you offer, let customers send you texts for takeout orders, restaurant reservations, return purchased items, request room service, or clarify delivery date and progress for certain orders made online. Better yet, go the extra mile and send your customers product-related tips for them to get better results while they use your services.
Finally, use SMS as your brand’s market research tool. Always review the efficiency of your SMS support service by providing post-contact surveys for your customers to fill out or to review your products and services. Asking end-users to fulfill quick, 3-5 item questionnaires is one of the most effective ways for you to measure just how helpful your SMS tool has been for them.