In an age where we can reach friends and family via Skype, Twitter, SMS and Facebook Live, even if we’re on the other side of the world, customers expect it to be just as easy to make contact with the businesses they use. One of the simplest, quickest and convenient ways for people to get in touch about customer service issues is via text.
More than half of consumers actually prefer text messaging for customer service than any other channel. Why?
It’s fast - sending a quick text or two is far faster than having to wait in line on a customer service call, chat to an adviser online, type up an email or correspond via letter.
They can text from anywhere in the world - they don’t need to have an internet signal. No matter where they are, when they realise they have a problem they can instantly contact you,
Convenience - they can sort issues out on their commute to work or while they’re on the move. Even if they’re busy, they can often send a text.
Cost - most phone users are now offered free texts as part of their mobile phone contracts or SIM-only deals, so accessing customer service via text is often free.
Being a preferred avenue of contact, including an element of customer service in your SMS marketing campaigns is therefore crucial. Here are some of the most effective ways to provide customer service via text.
As well as sending out emails or app alerts, you can use your SMS service to handle transactional messages. Orders can be confirmed with a simple text to the customer, as well as SMS updates when an order is shipped and when it will be delivered. Offer customers this SMS option as a choice at checkout, as customers appreciate you giving them a range of options to suit them best.
Text Message Reminders and Alerts
One of the most popular uses of SMS marketing as customer service is in the service and healthcare industries. A quick text to remind a patient or customer of an appointment is a simple but valuable service. It reminds the recipient, which they’ll appreciate, and helps to reduce the costly number of no-shows.
It’s not only service industries that can benefit from SMS alerts, but any business looking to remind subscribers of an upcoming event, sale or promotion.
A unique advantage that SMS holds over other forms of reminders and alerts, such as social media posts, is that most people carry their phones with them, and around 98% of texts are actually opened. It means that text message reminders are far more likely to be read than emails or social media feeds that may only be checked periodically, making it ideal for last-minute alerts too.
Feedback From Customers
Text messaging has another advantage in that it’s a two-way method of communication. It gives your customers a quick and convenient way of getting back to you too. There are a range of ways you can use two-way texting to improve your customer service:
Appointments - ask recipients to reply to your appointment reminders to confirm whether or not they can definitely attend, or if they’d like to cancel or reschedule.
Enquiries - enable customers to text you with queries, which can be answered by live customer service agents.
Keyword Enquiries - provide a range of keywords for customers to use depending on their query, HOURS or DELIVERY for example, and send out an automated response to let them know the info they need or ways to find the information they want.
Automated Messages - you can also use text message marketing platforms that automatically detect a range of selected keywords in texts that you receive that match up commonly asked questions. The system then sends an automated response on how to solve the problem, or providing a link to a part of your website that answers the issue in more detail.
- Chatbots - more sophisticated SMS marketing platforms also use chatbots in order to handle multiple customer service enquiries more smoothly. Using AI technology, they can respond to customers via SMS in the same manner as a real person.