What is SMS for customer service?
SMS for customer service involves the implementation of marketing software to respond to and manage your potential and existing customer needs. This can be in the form of a virtual SMS number for customers to call from a landline or mobile facilitated through an automated service, linked to a customer service team. Alternatively, any contact made by a customer can trigger a chatbot or SMS conversation. The main goal is to streamline the service.
Benefits of SMS for customer services
The benefits of using SMS for customer service are:
- Cut customer service response times – By using virtual SMS numbers and text messaging software customers do not need to wait in lengthy queues or be put on hold for long periods and the average response time can be reduced.
- Reduced call length – By using two-way SMS communication over regular phone calls means less need for lengthy conversations between customers and customer service agents. Most needs can be met with SMS options.
- Saving on staff costs – Customer service software replaces the need for a huge team of call handlers. As some needs can be easily resolved with a reduced amount of customer service interactions, particularly with frequently encountered issues.
- Improved prioritisation of needs – Not all customer queries are urgent, using a good SMS platform to categorise needs will further reduce customer service response time.
- Customer satisfaction – By tackling common problems with a new approach and improving your customer service response time, the overall customer experience will be more satisfactory. This in turn can win you business and increase repeat business.
- Feedback for improvement – A bonus to great SMS customer software is that you can continually improve your customer service and raise your game. For every customer service query dealt with, an automated response can be generated and sent to the customer for feedback on their experience.
Why is now the time to up your Customer services game?
Customers Continue to Demand Faster Responses
It is more important than ever to put the customer’s needs before a sale. Customers are now driving businesses towards a consumer-led approach. With the rise of social media platforms, a good reputation travels fast, and a bad reputation travels even faster. Brands must think carefully about how a review culture will impact them. Facilities such as SMS customer service teams and transactional SMS functions are the future for customer loyalty.
According to Forbes, companies with a customer experience mindset drive revenue up by 84%. This is a figure that brands can’t afford to ignore.
77% of people feel that bad customer service affects their quality of life. This makes sense when you consider how we can be affected by bad customer service. Many people have an issue or complaint on the back burner that we are dealing with. In the worst cases, incidents can drag on for days and weeks.
6 ways to improve your customer service response times
If you want to improve customer service for your brand and are not sure where to start, follow our guide to elevate your level of customer support.
1. Make it easy to access customer data
Use comprehensive data fields to store your customer information, including personal data and customer history. Personalisation can be a real winner when sending any customer service response as it makes the customer feel more important.
A good SMS platform will be able to integrate with your current CRM system which cuts down the need for manual intervention and means that you won’t be storing customer data in more than one place.
Continuously build on your customer data so that you can tailor responses that can be triggered from the data fields. This will help you to keep improving your service.
2. Use keywords for quick response times
By setting up keywords for your customer service response templates, customers can receive immediate responses to their communications. For example, if a customer asks “How can I return an item’, the returns policy and procedures can be sent back straight away. This may prevent the need for any further communication. You can even send a link to the returns page of your site. Use well-known phrases for a better chance of picking up the keywords.
3. Manage and direct support issues to the right teams
Great customer service can be achieved when you can prioritise your customer support needs and respond accordingly. Make sure that again by using keywords, queries are directed to the right team for a resolution. There is nothing worse than being passed around from a customer perspective. To manage the customer service workflow more effectively and direct customers to staff who are knowledgeable in specific areas or who can handle the enquiries.
4. Send Regular updates
When dealing with customer expectations, it is important to keep them informed at each stage of the process. Your customer service team will automatically trigger responses via business SMS through every stage of the enquiry when you set the parameters that work with your customer service workflow process.
Customer service response time can lag for many businesses due to demand for the service, website issues, or staff shortages. When a customer attempts to make contact, they should receive an immediate response to let them know that you have received their communication. Once the issue has been picked up, keep the customer in the know about the next course of action. You can demonstrate good customer service by maintaining that contact and preventing the customer from becoming frustrated and taking their complaint to your other channels.
5. Balance automation with real life
There will always be some support issues that go beyond the usual FAQs and require a customer service agent to personally investigate the problem or escalate it. Many customers will want to speak to an agent from the start and may think that they can’t be satisfied by a robot. Well hopefully, with the careful use of keywords and useful automated responses, you can change their opinion on that. However, it provides security for your customers to know that they can deal directly with a customer support agent if things are not going as expected. You are more likely to see repeat business when you find a good balance between automation and real-life assistance.
6. Integrate SMS and email for best results
If you keep customer details up to date, you can utilise email communication as well as business SMS. Handling your customer’s request via SMS is always going to be the quickest and easiest way to meet your customer’s needs. With the capacity for only 160 characters, you may find it helpful to switch from SMS to email to relay a longer message or to send more information or instructions. A good business SMS platform should allow you to move between the two wherever applicable.
Continuous development and improvement
Track your success
A huge plus point for business SMS is that success is trackable. Once you have set realistic goals for your customer service team, you will be able to analyse the data to make sure you are hitting those targets. Identify successes but also weaknesses and areas for improvement.
Automatically request feedback
Monitor customer satisfaction by setting up an automatic feedback request. This will further improve your current practices and help you to shape your customer service team and system. Customers like to feel heard and understood. Allowing them the space to vent about interactions that went wrong may prevent them from taking their grievances to review sites or social media channels.
Feedback will also help you to understand what your customers liked about your service, so you can be sure you are doing the right thing.
Faster responses that lead to quicker resolutions make more money
The main goal of a good customer service department is to protect your company’s revenue. You want customers to return again and again which won’t happen if they can’t trust your brand.
The customer support team can also help to maximise profits by ensuring that an issue does not turn into a loss of money. Ideally, you want to steer your customer towards a less costly resolution than a simple refund or even compensation. If your customer service experience is a positive one, your customer will be more willing to cooperate with you and accept your resolution and trust that what you offer is best for them. This is why Business SMS for customer support can increase your ROI.
If you would like to know more about how TextAnywhere can help you to set up a great customer support service, get in touch today for a free trial!