If you’re not using text-based customer support, you’re already at a disadvantage: 61% of companies currently offer SMS as a support channel, and 28.5% plan to in the next year, according to a benchmarking report. And it’s no wonder—texting is immediate, it can be automated and personalized, and 20% of consumers prefer it over other communication channels.
You’ve already got the basics down—don’t text without a customer’s permission, personalize your interactions, be brief and concise—but what you’re looking for is that one extra advantage to gain an edge in your customer support text game.
Be a proactive customer support team, not a reactive one! A Gartner research study showed “proactive customer service results in a full point increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES) and Value Enhancement Score (VES).
If you want to help deliver a better customer experience, you have to separate what works and what doesn’t work in customer service text messaging. Sending mass texts without strategy is throwing caution to the wind. Solidify your strategy and give your customers a better experience by following these tips, which will quickly get your texts noticed, increase response time, and help with resolving conflicts and complaints.
1. Don’t ghost your customers, or they’ll leave.
Don’t text once and then move on—the customer will feel ignored and will likely churn. Companies that open up 2-way text communications outpace their competition by 26% in gross margin and 85% in sales growth—with the result being loyal customers who often return and buy more.
Customer communication is an essential portion of the customer experience. You can’t have an experience without communication. Customers need to feel appreciated, heard, and respected. When a company seeks out and applies customer feedback, 78% of consumers view them more favorably.
Takeaway: Send your initial text (“We’ve received your concern and are working on it.”), follow up with a confirmation text (“Looks like we need more information. Please schedule a call with us by using this link.”, and then follow up with a check-in text (“Did we resolve your issue? Reply yes or no.”). Use a customer experience tool like Mindful to set automated messages, respond to texts, and transition to voice.
2. Retain more customers with automated text-based reminders.
Customers love proactive support. Reminder texts are a great way to let customers know of upcoming events, appointments, calls, etc., which increases customer satisfaction. Gartner reports that “by 2025, proactive customer engagement interactions will outnumber reactive customer engagement interactions.”
Customer support centers use appointment reminders to reduce the cost of no-shows (which are as high as 10–15% across industries) and resolve any scheduling conflicts. With Mindful, we find that reconnect rates are significantly higher when reminder texts are employed.
With call center volume at all-time highs because of the pandemic, agents need assistance with automated reminders. Mindful’s call scheduling mitigates high call volumes (and spotty staffing), and text reminders build trust with the customer and keep reconnects high. Both agents and customers stay on track to have a timely and efficient call.
3. Get better, more immediate feedback via text.
Survey feedback is essential to help any business grow, but surveys through email have low open and click-through rates. While email averages 20% open rates and 4% click-through rates (if you’re lucky), texts receive an astonishing 98% open rate and 19% CTR.
Responses for CSAT, NPS, and CES surveys can easily be sent through text for a more immediate response than email or even phone calls. Send a survey right after a customer transaction (with their permission) while the interaction is fresh in their mind. Best-in-class tools like Mindful have options to include text messaging services that accomplish not only reminders or two-way texts, but vital survey follow-ups as well.
4. Offer the option of talking with a live agent.
Because of the technical limitations of automated customer service solutions, not everyone trusts chatbots—especially with higher value or more sensitive customer service issues. According to a report by Solvvy, “the top perceived disadvantage of using [virtual agents, like chatbots and text] is that they can’t address personalized or complex questions.” In some cases, customers just want a live agent to help guide them through their issues.
This is why your customer service experience should always have the option to transition to voice. Make sure your chat interaction has the intelligence to offer digital call scheduler, so your customer doesn’t have to dial a number, wade through an IVR, and start their conversation all over again. It makes the experience more personal and gives the customer another avenue of resolution from your customer support team.
5. Save time and resources with text messaging templates.
Using a template for automated chatbot responses saves time. Even though you may want to personalize every text, writing a text response to every support request isn’t feasible. Templating automated responses also reduces the time to resolution—automated responses allow more agents to work on multiple tickets at once. It also gives the customer a feeling that someone is listening and responding quickly.
Use templated responses that are tailored to your customer’s profile, not a generic non-personalized response. Messaging with sophisticated platforms like Mindful give you rules-based SMS text responses to connect with customers where they are. Let them know the time you’ll call them, offer them web links for self-service, or provide other notifications that fit your needs.
Reaching your customer through texts certainly saves costs. But, more importantly, it lets you stay in touch with the customer and helps guide them through their customer journey. Because so many people read and respond to texts more than other channels (and more quickly, with 90% of people coming in under 30 minutes to respond to texts), having a messaging strategy as part of your customer support solution is essential in retaining customers and increasing revenue.
A good start to increasing customer satisfaction is by implementing texting into your customer service platform. See how this works with Mindful’s integrated texting solution.