New research from NewVoiceMedia’s “Serial Switchers” report discovered that poor customer service is now costing businesses more than $75 billion per year (in 2018), which is up $13 billion from 2017!
With recent advancements in technology, why are companies continuing to provide less than stellar service for their customers?
According to the report, “brands are failing to create the positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty,” which resulted in 67% of customers becoming “serial switchers” (customers who switch brands due to poor customer service).
The same poor customer service issues like not being able to get a response in a timely manner, unhelpful employees and an overall lack of appreciation continue to hinder businesses from creating a loyal customer base.
Convenience and personalization together play a huge part in customer experience today. Just look at examples like Amazon, Uber and Netflix. They all deliver what you want, when you want it.
Customers not only compare your brand to competitors, but also with these large technology giants setting the bar for the next generation of customer experiences.
One simple way brick and mortar businesses can provide faster and more personal service is by using text messaging for customer communication.
Here are 5 ways text (SMS and MMS) messaging improves the customer service experience:
1) Solve Problems Faster
Did you know that 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes of being sent? (Source)
Consumers today have extremely high expectations when it comes to customer service. They expect to talk or chat with a customer service representative within 2 minutes or less.
Phone and live chat are great ways to serve customers, but they can have long wait times depending on when customers contact you and how busy customer service is at that time.
Text messaging enables your customers to contact you whenever they want because who doesn’t have their mobile device with them at all times? Texting, with the right training and technology, can make it easy for customer service agents to respond quickly and with the personal touch customers expect.
Many businesses automate response messages for simple requests such as business hours and WIFI passwords. This allows customer service agents to be more productive and help customers with more complicated issues. Text messaging also eliminates the need for customers to wait on hold and allows them to go about their day as their issue is being solved.
Bonus Tip! Templates are Your Best Friend
Instead of having to repeat the same answer for commonly asked questions, use templates to streamline responses so you can help more customers and spend more time on the ones that require more attention.
2) Keep Customers Engaged
Customer service is more than just solving problems. Another important aspect of customer service is keeping customers engaged and informed through personalized notifications. Text messaging is a more effective way to communicate with customers since the friction to engage is so low compared to email and is more immediate.
Quick Fact: Average SMS response rate = 45%, vs. Email response rate = 6%
Imagine if a customer is waiting on an important time-sensitive package to be delivered but does not have email access where he is. If a notification was sent through email, he would not have gotten it on time and this could cause potential issues. With a simple text message, the customer is notified in real-time and can arrange his schedule to receive the delivery on time.
Other useful text notifications include appointment reminders, bank account activity alerts, bill payment reminders and much more.
Bonus Tip! Integrate Data to Personalize Communication
By integrating with text messaging software with you customer service platform, you will be able to automate notification messages based on customer information, enabling you to send a personalized message to a group of customers without manually sending them individually.
3) Instant Customer Feedback
The key performance indicator for customer service is feedback and ratings. In fact, star ratings are the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business (source)
Therefore, getting real-time internal feedback from customers is extremely important. Sending feedback requests via email is common, but may not be effective as it requires customers to take extra steps to log in to their email account, find the email, click on the email, then provide feedback on a website.
For example, hotels and other service-based businesses often send customer feedback surveys after the customer interaction to capture immediate feedback and resolve any outstanding issues. This approach can help brands with service recovery while building that emotional connection with their customers by letting them know you care about their experience and are willing to help them quickly.
Bonus Tip! Improve Real-time Service Recovery & Improve Online Ratings
By sending fast and short customer feedback surveys via text message, businesses can get more accurate feedback instantly and make it easy for those customers to leave positive reviews online. By asking for a score from 1-5, businesses can identify happy and unhappy guests and leverage both responses.
For example, if a customer responds to your survey with a 2, you can quickly respond to ask why and try to improve the situation. If a customer responds with a 5, you can send a quick thanks and even ask for a positive social review, even sending a link to that site.
4) Increase Customer Loyalty
97% of global consumers say that customer service is very important or somewhat important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand. – Microsoft Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report
Although it’s not specific to text messaging, providing great customer service is all about showing customers you care and solving their issues quickly no matter how they choose to interact with your business.
By having one-to-one conversations via text message, you can help build an emotional connection with customers and drive loyalty. In the example below, this fitness business is engaging their members with 8-week challenges that keep them motivated.
Bonus Tip! Don’t Forget to Get Social
With 80% of consumers using social media to engage with brands, are you there when your customers need you? By monitoring social media channels like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, you will be able to respond to your customers in real-time.
Additionally, by using chat apps like Facebook Messenger, you can have another way to service your customers in a quick and personalized way as 54% of customers prefer social messaging channels for are over phone and email.
Businesses are also getting creative by integrating text messaging into their social media campaigns!
5) Increase efficiency
Text messaging is one key way to improve customer service efficiency. However, text messaging is only a tool and the success of it depends on how well customer service agents utilize the tool to engage customers.
There are several key metrics that can measure efficiency:
- First response time: How fast does an agent respond after getting a customer request via text message.
- Time to resolution: How long does it take for an agent to resolve an issue (based on the number of messages exchanged for a specific issue).
- Backlogs: Average number of customers who are waiting to get a text message response.
- Customer service rating: How well do your customers rate your service after interacting with your business through text messaging.
These metrics can be compared to other customer service channels such as phone, email or live chat to truly get a sense of how effective customer text messaging can be for your business.
Bonus Tip! Trackable Conversations Improve Efficiency
One of the primary pain points for customers addressed earlier in the article was the need to repeat their issues to the same or different customer service agents. This issue is also correlated to the other pain points like slower service and unhelpful employees.
When customer service is done through text messaging, similar to a personal text message thread, all past conversations are quickly available for the employee to view and understand the problem. This eliminates the need for customer service agents to manually write down notes, which are tedious and may sometimes be inaccurate or incomplete.
With text messages, any customer service agent can jump in and handle any situation because they will have a record of the conversation and issue and not spend time identifying the issue all over again.
With a sophisticated customer engagement platform, you should be able to, you should be able to automate responses to commonly asked questions like “what are your business hours?” or “what’s the Wi-Fi password?” to save our staff from manually answering those questions every time. These automated responses should be triggered by either keywords or Artificial-Intelligence-based intent recognition, which can identify what the message is about and suggest or automate the response back to the customer. The example below shows an AI-based intent recognition.
The takeaway here is to evaluate your current customer service strategy and performance and see if there are ways to improve it by leveraging SMS text messaging. If you’re already using a form of text messaging to engage your customers, use the metrics discussed above to make sure your investment is translating into happier and more loyal customers.
You May Also Like: How to Get More Feedback from Your Customers Through Text Messaging