New Line of Customer Communication: Text Support for Better Customer Service & Marketing

December 6, 2016

 

You don’t have to be a big business with a large marketing budget to offer on-the-go support via text messages. I believe there’s something to be said about the level of personalized customer service and attention that smaller businesses can provide to their buyers. And, text messages are about as personal as you can get.

 

I always advocate for being as available as possible for your customers. If you ship nationwide or even worldwide, your customer service hours are paramount. If you’re only operating during regular work hours for your time zone (and possibly even are closed on weekends), then you’re missing out on a big opportunity to be there for your customers who may live far away from you.

So how can you extend your service hours without having to bring on a big staff? By adding texting as a part of your service strategy.

 

On-the-go support and small businesses make a great pair; these programs are an affordable way to maximize your customer support and marketing teams. Yet, SMS support isn’t something a lot of companies has even thought to try before. When done right, it could be the biggest win for your customers who are basically glued to their phones.

 

Customers love text messaging! And they like to text businesses. One study showed that 78% of buyers wish they could text you. This isn’t surprising since less than 15% of calls made to businesses are answered without being on hold. Waiting times are extremely frustrating for increasingly busy customers. Your clients feel that texting is a fast, convenient way to communicate a question or problem with your team. Texting is great because people have their phones with them all day and while they may not be able to make a personal call during work hours, perhaps they could text quickly with you to get nearly immediate answers to their questions.

 

Using SMS support can increase Customer Satisfaction almost instantaneously because you’re able to resolve issues quickly, and most likely on the first contact. This has a big impact on retention and net promoter scores. Customers will also feel a bit engaged because you are communicating the same way that they choose to communicate.

 

This communication tool not only improves customer experience, it can also lower your service queue and increase response times; this in turn helps improve service team productivity by addressing questions and immediately moving on to other customers. Texting also gives the customer a record of the conversation so they can remember the solution you provided. You also can review these interactions and have some insights into the conversations your support team has.

 

I recommend a program where you can proactively send messages to your clients. A program I really love for texting is WellPass (formerly Sensehealth). It has worked wonders for my health & wellness clients, and I think it’s a cost efficient tool for any business type. You can set up automated tracks for customers, automatic replies back, and get pop up alerts on your computer when new messages come in so you can reply quickly to questions.

Text messaging is not just a customer support tactic, it can also provide a big impact as a part of the marketing strategy. SMS Marketing increases revenue because it’s the best way to reach your potential buyers wherever they are, whenever you want to reach them since they always have their phones with them. Text is also more effective than email (read my post on how your customers can tune out your email messages) & print collateral. Nearly 95% of all text messages are read by their recipient! Email deliverability suffers from spam filters and customers seeing way too many emails in a day. And your print ads are more likely to be overlooked as well.  

 

Here are some great ways that SMS can serve your buyer’s needs:

  • New Features and Benefits

  • Event Announcements

  • New Product Recommendations

  • Appointment Reminders

  • Tips and Tricks

 
SMS is also a useful way to conduct polls & marketing surveys due to the high response rates (45%) especially when compared to email (about 6%). As noted before, the vast majority of text messages are read by the recipient. It is a great avenue to cut through the clutter on important information and updates you want to provide to enhance your marketing strategy. Just like any other marketing message, each text you send is another touch point with your customers.
 

If you run a service-oriented business, an appointment reminder text can help reduce no-shows & enhance customer experience. We all could use a little reminder about what we have going on. SMS is a better way than conducting reminder phone calls; they are less time consuming for your team and are more likely to be seen since most people don’t listen to their voicemails in a timely manner. This isn’t to say that you won’t still have no shows, but customers are more likely to text you back to reschedule if they forgot the appointment so at least you have advanced notice of the opening.

 

Text messaging is a fantastic way to build customer loyalty. On-the-go text support gives you a chance to speak about a multitude of topics (not just promoting your business) that current clients and prospects alike care about. This in turn could help you be a thought leader and seen as providing real value. For example, a personal trainer could send out workout reminders, healthy recipes, or even short workouts via text. While a clothing store could send out beauty and hair tips to complete the look a customer purchased from them.

 

Here’s my takeaway tip: The more targeted the tips and advice, the better. For example, a PT client that needs to lose over 50 pounds will have different challenges than a client who is trying to lose the last 10. Break down your lists so you can send specialized tips based on their needs and concerns. Make it seem like your messages are tailor made just for them, and the buyer will feel like a VIP! When you can give that feeling to your clients, that’s the best kind of customer service.

Text messaging on-the-go is as personalized as you can get! Remember, text messaging for customer service doesn’t always have to be reactive. There are great programs out there where you can preset messaging and proactively communicate with customers in bulk tracks or customize the message for an individual. Text messaging is highly popular with customers and will continue to grow as a marketing channel in the next few years.

 

In addition to being highly popular with clients, SMS also allows the support team to handle customer problems and complaints more easily so they can increase their productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and impact engagement. Since it’s also a low cost option to provide big impact for the customer service and marketing team, there’s no reason texting shouldn’t be a part of your customer experience strategy.

 

Happy texting!

Charisma Communications can help you build a proactive and effective service team that helps you to retain customers and provide a memorable experience for your buyers. Contact us today to learn more about our service training services and how we can implement SMS into your overall strategy.

 

 

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