What if service and support organisations had a communications channel that could automatically reach the vast majority of consumers for private, two-way conversations and was a method that 52% of customers actually preferred over phone, email or web chats?
This isn’t some futuristic vision, it already exists and you probably used it multiple times today.
It’s a mobile-first world and studies from both Nielsen and Pew Research Center have noted what the #1 activity on smartphones is (hint: it’s not posting on Facebook, taking pictures on Instagram, playing a round on Trivia Crack or listening to the Miles Davis station on Pandora): it’s text messaging—by far.
Businesses have spent years building up their omnichannel service and support strategies and yet they now find they are missing the most important one.
To be clear, text messaging is not going to replace other channels completely; but it’s an important new choice and a complementary way for agents to communicate with customers.
Here are four key reasons that adding standard, SMS text messaging to contact centres makes sense in 2015:
While social media is a great channel, it is essentially publicly broadcasting a customer’s question or issue, which they may not want to do (and often you don’t either). Text messaging provides a secure, private means for customers to communicate directly with a business to get answers.
The busy mobile lifestyle of today’s consumers means they do not have time to sit on voice queues, wait for an email response or be tied to a computer to make sure a web chat session does not time out. Text messaging is asynchronous so consumers can engage and respond to support agents when it suits them or when they are in ‘the moment’ in response to seeing an ad on TV, an offer in a store or at some other point in their day.
Text messaging provides a channel for customer-initiated, ‘inbound’ conversations. This is actual dialogue that goes beyond the current view of SMS as a platform for simple blast notifications or marketing messages.
Regardless of phone type, location or carrier, every customer can send and receive SMS text messages. There are no new apps, downloads or other proprietary requirements that create obstacles and unnecessary friction in your relationships with customers.
Text messaging also gives customers and agents more flexibility, such as the choice to stay on hold for a live agent or to send a text instead. Or, to use text messages as a way to send follow-up details to a customer after a phone call or web chat.
Customer texting is starting to take off in a variety of industries, from recruiting and finance to salons and radio stations. It’s just the right tool for the job for many use cases. For example:
As you consider all its advantages, the reason text messaging hasn’t been part of omnichannel strategies before is because businesses didn’t know it was possible.
Now it is.
Paul Henderson is Chief Marketing Officer for HeyWire, the leading enterprise text messaging service for connecting customers with businesses. He has more than 20 years of experience leading marketing, business development, product and customer experience teams at a variety of companies, including Avid Technologies, Axeda, Intel, Intuit and Sun Microsystems. To reach Paul on Twitter, follow @paulfhenderson.
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