8 Tips for Integrating SMS Chat Into Your CX Strategy
The data doesn’t lie. In terms of easily accessible customer engagement, SMS is unrivaled. This customer communication channel boasts engagement rates up to eight times higher than email – and unlike email, texts are usually opened within an average of three minutes.
When integrated into your customer experience strategy, SMS acts as an accessible touchpoint to keep you in tune with your customers’ needs while opening new opportunities to offer services through a channel that many of your customers already love.
Opportunities for SMS touchpoints
Email, social, live chat, ticketing, SMS – when it comes to building meaningful customer connections, each of these channels has its own unique advantages. The trick is tailoring your customer experience strategy to capitalize fully on each one. Here are eight ways to get the most value and impact out of your SMS channel.
Interactive voice response (IVR) is a powerful self-serve channel that can take a good load off your contact center, but there are many times when your customers need to talk to someone. When connected to SMS, customers can choose to switch from phone to text messaging with the press of a button. They can then get on with their day knowing that someone will respond shortly.
Multi-factor authentication protects your customers’ accounts from unwanted access. Many major businesses like Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook already deploy two-step verification through SMS. Your business needs to jump on the bandwagon because it works. Phones travel with your customers virtually 24/7, ensuring quick, easy and secure access to their accounts is always in the palm of their hands.
Closing for the holidays? Sending a dentist appointment reminder? Looking up bus routes? No matter the industry or company, thanks to the channel’s convenience and high open rate, SMS is hands-down the quickest and easiest way to send your customers an update on service delivery. Fire off a text about updated hours, upcoming appointments, transit schedule changes or virtually anything else to keep your customers in the loop.
For financial institutions, mobile banking through SMS is quickly rising in popularity with 67% of users saying they prefer SMS. The most common use for SMS mobile banking is account charge alerts, which lets both the customer and the financial institution keep tabs on the account and act quickly in the event of a fraudulent charge.
Real-time customer support
Unlike phone calls, customers can send screenshots of the issue they’re having through SMS, reducing the time needed to provide context to an agent. SMS is a win-win for both customers and agents as it gives them the ability to multitask. Agents can handle multiple conversations at once while a customer looks up the documents or records they may need before responding – instead of putting either side on hold.
An example of location-based texts is how cellphone carriers use these alerts to notify a customer when they’ve left their area of service and will be incurring additional roaming fees. While location-based texts are widely used in industries like telecommunications, SMS geofencing has also started to permeate the advertising industry, with special offers coming in depending on proximity to a store. Mobile phones are the most location-aware devices your customers use – why not take full advantage (consent implied, of course)?
Flash sales and special offers
As any retailer knows, offering a discount or holding a sale is one of the most effective ways to increase sales. Flash sales alone generate an average 35% lift in transactions. Thanks to its high engagement rates, SMS is a great channel to alert your customers of a limited time offer and boost sales.
Feedback and continuous improvement are invaluable to a successful CX strategy but sometimes your customers don’t want to go through a form. SMS gives them the opportunity to fire off one, two or as many texts as they want on their own time when you need quick feedback on a product or a service.
Customer expectations are higher than ever. They want a fast, hassle-free experience where problems meet prompt resolutions. SMS helps businesses exceed those expectations and provide every single customer with unique, one-of-kind experiences.
But as with any new addition to your CX strategy, the customer, not the channel, comes first. Businesses should be respectful of phone inboxes and take extra caution not to spam customers every single day with texts. Test and learn what messages work the best, what the best frequency is and remember to always put the customers’ needs above your business wants. When in doubt, simply ask what they prefer. You can do that by SMS!
My Dad was a Creative Director all his life. I spent my youth working in the agency, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. All those experiences made me into a thinker, dreamer and doer that specializes in integrated branding, marketing, digital and public relations services. I feel my key value to clients is the ability to turn creative concepts into analytically driven marketing plans and tools with greater stopping power & relevance, leading to greater results.