5 Easy Tips for Providing Excellent SMS Customer Service
Are your prospects and customers complaining about your customer service?
If so, you're not alone — hundreds of businesses struggle to deliver quality customer service. It can be difficult to meet shifting customer expectations while providing personalized service and answering their questions in a timely and efficient way.
Despite these challenges, delivering excellent customer service is a requirement if you want to be a leader in your field. Today, consumers are prioritizing businesses and organizations that provide superior customer service experiences and ditching those that do not.
This shift in consumer behavior is pushing businesses to consider new avenues — like text messages — to meet the demand and push ahead of their competitors. Today’s customers carry a cell phone with them everywhere. They enjoy the convenience their phone provides when talking with friends and family, and that experience is spilling into their expectation with business owners as well.
In fact, over half of consumers report that they prefer using SMS for customer service over other channels. To give you a leg up over your competition, here are some easy and effective tips to help you issue high-quality SMS customer service.
5 Best SMS Customer Service Tips to Try Right Now
SMS customer support allows you to connect with your customers in a personal way. Instead of making customers go out of their way to get in touch with you, SMS Allows you to use a device that your customers already own and are comfortable with — their cell phone.
Text messaging is affordable, simple to use, time-efficient, and intuitive. Let’s take a look at some SMS customer service tips that you can start using right now.
1. Send Appointment Reminders
Scheduling appointments is something that we are all very familiar with. From doctors appointments to fitness classes and even family commitments, we are constantly trying to keep track of where we need to be from one day to the next.
In the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, it’s easy to forget at least a few of those appointments. The moment your phone rings and you realize that you missed one is embarrassing and causes you to have to fumble to reschedule. In some cases, this may mean that your appointment gets pushed out weeks or even months away.
If your company is utilizing SMS, you have an opportunity to help your customers avoid headaches like those. You can schedule appointment reminders to go out at any time prior to their appointment. Customers can also confirm with a simple one-word response to let you know if they will be there, or if they need to reschedule.
If you have a small business, you may be tempted to simply let your office admin make phone calls for the upcoming appointments. That may be financially feasible, however many customers will not answer the phone if they don’t recognize the number or if they’re busy at work. By the time they listen to the message that she left, your office may already be closed for the day. Text messaging solves this problem while also freeing up your employee’s time.
2. Talk Like a Human
Text messages are a very personalized form of communication, one that is normally reserved for conversations with friends and family. It is only recently that companies have begun implementing SMS support channels. Many consumers anticipate a more laid-back and intimate conversation with a human when they send a text to your company.
This does not mean that you should not be professional and respectful. It does mean that you need to consider the customer’s expectation for your conversation. You should be providing the same kind of service that you would over the phone or through live chat and be sure to do things such as including their name so that they know there is a real person behind the text messages.
It may also be tempting to use copy-paste messaging to answer recurring questions. While this is efficient, you should be careful and educate your team on the appropriate use of these responses. You want your customers to feel heard. Utilizing these standard, non-personalized, responses can damage that relationship if you are not cautious.
3. Triage Customer Service Requests
Your customer service staff is limited, and the number of incoming requests can quickly overwhelm them. It’s important to realize that not all customer service requests are equal.
Customers experiencing a critical issue will be less patient and waiting on a response, whereas customers with the basic question might be completely comfortable waiting a day or two.
If you implement a system for triaging your customer service requests, you will be able to quickly scale up your ability to respond in a timely fashion in the event that a major incident occurs. You can do this by implementing a scoring system that will categorize the request based on importance.
These scores can be based on information that you already know about the customer since they are identified through their smartphone number. You will also use the information in the request to help determine how critical the question is.
You can choose to allow automation to handle some basic request, handoff to virtual assistants for simple queries that need a human, use in-house specialists for more advanced queries, or any combination of the above. Whatever you choose, it is good practice to make sure that the customer is aware of how you are handling the conversation and set the expectation correctly.
4. Partner With an Experienced Provider
Once you have a plan for how you’re going to handle your SMS customer service, it’s time to find the right provider. You need to find one that includes the right combination of features, experience, and support to help you meet your company’s unique needs.
There are a few steps that you can take to help you find the right bulk SMS solutions provider. To start with, outline your company’s objectives, internal resources, and specific needs that you know the provider will need to meet.
As you evaluate each provider, consider the following questions:
- How difficult is it to get started with their platform?
- Do they have support available that understands your industry and your needs?
- Do they offer the features that you know you’re going to need?
5. Publicize Your SMS Customer Service Program
Once you have your SMS customer service program in place, it’s a good idea to make sure that everyone is aware that you offer support through text. There are a variety of ways to do this, including:
- Let customers know in your newsletters and emails.
- Send an interoffice memo to your staff to make them aware of it.
- Utilize click-to-text on your website to let visitors start a customer service text with you at the click/tap of a button.
- Include a message in your voicemails.
- Add a link to your email signatures.
- Write a blog post or press release to announce your new SMS customer service program after you launch it.
- Include a note in your flyers, posters, or other handouts.
- Post information on your social media channels.
Your message can be something as simple as “Text Support to 313131 to get support from our team or ask questions.”
Master Text Message Marketing
Using text messaging for your customer service campaign is just the tip of the iceberg on what’s possible. SMS marketing can help you acquire new customers just as easily as it helps you manage existing ones.
Text message marketing is one of the fastest-growing and most effective ways for you to connect with your customers and deliver powerful results.
Learn how to effectively promote your goods and services, send alerts, boost engagement, and much more in our free guide. Download Four Strategies for Successful Mobile Marketing and get started leveraging the power of SMS in your business.
Photo: Getty Images/AzmanL