What Is SMS Customer Support?

SMS customer support is any support provided by a company to a customer via text messaging. It’s completely virtual and requires no face-to-face interaction or verbal communication.

Today, companies use a wide range of methods to communicate with customers. From a regular phone system to personalized emails, brands aim to create an Omni channel experience that best serves their consumers using a customer support team.

Especially when platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp offer free messaging tools that businesses can use to communicate with customers. 

Messaging is quite essential for business owners to benefit and grow their customer support programs. Below are simple ways to adapt and optimize support messaging the right way for businesses.

According to a recent study, text messages are opened, on average, 98% of the time, but emails are only opened 22% of the time. So, if a company wants to be heard by its customers, it makes sense to meet them where they already are: texting on their phones.

Benefits of SMS Customer Support

Messaging is far from new as people have been communicating by text or “instant message” for years. WhatsApp alone has existed for over a decade and has more than two billion active users who converse on the platform daily. 

But, most digital messaging is still conducted on a 1:1 basis. Commonly SMS is used to chat with friends or relatives, but there isn’t as much B2C or B2B communication. 

That’s growing rapidly as companies are discovering the potential benefits of using messaging for customer service. Here are a few. 

Consumer Demand

Given how popular text messaging has become over the years, it’s not hard to see that a lot of people enjoy messaging as a communication channel. With over 5 billion people sending and receiving SMS messages daily, it’s hard to ignore messaging while looking to create an Omni channel experience.

Additionally, reports that 52% of people said they’d likely text with a customer support rep if given the option. And, 52% would prefer to text a customer support rep over their current preferred mode of communication.

Cost Efficiency

It’s much cheaper to handle customer inquiries by text than over the phone. According to a Forrester study, the average customer service phone call costs about $16, whereas the average text thread costs between $1 to $5 per interaction. 

Having a messaging service can also divert a high volume of calls the agents would otherwise need to handle. This reduces stress on the team.

Customer Satisfaction

SMS customer support helps businesses to connect with its customers on a more personal level. While emails or phone calls feel distant and professional, texting is much less formal. And, texting is much faster and more accurate than phone or email. With SMS, reps can exchange information quicker leading to speedier solutions for existing customers. 

Below, a list of the best ways to incorporate SMS customer support into a business.

5 Tips and Best Practices for Using SMS Customer Support

  1. Defining business goals.

To get the most from customer service messaging, companies need to be transparent about why they are offering the option to customers. Businesses should clarify their goals to ensure getting the most out of the service. In terms of aspirations for messaging, here are three main things to think about:

  1. Cost Reduction
  2. Employee Productivity
  3. Customer Satisfaction

It’s worthwhile, though, to drill down into which of these three is most important to each and every company. That way, businesses can prioritize the components of messaging that relate most to that goal.  

  1. Choosing the right SMS support channel. 

Messaging is a broad term and has a range of channels to choose from when selecting a platform for a certain company. These options include SMS, direct messaging via social media, and specialized commercial messaging platforms

The challenge is to find the accurate channels to use and to get the most out of them. Companies should try to find out from customers which messaging apps they prefer. Then, get to grips with the different features offered by those channels. That way, marketers can ensure customer service agents make the most of the platform they’re using.

  1. Scaling automation with human input. 

One reason messaging is more cost-efficient than other customer service options is automation. There’s far greater scope to automate customer service messaging as AI-driven chatbots can solve many customer queries without the need for an agent to get involved.

But, some companies don’t want customer service messaging to be entirely automated. Shoppers enjoy SMS support when it’s as personalized as a phone interaction or conversation on social media. Text messaging is a very personal form of communication, so it only makes sense that customers would want the same experience as speaking directly with one of the support reps.

No matter how sophisticated chatbots and machine learning becomes, technology still can’t replicate the personalized support that human agent can provide.

  1. Segmenting and prioritizing incoming messages.

Once messaging support gets rolling, businesses think about how best to handle the demand. If it starts to get a high volume of messages, then the company shall need a definitive system for managing them.

A company could choose a first-in, first-out (FIFO) approach, which means answering queries in the order that they’re submitted. But, in most cases, a system for prioritizing messages is more appropriate.

Also the business can try to find a way to categorize the support requests and messages receives. Segmenting them by consumer value and the urgency of their inquiry is typically a sensible approach.

  1. Leveraging SMS to collect customer feedback.

According to Groove, only one in 26 customers actually complain or gives feedback about negative customer experience. 91% of the remaining 25 out of 26 customers will move onto a competitor. 

A way to avoid this gap is by offering options for customer feedback over SMS customer support. Producing feedback is easy for customers, typically only requiring them to send one-word or number responses. It also encourages them to give negative feedback in a neutral channel where they might not feel as awkward doing so.

  Businesses have found a way to adapt SMS and optimize SMS for use as a service tool in their daily life, especially in customer service sect.  

These comprehensive tips for using SMS messaging for a customer service are pretty useful for businesses that are willing to grow with their clients and reach.

The momentum on using SMS messaging is growing, it’s important not to miss out on what could be a very profitable means of communication with loyal customers. SMS customer service messaging enhances the ties between each business’s clients and its workforce and offerings. It is essential to implement SMS within each marketer plan if the business goal was to integrate and engage with existing and new clients.