In 2017, text messaging was implemented in more than 78% of all contact centers, making it the hot topic channel in the customer service industry. It’s known to effectively drive customer engagement, increase customer satisfaction and positively impact metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Today’s customers are always on-the-go, which is why they expect flexibility and quick answers. OpenMarket found that 83% of Millennials would prefer to text with a brand versus calling a customer service line. Not only that, 77% of Millennials are likely to have a positive perception of a brand that they’re able to text with. Millennials aren’t the only ones that want to connect through texting. 92% of Baby Boomers with smartphones (over the age of 50) have embraced text messaging as their communication channel of choice.
Not only is texting an easy-to-use tool, it’s also really easy to implement. With little effort, brands can use their existing toll-free contact number to launch text messaging. We also can’t ignore that the future of texting is bright with its complex capabilities. Through a simple text conversation, you can buy a pair of shoes, re-book a flight, write a review, or even find out where the nearest gas pump is.
The possibilities are endless...but how can brands ensure that they launch and maintain a successful texting solution?
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It all starts before the launch. It’s important to figure out your strategic messaging and KPI goals early on in the process. How will your text responses convey your brand voice? Is your goal to respond to your customers in as few characters as possible, or are you more concerned about response criteria such as tone, empathy and education?
Remember to stay flexible with this - your strategy and KPI goals are most likely going to evolve as you experiment with what’s working for your team and your customers after launching.
Short & Sweet
Another best practice is to figure out what text response format makes most sense, based on what your customers are reaching out about and your character count goal. Try to be as realistic as possible when deciding what you want to achieve within your maximum character count. For example, are your customers texting to cancel their subscriptions? If so, does it make sense to send them a copy/paste text message with the entire cancellation policy? Or should you send them a brief summary of the policy with a link to the official document? The latter option gives the customer the gist of the answer immediately, while having the option to take action or ask a clarification question later if needed (all without ever having to leave their mobile device).
Another option is to mirror your customer’s texting habits. If they reach out with a long text, allow your team members to respond with a lengthier response. If the customer writes a short text, empower your team members to send back a short and concise message.
Rolling out text as a new channel can be scary for brands because it’s different than traditional mediums. Take your time! The key is to launch texting methodically, starting with just a small group of team members. Every brand will have their own set of unique challenges to overcome, so as you learn what is working and what isn’t, you can progressively add more team members to the channel. Ironing out the kinks in stages allows everyone to be successful in the long run.
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There’s no time like right now to start looking into how SMS/texting can help out your brand, especially since it’s going to continue to grow in popularity. Keep in mind that it’s not a replacement for other traditional channels, but instead provides another convenient option for your customers. When it’s implemented strategically, it will definitely impact the overall customer experience in a positive way. So, what are you waiting for?