Monday, April 15, 2024

What is SMS Customer Service and How to Get Started?

With text messages becoming the most convenient communication channel, brands have started using a modern approach like SMS to reach customers. As per a 2022 survey, 47% of millennials and 44% of Generation Z respondents preferred text messages from brands. Phone calls and emails have their benefits, but SMS provides a more conversational messaging opportunity.

Therefore, SMS customer service is becoming a preferred strategy to reach customers directly on their mobile phones and effectively communicate with them. Unlike waiting long for an email response or hold-on phone calls, SMS provides an instant messaging platform beneficial for both ends.

So, let’s discuss all about SMS customer service and how you can get started with it.

What is SMS Customer Service?

SMS customer service is text-based customer support provided via SMS. If your company is already using communication channels like emails, calls, live chat, and customer support tickets, there is no reason you should miss out on SMS. Not only is it more convenient, but it is also fast, easily accessible, and loved by customers.

You can use SMS customer service for various purposes, like sending timely reminders for future events, updating about the order status, etc. Apart from that, SMS is also a great way to quickly respond to questions, resolve issues, and collect feedback on your recently launched or updated products. Undoubtedly, SMS is an effective communication channel for businesses at all stages.

Examples of SMS Customer Service

Whether it is your small-scale start-up or an established business, SMS customer service can help you build a loyal customer base by sending or answering short and on-point texts in the following use cases:

Responding Queries

You can use SMS customer service to respond to your customer queries quickly and effortlessly without any hassle. Whether it’s a technical issue that requires urgent troubleshooting or a literal question to be answered, SMS enables businesses to conduct 2-way conversations seamlessly.

Click-to-text Messaging

You can use a click-to-text button on your website or app to direct customers to your inbox. From there, they can write their SMS and contact details to connect with your customer support team. This way, customers can easily get in contact with your team via a user-friendly messaging platform.

Sending Notifications

To make sure you provide proactive customer service, you need to use SMS to send reminders and notifications to keep them engaged and updated with every useful piece of information. Using SMS to send notifications has helped businesses seamlessly inform customers about new updates, maintenance news, etc.

Integration With Other Software

SMS customer service can be integrated with many other software to provide a full-filling experience to customers. Integrating SMS with your preferred CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software can help your customer support team boost their productivity and manage workload efficiently.

5 Key Benefits of SMS Customer Service

SMS customer service is becoming quite popular among businesses. It is known to significantly improve customer satisfaction due to its following benefits.

1. More Accessible

Almost every person owns a smartphone and uses SMS for messaging, even if they don’t use any other messaging platform. That’s where brands find opportunity. SMS is much more accessible to everyone. You can easily reach out to your customers for timely customer service.

2. Cost-Effective

SMS customer service costs almost half of what you have to spend on facilitating customers via phone calls and support tickets. Calls require a lot more data than texts, thus costing more. Not just cost-effective, SMS customer service is even more time-efficient. In the time you resolve an issue on-call, you can handle multiple queries over text.

3. Customer Preference

We all prefer text messages over phone calls. And so do our customers. Waiting on hold on phone calls can cause interruptions in customers’ routines. SMS provides a more favorable experience with its text-based communication. Texts are known to notably drive more customer engagement due to their immediate response nature. People might not check their emails regularly, but texts are always seen.

4. Automation

The best part of SMS customer service is automating messages. Automated customer service can greatly contribute to customer satisfaction and boost employees’ productivity. You can enable auto-response functionality and send automated responses for repetitive queries. Moreover, you can schedule the SMS messages to be sent out regularly for promotional purposes.

5. Quick Response

As text messaging is more popular than emails, texts are read and responded to a lot quicker than emails. For factual queries, you can instantly respond to your customers without having to be there on call or craft a formal email. Even for sending alerts and updates, SMS is a more practical communication channel.

How to Get Started with SMS Customer Service

To harness the potential of SMS customer service, you need to know the right way to implement it to improve the functionality of your business. Here is how you can get started with SMS customer service:

1. Choose the Right SMS Customer Service Platform

Firstly, you need to select the right SMS customer service platform that aligns with your requirements. Make sure that the platform offers templates, automation controls, metrics/analytics, and two-way messaging and lets you run promotional campaigns effortlessly. Once finalized, you can register with the platform.

2. Determine Your Workflow

You will need to figure out what kinds of queries need immediate attention and which queries need to be resolved by which customer service representative. You need to ensure the right person in your organization receives the relevant query. For this, you can strategize your workflow for your representatives.

3. Provide Training to Your Customer Service Team

After implementing SMS customer support, it’s important to train your customer support staff to leverage its usage. You should provide them with training on how to respond to queries via SMS and explain procedures in detail for troubleshooting.

4. Keep a Check on Performance

Once SMS customer service becomes operational, regularly monitor its performance. You should regularly check the stats for response times, customer satisfaction, and the number of conversations initiated. Based on that, you can strategize your next action and fill in the gaps.

SMS Customer Service vs AI Chatbot

Wondering if you should use SMS customer service or integrate an AI chatbot on your website? Let’s quickly go through the functionality of both so it gets easier for you to make the decision.

SMS Customer Service

As there is usually a representative behind SMS customer service, it gives a human touch to the conversations. Even if you have automated or scheduled the messages, they are not run by a bot. This is an ideal solution for customers when they want technical issues to be solved. If your offerings are product-based, customers might need focused guidance on fixing issues with the product. Apart from that, SMS is also used for follow-up messages, reminders, and updates on order status.

AI Chatbot

AI chatbots work best when you have a huge number of factual queries coming from customers. In that case, chatbots can assist customer support teams well. For instance, Shulex VOC AI Chatbot is one powerful AI chatbot for customer services and an ideal alternative to Intercom. It is capable of training from the data you provide and then intelligently engaging with customers to resolve their queries autonomously. Simply put, VOC AI Chatbot is a perfect alternative to Zendesk and serves as a virtual assistant for your customers to resolve queries, get suggestions, and even initiate order placement.

Both SMS and chatbots have their own benefits. However, AI chatbots are a more modernized way of engaging with customers and do not require a human workforce. In addition, they are also not dependent on customer phone numbers. Customers can directly engage with AI chatbots from the business website or app.

We recommend you try both of them to see which customer support channel works better for your needs. Coupling both can also be a great idea to maximize customer satisfaction.

Best Practices for SMS Customer Service

To make sure you efficiently use SMS customer service, here are the best practices to keep in mind:

  • Automate and schedule messages where required to save time. However, make sure a customer service representative is present for issues that require human input.
  • Prioritize messages that need immediate attention and provide real-time responses. You can create categories to handle requests of the same kind at once.
  • Apart from customer service, use SMS to run promotional campaigns, encourage users to buy more, and notify them of updates.
  • Add some kind of CTA in your SMS messages to request feedback from your customers on your offerings. Collecting feedback can help you improve your products and services.
  • Communicate in a casual tone with the use of emojis to carry out conversations in a friendly yet professional manner.
  • Proactively keep in touch with customers by monitoring the user experience and sending informational messages that can add value to their purchase.

Wrapping Up – Boost Your Customer Service with SMS

SMS-based support is truly revolutionizing customer service. SMS customer service is proving to be a better alternative to emails or calls. It is more convenient and effective for both customers and businesses.

So, why wait more? Start working on SMS customer service today for your brand to boost your customer services. In addition, it is recommended to incorporate an AI chatbot to offer more support to customers on the website/app and ensure a more satisfying experience.

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