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6 Tips for Mastering SMS for Customer Service

Sep 1, 2020

Customer service can make or break a business. Today’s consumers expect fast responses to questions and speedy support ticket resolutions – and they’re not afraid to take their business elsewhere (and spread the word about their experience) if they receive less-than-stellar service. 

Recent studies have shown:

  • 96% of consumers rank customer service as a top factor in their choice of brand loyalty.
  • Millennials will pay 21% more for brands that have excellent customer service.
  • A third of consumers who choose to cut ties with a business do so because of a lack of personalized customer service.

So how do you gain a competitive edge and provide personalized, on-demand customer support without breaking the bank? In this blog, we’ll show you how to leverage SMS for customer service to delight your users and save time and money for your business.  

What Are the Benefits of SMS for Customer Service?

SMS marketing allows businesses to send promotions, transactional messages and notifications to consumers via targeted text messages. 

Companies can use SMS to engage in customer service activities that would traditionally take place over the phone or email, such as: 

  • Sending order confirmations 
  • Providing shipment tracking information
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Responding to FAQs  
  • Managing support tickets

Texting for customer service has some significant benefits over more traditional communication methods:

  • Better Engagement: SMS allows you to meet customers where they’re already spending their time. U.S. consumers spend 5+ hours every day on their cell phones. They open 98% of text messages, compared to a measly 22% of emails. 
  • Convenience: SMS allows for more efficient, convenient communication – essential in an age where attention spans are rapidly shortening and consumers have little patience for time-consuming resolutions. Unlike a phone call, SMS allows consumers to respond when it’s convenient, putting them in the driver’s seat. 
  • Personalization: SMS scores a win for personalization, too. As a communication format, texting is naturally less formal and allows for flexibility that a phone call or email can’t beat (Pro-tip: consumers love emojis!). SMS allows you to target individual customers by their name, preferences, purchase history and more. 
  • Time Savings: SMS scores efficiency points for brands, too. Businesses can set up automated responses to common questions, freeing up support reps to focus on more complex requests. 
  • Cost Savings: SMS is one of the most affordable customer support channels. One study found that a customer service phone call can cost around $16, whereas a text interaction can cost as little as $1.

6 Tips for Integrating Customer Service SMS In Your Business

Customer service is a worthy investment. Increasing customer retention by just 5% can lead to a 25-95% profit increase

But like any new business strategy, SMS for customer service should be deployed with some best practices in mind. Here are our top tips for providing top-notch customer service via SMS:

1. Automate FAQs

Automating FAQs alleviates the need for your customer support agents to answer the same questions repeatedly. Instead, customers can get fast answers to their most pressing questions, and reps can focus on more complex support tickets.

For example, you can give customers the option to text a keyword to your business number to obtain your store hours or return policy. 

Just remember to provide an easy way to connect with a live customer service rep if needed. 

Pro-tip: Automation doesn’t have to stop with FAQs. Depending on your type of business, you can automate appointment reminders, order notifications, invoices and more via SMS. 

2. Collect Frequent Feedback

When someone has a negative experience with a business, they’re far more likely to switch to a different brand than provide constructive feedback. The average American tells 15 people when they have a poor customer service experience. 

Businesses can break the cycle by offering a fast, easy method of leaving feedback via SMS. 

Periodically send a brief feedback request to your opted-in contact list to encourage users to leave a review. You can automate texts to go out after a customer makes a purchase or interacts with your brand so they have a chance to leave feedback when it’s fresh in their mind.

By allowing customers to send feedback via SMS, brands accomplish two things: They gain visibility into areas for improvement, and they earn a chance to make things right and win back unhappy customers. 

And, for customers, offering feedback via SMS can be as painless and easy as submitting a one-word answer. 

Pro-tip: To boost your response rate, offer customers a small incentive like a $5 gift card if they respond or fill out your survey. 

3. Keep Your Customers in the Loop

Customer service shouldn’t only be reactional. With SMS for customer service, you can take a proactive approach to keep customers informed on upcoming appointments, orders, promotions and updates. 

The majority of consumers appreciate upfront communications from brands – it keeps them informed on products and services they may be interested in, which increases their average order value and retention. 

Texting is an effective way to keep customers in the loop without interrupting their day with an intrusive phone call or email that gets buried in their inbox. 

4. Mix SMS With Other Support Channels

Research shows that brands that offer high-quality customer service through multiple communication channels will retain nearly 90% of their customers

In other words, SMS shouldn’t be your only customer service support outlet. Deploying an integrated, omnichannel strategy using SMS, voice, chat and email allows consumers to communicate with your brand in whatever format suits them best. 

If a particular customer service issue is complex and requires a lengthy explanation, give customers the option to pick up the phone or send an email. Make sure you display a phone number customers can call if they prefer to speak with a live person. 

5. Keep SMS Customer Service Messages Short and Sweet

Texting is meant for short, concise communications, not long-winded novels. Most SMS messages cap at 160 characters, so you’ll need to get your message across as briefly and clearly as possible.

As a rule of thumb, any outbound customer service SMS should:

  • Highlight 1-2 key points
  • Include a call to action
  • Include a link or phone number customers can call for more information 

6. Select the Right SMS Platform

On top of keeping your customers happy and building brand loyalty, the right SMS platform can make integrating texting with your existing customer support channels a breeze. 

SMS marketing platforms like Textedly offer user-friendly customer support features for businesses in any industry. Textedly supports two-way text messaging, extra-long messages (300+ characters) and unlimited users, so your entire customer support team can manage SMS conversations in one place with ease. 

Ready to level up your customer service strategy to retain more customers and increase profits? Sign up for a free Textedly trial now!