How to Utilize SMS for Customer Service

August 10, 2022 | By Grace Lau
How to Utilize SMS for Customer Service

One of the biggest challenges companies face is how to handle customer service.

It is essential to create a relationship with your customers that makes them feel comfortable. You can do this in many ways, but one of the best ways to build rapport with your clients is SMS.

When text messaging first began, it was used primarily for personal use. People texted friends and family to coordinate plans or meet up. Today, however, businesses are starting to use text messages in their customer service plans.

Texting your customers can be an excellent way to provide them with customer support. Plus, 64% of consumers think businesses should contact them via SMS more often. So you can't afford to lose out on this.

If you're still an SMS novice, however, don't fret. We'll be giving you the 411 on all things SMS, explaining its benefits in creating remarkable customer service and giving you some extra tips that can help you get started. So grab yourself a pen and paper and a lovely hot cuppa, and let's begin!

Why Is Customer Service Important?

Man yelling into phone

To start off, we'll cover why it's important to focus on your customer service. It’s not just a nice addition to the company. It’s integral to continuing business and creating client loyalty.

Customer service can help give some insight into how you can improve internal processes and discover what your customers want from your brand.

If you're still not convinced, here are some numbers to help you see why it’s so crucial:

  • It's 5-25x more expensive to invest in new customers rather than retain old ones - Invesp.
  • 63% of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations, while 76% of B2B buyers expect the same thing - Salesforce Research
  • Nearly three out of five consumers report that good customer service is key to feeling loyalty toward a brand - Zendesk.
  • Only one in five consumers will forgive a bad experience with a company whose customer service they rate as "very poor." However, if they rated the customer service as "very good", 80% of customers would stick with the company after a mistake - Qualtrics XM Institute

What Is Conversational Messaging?

Conversational messaging is the term used to explain the new system of messaging that is taking over and replacing previous forms of communication. There are many different forms in which conversational messaging is used. These include:

What Is SMS for Customer Service?

Business woman looking at phone

You may have already heard of SMS for marketing. But what is SMS for customer service?

Customer service via SMS is exactly what it sounds like. You use SMS to provide your customers with customer support instead of using emails or calls.

Let's say you're a company using customer analytics software. Your client is having trouble getting set up with the software, so they contact you for help. Instead of providing them with customer support via email or phone call, you can send them a text message to walk them through their problem. This allows your customers to get the help they need in a matter of seconds, instead of waiting on hold or sending multiple emails back and forth.

3 Use Cases of SMS Customer Service

#1. Customer Support

Allowing your customers the opportunity to text your customer support team when they have a question or issue can be a great tool to engage with your clients and provide them with an easy way to reach you (without enduring automated menus and hold times).

Example:

Hi [customer name], sorry to hear your Internet connection is down at the moment. We can get a technician out to you between [dates] and [available times]. Thanks, Customer Support

#2. Logistical Support

Getting status updates, such as when an item has been shipped or it will arrive at a certain date, is often done via email. This can be annoying to customers who might not want to wait for an email to get their answers.

Example:

Hi [Customer Name], thanks for your patience. Your order should arrive today, however if it doesn't please let us know. Thanks, Customer Support

#3. Appointment Reminders

There are many online services that help with appointment reminders. However, most do not include effective messaging features. Having an option for customer service to send text message appointment reminders as well as email and phone call reminders can help to ensure the appointment gets done.

Example:

Hi [Customer], this message is to confirm your appointment on May 10th at 4pm. We understand that things may come up. In case you need to cancel or reschedule, please let us know at least 2 days in advance. Thanks, Customer Support

The Benefits of SMS for Customer Service

Teamwork

#1 It's Cheap

Text messages are generally very cheap to send and receive, especially when compared to phone calls. This is a huge benefit for businesses as they can use that money saved on providing better customer service in other areas of the business. It allows them to focus more on their customers and less on the moneymaking side of things.

#2 It's Convenient

One of the great benefits of text messaging is that it saves time. While phone calls or using video conference software can often be disruptive to whatever the customer is doing at the moment, text messages can be quickly sent while they’re doing something else. This convenience is often a key reason that customers prefer using text messages in any customer service setting.

#3 It's Fast

Text messages are also extremely fast, especially when compared to other methods of communication, such as phone calls or emails. There’s no need for the customer to wait around until someone gets back to them, and you can quickly respond to any questions or issues that your customers may have.

#4 It's Personal

When you send text messages, you’re using a medium of communication that’s incredibly personal. This allows your business to build up a rapport with the customer by showing them that they're cared for and valued as an individual, not just another number in the queue.

Let's say you're an eCommerce business specializing in guided selling, and your customer's package doesn't arrive. Instead of sending an automated email, you can send a text message to check up on them and make sure they receive their package as soon as possible.

#5 You Can Monitor Your Customers Preferences

For most companies with SMS services offered, it’s free to sign up for. This means that businesses can easily monitor customer preferences, allowing them to provide customer service that caters to customers' needs. It may be the case that your customer only knows about 10% of your product or service's uses, so you can send them a text message suggesting they think of other ways it could be used in their day-to-day lives.

The 5 Best Ways to Utilize SMS for Customer Service

Customer service text message

So now that you know just how amazing text messaging is, it's time to talk about some tips on good customer service via SMS.

#1 Use a Chatbot

We've already established that customers prefer to get customer service via text messages. So, why not capitalize on this and use a chatbot for the initial stages of customer service? This essentially means using AI to automatically respond to a customer's text.

If your company is already using text messages for marketing purposes (and you're getting their permission to do so), then it's easy to integrate a chatbot into your SMS strategy. This way, the customer can immediately get in touch with a friendly bot that will answer any questions they may have before handing the conversation over to a human.

Imagine you're a customer who wants to know about a product's features. You can simply text your question to the bot and, within seconds, receive a detailed reply. Now, imagine that instead of replying by SMS, the bot sends you a video explaining exactly what you need to know. This means that customers will be able to quickly view videos from their mobile phones at no extra cost, improving customer service all around.

#2 Talk Like a Human - Not a Robot!

Even when using a chatbot service for SMS customer service, it's important to remember that you are still dealing with real people who are trying to get through their daily lives. These real people want to know that their needs are being met, but they also want to feel like you genuinely care about them.

Your language and tone can make all the difference between customers feeling like their needs are being taken care of or customers feeling like they're talking to a robot. To sound more human in your language, you can:

  • Use a conversational, yet professional tone
  • Avoid jargon
  • Use words like "please" and "thank you."
  • Personalize your SMS by using names!

For example:

Hey [Customer Name], thanks so much for getting in touch with [Company Name]. My name is [Your Name], and I will be helping you out with your query. I'm sorry to hear about the issue you are having. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

#3 Make Your Customer Feel Valued

Since texts are much faster than other customer service communication mediums, customer service via text messaging allows you to build rapport with your customer quickly. If a customer has any questions or concerns, it can be easy to respond and provide them with the answer they need in a matter of seconds. By doing this, you will show that you value their time and that they’re important to your business.

Let's say you're offering your customers a free email with custom domain name but have received some customer complaints about how this works. You can quickly send a text message to your customers who are having an issue and ask them if they’d prefer for you to send the email directly to their mobile phones. The customer will know that their needs are being met, and they'll feel valued as a result.

#4 Be Straight to the Point

A customer's time is valuable, and text messages are short enough that you won't waste their time with too much detail. Make sure your customer knows all of the pertinent information because any questions they have could easily be resolved by them searching elsewhere on your website. Also, make sure that you don't waste your customer's time by telling them unnecessary information or providing long customer service messages that they will not read.

Let's say your customers are managing hybrid teams, and you've realized they might need to be more customer-centric. Instead of sending them a long email about your customer service strategy, send them a quick text and suggest that they might like to request customer feedback on their customer-facing roles.

If your interaction for customer service via text is lengthy and you don’t want to send the whole thing in one go, make sure you include links to relevant parts of your website so that your customer can quickly and easily find the information they need. This way, your customer will not feel like they’re being ignored because you provided them with all of the materials required to solve their issue before ending your customer service via text.

For example, if your company sells a customer engagement system, be sure to add a link so that your customer can learn more about it.

Final Thoughts

So there you have our complete guide to SMS for customer service, including its benefits and some great tips to get you started.

SMS is proving to be really useful for customer service, and the more you use it, the better your customers will feel about your company. If you can get ahead of what your competition is doing, then you will be able to truly lead in this area.

Good luck and happy texting!


Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad

Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. She has written for sites like UpCity and RecruitCRM. Here is her LinkedIn. Grace Lau Headshot

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