Businesses choose to use an SMS customer service platform for a variety of reasons—most often its speed, its enterprise-level integrations, its cost-effective price, or its popularity with customers. (After all, 89% of consumers are fans of texting with their favorite brands.) But when a business adopts a platform, teams can become confused about transitioning from personal to business texting; business text messaging is so new that SMS best practices are hard to find.
That’s why we’ve created our own list of SMS best practices for customer service teams. Read on to learn about everything from general SMS best practices to the ins and outs of SMS integrations.
General SMS Best Practices
When your SMS customer service team approaches business text messaging, it can be difficult to adopt a business mindset, since you probably text casually all day long. However, with a few key switches, you can get in the business SMS mindset.
Use Texting For Short Conversations
Business text messaging works best for short, neutral conversations, like quick questions, appointment scheduling, or managing product returns. Interactions that call for in-depth responses or attachments are best for phone conversations or email. If you receive a message that seems like it requires a complex answer, like a complaint or report of a technical issue, redirect your customer to another channel.
Insert Extra Positivity
It’s easy to mistake the tone of a text. And when you’re dealing with customers, you don’t want there to be any miscommunication—especially regarding your tone. SMS customer service teams should strive to exude positivity, avoiding one-word sentences, using exclamation points, inserting polite phrases (think: “my pleasure” or “thank you”) and adding emojis when appropriate.
Check For Mistakes
Unlike with email, once a text message is sent, you can’t take it back. Before sending a business text message, double check it for correct dates, order numbers, spelling, and grammar. Remember that business text messaging is still professional and customers perceive it that way—even though they use the same channel to casually connect with their friends and family members.
Branding SMS Best Practices
While your SMS customer service team does need to adapt to the brevity and speed of business text messaging, you should still be sure to maintain some of your business’s branding guidelines. To maintain branding while texting, you can:
Avoid Adopting Too Many Abbreviations
There’s no need to start LOLing or YOLOing, even if your business is targeting millennials and Gen Z only. To ensure that you sound professional and avoid estranging customers, refrain from most abbreviations and slang unless a customer has used them first or it’s suitable for a particular professional situation.
Use GIFS And Emojis
If your company culture is upbeat and friendly, feel free to use GIFs and emojis. When used correctly, these tools can highlight your brand’s culture and empower you to better connect with your customers.
SMS customer service teams should create templates of frequently used text messages, reviewed by management a branding expert. With templates, teams can easily maintain branding without extra effort. Plus, templates reduce the chance of making a mistake.
Personalization SMS Best Practices
One of the keys to great customer service is providing your customers with a personalized experience. The more personalized the experience, the more customers feel as though you consider their experience a priority. To personalize your business text messages, you can:
Capitalize On Merge Tokens
It’s critical that agents fill in customers’ custom fields to the best of their ability. SMS customer service platforms can use merge tokens to drawn on contacts’ custom fields and automatically enter personalized information in messages. Custom fields can include everything from appointment dates to past product purchases.
Don’t Forget Your Signature
Customers want to know that they’re texting with a human, not a bot. That’s one of the biggest reasons that customers like to use texting instead of other channels, like web chat. Don’t forget to introduce yourself in each initial text, and add your signature at the end of it.
Take Advantage Of CRM Integrations
CRM integrations, like one with Salesforce, can help add personalization to your messages. With a Salesforce SMS integration, you can text from within the SMS Salesforce interface, so you can quickly connect with customers who need attention. This kind of integration also empowers you to easily review customer information when texting, empowering you to tailor conversations to your customers’ needs.
Automation SMS Best Practices
An SMS customer service platform offers advanced automations that empower teams to streamline workflows and expedite processes. To take advantage of these automations, you should:
Implement Auto Replies
Auto-replies are a basic must-have for businesses. But beyond after-hours replies, teams should set up during-hours replies, too. A during-hours reply lets customers know exactly when they can expect a response, so they feel like they’re being taken care of.
Try Drip Campaigns
Another useful automation is an SMS drip campaign. An SMS drip campaign allows you to send multiple personalized messages at the pace you prefer. For example, you may want to use an SMS drip campaign to follow up with opted-in customers who haven’t yet completed a feedback survey. The campaign can automatically opt out customers if they don’t reply after a while or route them to agents if they ask questions.
Finally, an advanced SMS customer service platform should offer multiple integrations. These integrations, among other things, can automatically sync data between your most-used business apps. With access to up-to-date data, you can always have accurate custom fields for personalizing texts and can analyze cross-channel reporting with ease. For example, with a Zendesk integration, your teams can sync contacts and text customers from within the Zendesk Support interface. Similarly, a Help Scout integration will enable your system to automatically create a Help Scout conversation for all incoming text messages and allow agents to respond to texts alongside customer emails.
Looking for more SMS best practices? Check out our blog.