Excellent customer service is key when it comes to customer loyalty. In fact, 92% of consumers say they would stop purchasing from a company after three or fewer poor customer service experiences. It’s no wonder that increasing customer service team productivity and quality are key focuses for business leadership. It’s also no wonder that they’re looking at new innovations like SMS customer service platforms for help.
SMS customer service platforms are cloud-based business apps, sometimes available as both web and mobile apps, that help customer service teams organize and manage their business SMS channels.
With the help of such powerful tools, customer service agents can easily increase their productivity—and customer satisfaction while they’re at it.
Centralize Your Incoming Customer Service Messages
Consumers today have access to many channels through which they can text your business, including phone calls, email, native texting apps, third-party texting apps, and web chats. They don’t often stick to one; in fact, over a third (37%) of consumers expect to contact the same customer service representative no matter which channel they used the first time.
Asking customer service agents to handle communications from all of these channels separately would be time-consuming—even overwhelming. But when you streamline communications through an SMS customer service platform, your teams will be able to read, reply to, and track messages from any messaging channel within one platform. Messages sent from the platform are always in the same format as they were received; if a person messages in through Facebook Messenger, they receive a message from Facebook Messenger in return.
Pro tip: Advanced platforms sometimes offer additional SMS integration capabilities that empower agents to integrate business SMS into their current workflows, too. For example, a Slack SMS integration allows agents to read and send text messages from within Slack channels.
Streamline Customer Service Assignments
Consumers expect fast responses when they communicate with businesses via text messages, but sometimes it can be difficult for agents to figure out who should respond to which texts. Team coordination, especially with large volumes of customer SMS messages, can be a challenge.
SMS customer service platforms offer shared inboxes that simplify this problem. With a shared inbox, messages all arrive in the same place, and agents (or managers) can assign themselves the conversations that seem most relevant to their areas of expertise. This way, no messages slip through the cracks, and each message is answered by the most qualified agent.
Pro tip: Some SMS customer service platforms offer automated assignment settings so that certain messages are automatically assigned, based on keywords, to specific agents.
Resolve Customer Service Issues Quickly
Speed is key in the customer service world. If a problem isn’t resolved quickly enough, a customer might ditch the conversation and leave the problem unresolved—lowering the chances that they return to your business for another purchase. Plus, the more problems that are resolved in a day, the more happy customers there are.
Because 90% of texts are read within the first three seconds of receipt and the average response time for a text is 90 seconds, it is likely that your customer service agents will be able to resolve problems far more quickly than they would when using email. (For comparison, email has a low average open rate of 20% and a response rate of 6%.)
Pro tip: Create an auto reply during business hours detailing your business’s average response time and working hours. If customers know when to expect a reply, they will be less likely to return to a slower channel, like email, for their query. Auto-replies are also critical for messages received after hours, on holidays, or during special events.
Personalize Customer Service Messages En Masse
With a personalized text message, customer service teams can better connect with their recipients and show that they care. However, it can be time-consuming to personalize each and every text message, and there is always the possibility that agents forget to add recipients’ names or order numbers.
Advanced SMS customer service platforms offer agents the ability to customize messages sent to lists of customers. These platforms let agents use merge tokens that are based on the enterprise’s custom fields to automatically fill in templates with custom field information for each recipient, so that each customer receives a message that seems as though it was written just for them.
Pro tip: Use customizable templates and lists to speed up common tasks like sending event reminders and order notifications.
Automate Customer Service Campaigns
Drip campaigns are a popular email marketing technique. They simplify multi-email efforts, especially when extensive follow-up is involved. Drip campaigns can also be used for non-marketing, customer service use cases as well, like survey follow-ups, CSAT follow-ups, and post-resolution check-ins.
Some SMS customer service platforms offer similar drip campaign capabilities that are easy to use and time-saving. These SMS drip campaigns can be started with many triggers, such as when contacts text your business, opt in to your texting services, or are automatically added to a list that is already part of a drip campaign.
Pro tip: Create a campaign for contacts who have their issue successfully closed. The campaign can send two or three drip messages asking the customer to confirm the closing of their issue, whether they have further questions, and if they can complete a short survey.
Review Customer Service Reports
Finally, one of the best ways to improve your text message customer service offerings is to accurately measure and compare the results of customer interactions with key performance indicators (KPIs). Luckily, when it comes to the world of business text messaging, customer service KPIs are similar to those used with other channels, like phone calls or emails.
SMS customer service platforms can track common KPIs like first response times, average response times, and resolution speed (how long a chat is active before and agent closes it). By reviewing these statistics regularly, teams can determine their overall efficiency and in which areas they could improve.
Pro-tip: First, measure your team’s current KPIs common to phone calls and email, then implement improvement strategies, wait an appropriate length of time, and compare your new statistics with the old.
Interested in trying out an SMS customer service platform? Try ours for free.