The numbers are really staggering — there are over 3 billion smartphone users in the world, with Americans spending an average of 5.4 hours a day on their phones. And people check their phones an average of 58 times per day, which makes it safe to assume that at least some of those checks include text messages — and messages from a company they’ve done business with or will in the future.
Today’s businesses use a variety of methods to reach customers. Text messaging is a popular way for customer service teams to best serve consumers. And a national survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults with smartphones found that almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents would switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel. And that’s great news for you.
People’s phones are very personal to them, and marketing to them through their phones is becoming increasingly impactful. It’s time to realize the many potential benefits of text messaging for customer service and support. Here are six of the best benefits.
In the past, phone calls were how customer service issues were handled, but today’s consumers are demanding a fast response, and nothing is faster than text messaging. There’s no waiting on hold or getting transferred around, and they can often get an immediate reply. It’s fast becoming the expectation, with 76% of consumers reporting they don’t like talking to businesses on the phone.
eWeek reports that if given the option, 52% of people said they’d likely text with a customer support rep, and the same number “prefer to text a customer support rep over their current preferred mode of communication.” Additionally, around a third (31%) of respondents said it was important for texting to be an available support option, and 47% said that texting could improve their overall satisfaction with customer support.
When it comes to text message marketing, automation can be used for your welcome texts, appointment reminders, shipping and delivery notifications, and other messages that would be time consuming if done manually. This can be a game-changer when it comes to customer service.
Adding a series of automated text message questions for the customer to answer before they’re transferred to a live agent helps to move the interaction along by facilitating a better understanding of the customer’s problem. This saves time on both ends because customers don’t have to repeat the same questions over and over, and agents already know what they’re dealing with.
And if an agent isn’t available to handle the text, automated replies become a critical way to catch customer questions and concerns that might come in during off-hours. It’s a rapid first response to the customer that lets them know they’ve been heard and their message has been received.
But you don’t want to automate everything, as customers still want personalized service, and sometimes that means speaking directly with a human agent.
“Asynchronous” as it relates to text message marketing is “communication that happens sequentially, typically through an exchange of messages as participants read and respond to prior messages according to their own schedule and not in coordination with the schedules of other participants,” according to PEGA.
Simply put, customers are busy and might not be able to stick around for a full customer service conversation on their computer or on the phone. With text messages, customers can continue the conversation while on the go from whatever channels makes the most sense – without losing any context or having to repeat their issue. This gives your customers the ability to connect 24/7 on their own time and it shows how your company values their time and respects their communication preferences.
It’s Convenient and Saves Time
Speaking of time, nobody likes to wait on hold for customer service. Texting doesn’t require a huge time investment and allows the customer to send a text message with their support question while they go about their day.
It also saves company time — issues are resolved more quickly, freeing up customer service agents from dozens of time-consuming phone calls. And as an added bonus, with text message support, agents can handle multiple conversations at once.
It’s Cost Efficient
Your business is always looking for ways to save money, and turning to text messaging for customer support is a step in the right direction. It’s less expensive to handle customer inquiries by text than over the phone. According to a Forrester study, the average customer service phone call costs about $16, but the average text thread costs between $1 to $5 per interaction.
Collect Customer Feedback
Part of effective customer service is knowing what your customers think. You not only find out what you’re doing right, but where you can improve — both with the way you conduct your business as well as your bottom line. Texting is a great way to collect customer feedback because you can easily schedule or automate text surveys that typically only require recipients to send a simple one- or two-word response.
Customers are also more likely to read texts and respond in comparison to email. Text message open rates are as high as 98%, compared to just 20% of all emails. And, on average, it takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text, as opposed to 90 minutes to respond to an email. So if you want honest — and fast — feedback, texting is the way to go.
The Power of Texting for Customer Service
While the phone and email will likely remain a piece of the omnichannel customer service experience, text messaging is quickly moving up the ranks of effectiveness and efficiency. With Bubble from Broadvoice, you can instantly connect with your customers over text message using your primary business phone number. Get ready to take the next step and contact Broadvoice today!