Why the Text Channel Is a Must-Have To Meet Customer Expectations

By VHT

Over the last few decades, texting has grown from a niche innovation into one of the most popular forms of communication. All over the world, texts are used for personal conversations, event planning, and even business deals.

In recent years, companies have begun to utilize texting to improve their customer support. Text support has been warmly received by companies and customers alike, as it makes their interactions fast and easy to track.

Since its inception in 1992, texting has only grown in popularity. Pew Research states that 96% of Americans own a cell phone. SMS Comparison informs us that:

  • People open 98% of all text messages.
  • 9 out of 10 consumers like to communicate with businesses through text messages.
  • Over 50% of consumers prefer text messaging for customer support instead of phone calls.

If your business doesn’t offer a text channel option for customers, customer satisfaction will suffer and your CSAT/NPS score will too. VHT’s Mindful Platform offers a solution as the only platform that enables a seamless transition between voice and text during customer service calls.

Caller frustration

People hate being stuck on hold. The breaking point for customer service hold time is very low, and many people refuse to wait on hold at all before hanging up. Some may never call again. And while that might seem good from a call volume standpoint, it results in lower CSAT and NPS ratings. Most people who leave brands say an awful customer experience drove them away.

Contrary to what some brands believe, texting saves businesses money. A Forrester study found that, on average, customer service phone calls cost companies around $16. Text threads average $1-5 per interaction. Text messaging is also accurate and gives agents and customers a record to refer to, eliminating the need for repetitive information requests.

Agent workloads are also reduced during peak times because callers can use text to schedule a callback at a less busy time. Callers appreciate being free to get on with their lives instead of wasting precious time stuck on hold.

Benefits of offering an SMS text channel

SMS text channels that enable a better customer experience bring benefits to brands and customers alike. SMS is immediate, universal, and convenient. SMS also saves time, develops brand loyalty, and reduces voice channel and agent load.

SMS is immediate.

Text messaging delivers information instantly. Customers like to use SMS because they know recipients will get text messages fast, whereas a voicemail may not be opened in time, and a phone call may be inconvenient, slower, or not go through at all.

Instant reliability is crucial if you provide a remote service like car rental or cable installation where there are often last-minute schedule changes initiated by clients or field service personnel. Using SMS virtually guarantees that messages will be received by customers within seconds.

SMS is universal.

96% of Americans own cell phones. This means that the vast majority of customers can easily communicate via SMS text channels without taking time away from work or other responsibilities.

Convenience is key.

Receiving a text message is far more convenient and less intrusive than a phone call. Texting is also more effective in the face of challenges like bad reception, background noise, and busy schedules.

It’s easy for people to read text messages later or refer back to them if they forget information. This asynchronous method doesn’t pin people down like phone calls or live chat features. They can get on with their grocery shopping, work, or cooking, and respond when it’s convenient. This ease of use is what enables SMS to cut down on customer frustration and increase customer retention.

SMS saves time.

Customers want a quick response that shows you care about them and respect their time. Automated text messaging enables you to give callers an instant answer, saving them time and reducing your agents’ workload.

Text messages get opened.

Gigaom states that emails only have a 22% open rate, while 98% of recipients will open text messages. Other researchers report similar findings regarding text message open rates.

SMS reduces voice channel and agent load

Increased workloads during peak times require more agents to be available to meet customer wait-time expectations. Offering a text option allows you to shift some of those calls to a less busy time, reducing agent stress and even reducing the number of agents required.

What a text channel can do

To gain and keep the loyalty of customers today, brands must provide exceptional customer service experiences. Here are two significant gains you can realize by adding text messaging to contact center communications.

Schedule callbacks automatically.

Scheduling callbacks automatically saves your customers time and grows brand loyalty. It also reduces agent workload at peak times. Here’s how it works:

  1. At the beginning of the call, and at intervals throughout the call, a recorded message presents the caller with their expected wait time and an option to schedule a callback.
  2. If the caller chooses to schedule a callback, they receive the option to get their call when the next agent is available or to schedule the call at a time that’s more convenient for them.
  3. Shortly before their call, they receive a text message reminding them that the call is upcoming.
  4. Sending a follow-up text after their call to gauge their level of satisfaction can increase survey responses. Customers get to express themselves via text, and you get more customer feedback.

These automated text reminders greatly increase callback answers by customers and improve the First Call Resolution metric.

Facilitate agentless conversations.

Agentless conversations via text enable you to immediately begin a relevant conversation with the caller when you set up automatic message responses. Mindful has entire sequences of automated text message notifications designed to reduce agent workload and increase customer satisfaction.

With agentless conversations, you can:

  • Assure customers instantly that you’re working to help them
  • Guide customers to the right agent to deal with their problem
  • Pivot to 1:1 text conversations where agents can enter automated message threads
  • Increase the volume of cases agents can handle (multiple customer requests can be addressed simultaneously via text)

Mindful’s automatic text notifications give you rules-based text responses that empower your creativity. You can automatically schedule callbacks, offer links for self-service, or send any other notification that fits your needs.

How to start your text channel

Starting is easier than you might think. Every Mindful user gets access to built-in text channel functionality as part of their Mindful subscription.

Start by monitoring the messages users send you. You’re not responding at this stage—you’re only gathering information. Next, analyze your information in light of Mindful’s prebuilt automated responses to see which answer is appropriate in what situation. You could think of this as “agentless texting.”

Mindful will help you set up your automated text responses and even help you generate customized, rule-based responses as part of our Software and a Service business model. Customers don’t even need to be on a call to initiate your text channel — a web widget embedded by a code snippet seamlessly enables omnichannel capabilities. Customers can easily request a callback through your website, mobile app, or chatbot at their convenience.

Summing up

Modern customers demand text support. Don’t get caught having to catch up on SMS best practices when your competition has already settled into their program.

VHT has a long-established track record of serving Fortune 500 companies. Today, we’re moving strongly into partnering with midsize companies, providing them with the same level of Software and a Service support that we offer to larger companies.

We don’t just sell you software — we actively work with you to set up and implement the best program for your business. Once it’s up and running, we help you understand the analytics and guide you through any adjustments to ensure your SMS text channel’s success.

Why wait for your competitors to get the drop on you? Start today! In less than a minute, you can experience the Mindful platform for yourself.

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