You already know that customer experience (or CX) is a critical differentiator in today’s competitive marketplace. In fact, in a recent survey of more than 1,900 business professionals, it was listed as the top priority for the next five years—even over product and pricing. And for good reason.
Three-quarters of customers say they’re willing to spend more with companies that offer a good customer experience, and 40% say they are “likely” or “very likely” to switch to a new cell phone, cable, utility, or insurance company for a better digital CX.
Texts are more convenient than phone calls or email.
According to Zipwhip’s 2021 State of Texting Report, 61% of consumers spend more than three hours per day on their mobile phones, and 58% say texting is the best way for businesses to reach them quickly. In fact, the number of customers who said text messaging is the way they prefer to deal with customer service jumped by 75% in the last year. (Less than 40% of American households have a landline!)
SMS messages are far less obtrusive than phone calls and more immediate than email. Your customers can read texts at their convenience, rather than being interrupted during their workday, in the middle of a shopping trip, or while enjoying a family meal.
On the other hand, enabling customers to reach your business via text message gives them the satisfaction of instant access. Even if your agents can’t act on the request right away, automated responses let customers know their message has been received.
Convenience is worth reiterating here. The fact that texts are asynchronous—meaning they can be exchanged back and forth without need for an immediate response—gives benefit to the contact center and to the customer. Now the customer is in control of their response time, and the rep can take their time multi-tasking.
Note: If texting isn’t working out for the customer and they need to escalate to voice, make sure you transition them smoothly with a scheduled (and trackable) call.
Two-way texting gives your customers a voice.
Your customers are inundated with one-way messages from businesses every day, from fliers in their mailbox to in-app notifications. Two-way texting makes your customer an active participant in the conversation, which makes them feel heard—and valued.
Businesses around the globe have embraced SMS marketing: Last year, 83% of consumers received an SMS text from a business. But the majority of those were one-way messages, such as appointment reminders (which are still helpful!)or mass texts like sale alerts.
With one-way texting, companies can send SMS text messages to their customer, but the customer can’t reply directly within the text thread (if at all). The only way a recipient can respond to a one-way text is with a specific code dictated in the text (“respond ‘stop’ or ‘help’ for more options,” etc). To respond with a question or comment, a customer has to leave their messaging app to visit the company’s mobile app—or make a phone call.
By the way, that won’t stop customers from texting! With most of our clients we find that their customers are trying to text them even if they don’t offer a service to monitor those texts.
Two-way SMS messaging is seamless. The recipient can reply to your text message with a question or reaction just as they would to a friend or family member. You can either provide automated responses or forward their message to a live person who can have a real-time SMS conversation with the customer.
This back-and-forth two-way text messaging creates feelings of validation and an emotional connection to your business. It shows your customers you respect their time and value their feedback. After all, 80% of consumers expect a brand to offer them a more personalized experience, and two-way texting does that by showing customers you respect their time and value their feedback.
Two-way text messaging reduces wait times.
Almost 60% of customers find long holds and wait times to be the most frustrating part of their service experience (there’s an easy fix to that!). Offering two-way SMS messaging enables your customers to communicate with your business without the frustration of having to sit on hold waiting for the next available agent.
And leaving a voicemail is unsatisfying—and inefficient! Voicemails are bad all around:
- Customers have no guarantee of their message receipt.
- Customers don’t know when they can expect a call, which dissolves brand trust.
- Agents have to staff voicemail callbacks, and, without a scheduled callback solution, customers are unlikely to be available to receive the call.
- Agents end up playing phone tag and receiving a much more frustrated customer than they would have in the first place.
Even if your reps can’t respond to a customer’s text right away, you can set up automated response templates, with answers to FAQs or a message letting customers know someone will follow up and that they can go about their lives in the meantime.
Two-way texting also enables you to serve more customers in a shorter time frame since your support agents can engage in other conversations while waiting for customers to respond to their texts.
Messaging provides feedback for improving customer service.
Every text you receive from your customers is a valuable piece of information you can use to improve their experience moving forward.
For example, your customers can quickly alert you to a problem with your product or service with two-way texting. Only about one in 25 unhappy customers complain directly to a business—the rest simply switch to a competitor. Why? Because picking up the phone and sitting on hold just to provide negative feedback is not a good use of their time.
But if lodging a complaint is as easy as sending a text message, people are more likely to do it—and inform you about an issue that you may not have otherwise known existed.
Two-way texting can also help you learn more about your customers through their responses. The more you understand their needs and preferences, the better you can personalize their experience and provide them with superior service.
Summing up: Use two-way texting to gain a competitive edge.
According to Zendesk’s CX Trends Report, companies with the fastest resolution times and highest customer satisfaction scores are more likely to use messaging to communicate with their customers.
Don’t be left behind! Adding two-way texting to your communication strategy will set your company apart by giving your customers the freedom to interact with your business how—and when—they want to.
And two-way SMS—whether there’s a live person or a well-trained bot on the other end—tells your customers they’re more than just a number. It gives them the personalized experience they crave—and gives your CSAT/NPS score and customer retention rates a boost.
Mindful’s customer experience platform enables you to communicate with your customers seamlessly across channels—including two-way text! The bonus? When it’s time to transition channels, the move is seamless for the customer, trackable for the brand, and easy for the agent to exceed expectations. See how it works in this demo!