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Guide to SMS Customer Service

Customer service is the foundation of every thriving, successful business. Try as you might; all of the best branding, marketing, and general hype will only take you so far. Without stellar customer service, you’ll struggle to retain customers and build a solid reputation.

Surveys and reports continually show the impact of customer service on buying decisions:

  • Microsoft reports that 90% of Americans consider customer service a deciding factor on whether to do business with a company
  • Salesforce found that 89% of consumers are likely to make another purchase after having a positive experience with a company’s customer service team 
  • Loyalty is at significant risk with poor customer service; Zendesk found that 50% of consumers would switch brands after a single bad experience, and that number goes up to 80% with multiple bad experiences

You know your front-of-line staff is vital if you have a physical storefront. But that’s just the start. Whether you have brick-and-mortar stores or you’re trading online only, having a solid approach to customer service and interaction will make or break your business. More than good communication skills, how reachable you are is also important.

We live in an era of short attention spans and an abundance of options available. To set yourself apart while meeting customer expectations for efficient communication, implement a texting strategy. Read on for our guide to SMS customer service to help you get started.

SMS Customer Service for Modern Support

In 2022, you can do virtually everything swiftly, thanks to mobile devices. Pay bills, order food, and even find a date. As life has evolved to revolve around the phone, so have consumers’ perspectives on interacting with businesses.

It’s safe to say we’re spoiled these days by web portals and online platforms. Customer service languishes in old ways, with many businesses still prompting patrons to call 800 numbers, navigate phone trees, and –gasp- wait on hold to speak to someone.

That just isn’t going to cut it.

By the time they reach a representative, customers who have been forced to spend a lot of time on their customer service endeavor tend to be short on patience. That leads to increased pressure to solve their issues (and fast), and it inevitably creates friction.


SMS customer service allows your customers to reach you swiftly and easily. Not only will you save your customers time and money, but you’ll also alleviate some pressure on your customer service teams.

The Importance of Customer Service

Your customer service reps are the face of your company. Their role is especially crucial when customers’ impressions are shaky, like when they have an issue with a product or order. A well-trained team can promote a positive company image and increase customer retention.

Of course, the customer service team is more than problem-solving. They’re the overall lifeblood of direct customer interaction, and the importance of this team is multi-faceted:

  • Increase customer retention with seamless return and repair workflows and ease of communication
  • Raise employee retention rates by building brand loyalty and a positive reputation through customer interactions; employees want to work with a well-reputed company
  • Reinforce brand personality and company values with a positive public persona, and see the positive online reviews roll in
  • Reach new customers through word of mouth when satisfied patrons recommend you to friends and family
  • Build customer lifetime value by ensuring a positive experience with your brand leading to future sales and overall customer retention
  • Be proactive by reaching out to customers about a common problem and offering a solution, rather than waiting for them to call you
  • Gain a competitive advantage when you make contacting customer service quick and easy

Customer service engagement is the low-hanging (and often overlooked) fruit when it comes to building a solid and well-reputed brand, and SMS customer service is the best modern approach available.

Conversational Messaging Strategy

A conversational messaging strategy is a personalized, customer-centric approach when it comes to SMS customer service. This approach aims to make SMS interaction feel as human and empathetic as possible. Essentially, you want to give your customers the warmth of a human being with the accessibility of a digital system.

Best Practices

Before you get started with SMS customer service, make sure you start off on the right foot. By keeping a few key best practices in mind, you’ll be sure to establish good workflows and see the benefits with your customers.

Your Customers are People

First and foremost, remember this simple fact: on paper, they’re customers, but in reality, they’re human beings. It may sound trite, but it’s worth the reminder. All of the decisions you make for your SMS customer service endeavors should stem from this simple but critical element.

Reply Swiftly

Your customers opt for SMS to cut out the wait times of email and phone calls. Shoppers expect swift replies, so make sure your workflow accounts for speedy communication. In many cases, that means triggering automated messages to confirm receipt and to address common or easily-addressed questions.

Personalize

There’s a common saying: people buy from people, not businesses. In a rapidly-changing (and digitizing) world, businesses are challenged to bring both digital convenience and the essence of human interaction into the same experience.

When you begin to use SMS customer service, make sure you personalize the experience. That means more than including the customer’s name in the texts (whether they’re automated or not). Go further, and tailor the interaction to their unique scenario and needs.

Go Above and Beyond

This step starts with truly listening to the customer you’re talking to. By carefully listening, your representatives will be able to identify what the person on the other end needs from this interaction. Some customers need a process, while others need support materials. Still, others may benefit most from a real-time phone call. By setting your SMS customer service system up with this in mind, you’ll easily be able to have a phone call with the same number you’re using for texting.

Ask if There’s Anything More You Can Do

A key to building empathy and connection through text messages is to remain connected until everyone is sure the conversation is over. When they reach the end of an interaction, your representatives should ask if there’s anything else they can do. Leave the conversation closer in the customer’s hands, and you’ll ensure higher satisfaction rates.

Integrate with Internal Applications

Companies considering implementing an SMS customer service strategy are often concerned about adding yet another system into the mix. What about learning curves? How will the workflow move with another application? Will employees embrace or resist the idea?

Thankfully, a professional SMS platform will offer integration with existing systems. With native integration, teams can add SMS functionality to the systems they’re already familiar with, like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. Teams benefit from not needing to learn a new system, and customers benefit from greater personalization enabled by having all client and account information available in a single place.

Benefits to Organizations

Save Money

The cost of customer service support calls varies. Whether you employ an in-house team or outsource your call center capacities, there are salaries to pay to have representatives ready to field questions, concerns, or issues from customers. That’s not the only cost of customer service, however.

While reports show that increased customer retention leads to increased profits, it also decreases the cost of doing business. Gaining new customers is a much more costly venture than retaining existing ones. By investing in SMS customer service, you decrease the investment in representative wages while increasing the retention and value of your customers.

Timely Resolutions

Customer support can be a costly endeavor, and that includes more than the financial aspect. The amount of time it takes to resolve a case affects customers and employees alike. In traditional customer service dynamics, the start of the case often involves lengthy wait times and in many cases, transfers among departments.

With SMS customer service, companies can ensure that cases reach the right departments with ease, and with minimal human intervention. In many instances, cases can often be resolved with automated directories and information provided without extensive reviews.

Customers will be happy to connect almost instantaneously to the process, even if that includes relevant automated messages that understand their issue. With timely resolutions, your support department can handle more interactions with ease.

Send Reminders

SMS customer service isn’t all about resolving issues. It’s also an opportunity for proactive interaction with prospective and current customers.

A great use for SMS is to send reminders and notifications. Proactive reminders are particularly valuable for meetings, appointments, service and renewal dates.

  • Meeting and appointment reminders via SMS reduce your instance of no-shows. Set up automated triggers to notify attendees of upcoming meetings, events, or appointments to ensure attendance. Make it easy to reschedule through an included URL. Not only will you reduce no-shows, but you’ll also enable your staff to move on to other things rather than waiting in vain for attendees who have forgotten their appointment.
  • Service dates are crucial in maintaining the life of many products, including cars, appliances, and central air systems. Proactive reminders of impending service dates will ensure your customers take good care of the products they own.
  • Membership renewals often sneak up on us. Send a quick text as a reminder of an upcoming membership renewal date, or changes to your offering that customers may want to take advantage of.

Scale and Automate

Scalability is vital to businesses in the modern era, particularly as you “get it right,” so to speak. As we’ve touched on above, the better you do at customer care, the happier customers, and the more of them you have.

When it comes to SMS customer service it’s easy to automate and scale to meet your business requirements. Automating first-level SMS interactions can often resolve issues with ease. Rather than devoting the time and energy of your staff (and the precious time and patience of your customers) to easy questions or issues, build in automation.

Automation ensures that each customer gets a response and has a sense of interaction on demand. Your representatives’ abilities will be better served on more complex issues. Should a customer not find a resolution through automated SMS customer service, they can easily be connected to a live person to continue the interaction.

Collect Feedback

When it comes to fine-tuning your business strategy, nothing is more valuable than the first-hand, real-world experience of your customers. To drive your business forward, make it easy for your customers to provide feedback on their experience.

SMS customer service can help you to gather invaluable feedback from your customers and end-users. As a business, you can set automated triggers to send messages with links to feedback forms. Want to interact with those reporting positive or negative experiences that really stand out? Engage them with two-way messaging to learn more and provide support where required.

Get Started with SMS Customer Service

SMS customer service brings a wealth of value to both businesses and customers. Swift and effective communication save time and effort while building trust and loyalty. Organizations who are ready to get started with SMS customer service can do so in a few easy steps:

  • Select an SMS platform
  • Secure a short code or 10DLC – a unique sender for your SMS communications
  • Build a subscriber list by sharing how your SMS customer service will add value to recipients
  • Follow the guide above for best practices to ensure success

A feature-rich platform like TrueDialog will provide all you need to get started with SMS customer service. With enterprise-class features and the ease of use to suit organizations of all sizes, TrueDialog makes it easy to leverage the power of SMS. Contact us for a free trial, and start texting today.