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SMS for Business Customer Service

Order groceries. Find a date. See how that sectional sofa will look in the living room before you buy it. Then, buy it.

It’s been so long since phones were used for, well, phone calls. We have an entire generation who doesn’t know what a landline phone is. The struggle of needing to organize your day so you’re available to receive a call, or you won’t be able to find your friends? It’s as foreign a concept as the Yellow Pages delivered to your front door.

Even those who grew up in the era of home phones and pagers have by now accepted their mobile devices as another appendage and one that’s crucial to navigating daily life. Phones are only as valuable as the services being offered through them, and businesses have caught on. Expanding from mobile-friendly websites and checkout carts, SMS for business customer service completes the package. Now, customers have everything they need at their fingertips.

Why SMS for Business Customer Service

Born somewhere between 1977 and 1995, the Millennial Generation has become adult consumers. This is the first generation of digital natives, driving a connection to (reliance on?) mobile devices in daily life. More than that, they’re now raising kids who have learned by example and are asserting their influence.

One thing is well-known: millennials hate talking on the phone. The world has adjusted to meet the digital demands of a modern era with a pivot in outreach methods. Digital marketing has usurped print advertising, and even email is becoming less timely and effective. Many businesses are learning that SMS is the way to reach their customers.

The value doesn’t end with marketing, however. Businesses that want to reach their customers most comfortably will leverage SMS for business customer service. Even political candidates are texting potential voters to garner support.

In an era where people opt for texting over phone calls, even with the people they enjoy talking to, customer service phone calls can be your make or break. You may have great staff who are courteous, attentive, and capable of offering excellent support to your customers. That doesn’t change the frustration of finding time to make a call during business hours. Add the wait times and navigating automated menus, and callers are already irritable when they reach a live person.

SMS for business customer service helps you connect with your customers in the way they prefer. This guide will cover how it can benefit businesses and customers alike and how to get started.

Reception in the Market

The fact that customers are doing more with their mobile devices doesn’t automatically mean they’d like to hear from you via text, right? Not so fast. Studies show that customers are more than receptive to communicating with businesses via text. In fact, three-quarters of respondents under the age of 44 said they’d like to hear from a company via SMS.

Reaching your customers how they prefer helps build trust and brand loyalty. A positive customer service experience can make or break your relationship with your customers. Not only have research respondents said they would stop doing business after receiving poor customer service, but four out of ten would also actively recommend their friends and family not to do business with that company.

Benefits of SMS for Business Customer Service

The benefits of SMS for business customer service aren’t one-directional. You’re not simply making yourself available to appease your clients, though keeping your customers happy is essential, of course. There are benefits to everyone involved by adopting this approach.

For Your Customer

Customer demands are rising, matching the shortening of patience and attention spans. Consumers want personalized attention when they want it, and they’re quick to move on to the next place when they don’t find it. This unfortunately fickle dynamic is all too prevalent in this era of abundant options.

With SMS for business customer service, you can offer your customers a more comfortable customer service experience. Your customer will save time and headaches by avoiding the lengthy call waiting queues. SMS is a natural part of modern life, and sending a text will feel more familiar than navigating automated phone trees.

For Your Business

Moving to SMS for business customer service helps build a positive connection with your end-users. Texting is a more personal way to communicate and helps build relationships. Sending a text is a quick way to communicate, meaning SMS can resolve your customer service cases in a fraction of the time. As a business owner, you know that time means money, and streamlining communication means your staff can spend their shifts more effectively.

For Your Teams

The benefits aren’t only there for you and your customer. Your staff will also be positively impacted by SMS for business customer service. To start, customers won’t arrive at one of your staff with the exasperation of sitting in a queue or navigating phone trees. This alone can feel like a relief for customer service staff who bear the brunt of caller frustration.

Not all customer service requests can be resolved by a single person. Workflows typically involve reassigning cases and following up on responses, costing your staff time and increasing the risk of human error. Streamlining your workflows will save your staff time, headaches, and unnecessary steps. 

By integrating your SMS platform with your CRM, you can easily send customer service SMS with transparency, providing a visible, threaded text conversation any rep who has interactions with the customer can see. Reps can quickly get up to speed without asking the customer to repeat their story.

Adding Value

Frequently, the association with the idea of “Customer Service” is around resolving issues or handling complaints. Serving your customers is more than that, however.

SMS can add value to your customers and business, particularly through automation. Try scheduling proactive messages for reminders such as appointments, product servicing, or payments.

You can also use automation to send messages throughout the sales cycle. Popular options include a welcome message upon creating an account, an order confirmation text to say thank you, and even updates on order status. Organizations can use SMS for business customer service to confirm an order receipt, alert product shipments, and provide tracking information.

Once an order is delivered, send a proactive message to solicit feedback. Not only will you show that you care about your customers’ experience, but you’ll also be able to fine-tune your business operations if needed.

How to Get Started

If you’d like to add SMS for business customer service to your company’s approach, it’s not difficult to get started. You can quickly begin with SMS marketing and customer service communications with a professional SMS platform.

Adding texting is seamless if you’re already using tools such as Salesforce, Eloqua, or Microsoft Dynamics365. With API integrations, you can access all of the functionality of your text platform from within the application your teams are already comfortable with. SMS integrations provide truly native texting, meaning no toggling between screens or dealing with pop-up windows. Customer communications remain with their customer record in the CRM, and team members can get a complete overview of communication with any given customer.

To get started, select a feature-rich SMS platform that suits your business. Check for the functionality and integrations that fit best for your existing workflows. There’s no sense in overhauling internal processes that are already working.

Bear in mind that your SMS platform doesn’t have to be limited to customer service. Including SMS in your marketing strategy means the scope of SMS covers the entire lifecycle of your relationship with your customers. From outreach to conversion to ongoing communications and support, texting can do it all.

To send and receive business SMS, you’ll need a short code or 10DLC number. These unique numbers are dedicated to a single business and show up as the sender when a text message arrives, much like a traditional phone number. Applying for and leasing your number is a lengthy and cumbersome process. Thankfully, a professional SMS platform provider is proficient in handling the paperwork and can do it on your behalf.

Tips for Best Practices

Endeavoring to use SMS for business customer service work is no small decision, but it reaps rewards instantly. Once you bring texting into the fold, make sure you do it well. As with any new approach, you’ll spend a bit of time fine-tuning to get it right. That’s a natural learning curve, but you don’t have to jump in the deep end to get started. Follow a few best practices, and you’ll build a solid foundation for your business SMS strategy.

Get Permission

Most of us know what it’s like to be plagued by auto dialers, cold calls, and phone-based sales pitches. In fact, it’s entirely possible that this nuisance influenced an entire generation to shun the phone altogether.

Learning from this experience, the FCC has put laws in place to reduce the risk of a repeat with SMS. Of primary importance, it is a legal requirement for businesses to get consent from their customers before sending text messages.

Whether a longstanding client or a prospective customer, the rules remain the same: get permission before you text them. Get the word out to build your audience when you’re ready to start using SMS for business customer service or marketing. Add opt-in instructions to your email newsletters, website, and social media.

Make sure you let your audience know why you will be texting them. Will you send special offers and marketing communications? Order status and updates? Run contests? Have customer service agents available when required? Let them know how you’ll add value.

Make it easy to opt-out, too. As with the GDPR requirements for business mails, you are legally bound to clarify how customers can remove themselves from your SMS distribution list.

Use the Same Number

Once you’re ready to start sending and receiving SMS for business customer service, you’ll need to enable texting for your 800 number. After you do, you may be surprised to see how quickly your customers begin sending texts.

Leverage Integrations

We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating: leverage integrations for maximum efficacy. Rather than training your staff to use yet another platform and changing workflows to incorporate texting, integrations make SMS for business customer service seamless.

Integrating existing applications with your new business SMS platform means your staff can stick with the workflow they recognize. There’s no need to toggle between applications to get the job done. All communications are contained in a single place, making it easy to transfer cases amongst staff or across teams.

Automate

SMS for business customer service should make your life easier, not harder. Investing a little time upfront means you’ll have fewer manual processes to keep track of down the road. Set up triggers for automated messages for things like order confirmation, service and appointment reminders, order tracking information, subscription renewals, and more.

Along with automation, be proactive. You’ll save yourself – that means, your customer service staff – a lot of time and effort by proactively providing customers with information before they go searching for it.

Maintain Your Brand Voice

Business SMS is an extension of your brand. You should treat the platform itself as a valuable employee, and all messages should be sent with your brand’s voice and tone in mind. Even if you have a fun, playful, or somewhat casual brand, be careful not to get too casual with texts to your customers. Save the emojis, and don’t overdo the text shorthand or slang.

Similarly, if you’re an organization that carries itself with a bit more formality, maintain a good balance to ensure your messages don’t seem cold, robotic, or impersonal. Don’t use too many acronyms, even if they are industry-specific or (theoretically) widely known.

Make it Easy on Your Staff

We’ve mentioned a few ways that SMS for business customer service can be helpful for your staff. Ultimately, you need their buy-in before you can see success. Make it easy on your staff wherever possible.

Take Your Business to the Next Level

SMS for business customer service will build trust and brand loyalty while making life easier on your support teams. With a feature-rich platform like TrueDialog, you can craft, schedule, distribute, and track your messages with ease. Professional integrations ensure you can continue to use the tools that work for you while adding texting to your strategy. Contact us today for a free demo.