Great customer service is never easy. Establishing a consistent experience takes time, well-trained and motivated employees, and a functioning support system. But as you’re about to discover, you can greatly improve your customer service using SMS, and with much less effort. SMS customer service doesn’t take much time or employee training, and the support system already exists on platforms like emfluence.
What makes great customer service?
Entire books have been written about this, but we could break it down into three categories: communication, experience, and meeting expectations. The ten SMS customer service strategies you’re about to see touch on all of those.
You could also summarize customer service this way: Instilling trust and delivering convenience. SMS customer service enhances both of these outcomes in ways other methods of communication can’t.
Before we get to the strategies, let’s look at some customer service benefits of SMS. With SMS communication:
- External noise levels don’t matter, unlike with a phone
- No waiting on hold — the texts arrive immediately
- No dealing with customer service reps who are difficult to hear or understand
- You can communicate personal information even if others are in the room
- No logging in or passwords — easier to use than email or social media
All of these benefits make SMS faster and simpler to engage with, in a variety of settings. So in many cases, this makes SMS customer service a better experience, and a more efficient way to communicate.
Now, let’s look at ten ways to deliver top-quality SMS customer service.
1. SMS Confirmations
One of the drawbacks of online shopping is the uncertain feeling that sometimes comes after you’ve submitted payment information. Did my order actually get processed? Did anything happen? The buyer craves the reassurance of confirmation. This is a customer need, and good customer service addresses it.
For any online orders, a quick SMS order confirmation works better than email, because the buyer sees it right away on their phone. There’s no need to log in to email. You should still send an email confirmation too, but as far as that immediate need for reassurance, SMS delivers best.
2. Shipping Updates
Just like order confirmations, you can also send text messages whenever the status of the order has changed. Wherever the order is in the process — packaged, shipped, arrived in town, on route, or at the door — SMS can instantly notify the customer of its status and location.
People are on their phones all the time, and they see text messages more quickly than emails. 30%-50% of company SMS messages get a response within 15 minutes of being seen.
Thus, while sending either texts or emails is good service, sending both is great service. But because SMS is faster and seen first by more people, it can substantially enhance the experience.
3. Verification Codes
Passwords, unfortunately, don’t appear to be going anywhere or getting any simpler. With two-factor authentication, the experience of logging in is far more frustrating and annoying than even just a few years ago. This makes the customer experience worse.
But it’s easier to receive those verification codes with SMS than it is with email. There’s no need to open new screens, log in, or juggle multiple windows. It’s just right there.
That makes SMS the best choice to deliver the fastest and most convenient customer experience when verifying or logging in to an account.
4. Updates and Reminders on Proximity to Location
For businesses that deliver service in person, whether to homes or businesses, you can use SMS to send updates on how close your reps are to their location.
Any home-based service business such as cleaning, home repair, remodeling, installation, or yard maintenance can use SMS to tell customers when they’re leaving, how long until they arrive, and when they’re at your door.
These sorts of updates make life so much easier for customers, because they can better plan their time. Imagine a homeowner who gets home from the gym but doesn’t know if they have time to take a shower before the carpet cleaner arrives. With a simple SMS update, the problem is solved. And solving problems is part of delivering great customer service.
5. Appointment Rescheduling
If you need to reschedule an appointment, SMS is the surest and fastest way to get that message to the customer or prospect you were planning to meet. And they can do the same by sending a text to your sales rep and suggesting a new time. It’s the fastest way to get a response when a response is urgent.
You can also send a text link to your calendar scheduling app and find a new date and time there. Either way, SMS makes rescheduling faster and easier, and thus a better customer experience.
6. Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Asking customers about their experience is already good service because it shows you care. Doing so with SMS is even better because it’s faster and more convenient. Simply send a link to your survey, have your customers answer a few questions and go on with their day.
You’ll likely get a higher survey response rate using SMS than with email because more people will see it.
7. SMS Polls
For quick polls, you can send out simple one-question text messages to customers and collect their responses. Or, like surveys, include a link and send them to a user-friendly interface that takes just seconds to complete.
Polls enhance customer service because they show that you value opinions and preferences. Plus, they can be fun because customers see what other people think about interesting topics.
Contests are a great way to increase engagement, draw in more customers, and grow revenue. They also enhance the customer experience because they’re fun!
You can use SMS to announce contests, and then include links to landing pages where customers can find the rules and start playing. Later on, you can send texts announcing the leaderboard, the winners, the highest scores, or special prize winners.
All of this improves the quality of communication, but it also increases trust because, with many contests, you never actually hear about the outcomes unless you win. You enter a contest, and then never hear anything. You assume it was fair, but you don’t really know. It’s better to be told who won. That little bit of extra assurance goes a long way, and over time those extra communication efforts add up.
SMS makes the entire contest easier and more like a real-time experience.
9. Exclusive Offers
Customers like to feel special. You want to meet expectations at a minimum. But great customer service happens when you exceed them.
Sending exclusive deals and offers like coupons, specials, bonuses, and rewards to your customers who’ve opted in to receive messages makes them feel great about that decision. It also helps them remain interested and subscribed.
10. Make It Easy to Leave Reviews
After someone completes a purchase or enjoys your service, you should always ask for a review. SMS offers the most visible means of doing that because, again, pretty much every customer will see your text.
Simply include a link, or links, to various review sites, and your customers can click on them and leave a quick review. SMS makes this easier than any other form of communication.
Enhance Your Customer Service with SMS
Does your customer communication need to improve? Are your buyers being informed, updated, and delighted by the experience you deliver?
If you’re not using it already, SMS enables your company to do all these things better, and you’ve just seen ten of the best ways to use it.
The emfluence Marketing Platform now includes SMS marketing in addition to all the other forms of communication already available. Learn more here.