7 Convincing Reasons to Use SMS as a Support Channel

Most people only know text messaging as a communication channel for their friends and families. Endless chains of private messages have made most of us blind to the opportunities text messaging holds as a service channel.

First of all, mobile reaches almost everyone. 68% of Americans own smartphones and its usage is rising fast globally. Even if they don’t own a smartphone, the number of mobile phone users worldwide is incredibly high with an estimated 4.77 billion by 2017.

Mobile is a widely used, versatile and efficient means for B2C communication. And customers have been shown to like it. 64% of people who text prefer it to phone calls for customer service.

Here are 6 reasons you should be using SMS for customer service:

1
SMS empowers customers

When customers make a voice call, their conversations can be recorded. But only the company has a copy of the recording, not the customer. With text messaging, both the company and the customer are able to review the conversation history.

2
Traditional channels show frustrating statistics

Who likes listening to elevator music while waiting to speak to a customer service representative? Nobody does. It’s why 34% of callers who hang up will not call back.

People are busy. Nobody wants to sit around waiting for someone to take their call. With texting, a customer can send off their message and go about their day while they wait for a response.

Besides the waiting, call centers risk producing other negative customer experiences as well. 84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent doesn’t have information. On average, companies lose 8-15% of their customer base each year and 68% of those losses are due to negative phone experiences.

While social media has become a popular channel for customer service, over half of customer service requests on social media go unacknowledged and a full 84% of service requests on social media are escalated to other channels. And 72% of Facebook interactions are never completed on any channel.

3
SMS saves time

Calling customers and leaving voicemails can take hours of employee time and in the end, many people don’t even listen to their voicemail. Dentist and doctor’s offices, beauty salons, hotels, restaurants and any other service that offers appointments can benefit from using text support to send out appointment reminders. Isn’t reducing no-shows a coveted result for any appointment based business?

This case study of Marketplace Homes shows how texting turned their business around. Manager Jessica Yeager:

We went from an average of 25% of our voice mail confirms returned to about 85% of our text confirms returned.

Texting also saved valuable employee time:

Each leasing agent probably saves about 30 minutes every morning just by not leaving voicemails. Texting allows us to communicate in an easier way with our clients, getting things done faster, and therefore leasing more homes quickly.

4
SMS is universal

While fancy new messaging apps can be tempting, their reach in reality can be quite limited. Not all your customers have access to internet, but practically all of them have access to texting.

picture of the world
SMS support allows you to reach customers around the world, regardless of their favorite messaging app.

Customers don’t need their phone to be “smart” to receive and send texts. Virtually any mobile phone – and even some landlines – can receive text messages.

5
SMS is convenient

In some cases, it’s more convenient to read instructions than to listen to them. If there’s a lot of background noise or a bad connection, it can be frustrating and even impossible to try to solve an issue over the phone. It can also be difficult for customers to stay on the phone if they’re waiting to talk to a representative at a call center, or to stay at their desk if they’re chatting with a representative on live chat.

44% of people would rather text customer service than stay on hold. Instead of tying them up, text messaging allows them to be free to move on with their day, so they can take their kids to school, go to the grocery store, work out, or make dinner. Texting doesn’t pin them down: they can communicate their concerns on the go. This cuts down on frustration and makes for a more positive customer service experience.

6
SMS is immediate

If you’re providing a remote service such as cable installation, construction, car rental, or any other type of remote service, there could be last minute changes – either on the part of the client or on the part of the business. A client doesn’t have to wait to get a representative on the phone to communicate the changes.

They can shoot off a text and rest assured that the company gets their message in time. Likewise, the service agent can text their client and let them know of the change in plans. This is preferable for the following reasons:

  • A phone call may come at an inconvenient time.
  • If you end up leaving a voicemail, they may not check it in time.
  • Sending a text virtually guarantees that they’ll get your message within minutes, if not seconds.

7
SMS is great for conducting opinion polls

Part of customer service is finding out what your customers think. In fact, giving them a platform to voice concerns or complaints can do a lot of damage control. Did you know that only 1 out of 26 customers complain? And that 91% of unhappy customers who don’t complain don’t come back?

Find out how your business is doing with a mobile poll. Its extraordinary high response rates suggest that texting is the ideal way to conduct polls.

There are many more ways to use SMS for customer service. As shown in the below infograph, customers may want to text your business concerning password resets, refill orders, checking balances or due dates, finding a store location, asking a question, making or confirming reservations, or checking an order status. No matter what their concern, offering SMS as a customer service option is a move towards customer satisfaction.

infograph about text messaging use cases
Infograph by OneReach