How to use SMS to prioritize customer service, maximize efficiency and benefit the contact centre.
Now more than ever, mobile phones are a hugely popular communication channel. Around the globe, mobile-only households have increased dramatically in recent years. Additionally, many people now give their mobile number as their primary contact information. In response to the mobile surge, more and more major companies are incorporating SMS into the customer service experience. But when mobile phones have been around for decades, why is adapting to SMS suddenly so important? Here are four reasons adding SMS to your multichannel contact centre strategy is more important than ever before.
1. The Mobile Generation
Only a generation or two ago, the mobile phone sounded like futuristic technology. Now, it’s nearly impossible to find someone without one. The 21st century consumer is increasingly dependent on their mobile device, and while there will always be other contact channels, users tend to prioritize SMS. According to Nielsen’s “The Mobile Consumer” report, text messaging is wildly popular: 92 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to communicate via SMS.
Analysts from Gartner believe that thinking of the contact centre as more of a “customer engagement centre” may be the key to providing service in the 21st century. With platforms such as social media, online forums and mobile apps, users are steering away from more traditional methods of communication in favour of newer trends. Now more than ever, engaging the customer through their preferred channels is critical. By broadening the types of interaction your company can have with its customers, customer service is prioritized and customized. Adapting to SMS technology for customer communication sends the right message about company-to-customer engagement, and lets clients know that efficient customer service is a priority.
2. The Emergence of APIs
APIs – application programming interfaces – are fast, reliable systems of software tools that have allowed app developers to create custom software that helps put SMS customer service within closer reach. Communicating by SMS once meant interacting with multiple carrier gateways. Now, telecommunications companies like Twilio, Tropo and Plivo have bypassed the need for multiple carriers with their one-stop SMS gateways, revolutionizing companies’ abilities to engage their customers through this channel.
3. Regulatory Changes
A shift in regulations now allows mobile users to text toll-free numbers. This type of user-friendly interaction encourages customers to interact directly with a business without having to speak to a live agent or exchange e-mails. Many major contact centre software vendors are accommodating the rise of SMS client service with additions to their platforms, while third-party contact centre support services can help with any telephone service overflow resulting from rising call volume.
4. SMS Benefits for Companies
The benefits of embracing SMS far outweigh the costs of adding SMS service capability. While a complex customer service call can “ring up” a cost of up to $20, an SMS chat only racks up around $5 in costs for your contact centre. Now that’s savings!
SMS technology can also drastically cut costs by reducing the need for some outgoing service calls. SMS can also deliver automated, scheduled reminders to customers as well as staff, reducing the need for excessive agent handling time for simple tasks. Moreover, SMS can encourage the shift to self-service, helping to decrease your overhead by reducing your reliance on live, in-house agents.
There will always be a place for live agent communication in the contact centre. However, integrating SMS into customer service allows contact centres to communicate effectively with customers in their preferred channels, expressing a commitment to comfortable, friendly and efficient service. Moreover, contact centres can better manage and control their outgoing communication costs by employing SMS technology, reserving agent time for when it’s truly necessary and filling in the gaps with a third party contact centre support service. For more information on how SMS and other multichannel technologies can benefit the contact centre, download our free white paper.