It's one thing to create a product your customers love, but it's another to keep them engaged and give them a great experience that turns them into lifetime fans of your brand.
Customer service can become your brand's secret weapon—and consumers increasingly expect to get in contact over SMS. One in three customers uses SMS to reach out to a brand for help, and 63% of consumers would consider switching to a company that uses text messages to communicate.
There's a reason customers love the option of talking to a brand over SMS.
Unlike email, most of us read every SMS we get—a Text Anywhere study found the global average SMS open rate is above 95%. And SMS is instant—customers can chat to a service agent and solve a problem instead of typing out an email or waiting on hold for hours.
So, how can you tap into SMS customer service and use it to boost the experience people have with your brand?
Here are five top tips 👇
Tip 1. Offer Exclusive Deals
Think that email is the only way to tell your customers about an upcoming sale or new product launch?
Think again. More than 7 billion people have a device capable of sending SMS messages, yet only 4.1 billion of us use email. Sending exclusive sales and discounts to your SMS list casts a wider net and gives your offers a better chance of getting seen.
This comes down to SMS marketing's super high engagement rates. 74% of smartphone users read every single message they receive, and customers are 134% more likely to see and respond to a text than an email.
Offering customers exclusive deals over SMS is simple with the right tools. If your customer service team is using Sendlane to respond to messages, they can send out coupons and discount codes instantly:
If a customer has a problem with a discount code or a question about a product offer, a service agent can answer them instantly and drive them to the checkout.
Tip 2. Be Personable And Helpful
When customers contact support, they want to talk to a real human—not a robot.
Offering SMS as a customer service channel helps your brand meet this expectation. If a customer has a question about a product or a problem with their order, the last thing they want to do is sit on hold or wait hours for an email reply. With SMS customer service, agents can field questions instantly and make every customer feel like the only customer with two-way replies.
Picture this: You run a skincare brand and have a new product line launching. A customer is excited to shop but unsure which product is best for their skin type. So, they contact you for more details.
Customer service agents can reply directly in the two-way reply center for customized, convenient care.
If you deal with the situation quickly, your customer can get their day back, and you'll leave them with a positive impression of your brand.
This isn't the only scenario where SMS customer service can help you build relationships with your customers. It's also useful for:
- Refilling subscriptions. Do you sell monthly or quarterly subscriptions? With SMS, your customers can refill them with a simple text (or two)
- Sending educational content. Do your customers have questions about product specifics? Send them a link to your knowledge base. Are they having trouble finding the right shirt size? Link them to a sizing chart
- Answering general questions. Customers may want to check your payment options or shipping timeframes. Use SMS to answer them immediately and reduce friction during the checkout process.
Never underestimate the power of 1:on:1 interactions like these. They're your secret weapon to building relationships and turning customers into lifetime fans of your brand.
Tip 3. Strengthen your omnichannel strategy by adding SMS
Vendors have a lot of ways for customers to reach out to them.
There's SMS and Facebook. And Instagram. And Twitter. The list goes on.
You need to integrate omnichannel support into your customer service strategy to meet customer expectations and stay on top of all these channels. 54% of people are frustrated when a brand doesn't offer SMS as a communication channel (unsurprising given how often we use our phones), so making SMS available needs to be a priority.
By leveraging a two-way reply SMS tool *Sendlane ;)* you can speak directly with customers via text messaging. No need to flip back and forth from the helpdesk or social; you can simply reply to customers' questions or concerns from your Sendlane account!
With an omnichannel strategy, a customer can:
- Order a product through your website
- Get a confirmation SMS that their product has been ordered and details about shipment and delivery
- Have the product is shipped and receive an SMS with tracking and delivery instructions
- Get post-purchase SMS alerts and emails that are triggered after delivery to nurture them and encourage more purchases
That’s a lot of jumping between communication channels. But with an omnichannel strategy—your emails and SMS messages are kept in one place.
Unlike phone calls, omnichannel tools also allow your customer service team to juggle multiple conversations. Having your customer service team handle numerous problems during a busy holiday or sales period will be a huge time saver and give your customers a better experience!
Tip 4. Avoid Case Transfers
When you chat with a customer service agent, have you ever been told you will need to make a phone call?
You're not alone—and the problem isn't a new one.
Amongst the top influencers of poor customer service remains repeating information and slow transaction time. Getting transferred between departments is a common problem for customers, and it can have a huge (negative) impact on their experience with a brand.
Aim to solve the customer's problem or answer their question on the same channel they connected with you on.
With a two-way reply tool like Sendlane, your team can troubleshoot a customer's problem without switching to phone or email. Thanks to the 30-day history log, customer service agents have all the information they need from previous conversations at their fingertips to solve issues without annoying customers by switching them to another channel.
Oh, did we mention that sticking to one communication channel is a lot cheaper for your company?
A Forrester study found companies pay an average of $16 to handle a customer service issue over the phone. However, if the same complaint was dealt with over SMS, the cost drops to under $5. That's a lot of money that can stay where it belongs—in your business.
Tip 5. Ask For Feedback
Here's a scary thought: Only 1 in 26 customers will complain if they've had a bad experience with your brand.
That means there may be a lot of unhappy customers out there that you never know about. However, there are other avenues these consumers do use to take out their frustrations—they'll probably tell their friends and family. They may even turn to social media and tell the world what they've experienced with your brand.
Our advice for customer complaints? Prevention is better than a cure.
Find out if your customers are unhappy or underwhelmed with your brand by sending them SMS surveys to get their feedback. Send a link that redirects your customers to a short survey where they can tell you what they thought of your company if they will recommend you to their friends, and yes—if there was anything they didn't like.
Better yet, ask them to reply with their feedback using a single number by sending a message like:
This makes it super easy for customers to reply and gives you a better chance of getting more feedback. You can also start a two-way conversation if they respond with not-so-good feedback so you can resolve teething problems new customers have with your products.
Once you've gathered this feedback, don't leave it in a spreadsheet gathering dust—use it. A Gartner survey found that 95% of companies gather customer feedback about their experiences, but only 10% take that data to enhance their products and processes.
Listen to what your customers are saying—and change up anything that's not working.
SMS can help you reach your customers 1:1
SMS is a great tool to have in your marketing strategy for one reason—customers love it.
Now more than ever, customers want the option to reach out to a brand and talk to a human one-to-one about a product or problem they're having. Customers feel so strongly that they're willing to switch brands so they can talk to someone over SMS.
With a well-planned marketing strategy, you can use SMS to give you an edge over your competitors. Solve customer problems quickly over text messages and make them feel like VIPs. Offering exclusive deals and quick surveys can fix any kinks in your checkout process and increase your chances of turning one-time customers into loyal, lifetime fans.
So, what are you waiting for? It's time to get texting. Start your free 14-day trial of our email & SMS automation features!
But before, check out this article on how to grow your SMS marketing list for some valuable ideas.