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A recent study shows over 65% of customers prefer to use their phones to shop. With the advent of text messaging apps and platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, customers will expect to be able to text customer service whenever problems arise. Companies should prioritize focusing on text-based customer service — also known as SMS customer service.
Below is everything customer service teams need to know about the benefits you can reap when customers can text customer service, the qualities to look for in an SMS customer service platform, and how to adopt a text-based customer service strategy.
Do Customers Prefer Texting?
The short answer is “yes.” According to Forbes, nearly 93% of consumers want to communicate with brands via text messages, yet less than a third of consumers report getting text messages from them.
Customers prefer texting because they want to be able to access products easily, make purchases quickly, and get their questions answered immediately.
What Is Text-Based Customer Service?
Text-based customer service, or SMS customer service, refers to any kind of customer service support conducted through text. This also includes SMS customer support platforms and third-party messaging apps, like Messenger or WhatsApp.
By using SMS for customer service, support teams can relay updates and notifications, resolve customer inquiries, conduct surveys and reviews, and track products all with a few text messages.
In order to scale, organize, and limit errors, most text-based customer service strategies implement SMS customer service software. Utilizing a software or texting platform will help you track your messages, organize your data, and streamline notification and update processes.
Meet your customers on-the-go with Gladly's SMS text support
Benefits of SMS for Customer Service
The biggest reason you should adopt customer service via text messaging or SMS is to reach your customers on the platforms that they’re using. According to Gladly’s Customer Expectations Report, 42% of customers ranked reaching customer service agents on their preferred channel as the most crucial attribute of the customer experience.
And with 85% of these customers owning smartphones, you can be sure that texting is a preferred channel for many. This represents a massive swath of modern American consumers who, with the ability to quickly text a customer service number for help resolving an issue or answering a question, could become lifelong brand advocates.
Other benefits of text-based customer service:
- Personal connections: Text messaging, as a less formal platform than email or phone calls, will feel more personal to your customers. Couple the casual tone with the speed and efficiency of texting, and you have a boost in customer experience and satisfaction.
- More options: You always want your customers to have more options. Especially if you have a diverse and wide-ranging customer base, it’s important to provide several communication lines that customers turn to. Allowing shoppers to reach customer service via SMS will help you connect with more customers, answer their questions quickly, and retain more customers over time.
- It’s convenient: A text message is that comfortable space between a phone call and email. It’s faster and more convenient than an email, but it doesn’t require the two parties to be completely focused on the conversation, often leading to an overall more convenient experience.
- Improved efficiency: Because your customer service agents will be able to handle multiple conversations at the same time, you will likely see an increase in productivity. Additionally, customers will have to wait less time to get a response to their answers.
- A distinct brand voice: Emojis and gifs, when used properly, are a fun way to interact with your customers. Customer service representatives can create a more casual, light-hearted tone with their customers by using some of the unique features to texting.
Messaging Platforms You Need to Be Using
There are several popular messaging platforms you should be using to provide customer service via text message. This list reflects some of the most widely used direct and social media messaging apps on the market in 2022.
Because most businesses can support over-the-top-messaging (OTT), which is simply messaging outside of SMS through third-party platforms, integrating texting apps and outside platforms should be a simple task.
Some of the major SMS and social messaging platforms you should be using include:
- Messenger from Meta
- Apple Business Chat
- WeChat (for customers in China)
- Messages (previously called Android Messenger)
On top of integrating third-party messaging platforms, you can also utilize a SMS customer support template to help you track your messages and scale your responses. Templates allow you to provide updates, send notifications, reach out to passive customers, and answer basic inquiries with ease and efficiency.
Get Started: SMS for Customer Service
Built-in Text Support
Does your current software allow you to help your customers via SMS when they’re on the go, or at a place where a phone call isn’t possible? Gladly’s customer service platform offers natively built-in text support that allows agents to start a conversation on the phone and continue it through text when needed. Even better, both conversations are kept in a single thread for lifelong context.
If you ever need to scale urgent customer communications, SMS is an ideal channel for real-time notifications, reminders, and alerts. With Proactive SMS, you’re able to send personalized SMS messages to provide updates to track and manage product orders, or let loyal shoppers know that their store pickup window is ending soon.
Built-in Social Support
Yes, social media support is important for customer service teams, too. Instagram and Facebook Messenger are key platforms where customers interact with your brand and may be looking for customer service support. Gladly’s customer service platform offers natively built-in social support so you can meet your customers on the social platform of their choice.
Text-Based Customer Service Case Study: Deckers
With more than a hundred agents, Deckers, the parent company of popular shoe brands like Ugg, Hoka One, Teva, and Sanuk, has a substantial customer service operation. However, they found themselves struggling with customer wait times, especially during the holiday season.
Their previous ticket-based CRM system wasn’t cutting it, making it difficult for Deckers’ agents to “get it right for customers, every contact, every time.” So, they switched to Gladly, an all-in-one, comprehensive customer support platform, and at Gladly’s recommendation, invested in expanding the capabilities of their SMS customer service.
This led to SMS contacts increasing 10x in one year, which lowered call volume and boosted productivity numbers, even during peak shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
“Gladly allows us to be more agile, adapt to demand, and focus less time on management and reporting and more time on our team members and customers.”
Director of Customer Care, Deckers Brands
Now that you understand the impact that text-based messaging can have on your business, are you ready to evaluate the state of the rest of your customer service capabilities? Check out Gladly’s CX Self-Assessment.