According to the Pew Research Center, 79 percent of cell phone owners send and receive text messages. In the United States, we send approximately 8.5 billion text messages every day, or about 32 messages per person, per day. On average, Americans text twice as much as they call. While once used only for personal communication, businesses are increasingly utilizing text messaging (also called SMS) to reach their customers where they are via their preferred communication channel.
In fact, SMS is no longer considered a progressive business technology, but rather, a mandatory investment. This trend is reflected in Dimension Data’s 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report, which found that almost 60 percent of organizations already support SMS for customer interactions, and another almost 20 percent are planning to implement the channel within the year.If these stats aren’t enough to convince you, here are four reasons why your call center needs SMS.
About 95 percent of adults in the United States have a cell phone (77 percent of them own smartphones), according to a recent Pew survey. Nielsen research shows that Americans text at least twice as much as they call, on average. For their customer service needs, your customers usually prefer communicating via text message, citing its flexibility and convenience. What’s more, SMS allows them to bypass any hold times they may encounter when they call you. In this way, not only is SMS best for the consumer, it also helps alleviate congestion in your contact center.
Another way SMS can help provide relief to overworked contact centers is with self-service options. By automating some of the simple, yet time-consuming calls your agents field, you can free up resources, allowing agents to handle more pressing issues. You already know customers prefer texting and by offering this option you can decrease calls while still providing great customer service, which leads to more satisfied customers, better brand image and saved call center resources.
Better Customer Service
Gone are the days of providing customer support solely by phone lines. Today’s consumers expect you to offer multiple channels of engagement, and they don’t appreciate being forced to call you. In fact, 95 percent of customers don’t expect to wait longer than 5 minutes on hold when they call your center. Customer experience is all about convenience, and SMS is very convenient for your customers. When you offer text messaging as a means to communicate with your company, you offer customers comfort and convenience. In fact, a Harris Poll found that 64 percent of all consumers are likely to have a positive perception of a company that offers texting as a service channel.
According to the Pew Research Center, 67 percent of cell phone users check their phone for messages even when they don’t notice it vibrating or ringing. Roughly 44 percent sleep with their phones next to their beds in case they receive a message or notification while sleeping. Since it’s sometimes necessary to contact customers – and most are notoriously difficult to get a hold of – it makes sense to communicate with them via the channel they use the most. Whereas this used to be email, today it is SMS. In fact, according to Mobile Marketing Watch text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 20% open rate.
The case for including SMS in your omni-channel customer support strategy is clear: not only do customer prefer it to other channels, text messaging can help relieve contact center congestion by decreasing calls while still proving great customer service. What’s more, your competitors are likely already using it, and their customers are enjoying a better customer experience because of it. ASK provides robust SMS customer support services, allowing you to bolster your brand image, retain customers and lower overall contact center costs. For more information, contact ASK today.