OpenMarket – April 18, 2017
It’s a bold ask for a blog opener, but think about it for a moment: how do you ensure you’re always there for the people closest to you?
Chances are, small acts of empathy spring to mind. A thoughtful text, a “saw this and thought of you” gift, a reassuring hug in a time of need.
The right text at the right time says “we care”
Small gestures like these are the bedrock of lasting relationships—and the same is true of your customers. Their loyalty is forged in the little things you do that brighten their day and make them think ‘wow, this company cares about me’.
There’s no technology better suited to making small, caring gestures (we call them Empathetic Interactions) than text messaging. The right text at the right time can transform the way your customers feel about your brand—and the best thing is, it’s ultra-simple to put into action.
Five steps to using SMS in your customer experience
Here are five steps to using application-to-person (A2P) text messaging to amp up your customer experience. You can read more about each one in our A2P Text Messaging Workbook.
Step 1: Understand the opportunity
SMS messaging? Surely it’s all about WhatsApp and chatbots these days? Well, they might work for some people – but never underestimate the power of a well-timed text. Just look at these stats:
- Approximately six billion people worldwide use SMS messaging
- 98% of texts are read by the recipient (comparatively, email pales at 20%)
- 90% of texts are opened and read within three minutes
With SMS, you can reach 84% of humans whenever, and wherever. It’s no wonder the world’s most customer-centric brands favor it—just look at what Virgin Trains has achieved, for example.
Step 2: Consider the possibilities
Think about it: what could you do with a 24/7 instant dialogue channel with your customers? How could you use that conduit to deliver small things that make their lives easier?
Here are three scenarios to inspire you:
- The supermarket’s about to close, and there’s a hefty queue at the last open till. The cashier finishes scanning your weekly shop, you insert your card… and ‘transaction declined’. Your card’s been blocked. Will you have to leave your shopping behind? Will you need to spend 10 minutes navigating the bank’s IVR system to unblock your card?
No… because your bank partnered with FICO, they can verify your purchase is legitimate with a single text. The queue moves on and you breathe a sigh of relief.
- You’re at a theme park with your kids, but the lines are insane. Will you ever make it onto Rocket Mountain? You decide to take a lunch break at the burger shack. While finishing up, you get a text from the park team – the queues have finally eased off and you’re ready for lift off, time to get moving.
- Your employees are carrying around all kinds of sensitive information on their company laptops, and there’s little stopping a sly thief from gaining access. Cyber security is such a hassle—or is it? With an automated SMS system, you can send a unique verification code to the employee’s mobile phone each time they need to log in. Simple, safe and smart.
You’ll find a ton of examples in the workbook—in fact there are so many possibilities, the only limit to what your business can do with SMS is your own imagination.
Step 3: Start small and focused
You’re ready to act, but first you need to pick the right approach. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes—what frustrations, limitations or problems do they face with your service?
Next, consider whether—and how—automated SMS messages from your core systems could solve them. Keep these four tips in mind:
- Remember your goals
The customer experience is paramount, but any CX efforts you make should also be aligned with your business objectives. Growing your customer base, encouraging repeat custom, and so forth—keep your business goals in mind and let them inform your SMS strategy.
- One use case at a time
It’s not uncommon for enterprises to begin using SMS for a single function, but down the line start adding additional services across departments due to its success. Start simple, and see where it takes you.
- Get your IT team involved early
They’ll be the ones keeping the show running smoothly upon deployment, so get them on board early for your first use case.
- Launch a pilot scheme
With the right expertise, APIs and workflows plugged into your tech stack, your SMS partner should be able to roll out a pilot in minutes.
Step 4: Use your powers wisely
There’s a fine line between a useful, timely, and thoughtful text, and an unwanted piece of spam. When your customers authorize you to send them text messages, it means they trust you to keep their best interests at heart. It’s your responsibility to keep earning that trust. Make sure every text is smart, timely and personalized—and your customers will continue appreciating them.
Step 5: Pick the right partner
There are over 800 mobile operators in 200 countries. That’s a dizzying number to tap into. This is just one reason why choosing the right SMS partner is so important, so ensure they have:
- Connectivity to all global carriers
- A strong security track record
- Regulatory experience
- APIs to integrate their platform into your existing IT infrastructure
- A complete end-to-end integrated solution that connects all departments, regardless of location or time
Brighten your customers’ lives with A2P text messaging
Ultimately, your customers want communication, comfort and convenience—and if you can deliver all of that when they least expect it, they’ll appreciate you even more.
To learn more about delivering empathetic interactions with SMS, check out The A2P Text -Messaging Workbook—and start brightening your customers’ lives.