OpenMarket – March 15, 2018
SMS is probably in your CX tech stack – but are you using it to its full potential? Here are five ways to use SMS to maximum effect in a blended comms strategy
To survive as a brand today, you need to offer your customers something special that they just can’t get from your competitors.
Increasingly, that comes down to delivering a great communications experience.
Catching a customer at exactly the right moment – and in the right channel – is critical. If you can anticipate what they’ll need at a given moment, and deliver it right there and then, it can make all the difference to how they feel about your brand.
It’s what we at OpenMarket call an empathetic interaction – a thoughtful, timely communication that makes a customer’s day just a little bit better.
While your thoughts might turn naturally to email or even phone calls to engage with your customers, the standout channel for empathetic interactions is SMS. So if text messaging is in your CX tech stack, but you’re not using it to deliver an exceptional customer experience, here are five ideas to inspire you.
- Stay in time for great sales and marketing
Sending offers and coupons to customers is a tried and tested method of boosting sales. And it’s a great way of sparking renewed interest in dormant customers.
Here’s the problem, though: scores of brands send offers via email (we’ll bet your inbox is full of them right now). But there’s little point sending lunch deals to someone when they’re sat watching Hell’s Kitchen late at night.
Hit your customers with a perfectly timed text – say when they’re out shopping on a Saturday – and they’re far more likely to see it and react. Which means more customers through your doors, too.
- Deliver more savings using text
Think about the number of deliveries you make in a year. We’ll bet it creates a ton of work for your contact center agents – fielding calls about missed deliveries, requests to reschedule, and so on.
You may already use SMS to send some delivery updates to customers. But how about supercharging that process, so your customers know exactly when to expect your parcel, and what to do if they need to reschedule? They’d be much happier, and your agents would have to deal with far fewer routine enquiries.
With SMS, you can create automated notifications at every stage of the delivery process, from dispatch to receipt. It not only makes your customers feel more in control, but you also save a stack in the process.
- Gain better insight with SMS
For any brand, satisfaction surveys are a super-effective way to learn what your customers truly think of the service you’re providing (and how it can be improved).
But here’s where a lot of brands go wrong: it’s all about time and place.
Take a hotel stay, for example. Send an email survey just after your guest has checked out, and they may not see it until they’re back home and their stay is becoming a distant memory. (That’s if your email didn’t drop into the junk folder in the first place.)
What’s the answer? SMS, of course. Send them a text straight after they’ve checked out, and they’ll likely see it in the cab to the airport. And if you give them an option to reply with a quick numbered rating, it’ll only take up seconds of their time. You’ll get much more engagement, and your guests won’t feel you’re outstaying your welcome.
(Check out hotel giant Club Mahindra – they do this really well.)
- SMS for security and verification
Consider for a moment the bane of some customers’ lives – passwords. In fact, the average email address is linked to around 130 accounts, each with its own password. That’s a lot of combinations to remember.
And therein lies the problem. Customers are only human, and passwords easily get forgotten, lost or stolen. So as a brand, you need to offer easy ways to reset.
Enter SMS. A simple click on “reset my password” can trigger an automatic code to be sent to a customer’s mobile phone, which they simply use to verify their identity.
It’s quick, it’s safe, and it can be used almost anywhere on the planet.
- HR made simpler with text
Every organization has a responsibility to look after its employees. So in an emergency, you need a sure-fire way to contact people, check they’re ok, and give further instructions.
But this poses a dilemma: not everyone will be watching their emails, and not everyone will be at their desk. So you can’t rely on email, phone or voicemail to get an urgent message across.
However, almost everyone keeps their mobile phone by their side (even when they’re sleeping), and 98% of texts get opened – 90% within three minutes. So, in the event of an emergency, it’s a good idea to send a automated text to all your employees. You can even give them the option to hit a reply to let you know they’re fine.
Get the most out of SMS – you’ll soon see the results
A successful comms strategy is all down to the channels you use, and – crucially – how you use them.
Get the right blend of email, phone and SMS, and you’ll soon be outperforming your competitors in terms of customer experience and customer loyalty. That’s a payoff that you’ll soon start to notice.
To find out more about how text messaging can boost your CX, download The New Age of Customer Experience eBook. And if you’d like to speak to us about your own strategy, get in touch. We’re here for you.