SMS is fantastic for CX – here’s 3 reasons why

OpenMarket – October 30, 2017

At OpenMarket, we’re convinced that SMS is a fantastic channel for delivering great CX. Here are three ways SMS can help you rock your customer’s world.

Take a moment to consider the times you communicate with your customers. Is it to tell them a package is on its way? To get their feedback? It may even be to confirm they are who they say they are. And those are all serious reasons to contact them, right?

So why do so many CX professionals insist on contacting customers with such important information by email?

Look at the figures: Cisco’s Talos Intelligence says 85% of emails sent every day worldwide are spam. Now compare that to text: 98% of texts are opened, and 90% are read within three minutes of receiving them.

Ask yourself one question: if a message is important and relevant to your customer’s experience – and needs to be timely – why wouldn’t you send it by text?

Text is key to CX – because the context of your message matters

SMS gives brands the power to deliver highly relevant and personalized information, right at the point the customer needs it the most. We call these empathetic interactions – considerate messages, which arrive at exactly the right time and place.

And because of its scalability, brands can contact high numbers of people, in no time at all via text. But the advantages don’t end at the customer. One of our clients reported a 50% reduction in inbound email after they introduced automated text to their customers. Not only did it give their customers a much better experience, but the brand felt the cost benefits as well.

So, here’s the thing: email is still relevant, and it can do things (like sending documents or  newsletters) far better than SMS ever will. But what it can’t do is send highly personal interactions, direct to people’s fingertips, at exactly the right moment.

We’ve identified three ways text messaging can boost your CX – where email, well, can’t…

  1. Putting customers in control

Texting is quick, easy and supported by every mobile phone on the planet. It’s therefore the ideal platform not only to reach customers, but to offer them a simple two-way interaction with your brand.

Take product shipping for example. Sheila is expecting a delivery to her home, but she’s been offered a delivery slot during working hours. Unless they’re told otherwise, the courier will try to deliver the package, and then take it back to the depot. Not ideal when she needs it today.

But by replying to the confirmation text she was sent with a simple “yes/no”, she’s able to reschedule her package to arrive after work. Great for Sheila and her experience of the brand, and great for efficiency too.

  1. Giving customers a head-start (or just a timely heads-up)

Sometimes, a matter of seconds can make all the difference to your customer’s experience. When things change at the last minute, that can mean you need to get in touch with a whole bunch of customers, really fast.

So how do you do it – through email? Chances are they won’t see it in time. By phone? You can’t be serious. The answer? Text, of course.

Text is a cheap and efficient way to contact high volumes of people at once – keeping them in the loop with what’s going on, in real-time.

In fact, that’s exactly what Virgin Trains does: well-timed SMS messages that put their customers at the front of the queue in busy stations. It’s improved customer satisfaction rate by 15% – simply by switching from email to text.

  1. Amplifying the voice of the customer

Ever received an email survey several days after staying at a hotel? Notice how you never fill it out unless you have a bad experience? That’s because as a customer, you’ve probably forgotten about your stay already – or you just don’t have the time to fill out an online form.

Now imagine they sent you that survey after you’ve checked out, when you’re on your way to the airport (you can receive it in the taxi, because it’s an SMS, not an email, and you don’t need WiFi). You’re more likely to respond there and then, because not only is it simple and easy to do so, but the memories of your stay will be fresh in your mind.

That’s how Club Mahindra gets customer feedback. Response rates have gone from 5% of customers who responded to email, to 12% which respond to the text. This gave an overall rise in response rate of 140% since switching from email to text – giving invaluable data to keep delighting the customer.

Choose SMS to improve your CX

There’s a reason why so many people continue to use SMS. Simply, no other platform gives you the flexibility and scalability you need to interact with customers in an immediate and timely way (without draining the piggy bank).

Deployed correctly, text messaging is a world away from being spammy or annoying (like email). In fact, your customers will likely thank you for it.

Text can and should be used alongside email and voice with a blended channel approach. But, whichever combination you choose, the focus should always be on your customer, and the empathetic interactions that keep them coming back for more.

To find out more about how SMS can help you to deliver great customer experience, get your hand on our A2P SMS workbook. And if you’d like to talk about adding SMS to your communication strategy, give us a call, we’d love to help.

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