Text messaging – a better way of handling customer requests

OpenMarket – August 18, 2017

When you need to get in touch with your customers to be there, be useful and be responsive, text messaging is a better channel than either email or voice.

In this blog series, we’ll look at seven different Empathetic Moments – times when you can win customer loyalty by sending communications that really matter at exactly the right time.

When your customers need something from you, you’d better be able to respond. Quickly. Clearly. Because customers judge you based on how you act when they need you the most – when they need an answer or a quick resolution to a problem.

The problem is that customer expectations are at an all-time high and customer tolerance is at an all-time low. And when clients reach out with a request or a question, they expect an answer immediately. Not twenty minutes or a few hours later.

Meeting this expectation is tough. Exceeding it’s even tougher.

Traditional channels like voice and email aren’t really fit for purpose. No one likes waiting around listening to hold music or having to type out an email explaining a situation.

Newer channels get some important things right. Social can work, but only for messages customers are willing to make public. And web chat  is a smart way to respond in the moment. But in both cases, getting the people, tech and processes needed to set up can be inhibiting.

Practically speaking, what’s really needed is a channel that customers already know, find easy-to-use and one that businesses can easily implement.

Why text messaging is a smart way to deal with requests

When it comes to dealing with customer requests, you need three things:

  1. You need to make it easy for your customers
  2. You need to respond rapidly (and be sure they got the response)
  3. You need to do this as efficiently (and frankly, cheaply) as possible

With text messaging, you strike a good balance between these three things.

It’s convenient because your customers can just type out a quick message.

It’s fast because you can automate your responses to common requests. You just write your messages, define triggers and software can take care of the rest.

And it’s cheap because there’s no need to use an army of staff to man desks and manage calls.

It’s also incredibly versatile. You can address almost any customer query via text providing you can imagine it first. If you’re a bank,  you can enable clients to check the balance of their current account. Or if you’re a retailer, you can let customers know what time your store closes. And if you’re a logistics firm, you can let people know when their package is going to arrive.

It’s not just about questions either. You can also enable services via text. Say one of your customers wants to activate a new credit card – they just have to send you the card number and the word “activate” and they’re ready to go. Or if you’re customer wants to renew their contract, they just send the word “renew.”

It’s this versatility that really sets text messaging apart from other communication channels. It lets customers do the things they want to do faster. Instead of logging into their account, firing up an app or going online, they can send a quick message and solve a problem in the moment. No other channel – traditional or otherwise – empowers customers in this way.

Seeing things from your customer’s perspective

Dealing with customer requests boils down to knowing what they’re going to need before they do. If you can proactively set your business up to anticipate and react to those needs using the right channel, there are few requests you won’t be able to handle.

Text messaging gives you the power to respond to customer requests quickly and cheaply. And it gives them an easier way to respond.

A lot’s being said about customer experience and how important it is it. But at the end of the day, it comes down to getting these kinds of basics right.  

To find out how text alerts can help you seize more Empathetic Moments, download the Empathetic Moments workbook.

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