OpenMarket – November 15, 2017
With a little imagination, a simple SMS can become the perfect moment between your customer and your brand. Here’s five ways you can turn an ordinary text into an Empathetic Interaction.
There are plenty of times when a simple text message can save your customers a world of pain – say, waiting around all day for a delivery, or a delayed flight. It’s surprising how quickly a simple SMS can become their hero.
But to truly make a difference in your customer’s experience of your brand, your A2P text needs to do more than just the bare minimum. It needs to be an “Empathetic Interaction”. That’s what we call a highly relevant and personalized message, containing an invaluable nugget of information – which arrives at exactly the right time, in precisely the right place.
We’ve identified five ways you can turn your ordinary text message into an Empathetic Interaction – the kind that makes your customer feel like your brand actually cares.
- Be more precise
Take Jeff, for example. He’s just bought from you online, but he can’t wait around all day for a delivery – he has things to get on with. So sending a text saying “be home between 9am and 5pm” isn’t actually all that helpful.
But what if you change things up a little bit, and tell Jeff it’ll be between 1pm and 2pm – or go one better and give him the chance to reply, confirming that time works for him? Suddenly, Jeff’s a happy customer – and more likely to be in the first time your driver calls.
And it’s not just limited to deliveries. Think of the times you’ve scheduled an appointment somewhere, but forgotten about it. Now consider what a difference a well-timed text reminder would have made – especially if you could’ve sent a reply to say you could no longer make it, and want to reschedule.
So often, when you improve CX, you win too.
- Think about the context
Promotional messages can be great to receive – they just need to be appropriate and relevant… and to arrive at exactly the right moment. Offers that people actually care about, based on timing and their whereabouts.
Virgin Trains does this brilliantly. For example, they might text a coffee and pastry promotion for the on-board café while a customer’s on the platform waiting for her train. Because they’ve thought about the context, they’re giving people something they’re actually going to use. The same text sent at 10pm while they’re at home watching TV? That’s just spam.
- Encourage two-way conversations
There’s never a good time to get locked out of your bank account. Sure, it might be for a good reason – maybe your bank has spotted unusual activity, or transactions overseas – but it’s still annoying, inconvenient and embarrassing.
In Frank’s case, he’s in a different time zone, and on a different continent, at the end of a glamorous date. The waiter is, well, waiting. The last thing he wants is a text that tells him to ring a call center to verify the payment.
But with a well-timed two-way text message alert, Frank can quickly reply “YES” to confirm it’s legitimate and yes, he really did order that second bottle of wine. His bank has shown some empathy – and he’s protected, with the minimum possible fuss.
- Earn trust with automated personalization
Staying in hotels can be stressful. Far away from home and in an unfamiliar area, it can take all your patience trying to find the place. Even when you check in, there’s always a slight pause, and that nagging feeling they won’t have a record of your booking.
But getting a text, shortly before you leave home, can help bring peace of mind. Better still if it’s a really useful one, that confirms your booking and includes address details (ideal because your phone doubles as your Satellite Navigation). Everything’s in one place and perfectly timed.
This is the beauty of plugging your text system into your tech stack and CRM. It takes the heavy lifting out of those small, empathetic touches that make the difference between an OK customer experience, and a great one.
- Reach for the sky – it’s quite literally the limit
The only thing that restricts what you can do with text is how far your imagination can take you. So take a look at every interaction you have with your customers – however insignificant it might seem. How can you make their life easier, and show them you care?
Take the weather for example. When you send out that appointment reminder, what if you added an alert for rain? Your client arrives shaking off their umbrella, instead of soaked to the skin. They’re in a much better frame of mind for business.
SMS: make it relevant, make it count
Text is a great tool for communicating with customers wherever they are. But timing, context, detail and personalization are all crucial. These are the things that transform a simple text message into an Empathetic Interaction.
Anticipating what your customer needs, and providing it at exactly the right moment is the essence of fantastic customer experience. It’s the difference between telling them your brand cares about their business, and actually proving it.