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Why You Need SMS as Part of Your Omnichannel Customer Support Service

By now, most businesses understand the importance of offering an omnichannel customer support system. That’s because today’s consumers desire — and often expect — to communicate with a business through whichever platform or device they desire.

And while companies employing an omnichannel system generally provide some combination of customer support via phone, email, live chat and social media, some are also adding two-way text messaging as yet another option. Yet, despite its many benefits, text messaging is an underused customer service option, with less than 29 percent of all businesses using this medium to communicate with customers.

Think customer support via text messaging is a worthwhile option? Here are four reasons why an SMS support channel might be the right choice for your business.

1. SMS Provides Near Universal Customer Access

According to the Pew Research Center, 95 percent of all Americans own cell phones and 81 percent text regularly. In fact, the average consumer spends 26 minutes a day texting, as opposed to six minutes a day making direct voice calls. Intuitively, it seems apparent that texting is many peoples’ preferred method of communication.

And while social media sites and instant messaging apps are worthwhile customer support channels, not every customer uses or is comfortable or savvy with these platforms. Meantime, the ability to reach consumers rather seamlessly via text messaging is reason enough to employ this medium as a newfangled customer support channel.

2. SMS Saves Customers and Businesses Valuable Time

After experiencing an issue with a product or service, the last thing many customers want to do is get on the phone with a company to find a resolution. However, when they decide resolving a dispute is worth their time and energy, they want it done quickly. Case in point: Research by the consultancy firm Ovum found that almost half of all consumers value the ability to text a customer service line because it’s less time-consuming, more convenient and less frustrating than calling the company directly.

Of course, this seems rather intuitive; after all, the aim of customer service should always be to make the experience more convenient for the consumer, so a service channel that saves time and frustration should ultimately result in less churn and higher customer satisfaction rates.

However, not only does an SMS support channel save consumers time, it also benefits a company from the standpoint of staffing fewer call center agents. Moreover, returning customer phone calls or leaving voicemail reminders can be more time-consuming than texting.

3. SMS Allows Customers to Respond to Notifications

Many companies are already utilizing SMS as a marketing or notification tool. But if those messages come from static, unidentifiable numbers, you certainly run the risk of alienating and frustrating customers. Not anymore. Texting from a customer service toll-free number streamlines the response process for customers, as their replies can be addressed and handled by a live agent or self-service menu via your contact center in the cloud.

And if they prefer to resolve an issue via a one-on-one phone conversation, they can easily call back the number from which the notification was delivered and be routed to the appropriate department. For example, customers who take advantage of a company’s appointment reminders via text are quickly and easily able to confirm, cancel or reschedule as well as ask questions using this two-way messaging platform.

SMS Spells Customer Satisfaction

The days of waiting on hold for an eternity could soon be history. These days, consumers want a more personalized experience when interacting with their favorite brands — and the ability to pick up the phone and effortlessly exchange messages via text is quickly becoming the preferred method of two-way communication.

Utilizing SMS support is personable, efficient, unobtrusive and reliable. In other words, it’s a no-brainer. If you’ve put off adopting SMS in the past but are intrigued by its potential, then consider the untold benefits of adding this complementary communication platform to your arsenal of contact center tools.

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

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