There is no doubt that we society is moving quickly to a “Message First” communications model. In the past, where you would just pick up up the phone and call someone or email them to let them know that you wanted to speak with them. Now communication often starts with a “Are You There” text message or through an application like Slack, WhatsApp, or WeChat. It is pervasive in personal communications, has become commonplace in business. Text-based customer service is now working its way contact center as well. Take a look at these statistics:
- More than 50% of consumers would rather text for customer support than call if given the option between the two. That would seem like a given, considering how much we all hate sitting on hold waiting.
- Only 30% of consumers report actually receiving texts from the companies they patronize, despite stating that they would be open to receiving them.
- 64% of consumers are likely to perceive a company contacting them by text in a positive light, according to Harris Interactive. The more positive the impression of your company, the more likely they’ll buy from you, or recommend you to friends and family.
The cover story in Customer Relationship Management for December is about the use of Messaging Apps for text-based customer service. Using messaging for customer service not only improves the customer experience but is also great for agent productivity.
Benefits for both Customers and Agents
In the article, Meredith Flynn-Ripley, vice president of mobile message at Salesforce.com states, “Messaging apps are a natural extension of how customers are already communicating every day, so it’s an effortless and seamless experience from their perspective.”
Ajit Ghuman, director of product marketing at customer support software company Helpshift, says that for the consumer, “the benefits boil down to the user-friendliness of the channel. Consumers can easily converse back and forth with an agent without having to either go through lengthy email exchanges or complex web portals, resulting in quicker response times.”
For agents, experts say that the main benefit is the ability to manage multiple inquiries simultaneously. “Agents can better handle and resolve customer support issues quickly. Asynchronous messages allow agents to handle seven to ten conversations at the same time,” Flynn-Ripley says.
No App Necessary For Text-Based Customer Service
The article is focused on the large call centers, where the messaging component is built into the agent portal. However, small business with a number of “multi-tasking” employees serving as the customer service department can achieve these same benefit. They can offer text-based customer service with an application like MessagePro Office.
MessagePro Office enables even the smallest company to offer support via texting. It takes just two easy steps. First, SMS the main company telephone number with MessagePro. Second, employees download the MessagePro Office App for their mobile device. They can also log in from any web-browser.
When someone sends a text message from their mobile device, it can be seen and fielded by any of the employees who are logged in. They can respond with text and include pictures. The application can even be set-up to auto-respond based on keywords like directions, hours, or specials.
With MessagePro office, you get all the benefits of a message-enabled customer support center. Even better, you can get those benefits with little expense. You can find out more about MessagePro office here.