If you work in a customer service, customer support or consumer affairs department, you know the challenge of assisting people who come to you already feeling frustrated. Maybe you’ve even been in their shoes at one time or another. Being able to empathize with their plight is good but offering tools to resolve the situation quickly and to their satisfaction is even better.

Perhaps the customer had a bad experience with a product or service your company offers. Whatever the reason for contacting your department, customer service representatives are often the first line of defense. Or, from a more positive perspective, the first line of assistance.

Measuring success comes down to how an employee makes the customer feel during and after their interaction. Did they: 1) alleviate the customer’s frustration 2) find a solution that met their needs and 3) do it in a manner that left the customer satisfied with the result?

Data shows consumers want more communication choices

The more options a company can offer that work with an individual’s busy schedule, the happier the customer will be. It’s no longer enough to have a toll-free phone number, customer service email address and online chat feature and assume you’re good to go. Texting speaks to what customers now want. They expect more convenient choices, and a texting option fits the bill.

Our 2020 State of Texting report found that consumers view getting a text from a business as normal as getting a text from a friend or family member. A whopping 91% of consumers said they’ve received a text from a business within the past year. For businesses, responding to a text message instead of a phone call can speed up the resolution process. Not to mention, 81% of consumers feel frustrated being tied to a call or computer when they need customer service.

Traditional outreach methods examined

Texting helps customers reach businesses more quickly

Has your company made it easy for customers to get ahold of someone who can assist them? Or have they had to jump through hoops, first to find out how to contact your company and then be given contact methods that aren’t that convenient? Do you make it clear on your website, product packaging and other materials how they can get in touch if a problem arises?

Making it easy for customers to receive help is an important step in resolving conflicts quickly. It can also serve to address matters privately, before a situation escalates and a customer takes their message to social media instead where your company is forced to respond publicly.

Text-enabling a company’s landline phone number

When a company text-enables their landline phone number, they’re inviting customers to reach a customer support representative using the texting app they already have on their phone. Sending a text is often the most convenient way to resolve an issue, or at least start a dialogue. The first step for a business is to adopt business texting software. The second step is to add “Text or Call” next to that phone number wherever it’s displayed to spread the word.

Two-way messaging offers a better customer experience

Conversational texting, unlike texting using short codes, offers customers the chance to have a two-way conversation with the customer service rep. Short codes often limit the style of communication to simple one-word replies and actions, such as “type C to Confirm.”

For customer support representatives, typing rather than talking can be a welcome change. And SMS texting software is easy to use. Its intuitive user interface (shown below) and encrypted messages let employees send texts from their computers and see a history of all messages sent, neatly organized under contact details. An easy customer search brings up all their info.

Texting is quick and private. Most of us carry our cell phones with us nearly wherever we go, so texting a customer service department is pretty convenient. It’s faster than visiting their website for an online chat or calling their toll-free number, especially if we’re at work or in public where we don’t necessarily want our conversation to be heard by others.

Zipwhip core software screenshot

5 ways that texting helps customers and companies connect:

1. Simple requests and easy-to-answer questions
Just because a customer is frustrated doesn’t mean their issue is complicated. There may be an easy solution or a quick fix. If the issue requires more time and attention, texting gives customers another path to choose their preferred method of communication. Some people like to call, while others would rather text so they can multitask while they wait for a response. An initial text can be used to set up a time for a phone call that is convenient for the customer or to request that documents be emailed so the issue resolution process can move forward.

2. Full transparency of the issue and the resolution
When a customer sends a text, there’s a clear record of the communication that both parties can see. If at some point another customer service rep gets involved, they can read the entire text exchange and be up to speed on the status of an issue. The rep can track the entire conversation, not just read what the original rep communicated to the customer based on notes inputted into their computer system. Likewise, the customer has the same written record, so they won’t have to explain an issue repeatedly if communicating with more than one representative—a major frustration for customers.

3. Texting integrates with CRMs and other productivity software
Texting software integrates with popular CRMs like Salesforce as well as other programs that customer service teams use in their daily workflow. Visit the Zipwhip marketplace to see if the software tools your company uses are already included in our partnership pipeline.

4. Customers use the native texting app on their cell phone
Business texting software uses the native texting app already installed on cell phones to interact with consumers. It’s not only convenient for customers, your company doesn’t need to create their own texting app in order to communicate when using two-way texting software.

5. Easy follow-up and quick satisfaction surveys
After a customer’s issue has been resolved, sending a follow-up text to ensure they’re happy with the solution can be a good idea. This can be done even if the customer support was provided over the phone. In addition, a company can send a text message with a CSAT (customer satisfaction) survey in which the customer simply needs to reply Y or N to complete.

Texting offers fast, convenient and affordable options for businesses

Customer service departments can be stressful environments, they can also be costly as customers sit on hold until a telephone representative becomes available. Those minutes tick by and the phone line costs add up, as does a customer’s frustration level as they wait for help.

Texting provides a fast, convenient and affordable way for consumers to get assistance. It also enables companies to keep costs down and stay competitive by handling issues quickly. Texting plans charge by the number of texts sent, not the amount of time it takes to send them.

For details on how business texting software works and how customer service departments can use it to improve their workflow and increase customer satisfaction, download our free e-book on The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers. It’s filled with helpful information ranging from best practices to follow, texting etiquette for staff members to use, text templates to speed up customer communication and much more.

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