Is Your Brand Friendly Enough to Text?
Every week, the average consumer sends hundreds of text messages to friends, family, and increasingly, to brands.
Text messaging offers what most customers want from support: direct, immediate, and personal responses. A Twilio poll found that 89% of consumers want to text with businesses and yet as big brands jump on this trend, they risk turning customers off.
Texting is a highly personal medium. If brands want to join consumers’ inner circles and not annoy them with misplaced texts, agents need to act like their friends would.
Here are 4 tips for text messaging support:
- Respond in real-time
Because most people expect text conversations to be immediate, the potential for positive engagement is high. Ninety percent of consumers read new messages within three minutes reports VentureBeat.
To maintain a text-friendly relationship agents must prove their reliability with real-time replies. If your agents can consistently respond to customers as quickly as their friends do, they’ll build trust. Fast responses will also drive more sales. The easier it is for interested leads to get quick answers, the more likely they are to convert.
- Send personal alerts and updates
The average consumer is almost never without their phone and by extension, text messaging. Eighty-seven percent of millennials keep their phones close by at all times, and 97% of smartphone users access their text messages at least once per day.
Consumers use these texts to coordinate their lives, schedule meet-ups, and keep conversations going. From businesses, they expect similar messages: texts for scheduling appointments, real-time updates, reservation and order confirmations, delivery notices, and more.
If agents have an update for the customer that can fit into 160 characters, text messaging is a great channel for it.
- Streamline and Personalize
A one-size-fits-all approach is no way to treat a friend, especially when it comes to texting. Seventy-five percent of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that recognize them as individuals, according to IBM.
Customer engagement platforms can help schedule outbound messages, route inbound ones, and allow agents to appear to be everywhere at once. Chatbots can also help deflect routine inquiries that don’t require an agent’s attention, freeing them to pour even more personalization into the text messaging conversations that need it.
And to ensure that agents immediately understand the customer’s entire account history, customer care solutions can compile data to arm agents with a 360-degree view of the customer.
- Know when to change channels
If a friend were going through a crisis, you wouldn’t comfort them by text – it might seem callous. For the same reason, complex technical issues and emotionally-charged conversations are best left to other channels.
Whether customers or agents have a long story to tell or the customer demands to speak to a person, your team must understand the limitations of text. Create clear escalation paths in your support handbook so agents know when to switch channels.
Text support works best when brands treat customers with the same speed and sensitivity as they would friends. When they get it right, customers are delighted and your brand earns a shot at joining their trusted inner circle.
For more tips on how to engage with your mobile consumers, check out The Roadmap to a Better Mobile Customer Experience.