SMS (Text Message) Customer Service: Benefits & How to Implement

With customers choosing to spend a lot of time on their phones, should businesses be taking advantage of this by introducing SMS communication in their customer service?

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In today’s world, people are increasingly reliant on their smartphones to stay connected and engaged with what’s going on around them. Customers are also using their phones more often to browse and purchase their favourite products and services. Due to the growing trend of using portable devices instead of larger ones like laptops and computers, businesses could benefit by incorporating SMS communication in their customer service strategy.

If your business is thinking about implementing SMS communication for customer service, use our top tips to help you make an informed decision.

What is SMS Customer Service?

What is CMS customer service?

When you need to provide short-form customer service, which channel do you usually turn to? SMS customer service provides a modern alternative to quicker communication channels like email and phone calls.

SMS customer service is any support or assistance provided to customers via text messages. This type of customer support can range from basic tasks like answering questions and providing information, to providing more complex and in-depth guidance on resolving issues.

Benefits of SMS Customer Service

Businesses and customers can benefit greatly from using SMS customer service. Discover eight of the biggest benefits of this type of communication below.

1.     Time Efficiency

A text can get the message across quickly and concisely. Rather than torturing your staff and customers with the back-and-forth that sometimes occurs with email correspondence or leaving them to deal with long wait times for a phone call, texts can save time for both parties. Plus, the more customers you can reach out to via text, the lower your call volume will be and the happier your customers will be with your service.

2.     Accessibility

Requiring users to download an app or access the internet to receive support can create unnecessary barriers. SMS communication, on the other hand, is a highly accessible option for customers with limited mobile device features. So while it’s technically a more modern method, it can still be easily accessed by everyone, regardless of their tech-savviness.

3.     Real-time

Customer expectations are high when it comes to customer care, which is why being able to provide real-time updates, support and information is so crucial. The instantaneous nature of SMS means that customers can receive quick real-time support whenever they need it.

4.     Reliability

Texts are sent over a cellular connection, which is far more reliable than internet connectivity at times. Customers can rely on the right information being relayed to them at the right time, rather than being tethered to less reliable communication methods like emails or push notifications.

5.     Convenience

The flexibility of text messaging can add another layer of convenience for customer service representatives and customers. PDFs, links, photos and more can all be sent through to speed up conversations and provide the best support.

6.     Scalability

Regardless of whether your current customer base prefers to receive customer support over the phone or via email, all businesses can scale their SMS support depending on their needs. The availability of automation allows businesses to upscale their customer support via text message with little effort from their agents. Whether you choose to automate order confirmations or delivery updates, customers can get the necessary information and updates automatically with just the push of one button.

7.     Personalisation opportunities

Businesses are always looking for new ways to add a personal touch, and including SMS customer support in your strategy is a great way to achieve this. SMS customer service software can load templates with opportunities to include order numbers and other personal information that lets the customer know that this message is for them specifically.

8.     Customer Preferences

Some customers will have a preferred method of communication. The more channels your business offers them, the more choices they have and the more likely you are to meet their expectations – it’s really that simple.

Text Message Customer Service Best Practice Tips

Looking to offer SMS customer service as part of your strategy? Our tips below can help you get started on the right foot.

Personalise the SMS messages

The more personal you can get, the better. In today’s world, scam texts are everywhere, and customers will just ignore the message if they think it could be fake. By using their name or citing their order number in the text, you’re confirming that they can trust it.

Being more personal in sales and marketing texts can also help the customer feel valued, rather than just being made to feel like they’re a number to your business. Tailoring the texts to purchases they’ve previously made or products and services they’ve shown interest in will show the customer that you’re paying attention. This way, the texts are far more likely to be a successful marketing tool.

Allow for two-way messaging and real-time conversations

Two-way SMS lets customers reach up with queries and issues that your team or chatbots can view and respond to. If you don’t implement two-way messaging, your customers won’t be able to reach out through this channel, which means that interactions can’t take place and they might need to find another way to communicate with you.

Use bots for some responses

Implementing chatbots for certain situations can work well. For example, you can program these in a similar way to how you would create an FAQ page. This way, when customers ask commonly asked questions, the chatbots can take over and answer the questions with the right information, without your agents needing to spend time on these tasks.

Gather customer feedback via SMS

In today’s competitive business climate, gathering feedback from customers is crucial for companies who want to improve their products and services. But persuading customers to take time out of their day to give feedback can sometimes be tricky.

One effective way of doing this is via SMS, which allows businesses to send polls and surveys directly to their customers’ mobile devices. By collecting quick and simple feedback in real time, companies can gain valuable insights that can inform future decision-making and help them stay ahead of the competition.

Use as part of an omnichannel strategy

Offering your communication in siloes is less efficient because it means that conversations can’t be carried across different channels and information can be lost along the way. So if you’re planning to implement SMS customer service, you should also consider doing this as part of an omnichannel strategy.

Omnichannel can’t be ignored if you want to maintain visibility and accessibility for your customers.

Don’t pester your customers

With such a short method of communication, it’s easy to bombard your customers with too many messages accidentally. This can lead to disengagement, dissatisfaction and eventually, the loss of customers. Be mindful of the frequency and relevance of any messages to customers and try to strike a balance between keeping customers informed and being careful not to overwhelm them with excessive communication.

Train your agents on using SMS for customer service

It’s crucial that your agents and support staff have a complete understanding of how and when to use their new software. Businesses should include a training plan in the implementation process to ensure that everyone comprehends how the software will integrate into their roles. This can help to avoid any confusion or mistakes during usage.

Remain professional

Even though it’s a text, professionalism should never be compromised. Stick to your brand’s tone of voice but keep the formality of the communication. Customers are more likely to trust the information they’re receiving and will feel like they can continue using this more convenient channel.

Monitor performance

If you want to boost buy-in for your stakeholders and employees, you’ll need to be prepared to show them that SMS customer service is performing well for your business. Monitor how often customers are using it, their reasons for choosing this channel and the satisfaction they’re getting from it. This can help inform further decisions about whether to scale the channel up or down.

Choosing a Customer Service SMS Software: Key Things to Consider

choosing SMS software

The software you choose should work well for both your business and your overall customer service strategy.

Does the SMS customer service software offer the following:

  • Two-way texting
  • Scheduled messaging
  • Auto-replies and automation
  • Templates
  • Workflows
  • Multimedia messaging (MMS)
  • Conversation history
  • Integration
  • Analytics

Determine the features that are most important to your business and your current customer service strategy, and check that these are available with the software you choose.

WhatsApp is a popular messaging app powered by Facebook that businesses are increasingly using to provide instant messaging customer service. It can be easily integrated with your helpdesk software and offers many useful features, such as two-way messaging, scheduling, and messaging templates, as well as easy-to-access analytics opportunities. Since millions of smartphone users already have the application downloaded, it makes sense to use it for your customer service. At Gnatta, we can help businesses integrate WhatsApp messaging and SMS into their customer service operations.

SMS Templates for Customer Service

Use our SMS examples below as a base to build your own SMS messaging complete with your brand tone of voice.

Example SMS: Reminders
Example SMS:

How to Implement SMS Into Your Customer Service Strategy

Adding SMS into your customer service strategy can be simple as long as you know what you want from it. If you know you’ll be using the software to provide booking confirmations and reminders, you’ll need to check that it can handle these tasks. The next thing to do is determine how often you’ll be using the channel so that the workflows can be implemented.

The final stage to remember for a seamless implementation is to train your staff on the software. They need to know how it operates, how they’ll be using it and any changes they’ll need to make to their communication style.

At Gnatta, we offer full SMS functionality as part of our communication packages for businesses across all industries. Check out our Telephony and SMS page to learn more.

Whether you’re looking to reduce call volumes or need to add a more convenient channel to your customer service strategy, we’re confident that this comprehensive guide to SMS customer service will be a useful resource.

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