As we head into 2019, what are your plans to enhance your customer experience and differentiate yourself from the competition?
I’m sure you already know the importance of providing a better customer experience, but did you know that 84% of organizations working to improve CX report an increase in revenue while 79% report a cost savings? (Dimension Data)
If you focus on delivering better experiences through more efficient technology and processes, it can INCREASE REVENUE and DECREASE COSTS.
In this article, I will focus on text messaging as a way to improve your customer experience as it can play an important role in your CX strategy. The challenges that I will outline are the most common pain points we hear from businesses every day so I wanted to show you how leveraging a business text messaging software can solve those challenges and delight customers. Let’s get into it.
Here are five signs your business should consider investing in text messaging software in 2019.
1) Customers aren’t answering your emails or returning your calls
If you’re playing phone tag with your customers in 2018, it’s time to stop. We are all consumers and have a million things going on each day, and it’s rare that we have time to sit down and have a phone conversation with customer service. I personally don’t like it because it seems like every time I call customer service, there is a “please hold” period followed by several “let me connect you with another agent that can help” when all I wanted to know was how to return a product.
I have to admit, I like communicating via emails, but most of the time it takes too long for customer service to get back to me, and sometimes not at all.
Don’t believe me? One of the most surprising stats I read this year was “New Study: 62% of Companies Ignore Customer Service Emails” (Superoffice)
Along with that shocking stat, 90% DID NOT send a confirmation email stating that the message had been received, 97% DID NOT follow up to see if the customer was satisfied by the response, and the average response rate was 12 hours and 10 minutes!
The common trends between those companies that didn’t respond are that they are typically smaller businesses that have limited contact methods and never sent a confirmation email.
Enter text messaging. Emails will not be going away anytime soon, but texting can be a great supplement to your phone call and emails.
There’s no denying that we now live in a world of instant gratification. Texting has always been the channel for people to connect for quick conversations and responses. By using a business text messaging software, businesses can have real-time conversations with customers just as they would with friends.
Due to its immediacy, you can expect a customer to get a response within a couple of minutes, instead of hours or days.
From our perspective, we usually see a response to a customer via text within a minute or two. But it’s important to know that the software itself can only be as good as the employees using it and the processes put around text communication.
When you decide to add another channel for customer communication like texting, be sure to plan out your strategy with who is responding and when so there is a sense of accountability and ensure it’s actually providing value to your customers.
Read our Business Texting eBook to learn more about creating a text communication strategy.
2) You’re missing an opportunity to automate responses to common questions, frustrating your customers with slow response times
Speaking of processes, this is another major hindrance for businesses to improve their customer experience. Outdated processes and non-integrated systems are two of the main issues that cause delays and errors, which turn into frustrated customers.
I’m a believer that most of customer service should be handled by a human that understands your issues and emotions, but there are times where automation can support communication in a good way.
Business texting software allows you to immediately automate responses for simple questions like “business holiday hours” or “specials of the month” without having to repeat the same answer over and over again. This frees up your staff to tend to more personal and crucial issues whether on the phone, email or text.
Additionally, by integrating a business texting software into your CRM or other internal systems, you can leverage useful data to automate messages to customers.
For example, our hotel customers send out automated “welcome messages” to guests based on their check-in date stored in the property management system to let them know they can text them for whatever they need as well as directions to the hotel or activities nearby. This makes guests feel special and removes any hassle or inconvenience from their end to ask for something.
In the service industry, businesses are using texting to automate appointment reminders, notifications, and other types of alerts. That’s one step closer to providing that immediate, personalized service that customers love.
3) You’re not personalizing your communications to your customers, and their specific needs
Besides convenience, your customers want personalized experiences.
According to Salesforce, by 2020, 51% of consumers expect that companies will anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they make contact.
However, this is easier said than done.
When it comes to personalization, time is of the essence. Real-time that is.
77% of marketers say real-time personalization is crucial; however, 60% report it’s a challenge to execute. (Adobe)
There is a lot more that goes into personalization than you may realize. Having worked at an eCommerce personalization company, there are several common ways businesses personalize customer experiences like emails, website, mobile app, and even receipts. These are usually recommended content or products based on what the customer bought or viewed on the website.
Texting can be another layer to your personalization efforts, and it’s as real-time as it gets.
Going back to the previous point of integrating systems to improve processes, the same goes for personalization.
You can’t personalize if you don’t know who the person is. It’s that simple. What’s great about a business texting software is its ability to integrate with various customer relationship management systems (CRM) and leverage that data to send personalized messages like the example I discussed with reminder messages based on a customer’s appointment date stored in the CRM.
Another example of text message personalization again comes from the hotel industry. By integrating guest data into the texting software, hotels are sending personalized offers to guests in real-time to increase revenue.
If a guest is travelling with kids, the hotel will send a list of kid-friendly activities at the hotel or if a guest is on a honeymoon, they will send a text message offering a special on couples massage and a romantic dinner. These are the types of experiences that customers love because it doesn’t feel like selling at all, but a way to enhance their experience with relevant recommendations.
Think about how you can adopt this strategy for your customers.
4) You’re missing an opportunity to build a loyalty-inducing relationship with your customers
Personalization is a great way to help build brand loyalty and retention. By personalizing the customer experience, it shows that you remember them and take the time to engage and provide value, and not just sell products. It’s all about the relationship building similar to personal friendships.
Why should you care about building a relationship with your customers?
Let’s be honest, your customers are not sitting around thinking about your brand or product each and every day, but you should be engaging them from time to time with personalized messages whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or other special holidays, take the time to send your customers a quick text message thanking them for their business.
With a text messaging software, these types of messages can be automated based on the information you have about your customer or by scheduling messages on special holidays.
When your friend has a quick question, what do they do? They most likely will send you a text message, right? Why not extend that courtesy to your customers and let them text you for customer service issues? This is another way to build loyalty because customers can count on you to respond quickly if they have a question.
Another way to keep customers in the know is by sending relevant content via text. For example, if there is recent news that relates to your business or product, why not send your customers a text message to let them know? Keep in mind that it should be hyper relevant and educational so customers don’t get annoyed and opt out.
5) Email is a high effort, low yield way to capture customer feedback
“Our customers usually ignore our email surveys” – Almost every business says when it comes to getting feedback from customers.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, getting customer feedback can be challenging, but crucial when it comes to improving your product, brand, and even customer loyalty.
With email open rates at 20% vs. text message open rates at 98%, it’s no surprise that texting creates a sense of urgency and importance that emails fail to deliver.
If you think about it, it’s all about reducing customer effort. The fewer steps your customers have to take to give you feedback, the more likely they will respond.
To put it in a real-world perspective, imagine you just stayed at a hotel or dined at a restaurant. Here’s how the experience compares when the business sends you a survey via email vs. text message.
Email Survey: You may not get the email right away and it’s lost forever. But let’s say you did receive the email. You would have to click on the email, go to a survey page, enter all your personal information, then leave some ratings and a comment, most likely won’t get a response.
Text Message Survey: You get an instant notification on your phone. You open it and see the survey right away. Since the business knows who you are already, you can simply respond with a rating and additional comments.
Here’s the difference. Since texting creates a two-way conversation, you may immediately get a response from the business thanking you or try to resolve any issues you had with your experience. This cannot be done with emails, maybe a phone call, but not likely.
The Bottom Line
Improving your customer experience is not a single strategy. It involves creating enhanced experiences throughout the customer journey that provide convenience & immediacy, remove friction and provide value for each individual.
As I have outlined in this article, implementing a text messaging software for your business can be valuable in helping you improve, but as I mentioned before, you must have a solid strategy for implementing a texting service for your customers, otherwise, you will simply annoy or frustrate your customers.
If you would like to learn more about any of the examples discussed in this article, SCHEDULE A ONE-ON-ONE STRATEGY SESSION and get a free trial of Zingle.
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