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Are Customers Text Messaging Your Call Center?

No matter your business, if you have customers that need to get in contact with you, you better have channels available for them to do so; this includes text messaging. A recent article by ICMI discusses the many benefits of adding text messaging to your contact center solutions. A summary of that article is below:

According to a recent Forester and Oracle report, the cost of the average phone call is increasing each year, up to $6 – 20 per call in 2012. While automated IVR solutions can significantly lower that cost, 93% of them actually decrease customer satisfaction. Thus it is no surprise that many businesses are forsaking the billion-dollar “phone only” strategy and looking to other channels to help solve customer service needs. Forester reports that the last three years has seen a 12% rise in web self-service, a 24% rise in web chat usage and a 25% increase in community-driven customer support. Pivot strategies are becoming the key to seeing ROI from customer service investments, as many organizations have begun guiding customers to different channels based on the complexity and urgency of their needs.

Text Messaging is Being Overlooked

According to Pew Research, text messaging is the most common function currently performed on phones, outranking even voice calls. Another study shows that young adults not only prefer text messaging over voice, they would also prefer to text message companies to resolve simple customer service issues. Despite this, many companies are slow to see the solution “texting a company” can offer.

Here’s a common scenario: a customer needs to reset her password or check on her account, but she’s in line at a crowded restaurant or walking along a busy street. The robot IVR can’t understand her verbal commands with all the background noise, and she doesn’t want to search for and download an app just for this rare situation. With text messaging, voice recognition and app dependency becomes unnecessary, allowing the customer to easily resolve her issue either via automation or by connecting her texts to a web chat session with a live agent.

A text-messaging channel allows for automated interactions, providing some of the same self-service solutions that IVR systems, web sites, and mobile apps provide, as well as one-on-one support with a customer support representative. Many solutions also allow for integrations with existing systems, such as hooking live text-to-chat into established agent chat tools or pulling customer data from the company’s records for self-service issues.

Innovative organizations are already seeing the value in “texting” customer support. Others have found that adding a menu option to their IVR for switching a voice call to text (“press * to continue this call in SMS”) has improved conversion rates by as much as 25%. Those customers that continue on to a text-to-chat interaction help bring the cost for the company down to $1-4 per session.

Companies looking to improve their service options in the following year need to consider seriously the benefits of adding text messaging as a channel. Customers are asking for it, and solutions are available to integrate it easily into a company’s established infrastructure. Not only do early-adopters differentiate themselves in a saturated market, but they maximize the ROI of their customer service investment. Text messaging is poised to explode as the channel of choice between customers and businesses. Companies shouldn’t overlook it, as their competitors won’t.

 

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