Digital & Social Media

Incorporating Texts into Your Customer Service Plan

Texting may be the next customer service channel your company should adopt.

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Digiday recently reported that the company Overstock.com had achieved a staggering 98% open rate for its texts. In an environment where timing is of the essence and customers expect real-time service, adding text-based support to your customer service strategy provides another way for your team to deliver an agile, customer-centric experience. Yet introducing text messaging to your customer service department won’t necessarily be an automatic success. Here’s how to roll it out and make the most of this mobile-friendly customer service approach.

Let customers know: While a wider range of organizations have adopted social media-based customer service, companies providing support via text messaging are still in the minority. Educate your customers, and let them know you have introduced the service. Provide simple tips on how to make it work—and let customers know what kinds of requests you can most easily serve through the support channel.
Train your team: When introducing a new customer support channel, companies can capture maximum return on investment (ROI) by training their teams on the particular ins and outs of this approach. Providing support via text messaging requires a unique style, from being aware of character limitations to being ready to engage in more of a back-and-forth dialogue that is natural when texting. Train your team on customer expectations, and help them adapt to this new customer service channel.

Set key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure success: If you’re ready to be a pioneer in bringing text-based customer support to your audience, make sure it’s a success. Set KPIs before the program starts, and measure them over time for long-term success. For example, what percentage of your audience needs to embrace text-based customer support in order for it to be feasible? What do industry best practices say about time to resolve an individual request? Once you’ve defined what KPIs are right for you, set up a schedule to evaluate the efficacy of this model for your business on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

Know when to escalate: A final note on text-based customer service—it’s not always the best modality for resolving complex queries. Companies that successfully embrace it know when to escalate their issues, refer customers to a manager, or ask them to e-mail more details or call a customer service center. Training your team on when to escalate complaints is essential to the success of introducing this support channel.

Given how connected customers are to their phones, mobile-based texting provides a fast and easy way to provide customer support. However, text-based support may be different from other approaches, and it’s important to embrace the planning and training needed to make it a success.