Contact center leaders often only have time to think about the present: Who’s going to answer that phone? How many seats do I need to fill for tomorrow’s shifts? What am I going to say to that one angry customer who just keeps sending us emails?
There’s almost never any time to think about how you’re going to invest in the future of your contact center. I get it. But, let’s play a little game. Take 30 seconds right now to think through all the hurdles you have to jump this week. Got ‘em? Good. Now, what if you were able to connect to customers more effectively and efficiently – without adding to the crazies of your day-to-day? How many of those problems would still exist? And, how much more time would you have to dedicate to the other, bigger issues?
Enter a text messaging software.
Text messaging software lets customers connect where they want, when they want. And, even better, it gives agents flexibility, more efficiency and more autonomy. Not to mention, it makes agents more effective in solving real customer problems.
It’s What Customers Want
Each year, the CMO Council collects customer feedback from +2,000 participants to release their Critical Channels of Choice report. The survey asks consumers to identify which channels they expect and prefer a company to support and use. Recently, when survey participants were asked what communication channels they expected companies to provide, the top five channels named were:
- Email (86% of respondents)
- Telephone (65%)
- Website (53%)
- Text (52%)
- In person (48%)
That means over half of consumers want non-voice communication channels to contact businesses. In an earlier study by the CMO Council and SAP Hybris, survey participants were asked to identify the attributes of an exceptional customer experience. The top three choices were:
- “Fast response times to my needs and issues” (52% of respondents)
- “Knowledgeable staff ready to assist wherever and whenever I need it” (47%)
- “Rewards for my loyalty and recognition of how long I have been a customer” (42%)
That means, customers want experiences that save them money (77% of respondents), save them time (49%), or make their lives easier (47%). Adding text messaging software responds to these desires. Business texting software reduces time on hold, improves communication processes, and is critical for keeping with the times.
Time to Upgrade your Contact Center
It’s time for your contact center to keep up with current technology. More consumers are using email, webchat, social media, and self-service channels to reach customer service departments than ever before. Why? Because it’s way more efficient and accessible. If you’re like me, your phone is pretty much always within arms reach and you’re likely checking it any time you feel a buzz.
According to a survey from February 2021, nearly half of the respondents said on average they spent five to six hours on their phone daily, not including work-related smartphone use. It’s time for contact centers to acknowledge how customers prefer to communicate through the channels they naturally use every day, primarily through non-voice communication channels.
Ultimately, there are three main goals in updating your contact center tech:
- Efficient service and reduced cost. Shifting customer interactions to automated channels like text and chatbots make services more efficient and saves time. With fewer phone calls to handle, you need perhaps fewer agents on a shift a time, reducing costs for your contact center.
- Happier customers and employees. See better retention from customers and agents, alike. Digital solutions let you improve customer experience, reduce time on hold, and increase self-service. Tools like text messaging software help make the agents’ jobs easier.
- Driving your overall digital transformation. When your contact center is more up to date, this has a waterfall impact on all your business processes. Automation may start in your contact center, but soon, operations across the board get more efficient.
Three Reasons Your Contact Center Should Offer Texting
So, where should you be investing your new modern tech? You already know customers are more likely to choose channels that are accessible through their phones, and typically non-voice channels. According to a study by the Northridge Group, 44% of consumers consider SMS/Texting to be the easiest customer service channel. Here’s why:
1. Text Messaging Software Improves Customer Service
The greatest benefit to business texting is that it cuts way back on waiting time for customers. Customers expect fast service, and when calling, sometimes they need to wait until an agent becomes available. This results in time on hold and frustrated users. With texting, agents can manage multiple conversations, providing a faster response. No more abandoned calls if a customer has the option to text you for a quick question or request.
Texting software eliminates the barrier between mobile and web. Texting gives customers the convenience of contacting customer service from wherever they are. This mobility allows the agent to continue the conversation with the user on the go.
2. Text Messaging Software Reduces Costs
Texting is cost-effective. In a study conducted by Forrester, it’s estimated that the total cost per contact of a chat session is approximately $5, while a call can be between $6 and $25 for highly complex issues.
But, more automation further cuts costs. Automating texting services can streamline operations. For instance, you can screen users before sending them to a live agent or send customers automated reminders and order details so they don’t need to call in.
3. Text Messaging Applies to Different Customer Requests and Needs
Chances are that in your contact center, there is one type of use case that drives most of the communication. For instance, maybe customers often call in about account details, order statuses, or shipping reminders. This type of communication can be automated or solved quickly via text messaging software.
Letting the customer self-serve can reduce the time of a call. And then, if an issue is too complicated to solve over text, customers can click the phone number and call into the agent they’re texting with. .
Three Steps to Take to Transform Your Contact Center
Hopefully you’re a bit more convinced about the need for text messaging software in your contact center. It’s time to catch up with your competitors to match customer preferences. But, where can you start taking steps towards a modern contact center?
- Understand your customers’ needs. Every transformation starts with understanding your customers’ needs and preferences. Talk with your customers, send out surveys, and get their opinions on what they want. Every customer base is unique, so this knowledge can help you understand how to improve the customer experience and which aspects of the communication process can be optimized to fit your particular group of customers.
- Identify why your customers reach out to you. Once you know your customers, it’s important to identify and prioritize the customer issues and questions that most frequently arise. Define what’s the best way to handle communication for each use case. Oftentimes, much of your troubleshooting can be handled at first via text and escalated if it is more complicated.
- Automate the contact center. Automation enables customers to self-service, streamlines operations, and improves process efficiency. Text messaging software allows users to quickly send documents, photos, and videos. Consider how texting can smooth over workflows, where it can be automated, and how you can build it into your customer experience.