Every customer support team has its goals: speed up response times, make it easy for customers to reach you, create a customer-centric culture. Recently for many brands, they’re working to reach these goals by adding SMS messaging to their omnichannel experience. Why? Because our culture is all about texting. With nearly 8.5 billion text messages sent in the US every day, customers find SMS messaging faster and more flexible than other forms of customer support.
But how do we know if texting really adds value?
Let me give an illustration: My husband and I live in an old house. It’s got a lot of quirks — squeaky floors, old plumbing, doors that don’t seem to fit quite right. We can live with a lot of it, but we also want to improve the value of our home. With every update we make, we want to make sure that the money we’re putting in gives us value and to the house as a financial investment. We know we can’t put bandaids on big house issues — like a leaky faucet — and expect much of an investment return. The same goes for your business.
When your team invests in a piece of new tech, it can feel like a risk. You have problems to address in your company, and you want to really know that your investment is paying off and actually healing those problems. The only way to do so is with tracking effective metrics. How do you know that SMS messaging is adding value to your brand?
To help, we’ve gathered 5 metrics that are worth watching to track success in your customer service and improve your customer experience.
5 Metrics to Track the Value of SMS Messaging
1. Average Handle Times (AHT)
I’m sorry to tell ya. When your customers reach out to you, they’re not looking to strike up a long deep conversation. At least, not typically.
Customers want efficiency. They want their issue resolved or their questions answered as promptly as possible. Overall, adding SMS messaging boosts efficiency in your customer support team. To see if this is a reality, track the AHT of your customer interactions.
Average handle time refers to the time a customer spends with a customer support agent from the beginning of the interaction until its resolution. On a traditional channel, like by phone, the average handle time can be really long depending on call volume and the complexity of a customer problem. By phone, only one agent can help one customer at a time.
But when you add SMS messaging, you make it possible for agents to help multiple customers simultaneously. And, since one agent could carry on 4-5 text threads with customers at the same time, it’s possible to lower your average handle time significantly. Track AHT to see the impact.
2. Average Hold Time
I will pick any other channel of communication to reach a company before I call them. Why? Because who has time for that?! Calling a business is time consuming. And most customers really don’t want to take that time out of their day to wait on hold. When you make customers sit on hold to talk to you, it negatively affects their customer experience.
According to HubSpot, around 33% of consumers feel the most frustrated when they’re placed on hold. Another 60% say that being put on hold is the most annoying aspect of the customer service experience. You don’t want your brand to be “annoying.” So what if you give your customers another option?
With SMS messaging, customers with quick questions or issues can avoid the dreaded hold time altogether. Instead, they can shoot your customer support team a text to reach you directly. Or to help customers hop out of the call queue, deflect calls to text through your IVR menu. Fewer customers in the call queue helps to lower your average hold time, giving more time back to those customers who need the phone support and giving more immediate help to those customers with simpler questions and issues.
3. Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
Speed of service isn’t everything as it doesn’t always give room for quality. So while you don’t want speed to be the sole focus in your contact center, it is a good measurement of efficiency. The average speed of your customer service agents’ answer to a customer measures both your team’s overall performance and accessibility.
The average speed of answer industry standard is generally 28 seconds. Often, a longer ASA translates directly to worse customer satisfaction and increased agent burnout. But with SMS messaging, your team can answer questions faster.
A texting conversation allows your agents to respond to a customer and experience a bit of lag between responses. This makes it possible for customers to know they’re getting help faster, and gives agents the ability to juggle multiple customers at once. Plus, with the help of automation and bots, you can deliver an immediate response to customers with help on the way without interrupting their day, lowering your average speed of answer.
4. Issue Resolution
Last week, I had an issue with a postal delivery. In attempting to reach out to the postal service, I sat through a confusing and frustrating IVR menu that offered no option that fit my situation. It’s been 3 days since I’ve heard from the support team by email, I’ve left a couple voicemails at my nearest local post office, and still my issue is not resolved. Needless to say, I’ve had a pretty lousy customer experience.
Issue resolution is really the goal of good customer support, right? If you want to improve your CX, you need to improve your issue resolution rates. SMS messaging helps you do that.
Texting helps your team prioritize issues so you can help more customers than you would by phone. Communicate with customers before they even need to reach you about billing reminders, scheduled appointments, and more. Or, reach issue resolution faster with MMS messaging. Use different forms of media, like photos or how-to videos, to get customers help without needing to have a drawn out or convoluted phone call. Track issue resolution to ensure your customers are truly getting the help they need.
5. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Ultimately, all these metrics are aimed towards the same goal — customer happiness. To make sure that your SMS messaging platform is adding value, track your customers’ satisfaction with your service. Research suggests that 89% of customers will make an additional purchase after a positive customer experience.
To know if your customers are satisfied with your CX, track CSAT. SMS messaging ideally lets your team offer faster, more effective, and more proactive customer service. Send out surveys and watch your CSAT score to make sure this improvement is really happening in your contact center.