What would your business model look like if you put all your focus on what your customers want? This question may put a pit in your stomach. What about this quarter’s profits? How about those new sales leads? What about staying faithful to the product roadmap? Don’t get me wrong — those goals matter. But the data shows that in order to be successful in all your goals, customer experience has to be the focus of your brand. Adding an SMS online platform directly supports this focus.

Salesforce found that as many as 66% of customers expect companies to understand and anticipate their needs. When customers are the focus, your other goals will follow. In fact, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that aren’t. And it’s become clear in recent years that customers want flexibility, efficiency, convenience, and personalization. 

Hmm…sounds familiar. 

SMS online texting offers each of these things. The average American spends five hours per day on their cell phone. And, 95% of text messages are read and responded to within 3 minutes of being received. Texting lets you reach customers on their time. And because SMS texting is a much more personal form of communication when compared to email or phone calls, it gives you a unique opportunity to build relationships with customers. 

>> Read Next: 5 Ways Business Text Messaging Supports Your Goals for a Better Customer Experience

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of online SMS features that further your customer-centric goals and support your employees. Here’s what to look for in a tool that enables SMS online for a better customer experience:


1. Personalization

Personalization matters more than ever in the modern market. McKinsey & Co. has found that companies that excel at personalization generate 40% more revenue than the average players. Customers want to feel known. And texting offers this uniquely personal form of communication. Customers don’t give out their phone numbers to just anyone. If you’ve been given the go ahead to text a customer, offer the most personal messaging possible.

Look for an SMS online tool that makes personalization easy for your team. Use the information from your CRM and integrate those personal details into the messages you send. Some SMS tools provide custom fields so your agents can insert names or other personalized details dynamically. That way, your customers view your texts as personal.

2. IVR Deflection:

There are plenty of times that customers call in with a fairly simple question. For example, maybe a customer calls into your salon just to find out their appointment time. But, that customer with the simple request gets stuck in the same call queue as the customers who have a really complicated issue to resolve. And getting stuck on hold kills a customer experience faster than maybe anything else. 

But, with IVR deflection, move the customers who are trapped in IVR purgatory to your online SMS tool. Customers can request a text and hop off the call. Then, agents can start a two-way conversation with customers to pass along appointment details, answer simple questions, share self-service tools, etc. 

3. Opt-in and Opt-out management:

Perhaps what’s most daunting about adding SMS online is staying compliant. To stay compliant according to TCPA standards, you must get permission from customers before sending them any messages to their phone. This means you can’t message someone until they’ve opted into receiving messages and you can’t message someone who’s opted-out. 

Opt-in and opt-out management can be a headache. Manually tracking of every opted in or out contact is a logistical nightmare. But with the right SMS online platform, you can use a tool to manage your opt-ins and opt-outs for you. No more adding or deleting from a contact list or spreadsheet. With opt-in management, any time a customer requests to hear from you or sends a “STOP” message to opt-out, your contact list automatically adjusts, keeping your team free of stress and your customers’ privacy protected.

>> Read Next: 10 Simple Business Texting Features That Make a Big Impact

4. Reporting and Analytics:

How can you manage your customer experience if you aren’t tracking your agents’ performance? Metrics are a fundamental part of professional development for your employees and integral to growing a solid support staff. To support your efforts, find an online SMS platform that offers a robust set of reporting and analytic tools. 

For a successful customer experience, you want to know what your open rate is. You need to see how quickly agents are responding to customers. And, you want to ensure that your issue resolution is high. Use reporting and analytics to track metrics and to be sure your team is keeping customers happy. 

5. Automation:

When you pair automation alongside online SMS, you can manage customer queries without getting agents involved. This leaves more time for agents to handle complicated issues with customers on other channels, lowering your average hold time and boosting issue resolution. Find a platform that helps you automate customer support.

How is automation helpful for your customer experience? Let me give you a couple examples. Feedback from customers is critical for customer experience success. So to improve your customer feedback loop, automate a message with a few survey questions to send after an agent concludes a customer conversation. 

Or, maybe you want to send a shipping update to a few customers. Set up an automation to send an update 24 hours before their package arrives. With intentional automation, you’re using your employees’ time to the fullest and you’re supporting your customers to have the best experience. 

To continue your search for new SMS online technology and deliver high quality customer service, read up on these additional tips to commit to the right text messaging service for your team.