The average employee turnover in contact centers reached a record high in 2022 at 38%. Call center managers are constantly on the hunt for new hires and ways to retain current staff.

For employees who do stay, higher call volumes and customer demand add even more work to their plate. Plus, the pressure to meet and exceed KPIs is higher than ever, even with limited resources.

But all hope is not lost! New technologies, including AI, offer exciting ways to lower call volumes, empower agents, and increase resolution times—all over SMS/MMS.

Text support is emerging as a versatile, cost-effective way to support multiple customers at once and resolve issues faster and more accurately.

To make the most of this technology, follow these texting best practices to manage contact center call volume:

#1. Create Awareness About Texting

Most people prefer to interact with businesses via text, rather than calls or emails. The only problem is, customers may not realize they can text you. So, when customers call, let them know that they can text you. Upload a sound clip during the call flow to direct them towards text.

Just informing customers about texting capabilities won’t reduce the volume of customer interactions, but it does lay the groundwork for other best practices that do.

#2. Use Text as an IVR to Deflect Calls

Traditionally, contact centers set up their IVRs (interactive voice response system) so that callers can get information they need without connecting to an agent. 

The problem is, because traditional call deflection relies on voice, its effectiveness depends on call quality. Plus, customers often forget the information they ask for and have no way to reference it again. Ultimately, this risks a poor customer experience.

Embedding texting inside your support funnel solves these issues. Automated triggers send prompt and clear information without involving an agent. Best of all, customers can refer back to past text messages for information, rather than repeatedly calling.

#3. Take Advantage of AI

Contact centers can use AI tools to deflect frequently asked questions from their team, freeing agents to focus on more nuanced issues. 

A great example of AI tools for contact centers is auto replies. Auto replies recognize trigger phrases and respond on your agent’s behalf. Advanced contact center AI tools pull the correct answers straight from your documentation, ensuring it’s as accurate as possible.

Plus, auto replies can run 24/7, so even if agents are unavailable, customers always have support.

#4. Enable Simultaneous Text Interactions

Unlike voice, texting allows agents to support multiple customers at the same time. Based on Textel’s research, four conversations per agent is the optimal amount. 

Just by incorporating text capabilities, you are already resolving 4x more tickets than over voice!

#5. Use Canned Text Responses

So you’ve moved your customers to text — but their issues are too nuanced for deflection, and your agents are juggling multiple conversations at once. Canned text responses are the perfect solution.

Just like with live web chat, canned text responses are preset responses that agents can use to respond quickly. They’re a great way to keep the conversation moving. 

The key is to work with your agents to determine the most common phrases and questions, then come up with approved responses. Organizing the responses is equally important, so that agents can easily find and use the right one.

#6. Use Text as a Chatbot

Like AI, automation is revolutionizing the way we use technology to work. For example, texts can gather information that agents used to collect over the phone with guided conversations. Robust integrations with your CRM and helpdesk can automatically move this data to back-end systems, so agents don’t have to manually update records. 

Thanks to automation, text support can even qualify customers before they’re routed to a live agent by using information gathered through conversations and forms. Ultimately, text messaging support leads to a smoother, faster, and more accurate support experience for both agents and customers.

#7. Simplify Your Tech Stack

Training agents to support customers via text is much easier if they can use the same tools they’re already using. Textel works with leading contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions, like NICE and Genesys, to make text support more seamless and effective than ever. 

With rising costs, turnover, and demand, it’s more important than ever that contact centers manage call volume to stay afloat. If you follow these best practices, SMS support has the potential to elevate your strategy and increase revenue.

If you’re looking for an AI-driven SMS solution, Textel may be able to help. Click to learn more about how we help you achieve real results.