When your customers feel appreciated, your company reaps real, measurable growth. Growth like a boost to revenue for one. The payoffs for valued, great experiences are tangible. In fact, when you provide stellar CX, customers are willing to pay 16% more on your products and services. And they will be more loyal to you.
What can customer loyalty really do for you?
Retain customers. Repeat customers typically spend more than new customers. They already trust your business and its products or services.
The strategy is simple. To retain customers, spark a relationship. And do that by building experiences that create an emotional connection with your customers. But where do you start? Create a strategy for texting online. As many as 89% of consumers say they prefer texting with businesses over any other mode of communication. So it’s time to build out a strategy to drive your customer loyalty. And make some cash along the way.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Building Out a Strategy for Texting Online to Drive Customer Loyalty (and Revenue)
Step 1: Build Your Opt-in List
To build a relationship with your customers, you have to know who your customers are. Before you can text your customers, get permission to contact them and build an opt-in list. Opt-in lists establish a list of customers who have agreed to receive communications from you. They’ve already signaled that they want to be loyal to your brand. They make it easier for you to know your audience and target personalized content to fit their tastes.
To create your opt-in list, promote opportunities to sign up for texts in their order detail email or during the checkout process. Provide an online form for customers to sign up for emails and texts from your brand. And consider incentivizing customers to sign up with a coupon or exclusive deal. Make your texting opt-in like joining a loyalty club to engage with and create a stronger bond with your customers.
Step 2: Keep your Audience Engaged with Texting Online
After you have your opt-in list, you have to keep that audience engaged in order to retain them. Texting online gives your business a perfect channel to not only acquire customers but to retain them. Harvard Business Review knows that it is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep a current customer. So, what touchpoints are you using to keep your customers close?
Here are some ideas that not only engage your customers, but also increase profit:
Gift your customers right off the bat. Welcome new subscribers with a discount coupon to use in their first 30 days.
Send customers in your opt-in list triggered messages about product updates, exclusive offers, or upcoming deals. Be cautious, though, about not sending these so frequently that they get annoying.
Give customers reasons to make repeat purchases by creating a point system and rewards. Just like with a credit card program, reward the more loyal customers with a discount after reaching a set point number or give them free shipping after spending a certain amount of money.
Send relevant content that interests your customers. Use MMS messaging to send interesting videos or create a newsletter with helpful product info.
Reportedly, customers like to be part of online texting loyalty programs. As much as 90% of participants in an SMS loyalty program have gained value from being a member. With special loyalty rewards and perks for signing up for SMS, your brand can give members the VIP treatment they expect.
Step 3: Customize and Personalize your Content
Personalization increases customer engagement and revenue. According to CMSWire, Amazon gets 30% of its revenue just from personalized recommendations. Today, personalized recommendations are almost as expected from brands as toilet paper is to bathrooms.
Considering that SMS has a 98% open rate compared to email marketing, texting online gives you a direct way to deliver a personalized experience with the guarantee that your customers will see your messaging.
Send texts that are personalized and ultra-relevant to your customers. Include their name in texts to make them feel known. Keep track of important dates — like their birthday or anniversaries — to send them exclusive offers on those days. Use feedback surveys and track customer purchases to make purchase recommendations or notify customers of specific sales that would pique their interest.
When you give customers a personalized experience, you’re more likely to keep them around and continue increasing revenue.
Step 4: Close Sales and Support Customers With Two-Way Texting
To maintain a relationship with your customers, you have to talk with them. Two-way texting online gives your sales and your customer service team a way to communicate directly with customers in a channel that’s more convenient and flexible than others.
Customer service agents and salespeople spend a lot of time on the phone. Texting online gives your teams a flexible and convenient way to cut back on wasted time (without leaving their CCaaS platform). To help your sales team qualify sales, send a text to the potential customer first. Include information that will help them decide if they are a good candidate for your services or not. If you use two-way business texting online, you can let your customers make certain selections to get more information.
Provide proactive customer service by sending messages to teach customers how to use the product well. Give customers an easier way to reach you through two-way texting. This way, they can ask a simple question or request information without increasing your call volume. And they won’t spend unnecessary time on hold.
And if that isn’t enough, here’s an added bonus. McKinsey found that companies that elevate their customer service see employee engagement rocket up the charts by 20% on average. Now, literally, everyone is happy. With these added strategies, you’re building a team of engaged employees and customers, while driving revenue along the way.
This post was originally published on November 8, 2018 and was updated on June 16, 2022.
In the U.S., companies lose over $62 billion a year for poor customer service. And customers today have increasingly high expectations for good service. In fact, teams surveyed by Hubspot agree that customers today are smarter and have higher expectations from customer service than they did even a year ago.
So what do modern customers want?
75% of customers expect service to be faster and more relevant. (Salesforce)
Response time is of the essence. Customers expect low wait times and quick service. (Intercom)
A personalized customer experience is now a must have. (Forbes)
74% of customers want to be able to use multiple channels to start and complete a transaction. (LXA)
Bottom line: Customers care about convenience and speed. Does your call center meet these expectations?
Just imagine: how much more profitable could your call center be if you used every minute of your day well? Where is there still room to increase customer satisfaction? If you saved just one hour a day – how would that impact your bottom line? Every day, call centers sacrifice valuable time to inefficient systems and dated processes. And when your service is inefficient, customers won’t question moving to your competitors.
Don’t lose customers in 2022. Instead, build a loyal customer base with these three call center efficiency tips.
Call Center Efficiency Tips
Tip #1: Don’t Waste Downtime
Call centers can get crazy busy. But, that busyness ebbs and flows. There are going to be those days where there’s just not much going on. What you do with your team during those slow days could make all the difference in your call center efficiency. In fact, wasted downtime in call centers equates to an approximate loss of $11,252 per agent per year in unnecessary operational expenses. Gah!
Let’s just say your team has read and responded to every email and your phone queue is short. Instead of allowing your employees to online shop for a half hour, use the downtime to deliver that personalized experience your customers want. Have agents send out proactive customer service messages to check on customers who have made a recent purchase. Or have agents draft handwritten thank you notes to your most loyal customers to make them feel special.
Maybe use the time to catch up on some 1:1 coaching time with your employees. Have training sessions ready to go so you can pull them out when the day is slow. Set up some time for agents to role play different customer scenarios to keep them on the top of their game. Keep an archive of recorded customer interactions from different channels and start group discussions about what went well or didn’t go well. With these tips, make good use of the spare time in your day and give your call center efficiency a boost.
Tip #2: Automate Tasks to Preserve your Agents’ Time
One of the most valuable call center efficiency tips is to automate wherever you can to lighten your agents’ work load and save tons of time. With modern automation, you can now locate and retrieve relevant customer information while your agents are interacting with a customer. This helps make your customer experience extremely personal.
Bots can help your agents determine a customer’s intent, identify up-selling and cross-selling opportunities, and help with monotonous tasks. With your AI handling the more tedious tasks in your call center, you also lower employee burnout as it frees up your agents to handle more complicated tasks more efficiently.
Integrate automation with your omnichannel communication so your AI can do the work of responding to customers with helpful tips and self-service tools. Set up automated messages via SMS or email to send promotions to customers or scheduling reminders, maintaining a consistent customer relationship.
Tip #3: Add Texting to your Omnichannel Communication to Retain Customers
As mentioned earlier, customers today want to know they can reach you through multiple channels. In addition to keeping customers happy, an omnichannel communication solution also maximizes your call center agents’ time.
But want to make your operations even more efficient? Add texting to existing channels like phone, email and chat. With texting, agents can easily manage multiple conversations at once, decreasing hold time and increasing customer satisfaction. Texting frees up your agents’ time from taking phone call after phone call with your customers. And it saves your customers time, giving them an option to get questions answered fast without waiting on hold or sitting through your IVR system.
Texts have open rates of around 98% while calls and voicemails often go unanswered. All the time you spend leaving voicemails for customers can be more efficient by sending out an automated or copied text message. Texting is personal, flexible, and incredibly fast. And it’s one of the more reliable ways to reach your customers.
Not convinced by the Call Center Efficiency Tips? Here’s what customers think:
Customers want to be able to text you. And you are more likely to reach them if you send them a text rather than an email. It impacts your wallet as well. It’s much cheaper to handle customers by text than over the phone. A Forrester study found that the average customer service phone call costs about $16, whereas the average text thread costs between $1 to $5 per interaction. With these call center efficiency tips, deliver a better customer experience, meet customer expectations, and save money.
Want to build efficiency and ease into your customer experience? Add business texting to boost your call center efficiency.
This post originally published on December 27, 2018 and was refreshed and republished on April 21, 2022.
When the rate of abandoned calls in your contact center is high, you’re likely to see other success metrics take a hit — like customer satisfaction and retention. We’ve all been there as customers ourselves: the looped recording of hold music is slowly making you lose your mind, and you’re just over it. So, you hang up. Your question is left unanswered and you’ve wasted a chunk of your day. It sure doesn’t leave you with the best impression of that company’s service.
But, how do you even begin to reduce abandoned calls in your call center?
Implement Business Texting to Exceed Customer Expectations
We’re all pretty tied to our phones. In fact, the average American spends a little above 5 hours daily on their mobile phones! To get even more specific, the top 10% of heavy phone users have an average of 5,427 touches on their mobile phones every day. And, 91% of Americans keep their mobile devices within arm’s reach at all times. Any time our phones light up, we’re quick to check out whatever the latest notification could be.
Within customer service, consumers are much more inclined to communicate through text on their phones with businesses than via email or phone calls. Specifically 85% of smartphone users prefer mobile messages to emails or calls. Why?
Recent studies show customers and leads respond to a text faster than anything else. On average per channel, you’ll see:
Overall, businesses are discovering the power of texting because it’s what customers are wanting!
Just think about it — texting is fast and personal. It lets customers send direct and specific questions to agents without interrupting their own day. And, it gives agents the freedom to respond to a customer’s question or problem while taking on several other texts, resolving more customer interactions, faster. The conversation is likely pretty casual, giving agents a chance to take a personalized approach with each customer.
Texting Erases Call Center Abandonment
It’s logical really. If you provide easy to use and accessible texting technology, your customers will likely choose texting over calling. In turn, you’re reducing the volume of calls even coming into your call center. When you provide customers a way to connect with you over text, you’re more likely to see your abandonment rate plummet.
We’ve seen it firsthand at Textel. Our friends and customers over at Vera Bradley switched to a two-way texting model to give their customers the option to text back and forth with agents using their existing business line. The result? Vera Bradley experienced a 0% abandonment rate while communicating over text.
Another pro of texting in your contact center is cutting down the overall inbound support volume. By a lot. Instead of calling or emailing in and hoping to get a reply – eventually – customers can text in and start an interaction with an Agentless SMS. You can pre-program automations to run when your customers text in, whether they’re sending a specific keyword or just general text or picture-based questions. Agentless SMS is getting greater adoption because:
It deflects incoming calls to text, which reduces your center’s average handle time (AHT) and calls on hold.
It doesn’t shift volume from one channel to another. Instead, it lets customers resolve their issues via text without requiring an agent.
So, then your phone support becomes cheaper and customer retention rises. Your agents can optimize their time while your call center helps more customers. Strengthen your two-way texting capabilities and see it benefit every aspect of your call center.
Abandon a Call-First Approach To Change the Game
Give your customers the freedom to decide how quickly and easily their interactions with your business will be. Give them what they want — the ability to text you. Customers are sick of waiting on hold. They’re tired of taking tons of time out of their day just to get a question answered. When you embrace the right channels and text-enable your call center, your call center team can reduce abandoned calls and retain customers.
This post was originally published on March 26, 2021 and was updated on February 2, 2022.
The other night, I went to an Italian restaurant with my husband. We put our name on the waitlist for a table, and I gave them my number to text when a table was available. When they finally sent that text, it came from a short 5-digit number, also known as SMS short code. When I received that kind of SMS short code text, I was feeling pretty excited because it was telling me I was about to get a big bowl of pasta. But, on the whole, oftentimes SMS short code texts are a pain to receive.
Real quick, let me review: what do I mean by SMS short code? SMS short code is a 5- or 6-digit number used to send SMS or MMS marketing messages to phones. Short code messaging is used only for one-way, non-personal communication, and mass texting. Ultimately, SMS short code has its place. But large businesses, especially their contact centers, are realizing that one-way alerts aren’t the way into a customer’s heart.
Why SMS Short Code Doesn’t Fit What Customers Want
Customers today are pretty worn out by advertising. It’s everywhere we look and is embedded in nearly every app on our phones. With every purchase we make, we’re asked to sign up for newsletters and for email promotions. The truth is — it gets old. It’s hard to engage with a brand when you constantly feel like you’re being marketed to.
SMS short codes have become similar to those annoying promotional emails that you automatically archive or delete. When you use SMS short codes to get your customers’ attention, most likely, the only feedback you’re getting back from customers is a one-word reply: “STOP.” This isn’t helping anyone. How do you avoid shutting down customers with a text?
Simple – you give customers what they want — the chance to text your business back. A RingCentral survey found that91% of customers prefer receiving a text from a business to voicemail. And 78% of those surveyed want the ability to text, not call, the business back.
SMS long-code offers this functionality. Long-code, to compare, is a 10-digit number that allows for two-way communication between customer and business. When would you use this?
Imagine this: you need to notify your customer about an upcoming appointment. When they get that text, they realize they’re double booked. Now, if this was a short-code message, that customer has no way to respond via text. Instead, they have to take time from their day to call you and wait on hold to reschedule. But, with a long code text, your customer can, within the same text thread as the reminder text, send a message back to a real person, or even an automated system, on the other end to get a new appointment time.
This meets what customers want and offers an overall better customer experience. It gives your contact center agents a way to build deeper and more personal relationships with customers. And, it gives you an opportunity to gather more substantial feedback from customers over text. What’s more, it cuts back on obnoxious and overwhelming promotion messages for customers.
How to Use SMS Short Code vs. Long Code
Both SMS short code and SMS long code have their place in an enterprise business. But using both effectively requires some understanding of the benefits and how to use it effectively.
SMS short codes offer some useful advantages:
Sending mass texts:
When you need to send customers promotions or coupon codes quickly, SMS short codes are incredibly useful. Or maybe you need to send out an emergency alert to all your customers, blast a short code text to all your customers to give them a quick update.
Easy to remember:
Short codes are short (I know…duh.) But this makes them easy to memorize and ideal when you need a customer to send a text to enter a contest or for a quick and easy opt-in to your subscriber list.
Offering two-factor authentication:
It’s important to keep customer info secure. For companies that need to offer two-factor authentication for a customer account, SMS short codes are an easy way to send customers a verification code.
While, yes, there’s a time and place for these kinds of messages (like finding out your table is ready so you can load up on carbs!), they’re not super useful from a customer support side of things. SMS long code, however, offers its own set of perks.
Here are some of the advantages of SMS long codes:
Two-way texting allows for better record keeping:
With two-way texting, your enterprise contact center can keep a record of communication that stays attached to each customer’s account. When they reach back out to ask another question or schedule another appointment, businesses can route that text back to the original call center agent who they spoke with last, providing that special element of delight that easily improves the customer experience.
You can build a personalized relationship with customers:
Texting is an intimate form of communication. Customers are used to texting friends and family. It’s casual and much less stuffy than an email or even a phone call. So when your agents are able to text with customers, your brand gets direct access to customers that’s flexible and more personal than other channels.
Get real-time feedback over text:
SMS short code doesn’t let you get much feedback from customers. You can maybe send a link to a survey, but these are easily ignored. But with long code texting, your agents can finish a conversation by sending a few questions or a survey in the text thread to get immediate feedback on the customers’ experience.
Offer a new channel of communication to lighten your employees’ load:
Long code texting doesn’t only support your customers. When your agents have an additional way to interact with customers, this lightens your operational load. Agents don’t have to stay on the phones all day — something that often contributes to burnout. Instead, put a dedicated team on two-way texting and lower your call volume while you also lessen stress for your agents.
Ultimately, if you’re weighing your choices between SMS short code and long code, consider which lets you best support your customers’ experience. While SMS short code can offer some benefits, long code texts open the door for direct communication with your customers that also gives you better records, feedback, and efficiency in the call center.
Tis the season to drive holiday sales through high-performing communication channels.
Trust us – it’s not just the egg nog making everyone merry. Call center texting is beginning to snowball as enterprise businesses focus on reaching their customers via text across their existing business lines.
After RetailMeNot reported that shoppers are ready to spend at least $60 more on gifts this holiday season than last year, retailers have been working to find creative ways to get in front of their consumers. Specifically, they’re looking for ways to stand out from their competitors and reach more consumers first, and more effectively.
RetailMeNot uncovered that 95% of those retailers believe that deals and discounts are the most effective way to drive purchases during this time of year. And it should come as no surprise that 72% of their marketing investment is happening across mobile.
Why? Because, it’s where their customers live!
It’s a fact that has caught the attention of more and more call centers as they try to produce an omnichannel communication platform that targets customers in the way they want to be contacted.
So, in an effort to make the holidays just a bit brighter for the call centers who still aren’t using text to enhance the customer experience, we offer these 5 gifts (or benefits) to using business texting to help ring in a successful new year.
5 Ways Business Texting for Call Centers Drives Holiday Sales
Get Your Customers’ Attention
First and foremost, you must reach your holiday shoppers on a channel they’re currently using. The good news is that text messages are opened 98% of the time and the recipient often takes action immediately after reading. Besides being optimized for response, this channel helps you communicate with the most consumers in the fastest way.
Invite Them Onsite for a Holiday Promotion
Customers are looking for an excuse to swing your way – give them a great one. Share your holiday promotion with customers and invite them to your business to be a part of something special. And just so they know exactly what awaits, send them a fun picture to further entice them to stop in.
Share an Exclusive Marketing Offer
If in-store business isn’t your forte, send them a text with a link to the special product that you know will catch their attention. With most sales happening across a mobile device, your job is to make it easy for customers by sharing an exclusive offer that keeps them from walking out into the cold and only requires them to set down their hot coffee and click to purchase.
Send Appointment Reminders to Reduce No-Shows
Guarantee sales by scheduling important automated text reminders that reduce no-shows by up to 50% according to Appointment-Plus. This easily enhances the customer experience by letting them know you’re excited about their arrival – plus, it saves lost revenue by giving them a chance to reschedule if holiday shopping has bogged them down and made them unavailable for the current time.
Create a Sense of Urgency to Propel Holiday Sales
The beauty of business texting for call centers is that you can alert customers to the sales they don’t want to miss without interrupting their day. These notifications do more than increase customer satisfaction, they prove helpful and thoughtful. Plus, when it’s followed up with a discount offer, customers will be further incentivized to add your product under the tree this holiday season.
Want to learn more about how call center texting can improve your bottom line this holiday season and all year long? Try Textel’s business texting platform today!