We spend ‘hours’ on our smartphones texting every day, so why aren’t contact centers leveraging this communication channel to customers and consumers?

The average consumer uses multiple devices and multiple channels every day; seamlessly moving from one to another. They expect business’ to be able to match this behaviour during customer services interactions.  Consumers want to connect with businesses quickly and easily, do what they need to do, then get on with their day. The easiest way for them to do that is using text messaging. Texting is a channel customers want to use and organisations should match consumers behaviour. The rise of non-telephony channels suggests that these are becoming increasingly popular with customers.

Over the past 10 years, the landscape of inbound contact has changed dramatically. According to the ‘inner circle guide to omni-channel 2018 by Contact Babel’, Telephone enquiries, whilst still accounting for the majority if inbound engagements, have seen a significant fall, from 85% to 65%. Over the next 3-5 years, this number is expected to continue to fall, as chat (MMS, SMS, WhatsApp), self-service and social media engagement experience a slow but steady growth.

SMS tends to have a low adoption rate compared to other chat solutions in the contact center, because the contact center provider that the organization is using, does not offer a true omni solution.  This, therefore, inhibits consumers from interacting in the way that they want to, when they want to.

Automated SMS messages are only used by around 20% of UK contact centers, mainly for notifications and reminders. The message only goes one-way and the customer in most cases aren’t able to reply. Organisations are missing out on delivering a positive customer experience, with real-time, two-way conversations between the agent and customer.

How can contact centers leverage SMS to satisfy customer experience?

  • If the voice queues are busy, offer SMS chat to callers waiting on mobile devices by sending them a SMS while they are holding, followed by playing them an announcement worded something like this. “Looks like there’s a bit of a wait today for telephone based support, however, we do have SMS support agents available now. We’ve just sent you a message. If you’d prefer, you can hang up and simply reply to the message to start the live SMS chat with our agents”.
  • No more challenges with ‘lost’ web connections using ‘Web Chat’ on a train or as a passenger in the car.
  • No more worrying about what was said during the chat, “did I hit the send me a copy of the conversation button?”, it’s all right there as though you were chatting to a friend.
  • Compared to email, chat resolves eight times more enquiries.
  • Conduct post call customer satisfaction surveys.
  • Send alerts, reminders and notifications.
  • Keep in touch with customers.
  • Agents can manage multiple conversations at once.

In order to get the most out of SMS in the contact center, SMS must be managed from the same omni-channel platform to deliver a unified customer experience.

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