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How SMS contact
center messaging
soothes customer
pain points

Author: Paul Gillin

SMS contact center messaging should be part of any business's customer support toolkit. Today, it can be an effective complement to the voice channel in providing customer-centric and personal service, while also improving contact center productivity.

Text messaging is enormously popular with mobile device users. According to the SimpleTexting 2020 SMS Marketing Report, 68% of consumers most commonly use their cellphones to check, send and answer text messages. And nearly 60% of consumers check a text notification within five minutes of receiving it.

If you're trying to meet customers where they are, then call center text messaging is a great feature to offer.

SMS contact center messaging: a big opportunity

Businesses might be unaccustomed to reaching out so directly. But for customers, the contact rarely comes as a surprise—84% of consumers say that they have received some sort of text message from a business.

But texting is still relatively rare in customer service. Only 38% of the businesses that responded to a 2019 Harvard Business Review survey said that they used mobile messaging to engage with their consumers—far less than the 64% that use mobile apps. Yet the same study found that messaging apps were better—sometimes far better—at meeting customer needs than mobile across seven performance categories.

It is clear that businesses aiming to provide a positive customer experience face challenges, especially during times of high volume. Many businesses struggle to hire and retain contact center staff; the job is stressful, and turnover is high. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase Bank splashed a banner across its website warning of extremely long phone wait times. Some companies now let callers pick a callback time, freeing them from a long wait on hold—one of the top causes of customer frustration, per Consumer Reports. Offering SMS as another channel for communication can open up one more path for improving customer experience. 

The case for SMS contact center messaging

There are many reasons businesses should take advantage of SMS contact center messaging. Some include:

Texting saves time for customers and agents

Although expectations for a quick chat response are slightly higher than those for a telephone call, most customer support questions are not urgent. Callers prefer not to be tied up while waiting to reach a human who can answer their questions. If customers can submit a question by text, neither they nor the contact center representatives are tied up during the exchange. Customers can go about their day until a response comes, and contact center staffers can manage several chat conversations simultaneously.

Text interactions with customers can be archived and analyzed

Businesses that want to understand their customers better can save text chats to customer profiles and apply analytics software to spot trends. Doing the same with recorded phone calls or transcripts is prohibitively expensive for all but the largest companies.

Engagement is better

SMS marketing messages have a 99% read rate, and people usually respond to texts faster than they respond to emails. If customers have opted in to your communications, they're more likely to engage with your contact center through SMS.

Keep your options open

Offering SMS to your customers doesn't mean you have to replace every other form of communication. Customers should always have the option to connect via phone, and potentially request a callback at a time that is convenient for them. Instead of waiting on hold, they choose when to engage. Satisfaction rates skyrocket. Hold times are all but eliminated.

Call center text messaging is no longer limited to only the largest enterprises. Today's as-a-service offerings make this feature affordable for businesses of every size and every degree of technical proficiency. A managed services partner can enable the technical essentials of call center text messaging such as enabling phone numbers for SMS.

Engaging with customers through their preferred channels is good for business—and it could be easier than you think.

Discover how Verizon can prepare your contact center to provide an exceptional customer experience.