There’s a lot of buzz around using SMS in the contact center to reach customers. But not everyone understands how it works or if it’s for their company. If you send your customers email or call them regularly to provide them with the same information, or if you send them form letters through the postal services, it’s time to look into SMS.
SMS, which stands for short message service, is commonly referred to as a text message. With it, you can send a message of up to 160 characters to a mobile device. And when used in the contact center, SMS can make customers happy and increase your efficiency.
When it comes to improving the customer experience, SMS is the new email. Customers are more comfortable with texting and prefer SMS for its convenience and real-time communication. Contact centers can no longer ignore SMS as an imperative mode of communication for their customers. More importantly, contacting your customers via SMS is less expensive; empirical research shows that customers are more likely to read and respond to an SMS than they are to voice calls and email messages.
Voice Calls Are Ruining Your Customer Experience
Organizations that provide subscription-based services, such as utilities, cable TV or internet, can suffer outages. When this happens, your contact center likely becomes inundated with unanticipated inbound calls from customers—driving up average wait time (AWT) and further harming the customer experience. Every inbound call aims to accomplish the same two fundamental things during this outage: let your organization know of the outage and find out when services will be restored.
For organizations like medical or legal services that serve customers through scheduled appointments, a missed appointment can lead to lost revenue. Many of these companies still rely on cancellation or no-show policies that often penalize customers for missed appointments. Relying on this archaic method to confirm appointments has no benefits to the company and it often breeds indignation from the customer. It also harms not only immediate revenue but also potential future revenue.
It’s the contact center’s responsibility to ensure that customers arrive for their scheduled appointments. In addition, it’s a professional courtesy to help customers manage their busy schedules while giving the contact center another opportunity to communicate with them and build stronger relationships.
SMS is a Better Approach
Many Genesys customers that provide utilities, cable TV, and internet services use outbound dialer and SMS notifications to proactively notify customers of unexpected service outages and the estimated time to restore services. This means the customer receives the information they need quickly, which dramatically reduces inbound calls and increases customer satisfaction. Customers are assured that the organization is aware of the outage and is working to fix it.
The same approach is used for appointment reminders. Sending SMS notification reminders through outbound dialer with specific information about an upcoming appointment—time and location—help contact centers manage their customers’ busy schedules.
Making SMS Work for You
The smart notification approach is accomplished by performing data dips into the customer’s contact list (CRM system, database, etc.) to extract the appropriate contact information for the outbound dialer to automatically send bulk SMS notifications. For example, in the event of an unexpected outage, the data dip extracts effected customers based on their zip code or other geographical data and sends notifications. For appointment reminders, data dips can gather the customer name, contact number, appointment time and other relevant pre-appointment information. Then it would send out an SMS notification and reminder.
If your organization wants to increase your contact center efficiencies and customer experience, it’s time to rethink voice calls and emails, and implement SMS.