Business Texting Handbook for SMS Customer Service

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Introduction to SMS Customer Service

On a given day at SimpleTexting, we get around 200 customer support requests. Some are simple questions and others require more in-depth guidance. No matter the complexity, we work (really) hard to keep a high standard of customer support. After nearly a decade of assisting customers, we’ve learned a lot about how to provide efficient, helpful support. We’d like to share some tips that will help you give your customers the level of service they expect (and deserve!).

First we’ll go over the basics of what makes good customer support. Some advice may sound like common sense, but just take it as a helpful refresher. Other insights may be new to you, in which case you can start applying them right away! After that, we’ll dig into the basics of how to use SMS messaging specifically to provide customer support.

7 Commandments for Good SMS Customer Service

It’s never been easier for customers to share their opinions about your business. The internet is forever, and just a few bad reviews can ding your company’s reputation. But here’s the thing: the fear of a negative brand image shouldn’t be what motivates your customer service efforts! Instead, remember that each customer is a real-life human. They’re people with hopes, dreams, and in this case, questions! Treat them as such by having one-on-one conversations.

1. Treat Your Customers Like They’re People

You know, because they are. This is easy advice to follow. Just speak like you would to a close friend who you’re trying to help. Use first names, be kind and don’t sound like a bot. Keep things professional, of course, but just act natural! Empathy is key here. Ask your customers how they’re doing, and put yourself in their shoes. The more your customers feel like you really understand them, the more likely they are to reach out again the next time they have a question. And that’s exactly what you want: customers who see you as a partner, not a support agent.

2. Get Back to Texts as Quickly as Possible

Nobody wants to feel like they’re last in a long line of customer support tickets. You may not have an answer right away, but that’s okay. While you search for a solution, let your customer know that you’re on it. They’ll feel listened to, and you’ll have some extra time to find the correct response to their question.

3. Make Every Message Unique

Like we said above, we get over 200 requests per day. But that doesn’t mean we send 200 cookie-cutter responses each day. Nope. Each question is unique, so each response should be personalized. No need to write a love letter or haiku for each question, but do go out of your way to customize your response for each situation. SimpleTexting’s templates are perfect for saving your frequently sent answers. Just make sure to tweak them a bit before you hit send.

3. Be Helpful, And Then Some

Really listen to the person on the other end of the conversation, and consider how they’d best be helped. Some customers may just need a link to a help center article, others may benefit from a video, and a few may need extra hand holding. Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond and jump on a call. With SimpleTexting, you can text and call using the same number. (We’ll go over this later.)

4. Honesty Is The Best Policy

Everyone makes mistakes. Yes, even us (gasp!). If you messed up, say so, then fix the problem. Don’t try to point fingers to vendors or user errors. Sometimes the best thing you can do is say sorry and find a solution. If you follow commandment number one and treat your customers like people, they’ll reciprocate and be equally understanding. The silver lining in being honest about your mistakes is that customers will learn to trust you. This trust has no price tag. It leads to better customer relationships and retention, both of which are invaluable.

5. The Customer Is Always Right

People have been saying this since businesses have had customers, so we know you’ve heard it before. But we’ll say it once more: they’re always right. Okay, yes, sometimes there are customers who are particularly difficult and struggle with seemingly simple tasks. But the point is, they’re trying to use your product, so you have to be both grateful and helpful. If a customer finds something complicated, agree with them then offer to show them step-by-step how to accomplish what they’d like to do.

6. Ask If There’s Anything Else You Can Do

Leave it up to your customer to decide if their request has been resolved. Don’t exit or end a conversation until your customer says goodbye. Some questions lead to more questions, so always ask if there’s anything else you can do to help.

Why Use SMS Messages for Customer Service?

There are a lot of channels for customer support. Email, phone and third-party messaging services, among others. The six tips above can be applied to any of these. Still, not all service channels are created equal. Here’s why sending text messages to your customers via SMS messaging leads to a better customer experience.

You Can Text and Call on the Same Number
It’s possible to text-enable long codes, just like your existing 10-digit business phone number. Yes, even if it’s a landline or VoIP number! Make your communication tools work together. Give your customers the options to text or call on the same number.

Simple to Add to Your Website
According to Statista, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones. Improve your mobile experience by adding a textable number to your website. A bit of HTML is all you need to create a Click to Text button.

Faster and Easier
Texts are instant. You send a message, and your customer gets a notification right away. They don’t even have to unlock their phones to see your messages. Most of the time they can view them from the lock screen.

It’s Asynchronous
Phone calls and video chat are great tools, but only if both parties are available at the same time. Texting lets your customers reply whenever they find a convenient time to.

Native to Every Cellphone
Every cellphone ships with a messaging app that can handle SMS at the minimum. Your customers don’t have to login to a special platform or download any apps. Think of texting like live chat that works directly on your customers’ phones.

Texts are Easy to Reference
When you provide customer support via SMS, you’re never out of the loop. Threaded conversations means there’s always of record of everything that was said. This makes it a breeze for one agent to step out and another to jump back in.

SMS Customer Support Features That Make Your Life Easier

When you invest in a business texting platform, pick one that has features which will be useful to your team. There’s a reason that thousands of large and small businesses go with SimpleTexting. Our SMS support platform is designed to make providing customer service over text as easy as possible.

Templates
We’ve touched on the importance of making your customer interactions feel personalized. But don’t take this to mean that you should waste time rewriting the same text messages. Templates help you create saved replies for common inquiries.

Conversation Filtering
When you’re dealing with a high volume of requests, it’s helpful to have a system to stay organized. Our inbox allows you to filter conversations by time waiting or most recent. Use this to prioritize the most pressing questions and requests.

Mark Conversations Resolved
Keep your inbox tidy by marking conversations as resolved. This will hide them from your inbox. Don’t worry—the next time the customer sends a message, it’ll automatically be reopened so that your team can reply quickly.

Notes
Your customer support is always better when your agents work together as a team. Internal notes let you discuss questions and make suggestions behind the scenes. Let your team know if a conversation has been resolved or if there are details other agents should know before replying.

Closing Thoughts on Good Customer Service

If you follow the tips we covered above, you’ll likely allocate a good chunk of resources towards customer service. And while business text messaging is affordable, some costs are inevitable. Think of good service as an investment in retention. A support team that’s dedicated to providing value and pleasant experiences goes a long way in reducing churn. If you’re ready to try SMS for your customer service needs, sign up for a 14-day free trial today. Still need more info?  We’ve got you covered with this article on how to use customer service texting.

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