SMS Strategies

Should You Use SMS for Customer Service?

Published
Mar 4, 2021
Written by
Eric Wendt
Eric is a Manager on the Content Marketing team. He spends his logged off hours flexing his creative writing muscles, getting lost in a good book, and searching for the perfect pale ale.

Marketing may bring customers through your door, but it’s often customer service that keeps them coming back. In fact, 93% of consumers will make repeat purchases if a brand provides excellent customer service.

Yet providing thoughtful, responsive support is only one piece of the puzzle—how your brand responds to questions and concerns is just as important.

Our 2021 SMS Marketing Consumer Trends Report revealed that many consumers are clamoring for customer service via text messaging. Data also showed that brands that listen to consumer preferences and invest in two-way, real-time conversations have a massive opportunity to separate themselves from the competition.

Recognize why customer experience matters

Customer service isn’t only a brand differentiator—it’s a revenue driver.

Your existing customers are 50% more likely to purchase new products from you—and spend 31% more—than new customers. And with 73% of consumers saying that friendly customer service representatives fuel their love for a brand, it’s clear that customer support is key to keeping your customers happy and coming back.

But as more consumers shift toward mobile-first shopping, how you deliver customer service becomes increasingly important.

Identify the SMS customer service opportunity

Nearly 70% of consumers told us they’d be extremely or very likely to interact with a brand for customer service using text messaging if it was offered. Another 24% indicated they were open to receiving SMS customer service.

When you consider that the majority of consumers now use their smartphones to shop online, it’s easy to understand why they’d want to resolve customer service issues on a channel that doesn’t require them to switch devices. By investing in solutions that enable them to engage mobile shoppers on the channel where they’re already spending their time, brands will position themselves to build stronger relationships with their customers and create smoother shopping experiences.

But when asked how they currently interact with brands for customer service, only 33% of consumers cited text messaging, showing a major opportunity between what consumers want from brands and what’s currently being offered to them.

This data not only highlights pent-up demand for text-based customer service, it presents brands with an opportunity to differentiate their customer support offerings from competitors.

Put consumer trends into action

For many consumers, online shopping is no longer mobile-first—it’s mobile-only.

They expect brands to provide personalized, one-to-one service via SMS, whether it’s sharing product updates and special promotions or answering questions and responding to complaints.

And with the right solutions in place, it’s easier than ever to deliver.

By integrating your text message marketing platform with your helpdesk, you can automatically forward all text messages to your customer service team, enabling representatives to quickly respond via text. Our research found that Attentive customers drive 31% more spend from shoppers who receive replies to their text messaging inquiries compared to those who do not. And the team at Gorgias—a leading helpdesk solution and Attentive Technology Partner—found that SMS-based pre-sale chats that receive replies in less than 10 minutes have a 28% conversion rate, significantly higher than desktop-based pre-sale chats.

“Exceptional customer service isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’—it’s a massive brand differentiator,” said Gorgias co-founder & CEO Romain Lapeyre. “Businesses that communicate more easily, quickly, and effectively with consumers create a growth engine that turns customer service into a profit center. And a big part of that is delivering assistance in the way consumers want. As the data shows, for more and more people, that means text messaging.”

Brands are increasingly investing in SMS marketing, but there remains an enormous opportunity when it comes to text messaging customer service. Tailoring the customer experience for an increasingly mobile audience means building longer-lasting connections, not to mention more transactions.

Check out our 2021 SMS Marketing Consumer Trends Report for more actionable insights on what consumers want from text message marketing (and how to meet and exceed their expectations).

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