The average US smartphone user now spends around 26 minutes per day texting. They don’t miss much, either. Texts have an astounding open rate of 98% within five minutes of receipt. 

If text is such a high-volume communication channel for modern consumers, why don’t more call centers have an SMS strategy?

An omnichannel call center strategy can save you time and money, while delighting your customers with service at every turn. 

What is SMS Support?

SMS stands for short message service, commonly known as texting. MMS is a text that includes multimedia like photos, videos, emojis, or links. SMS support allows a contact center to provide support via text. Often, the capability is in addition to phone, email, and social media support. 

Don’t yet have an SMS call center strategy? Text support applies to almost every industry because of its scalability, saturation among consumers, and high engagement. Eighty-seven percent of consumers even say their mobile device is always or usually within reach.  

Text may be especially valuable for your business if you:

  • Cater to younger audiences
  • Answer frequently asked questions
  • Troubleshoot technical issues
  • Handle customer complaints
  • Dispatch orders
  • Provide quotes
  • Communicate service updates or downtime
  • Solicit customer feedback

Benefits of a Call Center SMS Strategy

Adding omnichannel capabilities like SMS to your call center strategy allows you to:

  • Communicate faster. Text’s greatest attribute is its convenience. Use SMS to immediately confirm receipt of a customer’s query. Or, start the conversation by gathering basic case details. Customers will appreciate the fast response in a channel they’re familiar with — and always have with them.   
  • Accelerate customer service. Consumers notoriously hate being on hold. SMS speeds up the process, providing a way to acknowledge their need and keep them engaged. 
  • Reduce handle times. Automated SMS also frees your agents to focus on more complex issues. Unlike phone calls, texting also allows them to manage multiple conversations at once. 
  • Easily save call transcripts. There’s no need to transcribe customer conversations when they’re already written out. Your texting discourse serves as an easy reminder of what details have already been shared, saving reps time and eliminating the need for customers to repeat themselves. 
  • Manage multiple channels. With omnichannel messaging capabilities, your agents can receive messages from all channels, including SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger in one interface. 
  • Personalize interactions. Texting is inherently less formal than other communication channels, making it easy to personalize with unique registration or confirmation links. You can even add emojis to set customers at ease, showcase your brand style, and build closer relationships.

Opportunities for Service Texting

Not sure where to add texting? In addition to basic interactions and customer queries, you can add and even automate text for:

  • Order confirmations
  • Appointment reminders
  • Shipment and tracking
  • Support ticket management
  • Surveys and feedback

Best Practices for an SMS Call Center Strategy

Any call center can add SMS capabilities. But customers don’t want duplicate communications or an overabundance of irrelevant texts either. It’s important to devise a strategy for how you’ll use the capability and integrate it into your existing call center operations. 

  1. Set goals.

How will your team use the technology? Are there instances where it shouldn’t be used? How will you know if it’s successful or if you’ve achieved ROI? Set goals for the new capability before you implement it.

  1. Establish boundaries for your texting.

Keep your customers happy by texting only during business hours. If you must message outside of normal business hours, be respectful. The one exception is texting about urgent matters like bank account balances or breaking news. 

  1. Make every text meaningful.

Consumers appreciate relevant texts that add value in some way. Texting constant offers or requesting survey feedback multiple times may get you blocked. When they text you first, respond in a way that moves the conversation forward instead of simply answering questions. (e.g., “Would you like me to set that up for you?”)

  1. Respect privacy and permissions. 

Permission is essential for texting compliance — and keeping your customers happy. Always secure permission first by placing opt-in opportunities in other interactions like checkout, in their online account/profile, or through your phone system. 

  1. Send short, simple messages.

Remember, SMS stands for short message service. Play into texting’s convenience by being succinct. Longer messages may garner annoyance and even opt-outs from customers.

  1. Invest in the best tech. 

Messaging each of your customers can add up — in time, money, and headache. Invest in SMS support that easily integrates with your contact center software so you can view important data and make better decisions while conversing with customers. Make sure the platform you select also offers automation and advanced capabilities to make your agents’ lives easier. 

SharpenCX OmniOut Combines AI + SMS

OmniOut is built to fuel proactive customer service outreach and to take your campaigns to the next level — with more impressions and higher conversions. Automation and AI even make the texting and omnichannel support experience “agentless.” Logical sequencing and AI let you create fully automated experiences for your customers on any channel, so your agents can focus on pre-qualified interactions and customers can self-serve at their convenience. 

Create completely automated experiences across every channel. Kick off a campaign with an SMS/MMS, phone call, or email, then use pre-crafted interaction flows (with Sharpen Logic+) to automatically route your customer to the right place.

If a customer responds to your outreach, agents can offer the same level of service and fast response as they would to an inbound customer. Then, they can either self-serve or speak with an agent.

Using Agentless, you can trigger SMS/MMS, emails, or phone calls to an entire list. Or, you can send a one-to-one reminder to a customer at a specific moment in their experience.

With Sharpen, your agents spend less time waiting around in a queue for customers to (hopefully) answer outbound outreach and more time handling interactions for customers and prospects who actually need help.

Learn how to reach more customers across channels with OmniOut, or contact Sharpen today to get started crafting your contact center’s SMS strategy.