Advancement in communication networks and technology has meant that people can talk to each other any time they want, exchange pictures from any place, chat in groups and so on. Around since the early 1990s, Short Messaging Service (SMS) is an example of an innovation that has completely transformed people’s lives.
SMS is a technological boon for businesses that are constantly trying to find ways to connect with their customers and enhance the quality of their customer service. A few words are all that are needed to pass on a message from the company to a customer and vice versa. The launch of a new product, receipt of a complaint about a product or service, or the confirmation of a booking; these can all be done through a simple and concise text message.
With all the conveniences of SMS technology, there are some associated risks and pitfalls. The ease and comfort of SMS based customer service may tempt some companies into going overboard by using this strategy excessively. As a result, the customers may get frustrated, and end up blocking all messages from the company. This is bad for both the marketing department and the customer service department. Therefore, managers need to know how to use the service effectively for your organization.
1.Well-Maintained and Updated Database:
A successful SMS strategy requires that you should have a well-maintained and updated database; this should contain all the latest phone numbers of your customers. If they have two or more phone numbers, then these need to be included in your database. Any change in their phone numbers must be updated.
2.Determine Purpose Of The SMS Strategy:
You need to decide what you are going to use the short messaging service for. The purpose could include delivery of payment notices, disseminating information of new product launches, confirming booking and reservations and any changes therein, reminders about settling bills, or related to solving problems. Inform the marketing and customer service teams about the strategy. Customers are very fastidious about not being bothered unnecessarily throughout the day. Having a clear strategy overcomes this problem.
3.Pay Attention To Customer Preferences:
Many customers opt for certain services and refuse others. This way they can use the service to their benefit and the customer service teams will find more takers for their ideas. Make sure that the customer service has the customer preferences well updated in their database so that they only offer SMS for what has been opted for and do not feel tempted to tack on services. These kinds of methods can aggravate customers.
4.Ensure SMS Service Is Bi-Directional:
SMS works best when it is a two way street. It is not just about the company sending messages. It should also be about the customer using the system to say what he or she wants to. So, if you are serious about building customer relationships, ensure that the SMS service can be used both ways: companies can deliver product and service related information and customers can contact companies on issues pertaining to the product/service they are utilizing without undue hassles.
For example, if a customer’s washing machine is not working, he should be able to send a message to the customer care center.
5.Publicize Your SMS Service:
If you start using SMS for customer service, then let your customers know that you have started such a service. Sometimes, many customers do not know that such a service has been initiated and they fail to take advantage of it. Therefore, advertise it to make sure that everybody knows about it.
6.Provide Options For All Customers:
Some customers might not like using SMS. Give them the option of stopping it. This will make them feel more in control over the service and might even tempt them into using it more frequently.
Text messaging is a wonderfully personal and effective way of getting in touch with customers. It is also the fastest way of getting a message across and if used correctly, quite cost effective. So plan a good strategy, pay heed to customer sensibilities and reap the rewards.