Instant messaging and social networks may well be the flavor of the week, but that doesn’t mean that the simple text message is off the menu. Far from being stale, it’s never been more appetizing for digital marketers or for nourishing customer experience (CX).
The figures speak for themselves. In the U.K. – for many the country that sets the digital tastes that other western countries follow – texting continues to grow in popularity as a potential marketing channel. More than 37 million British consumers are currently happy to receive texts from businesses and, claims a recent Textlocal report, this number is expected to grow to roughly 50 million by the end of the decade.
While in the U.S., the country that turned the concept of fast food and even faster service into the norm, on average, just three minutes elapse between receiving and reading a message from a business.
What’s more, even though other forms of messaging are continuing to work their way into consumers’ digital diets, text messages still boast a 95 percent open rate according to the Mobile Marketing Association.
And don’t forget, while Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp boast a combined 3.6 billion users, 100 percent of the 5 billion+ active smartphones globally can send and receive a text message.
When it comes to CX, all of this should highlight its potential as an exciting ingredient in the marketing mix; particularly during times of the year when competition for customer attention is fierce – and when brands must use every tool at their disposal to ensure their levels of customer service don’t dip.
Whether it is to boost sales, acquire new customers, build loyalty, send notifications or pilot satisfaction surveys, text messages serve each step of the customer journey. But beyond being a fast and fluid service, it acts as a conversational channel connecting and recording every step of the customer journey like a trail of breadcrumbs.
By choosing to text customers, brands can really cook up something special when it comes to their marketing campaigns. Because a text message can be an end unto itself or the start of a conversation, it is a great optimization tool that, when sent at the right time, can really increase conversion rates. Responses to subsequent customer texts can be automated, while messages that ask a recipient to make a choice – say between two products or services – are an effective way of pre-qualifying potential customers and connecting them with an agent.
All of this is why, in addition to developing ways of optimizing organizations’ use of Live Chat, Messenger, Twitter and Facebook, Sitel is keeping the SMS on the menu.
Our software platform’s multi-protocol conversational module gives brands the power to automate and control conversations via SMS just as easily as any social messaging system, and to be able to step in and manually steer conversations as customers move further down the path to purchase.
How conversations play out and the directions in which they guide prospects can be modelled and programmed in advance. The system can be set up to function synchronously or asynchronously. Progress can be monitored in real time and agents have the power to intervene to craft a bespoke response, add extra information or invite a customer to move over to another conversational platform.
But in addition to a sales channel, texting can be used to great effect in CX for reducing the volume of calls to contact centers during peak demand periods. Well-timed and targeted texts will let a customer know if an application has been processed, payment has been received or that a parcel is shipping, saving him or her from having to make a call. And again, agents can have a full view of these text message exchanges, alongside historic communications across other channels.
From text and live chat to social media and contact center management, Sitel Group can help your organization implement and optimize a truly omnichannel approach to customer service and CX.