In a time of short attention spans and competing priorities, it takes a thoughtful messaging strategy to reach your customers. The easiest place to start? Meet your customers where they are – on their phones.
According to research in 2018, 87% of smartphone users are using messaging and 58% of those surveyed emphasize convenience when making decisions. To reach customers with the least friction, your strategy should include SMS and omni-channel solutions.
Synchronous vs. asynchronous messaging
To understand when to implement the different types of customer interaction, it’s important to understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous messaging.
Synchronous: Communication happening in “real-time.” This can be in-person or virtual. A synchronous interaction includes a call with a human agent in a contact center or a conversation with a virtual agent.
Asynchronous: Conversations that include a lag between interaction, such as emails, text messages, direct messages, and more.
SMS and two-way messaging solutions
While certain situations call for synchronous communications such as an escalated customer issue, many business interactions are best left to asynchronous messages. Why are these channels a better fit? By reaching your customers via SMS or other omnichannel solutions, such as email or webchat, you allow your customers to respond in their own time. You are fitting your business into their lives. In fact, 64% of people say they would prefer to message rather than call a business, and 60% say they are open to receiving personal messages from companies.
Let’s dive into more detail about digital messaging and why it’s an effective messaging strategy:
- Global reach: Digital messaging provides extended reach and the ability to scale. In 2019, it was estimated that 5 billion people owned a mobile phone.
- Better open rates: Message open rates can reach 98% and are opened within 90 seconds on average. These open rates are significantly higher than email, which tend to hover around 20%.
- Operational Efficiency: SMS can be integrated into your CRM system to increase agent efficiency. The CRM can provide the right information upon first contact and prepare the agent for more personalized service. You can also set up your SMS to send automated responses, continue conversations (see #4) and let agents hold simultaneous conversations.
- Continue conversations: SMS and two-way messaging allow conversations to continue over time. Rather than a phone call where agents and customers must ask and answer right away, text messages allow gaps between responses. This can benefit both customer and agent. For the customer, they can take the time they need to find information or ask the right questions. They can also respond when it’s most convenient. For an agent, two-way messaging gives them the opportunity to work with other agents to solve a problem. This method of communication also shows previous chat history to provide context for customer concerns.
- Personal: Customers prefer text. They’re already sending messages throughout the day. Receiving a message from a business is the natural next step. More than 50% of people surveyed feel more connected to a business when they can message with it. Customers can personalize the experience by choosing to respond on their own time. Businesses can personalize the experience by connecting to a CRM and helping agents access the right information to make customer interactions more relevant.
Value of messaging
Customer satisfaction alone can be enough to prove the value of a product, but there’s even more a business can achieve when meeting customers where they are.
Incorporating messaging into your contact center strategy can lead to operational improvements that improve several contact center metrics, including lower cost per resolution. Agents are able to work together to solve issues and are able to chat with multiple customers at a time. By having chat history at their fingertips, agents can reduce handle time and deliver a more personalized experience.
Add to all of these perks the ability to integrate messaging into a unified digital experience? You’ve got a winning formula to improve the customer and agent experience, and boost the overall performance of your business.
LiveVox is a next-generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 Billion interactions a year. We seamlessly integrate omnichannel communications, CRM, and WFO capabilities to deliver an exceptional agent and customer experience, while reducing compliance risk. Our reliable, easy-to-use technology enables effective engagement strategies on communication channels of choice to drive performance in your contact center. Our battle-tested risk mitigation and security tools help clients maximize their potential in an ever-changing business environment. With 20 years of pure cloud expertise LiveVox is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Our more than 450 global employees are headquartered in San Francisco; with offices in Atlanta, Denver, New York City, St. Louis, Medellin, Colombia, and Bangalore, India.