The way call centers approach customer engagement has changed. Gone are the days when phone calls ruled the call center. Business text messaging has been on the rise.
Maybe this seems counterintuitive, or maybe you’re still not convinced texting is a professional channel of communication. But, as the way customers prefer to communicate has changed, so too must the outreach practices of the companies that serve them.
There’s sound business evidence for adopting the more personal channel, too. Responses are more immediate over text, decreasing wait times and yielding greater visibility for your communication efforts. This all adds up to a smoother customer experience:
- 44% of people like to text because it’s fast
- 76% of people would like to text with organizations
- SMS open rates are five times higher than email.
Text messaging also allows agents to carry on multiple conversations at once. With higher inbound volume than ever before, this is a huge boon.
In the time it would take to resolve one customer’s query, SMS text messaging allows agents to resolve multiple inquiries. You can boost customer satisfaction by decreasing wait times while at the same time seeing increased productivity among agents. A true win-win. So, how do call centers use text messaging?
How Do Call Centers Use Text Messaging?
SMS text messaging in the call center has many applications that vary by industry. Here we explore just a few ways in which financial service organizations have already harnessed text messaging.
Increasing a digital presence
Organizations are rising to the challenge of meeting the growing demands of the digital-first customer. Omnichannel presence is more important than ever. To reach your customers it is no longer enough to communicate only over phone calls. Emails, SMS, webchat, and now even social presences are necessary for customer satisfaction.
The World Advertising Research Center predicts that by 2025 70% of the world’s population will have a smartphone. Of those, 4 out of 5 will send a text message every day. Communication over SMS makes sense. You can meet your customers where they already are and increase their satisfaction.
Fintech lenders have increased their omnichannel engagement and customer satisfaction by not just incorporating SMS into their call center but, making these channels viewable to agents through a single pane of glass.
In this way, gaps in data from conversations across channels are minimized and insight into channel performance is readily understandable. Through SMS messaging, financial service organizations are able to minimize the steps needed to get to know their customers, provide them with personalized service, and shrink service times to minimize frustration.
Providing customers seamless self-service
SMS texting gives your customers the ability to receive important information accurately and easily. This simple service can make your call center more resilient to changing circumstances that impact the way we communicate and more resilient in times of crisis.
For example, food service and restaurant businesses were forced into a delivery and takeout model where texting and web-based messaging was the primary mode of communication for these service alerts. Financial services firms were quick to reinforce trust, offer reassurance, and proactive guidance via messaging during the pandemic. With many small businesses facing economic insecurity, new loans were received through fast and easy digital onboarding processes that kept operation afloat in the nick of time.
This was also the case for healthcare organizations that relied on in-person Medicaid enrollment when the coronavirus pandemic hit. These organizations were forced to act quickly to adjust their enrollment systems. By leveraging SMS coupled with IVR, patients were able to easily complete the steps needed for enrollment. In fact, one healthcare organization reports that after just 14 days of launching an SMS self service option, patient enrollment screenings nearly doubled.
In industries as severely impacted by COVID-19 as healthcare and financial services, access to enrollment through self-service was a much needed convenience. Healthcare organizations were able to make sure their customers were taken care of during a time when it mattered most. And banks and financial institutions were able to provide greater flexibility and more positive experiences managing deferments and claims during a touch time.
Your communication campaigns need to be efficient. This became particularly apparent for some financial services companies when COVID-19 forced agents into a work from home model. During the first few weeks of this new work landscape, organizations specializing in debt consolidation, personalized repayment options, and loan origination discovered an immediate need to provide empathy and options to customers. Ease of use for both customer and agent proved to be a major factor in providing both. By leveraging SMS messaging, financial services companies were able to make navigating financial hardships brought on during the pandemic less daunting.
Increasing contact rates
When you embrace SMS text messaging you adopt a channel that allows you to increase connections, reduce overhead, and deliver on service goals. By linking SMS and non-digital channels, one financial service organization was able to increase their contact rates by 79%. SMS messaging minimizes customer effort to respond and increases first contact resolutions.
Text messaging is no longer the rookie living in the shadow of other channel champs like voice and email. It has come into its own as a must-have for call centers across industries because of the access and flexibility it provides.