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August 19, 2020

SMS Dos and Dont’s

First, Should Your Contact Center Be Texting?

Eight trillion text messages are sent every year. And every month, people send more than one billion messages to businesses. Despite these incredible statistics, many contact centers still haven’t integrated text and mobile messaging channels into their customer service operations. The reason certainly isn’t a lack of customer demand. Many contact centers who text-enable their existing CX suite actually see that their customers have been attempting to message them all along! In fact, in a survey we conducted we found that customer preference for digital channels engagement was cited as the number one reason contact center leaders make the decision to adopt! But, how do you know if texting is right for you? A good place to start is by evaluating what types of inbound requests your customers usually contact you with as well as what routine outbound communications you send regularly. So, for example, do customers often contact you with password reset requests? You can easily trigger an SMS that contains a link guiding them through the update process. Or, you can save agent time by sending automatic payment reminders via SMS instead of making calls that go directly to voicemail. Bottom line: If you’re communicating with customers, chances are texting is a good fit for you.

Hint: DO check your website analytics. Is a good portion (40% or more) of your traffic mobile? Then you’re a great candidate for texting!

 

Before You Begin – Picking a Platform

For contact centers that have a team of engineers and IT professionals available to create and support custom software, a partner like Twilio might be adequate. CRMs like Salesforce and Zendesk offer texting add-ons, but they are lacking in features and consultative support. And if one of your digital transformation goals is to eliminate a patchwork of systems in favor of a streamlined, unified model simply stitching best-of-breed solutions together will ultimately keep you in place. For those looking for a fully unified, end-to-end solution with best practices training and white-glove support, a partner like LiveVox is an obvious choice.

Hint: DO evaluate platforms based on a thorough assessment of your specific customer experience goals and needs. DO seek out feedback before adopting any new channel from your most important stakeholders: Your customers. DON’T focus on subjective recommendations.

 

Platforms Head- to- Head

SMS Capabilities for the Contact Center by Provider Type

Continuous Conversations

Now that you’re familiar with the capabilities landscape from a holistic point of view, it’s time to get granular and dive into the actual agent perspective. With most platforms, agents have to go back to the customer’s record to see historical text conversations. While this workflow is normal for ticket-based CRMs, it may not provide the best agent experience, especially in an omnichannel environment where multiple channel histories need to be perused. Part of transitioning to a more digital-first model requires a communications platform that’s agent-focused, too. Choosing a platform that is built on a unified data model specifically creates continuous conversation by threading interaction history across channels and connecting it at the account level. Continuous conversations provide agents the context of past SMS or other digital channel conversations with a customer, allowing for a better agent and customer experience.

Hint: DO consider the relationship between agent ease of use and the customer experience. DON’T deploy a new channel without first piloting on a test group if possible.

 

How Many Agents Will You Need for Messaging?

While answering this question will involve some trial and error, the best place to start is by looking at your other channels and doing some math. In the beginning, while your customers are still figuring out that you offer text messaging, you can expect a lower volume on the channel, but as traffic is deflected from phone and webchat, you’ll likely need to shuffle agents around. Moving agents from webchat to asynchronous messaging is an easy transition because they go from having to answer questions in real-time to having a few minutes to handle the customer’s issue before responding. You can expect the volume of the voice channel to decrease most dramatically.

Hint: DO cross-train webchat agents on other digital channels. They require the same skills which will make the transition smoother. DON’T expect immediate customer adoption, but DO remember that if you build it, they will come.

 

How Do You Choose Which Agents to Assign to Text and Mobile Messaging?

Some of your best phone agents might struggle with the written word. While texting is a more informal channel, you want to make sure you avoid spelling and grammatical errors, as they will reflect poorly on your brand and provide a subpar customer experience. You also want to choose personable agents that are capable of matching the conversational tone of your customers and understand when they can be informal and light vs. when they have to be all business and take care of an issue. For agents who are moving from webchat to text and mobile messaging, you’ll want to make sure they understand the nuances between the two channels. For example, agents don’t need to break up their responses into multiple messages, and they don’t typically need to send interim messages such as “I’ll look into that and get right back to you,” because texters expect a few minutes of lag time. If you’re implementing texting as a new channel, you’ll also want to recruit agents that are capable of rolling with the punches and being adaptable. You never know how customers will react to a new communication channel at first, so it’s important to staff it with agents that can give the organization great feedback and suggest solutions to edge cases that may pop up. Usually contact centers who use veteran agents for the text channel, at least in the beginning, see the best results

Hint: DO think of text and digital messaging channels as more informal modes of communicating; they’re conversational by nature. DON’T Train agents to fire off multiple messages in succession for a play-by-play of issue resolution.

 

About LiveVox

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.

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About LiveVox

LiveVox (Nasdaq: LVOX) is a next-generation contact center platform that powers more than 14 billion interactions a year. By seamlessly integrating omnichannel communications, CRM, AI, and WFO capabilities, the Company’s technology delivers an exceptional agent and customer experience while reducing compliance risk. With 20 years of cloud experience and expertise, LiveVox’s CCaaS 2.0 platform is at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. The Company has more than 500 global employees and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Atlanta; Columbus; Denver; New York City; St. Louis; Medellin, Colombia; and Bangalore, India. To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox or visit livevox.com.

To stay up to date with everything LiveVox, follow us at @LiveVox, visit www.livevox.com or call one of our specialists at (844) 207-6663.

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