Your customer support effort is often the first impression that people interested in your products and services get, so it’s important that it stands out for the right reasons.
Many contact centres are moving away from traditional telephone lines as their primary customer support channel to more modern ways of communicating with customers. Call deflection strategies are becoming an increasingly popular method to handle call volumes, as is the use of digital tools, including SMS contact centre solutions, to engage with customers on the channels they love.
When customers reach out through SMS, chat, email, or social media, your contact centre needs to be ready for it. SMS and other forms of communication work best when you engage in a conversation. From business text messaging and live chat to YouTube comments, you can make every interaction a tailored customer experience that helps drive retention and brand loyalty. Explore our tips on getting your contact centre SMS and other messaging right.
How business text messaging can help you reach your customers
More and more customers are switching to digital as their preferred method of communication. Customers don’t like hanging around in a call queue, or waiting for responses to forms and emails — they want an instant response. Channels can include SMS, WhatsApp or other messaging systems, and social media chat services such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Twitter.
Business text messaging is one form of call deflection that can help you reduce the impact of high call volumes on waiting times and customer satisfaction. Using this method, you can redirect calls to digital tools, including unified messengers, customer messaging systems, and cloud-based messaging services. So, how exactly could using messaging apps as a customer service platform help your contact centre?
SMS, or short message service, is a way to exchange short text messages via mobile phones and the internet. Most of us use SMS chat with our friends and family every day, which makes it a great way of ensuring efficient, positive, and informal customer relationships. With SMS, all of the chat history is in one place, which avoids customers having to repeat themselves — a potential source of great frustration!
What is the difference between SMS and MMS?
The difference between MMS (multimedia message service) and SMS is that MMS allows messages to include videos, photos, and other multimedia content. With both MMS and SMS chat, your customers can text a dedicated number and receive real-time responses. MMS is handy in case your customers need to send you screenshots and photos, or if you want to send them product ideas and marketing materials.
Have you considered managing your call centre customer communications via WhatsApp? One of the most popular messenger services on the market, WhatsApp allows you to send messages via their Business API and Business App, so you can communicate with your customers professionally.
RingCentral supports WhatsApp and enables you to respond to all incoming messages through our unified messenger platform. The RingCentral app allows you to:
- Send tickets and other web based products straight to your customer’s phone.
- Share live location data with customers to track your deliveries in real-time.
- Attach images, videos, and gifs. This is especially useful for marketing your brand via WhatsApp.
Do you have a business page or branded group on Facebook? Struggling to deal with customer service through community management? Businesses can now use Facebook Messenger to communicate directly with customers, helping to quickly mitigate negative comments or complaints on your public pages.
Integrating Facebook Messenger into your contact centre communications strategy allows you to use the Facebook AI to route your customers to the right person in your customer service, marketing, or sales departments. You can also merge customer profiles into a single identity across the Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger apps.
Photo sharing app Instagram is perfect for businesses who have products to sell – customers can follow your page to view your grid posts, stories, and reels, and even buy products directly from your feed. Using Instagram as part of your contact centre toolkit allows you to:
- Strengthen your brand with one-to-one customer communication.
- Have private conversations, redirecting complaints or sensitive queries to a direct message.
- Use Instagram’s filters, stickers, gifs, and other tools to keep your conversation informal.
Apple Business Chat
Apple Business Chat allows you to communicate directly with Apple users through their iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Your customers can ask questions through Apple Maps, Siri, and Apple Search, and the app integrates with Apple Pay for secure authentication, making checkout and purchasing products easy.
Google’s Business Message
Google’s Business Message allows you to speak directly to your customers in real time, from your online business profile on Google, via search results, and Google Maps. Messages appear in your profile, along with a notification, and all messages are saved so you and your customers have a record of interactions.
To use Google’s service you must respond to all messages within 24 hours. When customers click on messaging they will receive a notification of how long you normally take to respond — from a few minutes to a day. This helps with customer engagement and confidence in your service.
Engage Messaging offers text messaging for your business through live chat and the Engage CRM Messenger apps for Android and iPhone.
- It lets customers contact you even when no agent is online — giving you 24 hour customer support.
- It facilitates a mix of chatbots and agents, allowing your chatbots to take care of simple FAQs, while agents can handle higher-priority messages.
- It includes a live-chat mode, which floats on the corner of your website.
How do SMS communications in contact centres work?
Both inbound and outbound customer contact centres rely on efficient communications tools to manage customer relationships effectively, and SMS text messaging has a key role to play here.
By using a unified messaging or SMS app, your contact centre can manage all the digital and social communication routes in one place — including live and SMS chat, Facebook Messenger, and Engage Messaging. A good contact centre SMS solution will store your customers’ history and purchase information, along with the reason they have contacted you, ensuring that engagement is seamless.
What is an SMS message app or unified messenger?
A unified messaging app brings together all chat functions into one app or platform. This includes live chat, chatbots, and the option to integrate a host of social media apps. The best text message forwarding app will bring all your communications by SMS into one place.
What is a cloud-based messaging or SMS service?
A cloud-based messaging or SMS service is an app or platform in the cloud. The cloud is a network of secure remote servers hosted on the internet and accessed by businesses. Data is stored in the cloud rather than with the business itself. A cloud-based messaging service stores all customer interactions in this secure network.
How to send business text messages
It’s easy to accelerate sales with SMS apps and a business text messaging service. You can send marketing campaigns, short term sales offers, and discounts to your mailing list, and even set up a short code so people can receive your updates. Here are a few tips to help you send business text messages that get results.
Add a virtual phone number with text messaging
A virtual phone number with text messaging allows you to send chat messages without using an actual phone. There are lots of apps on the market that allow you to set up a virtual phone number. This lets your customers text the number with a question or comment, and you can reply directly to their message in real time, through the app.
Use automatic text reply for business
Ever sent an SMS chat message to a business and wondered when you would get a response? Using automated or automatic text reply for business can help. Examples of automated messages can range from auto-responses like “thank you for your message, we will get back to you in x hours” to a note with your opening hours or further contact details, including links to help pages and FAQs on your website.
Consider mobile phone text marketing
Want to build your email marketing list, get blog subscribers, or generate sales through discount codes? Consider mobile phone text marketing. Text campaigns encourage your customers to contact your business via text, with a sales code or reference. You can then use an automatic text reply to generate sales for your business.
Once you have your SMS mailing list in place, you can send mobile phone text marketing messages out to your whole list, or relevant groups. This kind of marketing is great for short term offers, such as weekend sales.
Using SMS chat in your contact centre
If you are considering using SMS or other forms of messaging in your contact centre, RingCentral can help you diversify your customer communications strategy through digital channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Chat, Instagram, Apple Business Chat, and more.
Find out more about how our services can help you get your business messaging right.
Originally published Feb 24, 2021, updated Jul 22, 2021