Outsourcing SMS support for different processes creates value for all kinds of businesses in several ways. It provides for cost-efficient customer service delivered through a combination of human intervention and automation. It can increase engagement and retention when used wisely for customer support. And, it can increase sales when used in support of marketing campaigns. But, these aren’t the only business processes that benefit from outsourcing SMS support.
#1 SMS support outsourcing contributes to the overall efficiency of customer service delivery.
Efficiency in providing customer service may be measured in several ways. Traditionally, customers rate the quality of service by the care and attention that employees give to them, the knowledge level and politeness of employees, and the speed that a service is provided.
Employees these days can’t attend to every customer’s needs in person. That’s why companies now use SMS support because they want to provide reliable service wherever their customers may be. Because of advanced computing and mobile technology, customer service is now widely delivered through different platforms, such as mobile and web chat apps.
The care and attention that agents provide to customers in face-to-face interactions are just as empathetic as in SMS conversations. This is because human intervention takes precedence over automation in SMS support outsourcing. AI-enabled chat services can only provide pre-written answers to basic questions, such as “How much is a small pouch of [this product] worth?” or “What other colors of [this product] are available?”
Only human agents can reassure customers that it’s safe for kids to use or consume a product or that it won’t harm their pets. Chatbots may be able to mimic an empathetic tone, but they don’t have the capability to read between the lines and figure out that some customers need assurance before they can make up their minds to buy one brand over another.
#2 Outsourcing customer support by SMS improves customer engagement and retention.
When compared to email, SMS takes a greater slice of the pie when it comes to open and response rates. More than 80% of mobile users read every text message they receive. In contrast, the average total open rate of email is only 18%. And text messages are read, on average, in 5 seconds or less.
For both customers and employees, it’s way faster to compose a text message and less frustrating to respond to it than making or receiving phone calls. Customers were often put on hold because agents had to finish one call before moving on to the next. With SMS support, customers don’t have to stay on the phone for long. While waiting for a reply to their SMS query, they’ll have enough time to finish a chore or run errands.
And, agents have limited resources at hand when they’re stuck to handling a call. Either they escalate, which is considered bad form, or cut the conversation short without resolving the issue, which affects their overall CSAT score. Whatever course of action they take, agents are set up to fail. With SMS support, however, agents can find answers to customer queries from other sources without putting customers on hold. Even better, agents can handle up to 7 people at once when answering queries sent through text messaging.
So, how do all these improve customer engagement and retention? Customers feel at ease when using SMS to get the information they need. They have a higher level of trust in SMS support because texts seem way more personal and private compared to phone calls. People can hear your end of the conversation when you’re on a call. But, only you and the customer service rep you’re talking to have access to these text messages.
In addition to privacy, SMS offers a less stressful way to resolve issues regarding purchases and services. This improves the customer’s relationship with the brand and creates goodwill for the company.
#3 Outsourcing SMS support for marketing campaigns increases sales.
Recent stats on global mobile phone usage reveal that 75% of the world’s population already own a device that’s capable of sending and receiving SMS. Putting up ads from outdoor installations to TV and radio segments that include an invitation to sign up through SMS shortcodes to receive special offers and coupons can increase engagement with a brand, and heighten the interest of potential consumers. This effectively leads to an increase in sales.
But, will an increase in sales due to text support also lead to repeat purchases? It seems so. Companies can easily set up customer loyalty programs via SMS, which actively reaches out to consumers rather than passively waits for them to buy a second, third, fourth time, and so on until they complete all 10 purchases to get a freebie or discount. Active outreach via SMS can drive consumer traffic on demand and generate more revenue not just once but in succeeding campaigns.
#4 When outsourced, SMS support for education and training can improve learning.
People already behave favorably towards receiving information through SMS. Why not make use of text messaging as an effective learning tool? Mobile users may sign up to receive daily SMS updates from you. The content may vary from text-only notifications to MMS which includes images, videos, and audio clips.
Students can have SMS notifications sent to their phones to remind them of an upcoming exam or a deadline to submit a report. Questions about enrollment and class schedules, for example, may be sent via SMS. Younger students (aged 18 to 34) may respond to SMS messages more enthusiastically compared to older learners.
The fact that it’s more convenient and it costs way less to create and process than emails and calls make text messaging an efficient and effective tool in education and training.
#5 Outsourced SMS support for healthcare creates a more convenient and cost-effective communication channel for patients, medical professionals, and healthcare service providers.
The healthcare industry has problems with staff efficiencies. Too many patients demand attention and fewer staff members can accommodate them. Through AI-enabled automation, patients may sign up to receive SMS notifications that remind them of a doctor’s appointment or medication pickups. Mobile users may also opt-in to receive emergency alerts and public health ads.
Database management greatly benefits from SMS support outsourcing. Instead of calling their patients, hospitals and clinics can just send texts that only require either ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ response. Mobile users immediately receive answers to their questions. Do they still want to meet with a doctor or cancel the appointment? Do they still want to keep their names on a waiting list? Their responses are then recorded in the database as soon as they’re received.
But, human intervention when outsourcing SMS support for healthcare services is non-negotiable. Like with SMS marketing, text messages sent out to patients must follow TCPA law but with additional limitations.
It may be within TCPA regulations to send texts before 9 PM, but in consideration of the patient’s overall health, a human agent has to send the text at an appointed time and date according to the patient’s preferred hours. If a patient had to rest in the afternoon, SMS notifications are sent in the morning.