Best 5 Things for Customer Support by SMS

If you own a business that has customers and sells goods or services, then by definition you are also in the business of customer service.

This is the part of your business that creates repeat customers, generates organic growth and ultimately consummates the customer experience.

Depending on the size of your business, you might be either overseeing the customer support management team, managing the team  yourself, or providing it yourself. Regardless of the size of your team, the most critical element of customer support is your customer’s accessibility to that support.

Back in the stone age, providing a mailing address where customers could send their questions and complaints was all that was expected. Then, you had to provide a support phone number if you were a self-respecting business, followed by the necessity of

Approximately 22.3% into the 21st century, companies are stepping things up by providing support through two-way texting. Whether this seems to you like an obvious step for your business, or something you’re still hesitating about, there are 5 things you need to know about how SMS enhances your customer support.

  1. If you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em – The customer knows best, and that customer is spending 5x more time texting than making phone calls. Text messaging is less disruptive, it precludes the need for the dreaded voicemail, and all of us super busy people can check our incoming messages at our convenience.
  2. Hold on – 95% of customers expect to be waiting on hold for 5 minutes or less. The other 5% are either retired or in preschool, so they have more time on their hands. This means that to meet customer expectations, you need to be staffing a support team that can process calls at a volume and speed that will ensure that the longest wait time on hold remains below 5 minutes. This is doable, but it could cost you. SMS support means that there is no waiting on hold, as the customer reaches out and responds at their convenience.
  3. Say what? – Perhaps even worse than waiting on hold is actually getting on the line with a support rep, but then the reception causes every other word to be inaudible. And then the line goes dead and you’re back on hold. If you’re lucky, you wake up in a cold sweat and realize that it was just a nightmare, but this scenario happens thousands of times a day. SMS support will work seamlessly as long as your customer has enough reception to send a text message. If they’re in a spotty area, that message will still be queued and delivered as soon as they return to civilization.
  4. The wonders of documentation – While support voice calls are often recorded for training purposes, searching through them when you need to find a specific call or incident is like looking for a needle in a stack of needles. SMS correspondence is by definition more searchable, such that the support documentation becomes a digital library of every customer interaction that ever took place. The documentation is also wholly accurate, and never left to interpretation as far as what information was or was not exchanged
  5. You will save money – Customer support using SMS is more efficient than with voice calls, and that will have a direct effect on your costs of providing that support. Consider the simple facts that:
    1. Support reps can engage with multiple customers simultaneously
    2. SMS conversations are typically far more concise than voice calls
    3. Parts of the conversation can be automated.

All of this leads to brief but effective support interactions.

While SMS has its drawbacks when it comes to unwanted messaging, marketing spam, and the 17th reminder I just received for my appointment this afternoon, it’s a method of communication that’s totally in its element when being used in customer support.

So if you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. Your customers with thank you for it. Eventually you’ll thank yourself as well.


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