Text Messages as a Two-Way Communication With Customers

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woman-textingText messages are widely considered to be a very reliable channel for reaching customers. The best example of this is in the banking industry, where more than 33% of customers receive their primary information about their account via text messages. This model of top-down information distribution has been the dominant use of text messages over the last few years, but customers are demanding change.

Why notifications are not enough?

They are delivering information in one direction only. It can be compared to pagers, which won the market and then quickly died off ceding it to the cell phones, which had capabilities to support two-way communication.

In most cases, there is no way to reply to a notification if you have further questions. Even notifications that expect a reply, only expect a certain set of predefined answers.

Customers are very fond of communicating by text. Why? It gives them an ability to communicate whenever and from wherever it's convenient for them.

According to Harris Poll research, 64% of customers report that they would prefer to use texting as their communication channel for customer service and 77% of customers 18-34 have a positive perception of a company which provides customer service through this channel. This is a powerful tool for improving your customers' perception of your company, but it is still too rare to see text messages in business.

What these statistics tell us is that it is necessary not only to use text messages in business as a way to draw in new customers, through advertisements or offering limited notifications, but to retain the already existing customer base by offering full customer service through this channel.

In order to use texting as an effective customer service channel, there are three basic problems that need to be solved.

  • How will you accomplish your quality control? You cannot afford to have a drop in the quality of your service after your transition to texts.
  • How will you address escalating customers or a return to voice-based customer service? If a customer needs to speak to a person over the phone, that transition must be seamless.
  • Texts are not only SMS. Your customers may want to reach you through any one of a number of messaging apps: Facebook, Whatsapp, Line, Wechat, and others. Your customer service system must be able to accommodate these.

And the question of how to address them all and create a consistent great customer experience without increase in costs for implementation and maintenance.

Solution would be an easy path to a live person from any notification. It should also give your customers an ability to start the conversation. Customer service platform should provide safe transit from Self-Service to Live-Agent, along side with SMS routing to allow customers to initiate the contact.


About Katrina

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