Outstanding customer service is your competitive advantage - influencing 93% of repeat custom. Is yours good enough? This week, we’re looking at SMS customer service - specifically what it is, why it’s essential, and the top tips for using customer text messages to outpace your competition, retain customers and boost profits. Hold on to your hats.

What is SMS customer service?

SMS customer service is providing customer support and care using SMS text messages. 

Customer service text messages can be initiated by your customer - “My delivery hasn’t arrived 😟” - or yourself - “How would you rate your call with Jean on a scale of 1 (fabulous) to 10 (dire)?” And, they can be sent using an SMS communication platform or a simple mobile phone. 

The benefits of SMS customer service

Telephone, email, social media, live chat, snail mail and now SMS - there are a plethora of customer service channels out there - what makes SMS stand out?

For customers

Top customer service is all about communication, and SMS is one of the strongest communication channels out there. Customers benefit from:

- Choice - choosing a communication channel they prefer;

- Ease - using a device that’s in their hands four hours a day;

- Convenience - seeking immediate support on the go, in noisy places or in bed;

- Attention - communicating in a private 1:1 space. 

For businesses

There are also significant business benefits from using SMS to provide customer support, including:

- Cost - from as little as 3.8p per text, the cost of SMS communication is affordable;

- Efficiency - increasing the capacity of your agents and other communication channels;

- Competition - offering a communication method different from your competitors; and

- Effectiveness - increasing open rates and recording conversation history to improve your service. 

Ultimately, SMS enables you to offer stellar customer service, which in turn makes customers happy, willing to return, likely to spend more and eager to talk about you. 

When to use SMS customer service?

The possibilities of using SMS for customer service are also endless - with plenty of opportunities to implement this effective communication channel. Common uses include:

Complaint handling

Quickly receive and efficiently handle complaints by using text messaging to log and progress issues. 

Gemma, we’re sorry that we sent you a faulty item. Please confirm your order number and we’ll get a replacement sent out straight away. 

Information parting

Use SMS shortcodes and messages to actively share useful information and respond to customer queries and technical questions. 

To register your guarantee, simply reply with the words GUARANTEE followed by your order number 🛠️. 

Customer surveys

Improve your customer care by running SMS customer surveys to uncover the 25 out of 26 people who received poor service but didn’t complain.

How was that delivery for you? Reply ONE for outstanding, TWO for okay, and THREE for needs improvement. 

Customer care

Maintain good relations and increase your customer lifetime value by using appointment reminders, SMS marketing campaigns and bulk SMS offers. 

Ross, we miss you! Come back and use the code HELLO20 to receive 20% off your next order 🛍️ 

Information updates

Make the house move less stressful by offering customers an easy way to update their personal details or passwords via their phone. 

Thank you for updating your address Antonio and congrats on the house move 🏠

Receipts

And increase your green credentials by using SMS receipts instead of paper invoices. 

This is your SMS receipt for order number 22123 totalling £49.99. Keep it safe!

Top tips for SMS customer service

Offering your customers an SMS communication channel is one thing - owning it is another. Practice our SMS customer service top tips for ultimate success. 

1. Respond straight away 

An immediate response is important to 90% of customers and is easy to achieve using an SMS communication platform. Simply log in and let your customer now that you’re working on their query. 

Jonathan, I’ve logged your query with the tech team and will let you know their response. 

2. Talk like a human

You’re human, and your customers are human - talk like it. Text messages are a great way to communicate with your audience on a personal level, so be as chatty, clear and helpful as you can in 160 characters. 

Hey Sarah, your delivery will arrive between 10am - 11am tomorrow. Not going to be in? Message us back your preferred delivery date. 

3. Follow up

Ensure that all SMS messages received by customers are followed up and resolved - this means two-way communication, internal logging and closing messages. 

Hi John, a replacement plant mister has been sent out to you today 🌵. If you have any other queries let me know, otherwise, I’ll close the case. Thank you again, John.

4. Stick to the channel of choice

If your customer prefers communicating via SMS, stick to it. We recommend asking the question in your first response and following their preference. 

Hello Chris, I’ll get the details sent over to you asap. Would you prefer this via text or email?

5. Personalise

Embrace the personal nature of SMS messages by using custom fields to insert first names into text messages.

Susan - we hope you’re enjoying your new activity tracker. If you’d like more tips and tricks, click on the link. Oh, and keep those steps up🚶‍♀️!

6. Check

If you missed last week’s blog on the importance of checking your SMS campaign, then we recommend taking a read before hitting the send button - you’ll thank us later. 

SMS customer service - final thoughts

We’re not saying that SMS should be your sole channel for customer service, but we are saying that it is a convenient, easy, affordable and popular method that should definitely feature in your omnichannel customer service experience. 

If you’d like to see how SMS communications can improve your business, get in touch today.