2. Treat SMS like a bona fide support channel
While SMS is great for automated push notifications, it’s also a simple and convenient platform for customers who are seeking direct support.
Unlike with live chat, customers can never accidentally cut an SMS conversation short by navigating away and closing the window. As an “anytime” channel, SMS conversations unfold at the customer’s pace, making them an excellent way to achieve resolution on the go.
It’s just as important to provide comprehensive customer support via SMS as you would on any other channel. Tasks that could be handled through any other channel, like receiving orders, processing refunds, and speaking to account managers, can all be completed directly within the SMS interface.
For too many companies, this amounts to a missed opportunity. Customers desperately want to text their way to resolution – in fact, many would rather use SMS than whatever other channels companies offer. According to HeyWire Business, 52% of customers would prefer to text a support agent over the current channel they use.
With the right tools and integrations, customers can fire off a text and connect directly with support, the way they would through live chat, phone, or social.
- SMS integrated support console
For most businesses, the absence of SMS customer service isn’t due to a lack of imagination. Instead, SMS might simply feel like another cumbersome add-on: difficult to integrate into their current customer service operation and therefore hard to execute effectively.
With a solid omnichannel support system, SMS customer service no longer has to be an afterthought. SMS integration allows agents to receive text messages in their unified console, where they can view them alongside all other inquiries, such as live chat, email, and social media messages. Agents have access to the same collaboration and efficiency tools they would on any other channel – such as canned messages and Agent Assist – all of which they can access without switching screens.
Agent omnichannel console showing SMS within the Ticketing & Messaging tab alongside other key digital channels
Thought that adding SMS as a support channel couldn’t get more frictionless? Chatbots are perfectly suited for SMS, and are easy to carry over from your existing customer service channels when you have an omnichannel platform. Chatbots are already native to the mobile landscape, and can help customers fulfill a number of advanced support requests.
SMS chatbots are easy to advertise, and have actually played a hand in helping customers convert to text messages as their preferred method of customer service. Take Capital One’s intelligent assistant, Eno, for example:
Example of SMS chatbot customer support from Eno at Capital One.
Not only is Eno able to help customers complete banking functions without involving agents, this bot was actually able to direct users away from human-run support channels. By giving their chatbot a name and advertising its friendly disposition on their website, Capital One was able to use Eno not as just a customer support channel, but a selling point.
When building a full-service SMS support channel, it’s critical to have tools that allow you to custom pick your SMS support team and leaders. Permission settings can be used to assign certain agents to specific roles and departments, so that SMS chat requests can be routed to appropriate representatives. You can also give specific agents permission to take over requests from chatbots or give greener agents guidance. This can be achieved through individual agent permissions, or based on their role or department.
Example of Permissions in the Comm100 dashboard