SMS Services for Call Centers

Everyone hates having to make calls to a call center, yet almost every major business in the world has them. Staticky phone lines, background noise, and unreasonable wait times leave customers angry and agents dealing with the fallout. In fact, recent surveys indicate that callers hate long hold times more than terrible customer service.

At the same time, customers are using everything but the phone to conduct business. If their problems can be dealt with over email or webchat, great. And text messaging? That’s even better. Customers and companies both love texting for the same reasons: it’s fast, personal, secure, and convenient. From a call center perspective, SMS messaging can even increase efficiency and productivity. Agents can engage in more than one conversation at once, and you can say goodbye to those clunky customer service scripts.

If saving time by making SMS a core feature of your call center appeals to your company, keep reading to find out how to get started!

How can text messaging help?

SMS call center messaging services can be a game-changer on multiple fronts. Some you may have already thought of, and others are less obvious. But no matter whether your call center is for retail, finance, or customer service, here are the six major ways to improve your center through text messaging. 

Make customers happy

The first rule of service is that the customer is always right. But perhaps it’s more important to keep the customer happy. Long phone wait times can ruin a customer’s whole day. In fact, 81% of consumers report being frustrated by having to wait on extended holds. Maybe they’re calling on their lunch break, and that task they thought would take 10 minutes has taken their whole hour. Or they get stuck at home sitting on hold all day. Live chat has reduced some of this burden on customers, but texting? Texting has the power to revolutionize customer service.

Asynchronous communication, which text messaging is, enables the customer to initiate contact and move on with their day. Work and family life continue on, and hold times don’t matter. The average text is read within three minutes of receipt, so both the customer and your representative can reach a timely resolution to their problem. 

Encourage feedback

After every service contact, you should send customers a quick survey. Even phone calls, which usually include a one or two-question phone survey, should receive an extended survey via text. Use the results to improve both your business and, more importantly, your call center. Having open-ended questions in addition to number ratings will give you and your representatives a much clearer idea of how to serve your customers better. Examples of the kind of feedback you can solicit via test include:

“Hi, Stephanie. Thank you for choosing PerfectPet. We’re glad we could help you with the issue. Would you leave us a review using the link below? https://apnt.be/xxxxx.”

“Thank you for calling Front Range Medical. How would you rate your latest interaction with us on a scale from 1 (very bad) to 10 (excellent)? Thank you for your feedback!” 

Boost productivity

Increasing productivity might be the best reason to incorporate texting into your customer service. A call center representative can only handle one phone call at a time, which is a large reason for those dreaded wait times. But with SMS availability, your representatives can attend to multiple customers at once. This will lead to quicker resolutions to customer problems and provide the ability to have more contacts in a workday than before.

Text messaging also lets you better prioritize customer contacts. Complex issues or ones that need timely attention can be given priority, and your team can offer better support without the pressure of phone calls. 

Reduce stress levels

SMS is far superior to the telephone when it comes to managing employee stress levels. Everything from customers yelling to constant background noise is frustrating and distracting. Even when a caller is in a great mood, they can be hard to hear. Regional accents can cause further difficulties. Having to constantly be “up” while working in such a hectic environment can be exhausting, and it leads to absences, illnesses, and burnout.

But using SMS for certain questions and concerns reduces that stress. A quieter workplace, happier customers, and higher productivity can help mitigate employee dissatisfaction while also allowing you to retain an experienced service team. 

Use texting to bridge communication

Bridging happens both ways, text to phone and phone to text. Representatives can, at any time, switch from one to the other based on the complexity of the situation. Use SMS to: 

  • Schedule a set call time with a client who needs phone support

  • Send out links to forms the customer needs to fill out

  • Request more information to help resolve customers’ problems 

With the right SMS service, your agents can transfer seamlessly from phone to text and back again, with the customers’ permission. Customers get to decide which option is best for them and can retain some autonomy over the process. They can also carry on with their day, taking phone calls and answering text messages when it’s convenient for them.

Get started with call center text messaging

Sign up for a free, no-commitment 30-day trial today to start texting services with Appointible. We can text-enable your existing number without affecting your ability to make or receive phone calls. We currently offer $10 in free credits with each free trial, and there is never a contract or obligation to meet. You can easily cancel or switch to another plan at any time.

Appointible has three options for texting service phone numbers. The first is a unique 10-digit local number or 10DLC. If your call center only handles local calls, then this might work. But a better idea for call center texting is either a 1-800 toll-free number or to text-enable your existing 1-800 number. New companies will like the first choice while the second option is best for more established companies. 

Appointible offers a variety of texting service plans and pricing, ranging from 500 messages for $25/month to 50,000 messages for $625/month. We also have custom plans for high-volume call centers that need more than 50,000 messages a month. All plans have unlimited two-way direct messaging that will allow your agents to communicate directly with customers. You can provide each agent with their own unique phone number, or they can answer texts just like they would phone calls from the queue.  

Best practices for call centers  

Texting can be a remarkable tool to raise customer satisfaction while also reducing worker stress. But SMS services may also be used as an essential method of communication. Besides helping to eliminate delays caused by engaging in phone tag, your agents can send links that customers need, including service changes and agreements. Here are a few other best practices your call center can engage in with text messaging:  

  • Follow up in order to resolve conflicts   

Sometimes a call escalates due to frustration, misunderstandings, and more. Rather than let tempers flare and then go untended, use SMS to get in touch with the customer. Sometimes it is easier to communicate over SMS because it puts a little distance between the circumstances and emotion. This distance will give your agents a chance to resolve customer complaints in a way that is satisfying to everyone.  

  • Let customers know about call center texting 

If you want people to use your texting services, you have to first make sure they know you even have texting services. Advertising this new addition to your call center is easy. First, make sure to mention it in the customer service section of your website. That way, you can catch potential contacts before they even pick up a phone. Then, update your hold message to include mention of your new services. Let callers know that if they don’t wish to wait on hold, they can text one of your keywords to begin talking to one of your representatives.

  • Make use of auto-reply features 

You might think of auto-replies as hokey, but they are very handy especially in certain instances where having a live person sending messages would be time and cost-inefficient. Use auto-replies for answering common or frequently asked questions. Send out your mailing address, customer service phone numbers, and business hours upon request to save your clients time and frustration. You can even tell texters where they are in the SMS queue and how long their wait will be. The possibilities are endless when it comes to auto-replies.  

  • Advertise keywords 

If you want customers to use texting to their benefit, you have to make them aware of your keywords. Place a list on your website, send a snail mail postcard with a QR code they can scan, write an email, or generate a blast message to your text subscribers – the possibilities are endles.  

  • Use templates to formulate automated messages and more   

Automated messages have their place in a call center texting scheme. Create great ones by using templates to help you get the wording and presentation just right. Templates are helpful for creating bulk messages and one-of-a-kind responses. Once you set up all the templates, all you need to do is link a keyword, and you will be ready to go.

Final thoughts

Jump into the future and join over 40% of businesses that employ SMS messaging in call centers. Text messaging is both discreet and safe. With your dedicated phone number and Appointible’s servers, personal information remains secure. Nobody else can hear what is being discussed, so your clients can engage with call center agents any time from anywhere. Make your bosses happy when your customer satisfaction ratings jump from 77% to 90% just from moving to texting. This easy form of communication is here to stay, so take advantage sooner rather than later.

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