4 Tips for Texting (SMS) with Your Customers

Call Center Texting for Customer Service

Also referred to as SMS...

Texting is risky business. Like it or not, text messaging is here to stay. Innovative competitors are using whatever methods necessary to keep in touch with cutting-edge technology and savvy end-users, which, by the way, are your customers. Everything from setting spa appointments to ordering pizza to buying toothpaste can be done via texting. Developing a texting sales strategy as another channel of revenue for your call center is a no-brainer. For example, texting is big with coupon users. Listen, that mobile device in your hands can be a powerful game-changer in the world of text.

According to Wikipedia, Gen X’ers cover the generation born in the early 60’s to the early 80’s;   Gen Y’ers are born in the early 80’s to the early 2000’s. Also, according to Pew Report, “64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind,???? up from 35% in the spring of 2011.” This data translates that two-thirds of your customers between the ages of 15-50 own smartphones. And, if you’ve watched teens and young adults lately, they are texting practically all the time. They seem to prefer texting to talking.

Assuming that you’re already incorporating texting into your overall sales and marketing strategy, how do your agents efficiently and effectively use text in your call center??

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1

Set the expectation by providing specific direction.

If it’s been stated once, it’s been stated a thousand times: keep efficiency and effectiveness in mind. Be direct and specific, seeking simple, short answers by asking simple, short questions. Get as much “bang for your buck” as possible, meaning, be very discerning about how you craft your questions so that you can learn as much as possible about your customers while receiving responses. Again, keep it direct, specific and simple. It’s strictly business.

2

Avoid slang

Once a customer has opted-in (inviting your communication of solicitation), being very tactful about the use of text is extremely important. You want to “come off” in a professional manner, even though personal texters use a lot of slang. Is it conceivable to make an exception here if you are marketing to 15-year olds? Yes, but be crystal-clear that no misunderstanding will take place with the use of slang. And, with that threat, it is prudent to avoid it with texting if you can.

3

“Watch your tone.”

Have you ever listened to a mother speak to her 15-year old son? If you listen long enough, at some point in the conversation she will state emphatically, “Watch your tone!” (I know from firsthand experience.) Tone is important because it also conveys meaning. One’s tone of voice, even through text, is crucial in helping customers make purchasing decisions. The tone ought to be pleasant, encouraging, and professional. When you craft your string of automated texts to be delivered after each customer opt-in, go back through the string and critique it for tone. Ask a colleague, another manager, or your 15-year old to review the string for tone.

4

Hold attention

When your agents are using text to sell, set them up to succeed. You want to get the customers agreeing and affirming that they want to purchase the product and/or service. So, control the communication developing a pattern of consistency, a rhythm that almost hypnotically requires them to text “Y” for yes without thinking too much because here’s the challenge: they are reading text on a smartphone, not looking into your face. Your agents are competing with distracting forces about the customer that they can’t see because they are not in the presence of the customer, like they could be at a kiosk in a mall. So, it is very important to hold the customer’s attention long enough to acquire the necessary and helpful information to close a sale.

Texting is an exciting channel for the call center business. It offers another portal into the lives of potential customers. Is it a lifesaver? No, but it is a channel whose demand of use is growing among customers bases around the world. Whether they’re Gen X’ers or Gen Y’ers, what supervisor doesn’t want more business for his or her call center? Incorporate an efficient and effective texting strategy in your sales and marketing mix to increase revenue for your call center.

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To Your Success,?

Greg Meares

Always keep in mind that any texting experience you lead for your customers must be targeted to be an enjoyable one. Seems obvious, right? If the masses are using text, then it is a channel that must be considered in your quest to attract the attention to more eyes and opportunities to sell. Therefore, as reluctant as you might be to incorporate texting in your sales strategy, you are wise to find ways to make it work.

Consider the following parameters to helpful use of text in your call center:?

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About the Author: Greg Meares

As a Sr. Consultant for Performance Connections, Inc., Greg's primary objective is to provide value to organizations that are focused on raising brand awareness. Additionally Greg works on improving the customer experience, through business process re-engineering, and call center best practices. Greg is an industry expert and is often called upon to provide his analysis and solution oriented approach to improving performance in the BPO and Call Center industry.

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