As many businesses work on improving the customer experience, they look to efficient, cost-saving technologies like IVR and chatbots. These avenues often seem the most logical for customer service managers who are charged with cost-cutting, but they often have negative effects on other essential KPIs like CSAT (customer satisfaction), NPS (net promoter scores), and retention. Despite improving the company’s internal support operations in some cases, these technologies actually make the customer’s life harder as they struggle to make a robot understand their complex inquiry or sit on hold after pressing “6,” unsure if they even chose the right option.
A 2018 PWC study found that more than half (54%) of US consumers say the customer experience at most companies needs improvement, and that one in three consumers will walk away from a brand they love after a single bad experience. Below are some of the most common ways companies cause customer frustration:
- Forcing customers to contact them on channels that may be inconsistent with the product or service being supported–for example, asking them to call customer service for help after ordering a product or service entirely online.
- Failing to let customers get in touch with them on their own time and their own terms, making busy customers wait on hold or sit in front of a live chat to get their issue resolved.
- Losing track of the customer and failing to personalize the experience, with disconnects between different channels–i.e., making the customer relate personal information during a chat session despite already having made a purchase (or several) with the company.
- Removing the human element from service and support and replacing it with cost-cutting technology that makes it harder for the customer to get their issue resolved.
- Making in-store shopping a hassle, leaving little reason to visit a brick and mortar location when they could simply shop from their mobile device in the first place.
Sixty five percent of consumers report that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than advertising. Many companies are starting to realize that well-executed support is not a cost center, but a revenue generator. They are looking at replacing traditional reactive contact center models with proactive approaches that engage customers at every step in their journey.
They have realized that customer care is the new marketing.
Improving Customer Satisfaction with Text and Mobile Messaging
If customer care is the new marketing, then support must be involved at all points of the customer journey. The most efficient and cost-effective channel in which to offer this support is text and mobile messaging.
Texting is the most widely and frequently used app on a smartphone, with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day. Not only that, 90% of all text messages are read by recipients within 3 minutes.
Taking interactions between brands and customers to the text channel transforms them from tickets, incidents, or downright complaints into a continuous conversation. What brand doesn’t want a constant and open line of communication with their customers?
Customer Experience Trends: How Do Text and Mobile Messaging Fit In?
In-Store Experiences: While it might seem like online shopping is killing brick and mortar stores, three times as many Gen Z’ers still prefer to shop in stores vs. online.In order to thrive, brick and mortar retailers must provide great experiences by ensuring customers are able to access product information, find the items they need across locations, and make returns and exchanges easily.
How Messaging Can Help: Give shoppers the option of reaching out to your brand via text with in-store signage and website prompts. Agents should be prepared to provide answers to product questions, in-stock information, and details of brand-specific promotions. To make the purchase process as easy as possible, they can send the customer a link to a shopping cart to complete the purchase they were trying to make in-store.
Friction-Free Commerce: Friction-free commerce refers to customer-centric shopping experiences that are free of constraints imposed by a company’s processes or technology. User-friendly websites and apps, free shipping, easy returns, and a seamless experience across channels are all expected parts of today’s consumer experience.
How Messaging Can Help: Providing a “text us” prompt in several places on your website (particularly on mobile) is a great way to prevent shoppers from getting frustrated and abandoning their search or their cart. Agents should be prepared to provide advice, answer questions, and even suggest upsells where appropriate.
Personalization: Customers expect brands to use technology to make products, services, and processes easier or more relevant for them. More and more customers now expect a concierge-like experience with personalized offerings based on preferences, past purchases, and other behaviors. All employees who have contact with the customer should have visibility via CRM into a returning customer’s profile to make this happen.
How Messaging Can Help: Unlike web chat or even most in-store interactions, text or mobile messaging integrated with CRM can be highly personalized. Agents have detailed customer information at their fingertips to provide context for the current situation so they can engage the customer in conversation to figure out their needs and even up-sell.
Conversational Commerce: While chatbots and voice assistants like Alexa are getting more advanced every day, they are still a ways off from being truly empathetic and effectively emulating the experience of talking with a person. Support professionals should be equipped to help with the shopping experience in a friendly way instead of simply following set scripts or support processes.
How Messaging Can Help: Brands can implement conversational shopping assistance through messaging; for example: “Hey Burton- can you help me find a women’s rain jacket in blue?” Agents should have visibility via CRM into a returning customers order history and preferences, as well as saved payment information to make the process frictionless. They can match the conversational tone of the customer while efficiently gathering the information needed to complete the order.
Interested in learning more about using messaging to improve your brand’s customer experience? Download our 2019 Customer Service Planning Guide: Using Messaging to Increase Agent Efficiency, Deflect Calls, and Improve Customer Satisfaction.