In order to adopt the mindset of a customer-first organization, we should first recognize our own behaviors as customers and individuals. Within our personal lives, SMS beats most other communication channels when it comes to frequency of use. According to a Gallup report from 2014, SMS is the main method of communication for Americans under 50. Yet despite our overwhelming preference for texting, most businesses have not yet realized the potential use cases for their business.
Advantages of SMS as a communication channel
Let’s look at some of the reasons why SMS is a strong channel:
- It’s low-tech. Grandparents can understand it, individuals that don’t have smartphones can access it. This means you can reach demographics that you might otherwise be missing.
- Messages are short and sharp. Usually, there is minimal fluff in a text message. SMS is likely the channel that is the most respectful of our time – we don’t have to wade through paragraphs of brand storytelling to get the information we need.
- SMS messages are checked more frequently than email, thus enabling a real-time conversation.
- Responding to a text message is easier than responding by phone or email. There is no need to dial a number and wait for a person and responding usually only requires clicking a link or typing a one word response (eg. “Yes”, to confirm an appointment).
When does SMS work for customer support?
Let’s look at the different ways SMS can be incorporated into your operations based on its strengths as a channel. SMS is an ideal for when you need real-time communication with a customer and when the information that needs to be delivered is not overly complex. In most cases, SMS is an automated channel but it can also be agent-managed and communication can be for transactional purposes or promotional. Below are a few use cases for SMS as a customer support channel.
Transactional use cases (inbound from customer):
- Checking timing on an order delivery from a retailer
- Requesting urgent call back from a utilities provider
- Requesting physical location address of a retailer or bank
- Expert/Knowledge Base questions about a phone service
- Asking the ‘front desk’ for assistance
- Hotel concierge services
Transactional use cases (outbound from business):
- Confirming appointments
- Notification that order is ready for pickup
- Expert/Knowledge Base Q&As
- Request for feedback
Promotional use cases
- Announce new product related to previous purchase
- Update on timing for an event
- Deliver a special offer on a product
- Shopping cart abandonment
SMS using Engage for Amazon Connect
Engage for Amazon Connect offers SMS as a channel for agents to respond to inbound communication, enabling agents to have a real-time chat with a customer. The platform utilizes Amazon Pinpoint, a multichannel marketing communication service. Phone numbers are provisioned in Amazon Pinpoint or existing mobile numbers can be ported over to Amazon Pinpoint with some lead time.