According to Pew “Over 70% of Internet users will opt for mobile service applications as their first option.” This is a significant shift that brings with it enormous challenges and opportunities. Agencies and brands that honor this “mobile first” preference must understand the intimate relationship that people have with their mobile device, and how their brand experience on these devices will shape the relationship they are building with each individual.
It is also important to understand how people are currently using their mobile phones, and to extend existing behavioral patterns into the new context of SMS client support. For example, despite the popularity of email, social networks, and web browsing on mobile devices, text messaging is by far the most common activity people do on their phone with 81% of American adults texting. Texting is vastly more popular than phone calls: on average, people receive 42 texts a day, compared to six calls.
What End Users Expect From Text
To implement a text support strategy, agencies must consider what the implied promises are of SMS as a channel. For example, most people who text are usually doing so with someone they have a relationship with, it's intimate. Whether it’s friends, family members, or co-workers, people tend to text with those that are closest to them. This means that they expect to get a reply, or to offer one. In other words, text is inherently conversational.
Grammar and spelling rules may not always apply, but people expect some sort of indication that you got their message. Even a simple “ok” will suffice. Still, the second someone doesn’t reply to a text, people naturally assume that either something went wrong, or that they’re being ignored. In either case, it has a negative impact on the overall end-user experience.
So how does this impact SMS as a viable channel for live help? Simple! Agencies that prioritize the end user experience should commit to the fact that people are used to texting with other people and let them text directly with one of your responders/specialists. Simply put–text support is a two-way street.
Another way to show that you understand your clients’ preferences and the implied promises of this channel is to allow them to initiate a text message the same way they are used to doing it with friends and family- to a number already saved in their contact list. Enterprise short code texting helps you brand your service and simple click to text widgets on your website can even launch the sms app with the short code pre-populated. If you're browsing this article from a smart phone, try it! Click To Text Now!
How To Implement a SMS Live Help Strategy
How can agencies manage the inbound text messages they receive? Step one is to answer them, of course. However, this isn’t just with a robot (though a sophisticated Automated Triage system can be used to effectively allow for appropriate levels of self-service and pre-chat data collection for routing purposes). The agencies who are truly committing to offering a delightful experience will answer each inbound text message with a response from a real person.
Contact center managers are realizing that companies like PreventionPays Text can help combine automated intakes with live help that will be seamless for the end user and also reflect the same way in the data, as if a live conversation was completed from stem to stern (which will be to the delight of both your constituents as well as your funders!).
Imagine the following - a client initiates a text conversation and asks for help finding energy assistance. That request is responded to by a real person, who then sends the customer into an automated interaction that walks the customer through the process of obtaining the requested referral. Even better, at each step the automation engine uses relevant information pulled form a CRM product to personalize the interaction. So really, it’s personal interaction blended with personalized automation. This blended experience will result in happy end users while cutting down on responder time and overall costs per encounter!
Are you an I&R? Do you have ideas for how you can put PreventionPays to work for you? Contact us! We want to hear from you!
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