Consumers expect rapid responses from companies and brands. If there is a problem, the time between annoyed, angry, and antagonistic can be measured in hours. The only way to stay on top of customer questions and feedback is to expand the communications loop by using rapid, reliable communications tools like 2-Way SMS. However, text messaging alone doesn't solve all communications problems. Today marketers need to see 2-Way SMS as just one of many channels to reach customers and build customer loyalty. From SMS to email to voice to in-app communications, all the channels must sync together for a cohesive brand message.
Messaging goes beyond getting support when you need it. Everyone is looking for easier, better, and faster ways to get things done. No one likes sitting on hold waiting for help. No one likes doing a simple task over and over again that could be automated. Increasingly people want to be able to send a quick message and get something done. Accomplishing everyday tasks like getting your bank balance, booking a ride, or changing a dental appointment should not require human assistance. All of these are possible with 2-Way SMS.
Enterprise 2-Way SMS works like texting your friends, just more powerful
2-Way SMS works just like how you send your friend a text but with a couple differences:
- 2-Way SMS integrates into other applications in your infrastructure over SMS APIs. For example, letting a customer service representative send a text from Zendesk or update an order status from your ERP system. This lets customers interact with you more effectively and how they want to contact you.
- 2-Way SMS allows brands to send thousands of contextual messages to customers worldwide. This means that companies can engage, craft and send messages at the most valuable moment and communicate to customers in the most relevant way.
Scalability is a big component of using 2-Way SMS as a reliable communications tool. In your call center or customer support, you already use tools like email and phone support, by adding 2-Way SMS an agent can juggle several discussions simultaneously over SMS, chat, and email. You can automate repetitive tasks such as resetting passwords and checking balances and have support agents spend more time resolving more complex customer issues. The faster you help your customers fix a problem, the easier it is to make them brand advocates.
Here are three examples how 2-Way SMS can save agents’ time, protect customer privacy, or answer common questions quickly and efficiently.
1. Speed up simple, transactional tasks
Text your bank and get your balance, pay bills, and check transactions. Text your bus stop to the transit company and get a list of which buses are coming when. Tasks that have simple questions, with easily automated answers are ideal for 2-Way SMS. Pairing simple transactional requests with a simple command to a support call makes the system more flexible and useful.
2. Manage appointment scheduling
How often do we find ourselves remembering at the last minute that we forgot to confirm your appointment for a haircut or, worse, the dentist! You get a reminder call from your dentist about your appointment. You forgot to put it in your calendar six months ago, and now you're booked up and can't make it. You have to reschedule and listen to the receptionist give you all the options. How long will that take? Will you put off the appointment because you don’t have time to talk to the receptionist right then?
How about this instead....
You get an SMS reminder from your dentist. You still can’t make the appointment, but you text back “reschedule” and get back a list of possible options. You pick a new time that works for you and text that option back and confirm the new appointment.
Much simpler for you and the receptionist isn't saddled with calling patients every day to confirm something they already knew or deal with reschedules.
3. Brokering communications
You use a ride sharing service like Uber or short-term rentals like Airbnb. You have a question for your driver or host, but you don't want them to have your cell phone number. You send a message through the app (or website) and an SMS is sent through a virtual long number (VLN) to the driver or host. They reply to you, but your real number is masked—and so is theirs—the messages get through, questions are answered, but everyone's privacy is maintained.
2-Way SMS as a platform
2-Way SMS is just one facet of a larger communications strategy that includes email, voice, push notifications, chat, and SMS giving customers the flexibility to choose which tool they want to use to get answers to questions. An IVR-based customer service call should be able to jump to 2-Way SMS to live chat to email as easily as pressing 1 for SMS, 2 for live chat in WhatsApp, or 3 let me send you an email.
Reliably connecting SMS to customer support systems like Zendesk, IVR systems, or even your CRM requires a robust SMS platform with extensive carrier connections and an API for application to person connectivity.
Integrating 2-Way SMS into your marketing mix
The first step to bringing 2-Way SMS into your marketing mix is to learn how easy it is to get started. You already have customers who want to talk with you. You're probably talking and emailing with them now, adding SMS to the mix—and integrating the other tools as well—is just a matter of starting a conversation with us.