When people hear the term “customer service,” the first thing that would come to their mind are outsourcing, call center, the Philippines, India, or other words that have become synonymous to customer care. This is because phone lines, along with email, live chat, and more recently, social media, are common channels that people use to contact companies and receive assistance. There is another platform, however, that is gaining traction in the customer service realm. It is SMS (short messaging system) or text messaging.
Text messaging emerged as a customer service tool around the same time live chat and email gained ground as secondary channels and, sometimes, even alternative to the traditional phone lines.
Many businesses looked past SMS and, instead, focused on popular Internet-based services that the public can easily view and access. But these same reasons made companies realize the value of private and personal service that SMS gives, compared to the public and less personal nature of online customer service, particularly on social media.
Advantage over more popular customer service channels
SMS gives more than just greater privacy. Text messaging is more ubiquitous than services that require Internet access to work. In email and live chat, customers have to navigate through programs or the company website and fill out forms before they could send their message to an agent. On the other hand, customer relations apps require installation and might even be too confusing for some users to embrace. All these make SMS convenient for more urgent issues because of its simplicity and its function as a direct line to business representatives.
In addition, SMS is more cost-efficient and less complicated than telephones, making it preferable by companies with cost-cutting in mind and by consumers who don t want to go through queues and time-consuming call menus.
The potential of SMS
Text messaging has an enormous potential to be a major customer service channel or tool that can be operated alongside email and live chat in call centers.
In North America alone, 75% of the total population uses SMS, sending an average of 72,760 text messages every second. American mobile users also spend more time on their phone sending messages than making calls, with 2.3 trillion text messages getting sent annually and 2.29 trillion voice minutes spent each year. These numbers only fortify the notion that the demand for SMS-based customer service solutions is indeed growing, given that the texting generation is at its peak.