When is the last time you went anywhere and didn’t run into someone who was using their mobile phone to send or receive a text message? No time recently, right?  

Not surprising considering you text your boss to tell him you’ll be late for work, you text the local pizza place to order a medium pie with ground beef and pickles, you even text your grandma to tell her that you loved the sweater she knit for you (even if the neck hole is so tight it makes you feel like an overweight turtle stuck inside its shell) – SMS has become a preferred method of communication alongside voice for people across all stages of life. The business world is no exception.

A 2014 survey found that 77% of consumers with texting capabilities aged 18 to 34 are likely to have a positive perception of a company that offers text capability. When it comes to the customer experience (CX), today’s consumers don’t want to be stuck on hold waiting for a customer service agent any more than they want to be tied to their computer waiting for a chat session with a live agent.

They want the freedom to communicate with businesses just as they do in their personal lives – via SMS. Here are three things to remember when using 2-Way SMS to improve your customer relationship management.

1. Support two-way SMS engagements

If you’re going to use SMS-equipped mobile numbers for customer conversations,  don’t be surprised when they use them. In other words, be prepared and make certain that you have trained your sales agents in how to respond to SMS messages.

Today’s CRM solutions will usually include the ability to make calls and send texts from within the platform. Make sure to actively monitor incoming SMS. Many basic responses can be automated, but it’s the replies from a human that often make or break your CX. They need to be prompt and personalized.

SMS is ideal for delivering business-critical updates or information like order confirmation and status, dispatch notices, service updates and billing enquiries. By providing an omni-channel CX, you can drive sales and marketing efforts, increase satisfaction levels and enhance communications with your customers.

2. Solve customer problems quickly and efficiently

90% of text messages are read within three minutes of being received. Solving a customer’s issues and answering their question in the quickest, most efficient manner possible is paramount to good CX and SMS is the perfect channel for this.

Use texts to follow up on a phone conversation, schedule call-backs if your agents are currently engaged or even ask for customer service feedback. Deliver time-sensitive delivery alerts and billing notifications directly to your entire customer network with the push of a button. It’s just another way to stay connected with the people who matter.

3. Provide consistent cross-channel CX

Smart businesses leverage voice, SMS and live chat so that consumers have the freedom to communicate – and receive the same level of service – across all of their devices. To this end, virtual phone numbers for SMS and voice are a powerful tool at your disposal.

But there’s no point implementing a cross-channel CRM strategy if you’re not taking steps to ensure the content is relevant for and optimized to the channel in question. What’s more, it needs to be in line with your messaging elsewhere.

You may consider SMS and voice as separate channels internally, but a consumer won’t think like this when they interact with your brand. They expect you to speak with one voice, no matter the device, touch point or funnel stage.

Learn how SMS can be used to improve customer services operations

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