SMS Automation: Reach Out and Text Someone

Texting automation is the latest development in contact center technology. Also known as Interactive Text Response (ITR), SMS (short message service or “texting”) automation is part of an integrated phone technology platform which supports multiple channel communication. This system is designed specifically to improve the call center experience by managing customer problems in a quick and timely manner.

In the recent past, businesses could send SMS messages to their customers in the form of alerts, or other one-way communication. Technology has advanced even further, creating a platform where customers can actually text back, enabling two-way conversations with a live contact center agent or an automated ITR flow. This revolutionary change could kickstart the entire telecom industry. SMS automation not only provides a smoother, less frustrating experience for the consumer that still allows them to get in touch with a live agent when they need it. SMS automation also improves the lives of call center employees, decreasing the amount of calls they have to answer and allowing more time to be spent on the calls that need them. Receiving an automated answer to a question via text takes seconds, while the wait to talk to a live agent can seem like forever.

  • Fact: 82% of customers say that getting their issue resolved quickly is the #1 factor to a great customer experience.

Text-enabling call centers

SMS messaging in the customer service space enables real-time communication between customer and agent, something that was previously only available over the phone. Instantaneous communication means that the customer is not tied to a phone call or endless IVR menu options in order to receive assistance from the contact center. With text, customers can exchange private information in a public forum without worrying about being overheard or interrupting what they are doing. They can also multi-task without having to put their life on hold; 81% of customers are frustrated being tied to a phone or computer while on a service call.

Additionally, customer service reps can have more than one text conversation going at a time, making the call center much more cost-efficient. Think about it: with live agent phone support, only one customer can be helped at a time per agent. What if you could multiply the number of customers helped at a time by four? Five? Wait times would be drastically reduced. Customer convenience is a top priority with ITR, and making service convenient includes making it fast.

  • Fact: 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly. (Forrester)

“Omni-Channel” Customer Support

Not too long ago, customers only had phone or email to communicate with a call center. Thanks to technological advances, customers expect to usecan use channels like live chat, social media and text messaging to connect with businesses. They also expect all these channels to be connected so they can switch from one to the other without losing context. Providing customers with this “omni-channel” experience ensures that their problem can be solved on any channel, across channels. For example, ITR can notify customers via text that they are being transferred to a text chat with a live agent. With a platform like OneReach’s, customers can continue texting with a live agent, who can send and receive texts using the tools they already have for web chat.

  • Fact: 44% of customers would prefer to text immediately with a live agent rather than waiting on hold.

Intelligent Automation

Building off of traditional automation, the idea behind intelligent automation is that a contact center will recognize the caller by their phone number or email address, and provide that customer with a logical dialog, or customized routing,  based on their previous interactions with the company. This can include addressing the customer by name, having the capability to pull up preferences, order history and previous conversations with the company, but all within the time frame of a single phone call. Drawing on those previous conversations, ITR can skip the IVR entirely and route you to the place you visited last or most often, expediting the process. ITR also can suggest various actions for the customer to choose from without the customer having to bring it up themselves.

  • Fact: By 2020, customers will manage 85% of the relationship with a business without interacting with a human. (Gartner)

Conclusion

Most people want to speak to a human–they just don’t like how long it takes or how many buttons they have to push to get one. ITR lets customers resolve their issues over SMS or get transferred to a live agent for a more complex problem: customers can send and receive a quick response to their question, and live agents aren’t tangled up in the phone lines. With the latest in ITR software developments, this entire process is updated, streamlined and vastly improved with one goal in mind: providing the customer with the best possible experience.

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