SMS Support: When an App Isn’t Enough

Having a “mobile strategy” goes beyond just having a mobile application and mobile friendly website. It means using all of the capabilities of today’s mobile phones and understanding the role that these devices play in the lives of your customers.

How much of a role? Not to get too personal, but more people would rather give up sex than give up their phone. A study found that 26% of Americans said they couldn’t live without their smartphone, while only 20% of Americans said they couldn’t live without sex. The same study found that 44% of people sleep with their phone at night, and 67% check their phone even if it’s not ringing.

With such a close connection to our mobile phones, it’s no surprise that we use them for anything and everything: checking bank accounts, ordering food, getting customer service help, etc. A lot of apps provide this service, but it isn’t always enough. According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by OneReach, over 60% of consumers would prefer to use text for customer service, (and most are frustrated with today’s typical service channels like phone and email).

Customers don’t think in terms of channel when they’re trying to get support–they are looking for an experience that requires the least amount of effort. This means that downloading yet another app isn’t always an appealing option. Think about how much easier it would be to manage banking, shipments and dinner reservations over SMS, instead of downloading a different app for each separate need.

It’s not hard to see why consumers want to the ability to text a support line, given that SMS is the most used app on a mobile device. However, it’s important to understand how using this channel can support a more broad mobile strategy. For example:

  • Using SMS to deliver a link to your mobile app can improve install rates. The average person checks their phone within five seconds of receiving a text message. Sending your users a link to download the app means there’s a higher chance of them actually doing what you want them to do.
  • Allowing customers to text your contact center can reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. The average contact center phone call costs between $6-20; in contrast, two-way text chat costs only $2-5, a price that can be reduced even more with automation. Additionally, a study by CFI Group showed that SMS had the highest satisfaction score of any channel.
  • Using SMS for proactive notifications can reduce the amount of inbound call volume and improve customer satisfaction. For organizations like a doctor’s office, this technology is essential; instead of having 10 patients call to schedule their next appointment, a personalized, automated text could be sent out to schedule a future appointment.
  • Using SMS to transition social interactions (particularly negative ones) to a more private channel is a great way to manage your reputation. It can be a business’ nightmare when a customer shares their complaints on social media for every to see. One alternative is to have the support agent tweet back a number that the customer could text, transitioning the conversation from public to private, decreasing the chance for public fallout.

Text is powerful on its own, but when it works with other channels, it’s unstoppable.

To learn more about SMS support for mobile apps, professionally designed or do-it-yourself, visit onereach.com.

 Photo courtesy of Fortuna Admissions.

Published by

Kevin Fredrick

Kevin Fredrick is a Managing Partner at OneReach, where he works with companies to offer effective customer support over SMS. His passion for technology and the study of human interactions has led him to a career in customer experience management. With over 10 years experience in sales and product management, Kevin is a skilled leader and manager whose expertise spans several industries. Kevin received his MBA and his bachelor's in Management and Marketing from the University of Denver.

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