8 Important Text Trends of 2014 (and Beyond)

In December 1992, 22-year-old Neil Papworth sent the first ever text message, appropriately saying “Merry Christmas.” Papworth and coworkers had originally conceived text messaging as an internal communication tool, but providers soon found a way to monetize texting with paid messaging plans.

Teens and young adults were the first to adopt the technology in the 1990s, enjoying the ability to communicate without their parents understanding. Since then, text messaging has exploded in popularity among all ages. Over 93% of millennials text, but so do 68% of baby boomers. Texting isn’t strictly a young man’s game.

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Year End Review: Customer Service in 2014

When you think of customer service in 2014, chances are the first thing your mind jumps to is the horrific Comcast service call. But 2014 was actually a great year for customer service: omnichannel service picked up steam, customers had more ways to solve problems than ever, and contact centers started implementing new, useful channels.

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Would You Buy A Car Over Text Messaging?

The ability to buy a car over texting is coming to a pocket near you.

You heard that right: you can now buy a car with a few clicks of a virtual button. The U.S. Census Bureau recently found that American consumers are open to using text to sell vehicles and communicate post-purchase.

More promising news: consumers are more interested in using text purchasing than they were last year.

So then, why is it so hard to open our minds to the idea of digital commerce? It’s not like we’ve already done it before…

Oh wait, we have.

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Using Texting for Political Campaigns

FDR used the radio. JFK used television. Obama used social media.

Using technology during campaigns may seem like an afterthought nowadays, but it came to the forefront of everyone’s minds during the 2008 presidential election. In the months leading up to the election, Obama galvanized young voters by engaging them on social media, encouraging them to participate in the campaign and vote in the upcoming election. And vote they did: Obama received over 70% of the votes from Americans under 25, a massive outpouring of support that led to his eventual victory.

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Can You Text Your City?

Can you text your city? You could if you lived in Evanston, Ill.

Just north of Chicago, Evanston is one of the most tech-savvy cities in the country. Ever since they launched long code texting a couple of months ago, they’ve been able to reach out to community members as well as allow the community to reach out to their city.

Luke Stowe, digital services coordinator at the City of Evanston, spoke with OneReach to talk about how texting is transforming their community outreach efforts.

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10 Things To Consider When Text-Enabling Your Contact Center

The following provides a rough outline of what needs to be considered when implementing text messaging services in a contact center or business. While some of these items may seem daunting they can actually be completed pretty quickly depending on the size and scope of the implementation.

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Measure Like Galileo: 5 Steps to Effective Contact Center Metrics

The scientist Galileo is credited with saying, “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.”

Many contact centers are great at this, or at least the first part of this. They love to measure, measure, measure. And yes, metrics have been created for pretty much everything, from average handle time to transfer rate to cost per call to abandon rate.

But how do you know if you’re wasting time measuring the wrong thing? Or if you’re missing something you hadn’t thought to quantify? To paraphrase Galileo, are you able to measure what is not currently being measured?

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Top 5 Things that Make or Break You in Any Industry

It doesn’t matter if your business is flowers, transportation, IT consulting or anything else—certain qualities are crucial to your customer service success. Customer satisfaction can make or break a company. As we all know, happy clients will tell their friends about their experiences…and unhappy clients will tell even more! With that in mind, there are five key areas where every business needs to excel in order to survive.

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Why Will Customer Service Executives Be More Important In The Future?

Customer service managers and executives will have even more responsibility in the near future…whether they like it or not. Tasked with managing a company’s primary point of contact, they must stay one step ahead of communication trends. In today’s world of multiplying channels and customer channel affinity, offering customers different ways of communicating can be a confusing and daunting task. Customers want a seamless, omni-channel experience—one that is consistent and does not force them to commit to only one line of communication.

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I’m Excited to Enable SMS In My Call Center, But Should It Integrate With Other Channels?

The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) conducted a poll showing that 79% of companies believe customers want SMS/text support.

Text messaging is probably the most exciting new low- tech innovation hitting call centers this year. Many experts and business managers are recognizing the potential power in SMS as a channel for communicating with customers.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. Text messaging is a relatively noise-free channel, and both the carriers and customers would like to keep it that way. While companies are certainly excited to text their customers, they must do so with caution, either expanding an existing relationship with them or responding to customer invitation.

An often-overlooked means to expanding these customer relationships is how it could be integrated with other channels. A recent study showed that following a sales call with a text message could increase conversion rates by more than 40%. The Restaurant Association of America uses text messaging as an alternative to being on hold and consequently has seen up to 70% conversion rates to the channel.

1stBank recently added a button in their mobile app that allows the user to text them. Moving a conversation from a mobile app to a text message interaction adds unlimited functionality to an application without the need for development. Those text conversations can then be mined to help determine a company’s mobile product roadmap, as the most common tasks performed in SMS can be turned into features for the app.

Providing customers with control over which channel they prefer is an easy way to boost their satisfaction right from the start. Moving from voice to text can be a delightful experience as long as the caller doesn’t feel forced to do so. Moving from web chat to text messaging is one of the smoothest transitions and is often welcome when an online interaction becomes one that needs to be taken on the road. Some interactions are more appropriate for voice while texting is more convenient for others. Platforms like OneReach.com make it easy for a company to add channel choice to their IVR, providing automation and routing to live agents regardless of the customer’s preference.

However, any use of a new channel means the company should strive to operate within a customer’s expectations for it, otherwise the channel will fail, losing the company its investment in it. While a customer may begrudgingly expect to be on hold if he or she calls a business, that same customer expects a quick and timely response if SMS is used. This is because texting is still largely reserved for personal communication with friends and family.

1stBank’s mobile app is a perfect example. While the “Send Us a Text” button is an innovative idea, their real world implementation makes it almost useless. Customers do not expect to wait for 20 minutes to an hour for a response about a bank’s location or hours. A business like 1stBank may not want to staff a 24-hour SMS Call Center just for a mobile app button, but they cannot afford for their customers to outright dismiss its use either.

This is where automation makes the most sense. An ITR (Interactive Text Response), like OneReach.com provides, could answer simple questions about locations and hours while routing complex inquiries to an agent. At the very least, the ITR could make the customer aware that no agents are available to text with.

Many companies silo text customer service agents from voice agents. Although dedicated tasks can be an efficient way to run a call center, providing customers with multi-channel experiences can result in higher channel conversion rates, as well as better customer satisfaction scores. There is no perfect channel that serves all needs, but a multi-channel support center has the right tools to cover most of them. With a little care to a customer’s expectations about each channel, any company has the opportunity to delight customers with great experiences that they will talk about to others.