business messaging blog
5 Ways to Improve Customer Service with SMS
Scott Navratil

The most common way that businesses use SMS to communicate with customers is to send mobile coupons. It’s a powerful marketing strategy, to be sure, but many brands aren’t using SMS to its full potential because coupons is all they’re sending. The problem with 100% of your texts being coupons is that they’re self-promotional. Yes they reward the customer for their loyalty since they’re getting a deal but they also require a purchase on the part of the customer so it is a form of advertising, and SMS recipients see it as such. You can diversify your SMS approach and make your SMS subscribers happier by using SMS in the following ways to make their lives easier.

1. SMS alerts

Have time sensitive information you need to get out to your customer base? Maybe a popular item that has been sold out is finally back in stock or your store hours are changing for the holidays. You can send that information in an email, but on average it will be about a day or so before recipients see it. But if you send it in a text? Around 90% of recipients will read it within three minutes! Surveys repeatedly show that customers prefer to be alerted through SMS since they’re more likely to see it right away.

2. Appointment reminders

This use for SMS easily benefits you as much as it does the customer. Nobody likes forgetting an appointment, least of all the business which loses money every time it happens. If your business is one that involves appointment making, then you should be using SMS to send appointment reminders. Emailed reminders can get filtered into a spam folder automatically and printed mailers can be late, accidentally thrown out, or lost. Because text messages have such a great open rate and are opened so quickly, you can send them the day of and you don’t have to worry about whether the recipient will get the message in time and the recipient will be unlikely to forget their appointment.

3. Order/shipment updates

Few things are as anxiety-producing as waiting for a package to arrive. Requiring customers to keep logging in to your website to check the status of their order is a hassle. Customers will appreciate the convenience of being able to sign up to receive SMS updates on their order status so they know when it’s shipped, and when it’s expected to arrive.

4. Two-factor authorization

If customer accounts contain sensitive information that needs to be protected, you should be requiring two-factor authorization for sign-in. SMS is a great way to deliver a single-use PIN that customers can then enter to complete sign-in so that they can prove they are who they are claiming to be. It’s a great way to put customers’ minds at ease that their data is kept safe and it is so quick that it doesn’t inconvenience them either.

5. Two-way SMS

The majority of SMS services support only one-way texting where the brand can text the customer but the only responses that the customer can send back that will be recognized are simple opt-out commands like “STOP.” That means the only time customers can text your brand will be to ask you to stop texting them. Instead you can use artificial intelligence to offer two-way texting so that customers can ask questions via text and have them answered.

For these SMS uses, you’ll want to have a separate subscriber list. Just because a customer has signed up to receive order updates via text doesn’t mean he/she has given permission to receive promotional messaging. But using SMS in this way can be a great way to get more opt-ins for your promotional texting and most important of all, it will make your customers more likely to be return customers.

Chantel Fullilove

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