Hold My Calls

How to Use SMS to Improve your Call Center

If you haven’t yet, SMS is something worth considering to extend your call centers. And when I say ‘worth considering’, I mean absolutely necessary. Just to throw some numbers at you, 92 percent of smartphone owners over 50 use their phones for texting, and that percent only goes up as the age goes down. 98 percent of people between 30 and 50, and 100 percent of people between 18 and 30. Texting is a huge market, and used effectively, it could expand your business and increase your agents’ effectiveness.

First, it’d pay to understand the differences between texting and voice calls, as they are used for vastly different scenarios. I’m also going to be discussing email, as it plays a vital role as well.

First, it’d pay to understand the differences between texting and voice calls, as they are used for vastly different scenarios.

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Texting is brief.

Texting is question/answer, message/response, short snippets method of communicating. Remember that text messages are limited to 160 characters, anything over that will be split into multiple messages. Now, this isn’t a travesty, but keep in mind that the longer your message, the more messages your customer will be getting, and nobody likes to be bombarded with messages. Longer communications should be sent via email. For example, a tech support agent may troubleshoot a problem with a client over the phone, then transition to email to describe in depth the technical aspects of the solution, and finally, follow up with SMS to make sure the problem has been resolved.

Texting is casual.

As opposed to email, texting is less formal. There is no need for proper addressing, or signing in a text. However, you should always be using proper punctuation and grammar. Informality should not be confused with unprofessionalism. Though texting is less formal, you should still be writing professionally. Don’t use common texting abbreviations like LOL or GR8. If you find that you need to use abbreviations to fall within your character limit, consider whether this message would be better suited for an email.

Texting is immediate.

Texting is a great way to follow up a conversation, and provide some short details, like your contact information. However, detailed like transcripts and other lengthy information, should be contained in an email.  And if you plan to send an email, you can give them a heads up by texting! A message can go as follows:

Hey John, it was great speaking to you! I’ve sent you an email that should help you get started with your phone; it has all of the material we spoke about, as well as some other frequently asked questions. If you need anything else, just give me call, my number is 999.888.777. Have a great day!

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Of course, these are just some of the ways your company can implement texting. You don’t have to use these strategies, but the important thing is that you do have a strategy when it comes to texting, because texting is too big to ignore.