SMS messaging has transformed every aspect of communications in our lives — Business Insider claims that Americans across a range of age groups send roughly 26 billion text messages every day. The world of the contact center is no exception: SMS has morphed into a broadly accepted, intrinsic part of customer service.
As mobile tools, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions develop, the business world has embraced SMS as a core communications channel. SMS has become more widespread in the business world in recent years, advanced contact center solutions have rapidly adopted SMS capabilities that allow operators to include this method of communication as part of their omni-channel customer engagement offerings.
The rise of SMS messaging within professional environments can be directly traced to the rise of its most frequent adopters: Millennial and “Gen Z” users, who rely on their ever-present mobile phones far more frequently for text than for voice calls. As these younger demographics become more prominent in the workforce — and in their earning potential — it becomes more critical for businesses to accommodate their needs. And in fact, more Millennials are now SMB business owners themselves, whose preferences for text communications will likely become even more culturally ingrained in their business models.
This opens the opportunity for organizations, and the technology providers who serve them, to capture the favor of a new and growing generation of both workers and consumers, delivering value by accommodating their communications choices through text messaging for business purposes. What’s more, these engagements are literally delivered right into the palms of their hands, since the Millennial demographic tends to communicate and even shop on-the-go, through personal devices.
When customer service is delivered through streamlined and rapid SMS messages, issues tend to be resolved more quickly. Text conversations spare the consumer the inconvenience of waiting on hold or being transferred between busy voice operators. It relieves call center “congestion,” creating better engagement experiences. Expedient service can be vital to the success of a business: Shockingly, research from NewVoiceMedia claims that consumers will wait on hold for an average of 11 brief minutes before hanging up.
After all, messages are opened far more quickly and frequently than emails — usually within minutes — making it a powerful tool for quickly broadcasting messages to customers. Powerful contact center tools allow organizations to use texts for emergency announcements, delivery notifications, and appointment reminders. This can incorporate two-way interactions where recipients confirm appointments or acknowledge receipt with a simple reply. In addition, college campuses or public service offices can use SMS broadcast messages to distribute instructions during an event or to disseminate essential information during a crisis.
In fact, text messaging hasn’t just become prevalent in customer service: it’s now deeply tied to a brand’s overall image. A Harris Poll found that 64 percent of consumers are likely to develop a positive perception of a company that offers texting as a service channel. That figure rises to 77 percent in the 18 to 34 year-old range.
As we can see, SMS capability provides considerable value for business entities, allowing them to improve their brand perceptions, communicate with urgency and efficiency, and cater to a vital, growing base of tech-savvy users. Technology providers who embrace this trend can give their business customers a competitive edge.