It’s a stressful time of day. You’re on the way home and, “ping!,” your family texts you to ask ‘what’s for dinner?’ In a moment of panic, you remember there’s nothing in the house to eat, and your mind races for a solution. Then all of a sudden, you hear another ping. The sound that can be one of the most distracting aspects of digital life is suddenly the most ingenious and welcoming intrusion of the day. It’s an SMS from your favorite pizza chain with a last-minute evening special. Problem solved! All thanks to a quick series of seemingly simple or even cryptic messages.
What’s amazing about SMS text messaging is that, while it’s seemingly so simple and has been around longer than many of its most avid users, it’s one of the fastest growing (6B messages sent every day in the U.S. alone) and most effective ways to connect with customers in today’s rapidly transforming mobile/digital business environment.
Even more interesting is that when it comes to unified communications solutions for business, text isn’t always part of the offering. That’s a shame since its popularity makes it an obvious choice for every kind of business to be able to take advantage of. If you are in the process of evaluating cloud-based unified communications/UCaaS for your organization, it is something to look for and ask providers about.
I’ll mention that text messaging is now part of our flagship OfficeSuite UC solution, accessible via PC or mobile users using our MyOfficeSuite app. If you’re not using SMS text messaging as part of your multi-channel marketing and support/service strategy, I’d encourage you to consider these customer experience enhancing advantages:
UC Text CX Advantage 1: SMS is direct and immediate
People don’t go anywhere today without their phones. They check them first thing in the morning, and they’re with us 24/7. Texts are usually delivered in seconds so they’re great to convey, ask or respond to time-sensitive questions/information. By integrating text functionality into a seamless unified communications package, texts are sent/received from your employees’ OfficeSuite business phone number, which empowers them to respond at any time, anywhere, on any device. Enabling the kind of immediacy that can set your people and your company apart.
UC Text CX Advantage 2: SMS commands attention
Every day we’re bombarded by all forms of media/communications from people trying to get our attention. SMS has a distinct advantage because it recognizes and respects people’s shrinking attention spans. The familiar SMS ping is heard/felt. Thanks to built-in character limits, an SMS can be replied to and read in seconds (on average within 3 minutes, and with an enviable 98% open rate vs. 20% for email). When you give your people the ability to reply like that, you send your customers an even more immediate message about how much you care and value their business. That’s the kind of customer experience enhancing technology that can help set any business apart.
UC Text CX Advantage 3: SMS shows customers you care ☺
Again, because of their brevity and simplicity, texts don’t bog the recipient down with lots of links or images, leaving the call-to-action clear and concise. So, once an issue is resolved, a customer care rep can text the customer with any relevant information discussed on a call, such as call summaries or confirmation number. It’s also a great way to get feedback from customers. Research shows about a third will respond to a survey via smartphone which makes it a quick and efficient way to understand what customers like and don’t like.
Integrate SMS text into your UC/customer experience strategy today
The advantages of integrating SMS into your office/business communications arsenal are obvious and numerous. As more organizations move UC to the cloud, text functionality is also easy to take advantage of. The addition of SMS is one of many things that makes OfficeSuite UC so unique and able to support a customer service/support/experience advantage. For any organization that seeks to create an even stronger bond with customers, and empower its people to be responsive and available in an on-demand world, finding out more about adding text to your CX is as easy as hitting send on an SMS.
Austin Herrington is Vice President of Enterprise Voice Product Management for Windstream Enterprise. He oversees the enterprise product strategy and roadmap where he and his team develop, manage and market advanced products and services offered to customers nationwide, executing programs to help businesses achieve a perpetual state of winning. He was previously Director of Product Management responsible for Windstream’s Internet portfolio and value-added services. Prior to joining Windstream in 2006, Herrington was Director of Product Management for Alltel. He holds an MBA from the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business.
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