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The call center as we once knew it was designed to service outgoing and/or incoming calls. Back then, phone conversations were the only way to interact with customers. Today, when more and more people prefer texting over talking, businesses are starting to explore alternative channels to reach clients in a way that is convenient to them. Transitioning to a contact center that supports messengers, email, and website chats can’t be accomplished overnight, but there is a simple step you can take to start significantly expanding your call center capabilities—and that step is supporting follow-up SMS.
Follow-up SMS are messages manually sent by an agent during or after a call. SMS has been around for several decades now, and in that time it has built up a lot of resilience and gained trust across generations. It is a relatively inexpensive way to reach your customers, allowing agents to deliver all kinds of information to customers by adding text to the voice exchange. Below, we explore a few of the typical scenarios in which follow-up SMS aid your agents in their routine, increase retention, and improve customer satisfaction.
Call centers put a lot of effort into increasing their answer rates for outbound calls. They use things like local number presentation or hourly call patterns. Getting more people to pick up is great, but all that work can lead to nothing if a customer is busy or just not in the mood to talk at that moment. Instead of scheduling a follow-up call and possibly running into the same situation again, the agent can offer to send a short summary of their offer or request via SMS. This also gives clients more time to consider their answers. Many of us are familiar with the initial hesitation of accepting new offers over the phone, but if we have that information written down and are given time to think, we are more likely to be open to a subsequent conversation about it.
Modern call center software has dedicated features designed to ensure that the customer on the other end can adequately hear the conversation: volume adjustment, for instance, and network status notifications. Still, even with the help of technology, some words may get lost because of background noise, especially if what’s being transmitted are alphanumeric order numbers or contact information. Making the customer memorize or write down the info, or ask the agent to repeat it, may negatively impact their experience. Getting all the important details in an SMS seems much more convenient. The same, of course, applies to confirmation SMS for purchases, deliveries, or appointments.
Being able to share a link with the customers offers new opportunities, both for sales and customer support. For instance, if a troubleshooting issue is too complicated to explain over the phone, an agent can send a video guide to help explain it. This simultaneously increases first call resolution and reduces call handling time. And quality assurance surveys can serve as a handy alternative to asking questions over the phone—they allow the client to take their time, and leave feedback via the link after they have opted in for SMS. A call center that deals with purchases can also send out payment links and enable PCI DSS compliant self-service payments.
In all three cases, SMS serves to enhance the customer’s experience—but there are several benefits for your business as well. Sending an SMS is cheaper than placing a phone call, which means reduced operational costs. If agents have access to ready-to-use templates, it’s also much faster. Voiso is happy to announce that as of April 2021 we offer SMS capabilities for our clients. SMS will be supported in the agent’s WebRTC softphone and can also be accessed via call history. Our customers will have the ability to configure templates and set their own Sender IDs - i.e., alphanumeric source numbers for each SMS - as a way to let people know which business they are receiving the message from.