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Industry Best Practices for Text-Based Support, Part II

Companies known for their fantastic tech support are typically on the forefront of technology. They understand that embracing new tech and leaning into their customers’ adoption of those advancements will only further endear them to their most loyal patrons. To this end, we’re seeing more and more brands expanding the communications channels they use to service customers.

In the first part of this two-part overview, we explored some of the essential to-dos for companies offering customer support via text, or SMS (Short Message Service). We described the importance of immediately clarifying the purpose of the support query, knowing when to automate support and when not to, keeping all communications upbeat, and focusing on quickly finding solutions. But there’s more to cover; here are further steps to take to perfect your chat/SMS support operations.

Send updates. In SMS, there’s no need to stay on the line to get results. After telling your customer that a resolution is in the works, let the conversation rest and then send an update text when the solution is enacted, being processed, complete, or requires attention.

Customers who have chosen to text for support because they only have a few minutes will greatly appreciate solutions being put into place without them needing to ask or even monitor the situation. Updates let customers know that solutions have been enacted.

Integrate text with omnichannel support. All customer support should lead back to a single omnichannel platform. This way, no customer interaction is lost or unavailable to agents working other support channels. If a customer signs into live chat, the responding agent should be able to access that customer’s text support history. Customers should be able to continue their support requests no matter what communications channel is available to them at the moment.

Avoid unnecessary support channel transfers. To that end, make sure that you avoid transferring your text support customers to other channels unless absolutely necessary. Try not to ask them to accept a phone call or manage email, as many choose to text because it is the only support channel available during their busy schedule. Some strongly prefer not to talk on the phone or communicate through email at all. Try to resolve all text-initiated service requests through the channel that your customer has initially chosen.

Minimize message exchanges. Put effort into minimizing the total number of messages sent and received during the text session. Because SMS is a paid communication channel for most users, the number of messages may impact their total monthly phone bill or capacity to send texts for other reasons. The most courteous thing to do, in this light, is to stay solution-oriented and avoid unnecessary social chatting, even if the customer seems to want to chat casually while seeking a resolution.

Ensure responses work for every audience. We all know how easy it is to misinterpret the meaning or emotion behind brief messages; think of any ambiguous texts you may have received. That’s why it’s important to ensure your intended tone doesn’t get lost or misinterpreted, particularly when dealing with global clients with customers around the world. Wherever possible, use native-language speakers who use appropriate words and understand local colloquial expressions and regional nuances. Also, be sure to approve canned responses to ensure that they contain neutral language that would be difficult to misunderstand.

Is Your Support Team Ready to Rock Text Support?

Multichannel support is the name of the game in today’s customer service. Email, live chat, text, phone calls, and automated support tools all come together to ensure the customer is able to receive support whenever it’s needed. Is your team ready to take on or expand text as a support channel? Do you have the people, software, and greeting bots ready to handle the onslaught of text support messages once the channel is opened?

Set up an integrated customer care system that embraces text-based support best practices as a hallmark of your overall support strategy. It’s an increasingly important way to meet your customers where they are and will go a long way toward providing the kind of experience your customer community deserves.

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