In today’s world, mobile customer service isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. In fact, over 60% of businesses think mobile customer service is a competitive differentiator, and over two-thirds of companies have “embraced” mobile as a customer service channel. In addition, the customer support tech research company Software Advice has found that 60% of people use mobile for customer service fairly regularly.
But what does mobile customer service really mean? Does it refer to a mobile app, texting, or a mobile website? At OneReach, we think businesses should offer customers the chance to text customer service, and we’ve got seven data-backed reasons why.
1. 97% of U.S. smartphone owners use SMS, making it the most-used app on a smartphone.
A recent report from Pew Research found that the most-widely used an app on a smartphone isn’t an app at all—it’s SMS. Over 97% of users text, beating out voice (92%), Internet (89%), email (88%) and social networking site (75%). In addition, texting is also the most frequently used app on a smartphone, with users using it at least once a day.
How this relates to customer service: Simply put, if you’re not investing money in the channels your customers are using most frequently, you’re missing out. Customers are engaging with one another on a variety of digital channels, and that’s only set to grow in the coming years (link). And while you may be allocating a certain chunk of your budget to social media customer service, you’ve got to consider the fact that, well…
2. There are 500 million tweets sent each day, compared to 23 billion text messages.
Research has found that over half a billion tweets are sent each day worldwide. While that’s a sizable amount, it’s only 1/46th of daily global SMS traffic. Portio Research found that people worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in 2015, adding up to 23 billion per day, or nearly 16 million messages per minute.
How this relates to customer service: If you’re deciding where to allocate your customer service budget, make sure you don’t overlook texting. If people can send billions of messages a day to friends and family, it’s not so much of a stretch that they’d be willing to text your business. You’ve just got to give them the chance. There’s a pretty good chance they’ll take it because…
3. Over 60% of customers would prefer to text your business.
Research conducted by Harris Poll and commissioned by OneReach found that 81% of customers are frustrated being tied to a phone or computer for customer service. Luckily, there’s a way around that, as 64% of customers would rather text than call a business.
How this relates to customer service: Traditional channels, while popular, aren’t necessarily the best channels in terms of customer satisfaction. That can be problematic, since 97% of customers who are satisfied with good service are “extremely” likely to refer a service to friends. However, there is one channel that’s proven to satisfy customers…
4. Text is the highest rated channel in terms of customer satisfaction.
A 2012 contact center survey by CFI Group found that texting was the highest rated contact method in terms of customer satisfaction. Texting earned 90 out of 100 points, while voice calls got 77 out of 100 and Facebook got 66.
How this relates to customer service: There’s a lot of reasons why texting could be preferred—it’s global, it’s flexible, it’s immediate, it’s engaging, it’s for everyone…the list goes on and on. Just think about the reasons you like to use texting—it lets you get in touch with people quickly and easily. In fact…
5. Texting has a 98% open rate and a 45% response rate.
If you’re trying to get in touch with people and get a quick answer, there’s no better channel to use than SMS. Most emails are lucky to get an open rate of 20%, but texting blows it out of the water with a 98% open rate. Similarly, most emails see a 6% response rate, but texting has a monumental 45% response rate. And on top of all that, 90% of texts are answered in under three minutes.
How this relates to customer service: Although the above statistics are for marketing, it’s not that much of a leap to see how they would apply to customer service. In fact, customers might be even more likely to open and respond to customer service texts, as they would be the ones to initiate the conversation. And speaking of conversations…
6. Texting converts a $6-20 phone call into a chat that costs pennies per session.
Research from Forrester has found that an average customer service call can cost up to $20 per session. While phone will almost always be necessary for some customer service interactions, it’s not necessary for all of them. An SMS web chat session will only cost a company about $2-5, and automating a text conversation can lower the cost to as little as 25 cents per session.
How this relates to customer service: Most companies view contact centers as cost centers, but it doesn’t have to be this way with text messaging. Some of our clients have seen 40% call deflection with text messaging, dramatically reducing operating costs by offering the option to channel pivot to texting. In fact, more companies are offering texting…
7. Nearly 40% of contact centers are already using texting, with plans to add more in the coming year.
Research conducted by Dimension Data discovered that over 35% of contact centers offer text messaging, with 23% plan to add it within the coming year. That means that over 60% of contact centers will offer SMS by 2017. And with over 35% of contact center interactions going digital, contact centers need to be ready to meet customers on channels other than phone.
How this relates to customer service: Customers are communicating with businesses on more channels than ever before, and that includes text messaging. And while voice may remain the dominant channel for the foreseeable future, contact centers need to accommodate customers on alternative channels to provide them with the best customer experience possible.
Text messaging may have once been an alternative customer service channel, but more and more businesses are starting to recognize its potential. The question is, will you be one of them?
Want to learn more about business texting? Download our 2014 Harris Poll report detailing why 64% of customers want to text your business.
Photo credit. Edited.