SMS is a powerful channel for call centers to reduce costs and win over their customers
The most common use for Application-to-person (A2P) SMS is to communicate with consumers, authenticate online services and deliver time-sensitive alerts. As SMS is supported by all handsets, it has proven itself an effective and expansive method of communication.
A2P SMS have almost limitless applications/use cases. Both large multinational enterprises and small local business alike all reap the benefits that A2P SMS has to offer in industries, spanning, retail, travel, banking and health care, to name just a few examples.
The introduction of SMS technology to call centers has two major benefits for companies:
- SMS improves overall customer experience. Research has shown that call center waiting times are the biggest pain point for customers. By incorporating SMS, companies can relieve call center congestion while the customer can also request a call back at a time that is convenient for them, thus enhancing their personal CX.
- SMS lowers costs. The cost of implementing SMS is far lower than any phone based call center operation.
The British National Health System NHS for instance loses around GPB 800 million per year on missed appointments, a situation that could easily be improved by sending a reminder to the patient confirming an appointment or providing automatic reminders, a difficult and costly task for a call center and a perfect example for the use of SMS.
Customers want to communicate with businesses in the same way they communicate to their friends and family: through social channels and text messaging, as they are both convenient and personal, but also instant and reliable. Couple this with the fact that the majority of people actually prefer using texting as opposed to voice as a customer service channel! A considerable opportunity for call centers indeed!
Unfortunately, traditional call centers are still lagging behind in the adoption of a omnichannel communication approach. Many fail to grasp the benefits of embracing Chabot’s, Email, IMs and SMS.
The problems that call centers traditionally face and SMS promise to fix:
- Users often do not answer numbers they do not recognize.
- 98 percent of messages are read, 90 percent even within seconds.
- Each conversation results in labour costs and a phone bill. The average costs of a live telephone call is USD 4 – 6.
- An SMS decreases the costs of interaction unmistakably at averagely 10 Cent.
- Bulk communication cannot be communicated through individual calls in real-time as every call center agent can only handle one call at a time.
- SMS can deliver a message to everybody at the same time, allowing time-efficient mass communication.
- A call center agent can verbally indicate a website for more information, online tools, even downloadable or purchasable content. The URL has to be remembered or taken down by the caller.
- SMS can include a link, improving the likelihood of a click (more content or another potential revenue stream).
- 81 percent of consumers find it frustrating to be restrained to a phone or computer while waiting for customer service to help. A customer waiting in the line is an unhappy customer.
- An SMS can be sent instantly.
- A caller may feel uncomfortable in receiving personal information through a stranger.
- SMS offers a sensitive and private communication channel.
Call centers are costly entities by nature. Recruiting, training and the salaries of employees are all significant cost drivers in an industry where staff turnover is extremely high. In addition to this, the day-to-day management of these centers is also difficult. Teams must be balanced and managed in the right way, sufficient physical office space must be found and high phone bills on top of all this make them a cumbersome operation.
Compare this to a simple API connection, which could solve all of the above problems!
Opting for SMS communication comes with more good news, as no additional platform is needed, texting can be managed from the same platform as web chat and voice, and call center agents can switch between channels seamlessly.
Surveys reveal that consumers like to use different channels when speaking to customer service. When questioned nearly a third of respondents said that sending a text was less frustrating than calling the company!
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