Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: How Texting Has Become An Essential Customer Service Tool

This week we feature an article by Brian Elrod who discusses how texting has become an important customer service tool for any type of business. – Shep Hyken

Numbers show that customers enjoy text message communication. Here’s how some businesses are winning by texting.

A few years ago, my wife and I were trying to pay our bill at a restaurant after enjoying a meal with one of our sons. However, our server seemed to have disappeared just as we were ready to head home.

It was at that moment that my wife, Jamey, said something like, “Why can’t we just text them?” Her question served as a lightbulb moment for us, eventually turning into Text Request, the business texting service we co-founded in the fall of 2014.

Over the past four years, we’ve grown our business significantly, and we’re seeing our clients — from Harley-Davidson to the Ronald McDonald House — experience measurable wins by engaging their customers through texting.

But before we dive into some examples of texting successes, here are some notable statistics related to business texting:

18 —  the percentage of emails that are read
5 —    the percentage of phone calls that are answered
99 — the percentage of text messages that are read
90 — the average response time, in seconds, for text messages
89 — the percentage of consumers who want messaging conversations with businesses

I could go on and on with more texting data, but you probably understand what I’m driving at already — that texting is statistically proven to be an effective communication channel that customers actually like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you drop every other customer communication channel you’ve got. But given the statistics above and the examples below, what I am
suggesting is that you might be able to secure some serious customer service wins via text.

Now, for those examples.

Pure Barre

We work with Tiffany Jodice, a Pure Barre franchise owner in Tennessee, who uses texting in numerous ways to engage her clients. While the channel gives her a direct opportunity to keep everyone up to speed about the status of their packages (e.g. how many classes they have left),
it also allows two-way conversations so clients can notify their instructor if they’re running late or need any special accommodations.

Through text, the Pure Barre franchisee is able to increase package renewals, manage class attendance, and strengthen client relationships.

LGC Hospitality Staffing

If you have staffing needs in the U.S. hospitality industry, you’ve likely heard of LGC Hospitality Staffing. Through text messaging, our partner, Jaime Horning, has streamlined the typically cumbersome task of vetting job applicants and filling vacant positions.

One exciting experience they had recently, thanks to texting, was when they were able to fill every job for a Portland Timbers (MLS) season-opening match in just four hours. They told us that normally would take four to five days. Yes, days!

Scenic City Orthodontics

A consistent struggle across the healthcare community is appointment no-shows. Our friends at Scenic City Orthodontics are no strangers to this reality, but since leveraging texting they’ve been able to fill holes in their calendars quickly, avoiding empty patient slots.

According to office manager Tasha Mattila, patients feel more comfortable texting, they respond to messages almost immediately and rarely do they opt out of the service. Tasha also says texting is a huge help in communicating with patients who don’t speak English as a first language.

As was the case when I was rattling off texting statistics earlier, I could offer a long list of testimonials. But again, you get the point by now — it might be time to consider ways you could use texting to engage your customers.

One of the best things about texting is that it’s not beholden to a single industry. Whatever your product or service is, and whoever your audience might be, there is a good chance (a very good chance) your customer engagement will benefit from trying out text.

Brian Elrod is a co-founder of Text Request, a business texting service.

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