It’s a common known fact: text messaging, SMS messaging, and Facebook messaging are pervasive and the popularity of messaging today is undisputed. Fully 97% of smartphone owners regularly use text messaging, making it the most widely-used basic feature or app as reported by Pew Research. Messaging has become the preferred way that people stay connected, whether it’s with each other or with businesses.
It is also pretty intuitive, if not well-known, that the value of a great customer experience—when we are a customer engaging with a company—is extremely high. But did you know that we are willing to pay more for a great customer service experience? According to American Express, 70% of Americans are willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
What Customers Want from Customer Service
One thing is clear, customers like to have options when it comes to contacting your business. The communication channel they opt for depends on their reason for contacting you.
Additional data from American Express revealed that for simple inquiries, more than six in ten US consumers say a digital tool such as online messaging is preferable. This means that texting a customer is not only convenient for businesses looking to be more efficient, but also it’s what customers actually want.
On top of that, CIO Today has revealed that when it comes to customer service, 64% of people prefer text messaging versus phone calls. 44% of people would rather send a text message than be kept on hold.
So, this begs the question: if we text message or Facebook message all day, every day, then why are so few companies giving us, their customers, the option to message their customer service team when we need help or have questions?
We’d like to take this opportunity to give customers a voice and give companies insight into why customers want to message you and are ready to do so now.
We are busy. Like, really busy
We try to jam in hundreds of tasks every day and we value our free time more than ever. We don’t want to drop what we’re doing to call you (let alone wait on hold!), and we don’t have time to wait for a response to an email.
Phone and email support is disruptive to the flow of getting everything we are trying to get done. It’s harder to multitask while focusing on a phone conversation, and email support is stilted, making solving our problems take longer than necessary. Forrester has found that 77% of US online adults say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service (Forrester).
So, please make it easy on us. Let us reach out to you how and when we want to – on our terms, not yours. Text messaging or messaging your customer service team via Facebook messenger is so much less disruptive to our days and is just plain easier. Plus, businesses that are responsive and efficient when texting a customer make a lasting impression.
We won’t wait
Giving us your customer service phone number or customer support email address may seem like a fine solution, but it’s not enough. We don’t really need or want to talk to you on the phone or with email. Remember, we are busy and in a hurry. We can’t be tied to our computer screens or have our phones glued to our ears. In fact, 81% of us consumers agree that it is frustrating to be tied to a phone or a computer to wait for customer service help (ATT).
Just give us a button to click on your website for us to text message you or a button on your company Facebook page. Then we can quickly message you our problem from our phone or computer, and while you’re trying to help, we can continue getting all our other tasks done. Efficiency is key for us just as it is for you—taking care of a problem or answering a question as soon as possible, or seamlessly communicating when we have time throughout the day, means we’ll be more productive and feel more confident in the companies we choose to do business with.
Composing an email takes time and sending it into the ether with no idea when we will hear back from you doesn’t fit our need for instant-gratification. We prefer to message a question during any waking (or sleeping!) hour, and to start solving the issue right then and there.
Hey, just a quick question
Often we just want to ask a super easy question. Do you hear a lot of ‘When will this be back in stock?’ or ‘Where’s my order?’ or ‘How do I return this?’ from us? We realize many of our questions can be answered quickly. We don’t need to chit-chat. We just want a quick answer in return.
Give your customer service agents the ability to text message us back with an answer. This quick back and forth is so much easier on both of us – it saves us both time and even better, it saves you money.
Not just for millennials
You may be thinking that this mobile messaging phenomenon doesn’t apply to your company. Believe us, it does apply. Messaging customer service isn’t just a young kids game.
It only takes a few minutes around any young person to know that mobile adoption is high within that demographic. But millennials (ages 18-34) aren’t the only ones that prefer messaging. Text messaging is the most used form of communication for American adults under 50 (Gallup), and even adults over 55 send and receive an average of nearly 500 texts a month (Experian Marketing Services).
So, don’t think that if we aren’t a millennial that we won’t message you. We will and we want to. Also, we don’t have to be tech savvy to message our family and friends, so we don’t have to be tech savvy to message you. Remember what we said before: We all prefer to contact customer service via messaging over any other channel.
Sorry, can’t talk now
As customers, we prefer sending you a message because we are always on the go, surrounded by other people, and simply can’t talk. According to Pew, if we’re not at home, we are probably in the car or public transit (82%), at work (69%), or waiting in line (53%). Most of us find it socially inappropriate to make or take personal calls while at work or in public spaces.
Despite that, we still have a problem that we need you to help us with. Just because we can’t call you during your set phone hours, doesn’t mean we don’t need and want help. This is the perfect time for us to send you a message and more discreetly resolve our issue on our terms. Even better, messaging allows us to control the cadence of the conversation instead of customer service. Maybe that is why we like messaging so much.
Actually, we just don’t want to talk
We are all guilty of it: sending our family, our friends, and unknown numbers to voicemail. So, why would we want to talk to customer support? More and more consumers perceive a phone call as invasive and disrespectful to their time, which is why we text over twice as much as we call (Nielsen).
Why do so many of us dread phone calls? Because we find them unpredictable – it could take a few minutes or half an hour to reach someone in customer service who can actually help us. Messaging is not only quick and efficient but also really convenient.
We will like you more
When we are given the option to text for customer service, we’re likely to show your customer service team some love. In fact, 77% of us between the ages of 18-34 are likely to have a positive perception of a company that offers text messaging capability (CIO Today). Not only that, but we give significantly higher customer satisfaction scores for mobile messaging than any other channel.
Customers are knocking – let us in!
What are you waiting for? Texting a customer is one of the best ways to connect with them. Whether you’re looking to strengthen your customer service game, or simply provide another avenue for customers to share feedback and get in touch, messaging is the way forward. Not only is it the most convenient communication channel available to us, but it also allows us to set the cadence of the conversation.
We, the customers, want to have a voice when it comes to getting in touch with your brand. Give us the choice to text you and you’ll be sure to see happier customers!