SMS text messaging has emerged as a primary and often preferred communications channel in today’s digital-first, increasingly mobile world. In fact, 98% of SMS text messages are opened (compared to only 20% of emails), according to an SMS Comparison study. Up to 90% are answered within three minutes. With statistics like that, it’s hard to ignore the potential to reach and engage customers through SMS.
But not all SMS solutions are created equal. If not integrated as part of a digital-first customer service strategy, SMS will only serve a disparate communications dead end that creates friction and even detracts from the overall customer experience.
Research from wireless industry association CTIA shows that 75% of customers are frustrated when they are unable to reply to an SMS text and take action. Where two-way SMS capabilities that tie into seamless digital customer service can remove friction, lower abandonment rates and drive up satisfaction, one-way SMS only creates a road block that has the opposite effect. Forcing mobile customers to make a phone call to reach customer service when they receive an SMS alert breaks the digital connection and squanders the opportunity that SMS provides to enhance the experience.
Financial institutions should consider several important factors in leveraging SMS to reach and engage customers.
- Make sure you offer two-way SMS, allowing customers to respond via text, in most cases within three minutes.
- Integrate SMS as part of a seamless digital experience, allowing customers to effortlessly connect via chat, voice or video on their screen, from within the SMS message, without breaking the digital connection.
- Move SMS to more secure channels as needed, bringing customers from SMS into an authenticated environment that protects both customers and the institution and allowing for a safe, seamless digital experience.
If deployed as an integrated part of the overall Digital Customer Service (DCS) platform, SMS can significantly lower costs through call deflection and digital efficiencies, while also raising overall customer satisfaction. If not, your SMS investment might be doing more harm than good.