What kind of imprint are your customer communications making?

Posted by Natalie Davis on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 @ 13:07 PM

 Are you providing your customers with the communications they want on the devices they use the most? Do your customers find your communications useful C  Users nkdavis Desktop Capture resized 600and convenient?

Over the last few years we have seen a noticeable shift from channels like direct mail and voice to email and the stratospheric leap, to Short Messaging Service (also known as SMS or Text Messaging).  Because more consumers are looking for ways to use their mobile devices to save time, money and enrich their experiences, the world is constantly trying to keep up.

SMS is sometimes thought of as a channel for younger generations only, but recent numbers show that all generations are adopting SMS and incorporating SMS as a communication channel in their lives. Seventy two percent of people ages 50-64 use SMS. Younger generations are using SMS at an even higher rate of 97 percent, of people ages 18-29.

When it comes to adopting a SMS communication strategy, companies have options.

Today’s SMS menu

  • One-way text messaging: Sending text messages to a mobile phone but not receiving messages back
  • Interactive text messaging (ISMS): Sending text messages to customers and allowing them to respond
  • SMS Assistant: Letting customers interact with customer service representatives in real-time through SMS

Mobile phone use is growing and has reached approximately 70 percent worldwide. Email and voice channels are still used but aren’t always as effective. Even when using a mobile device, email communications can sit in an inbox for days and sometimes go straight into the spam folder. Voice communications aren’t always as effective as SMS because many customers don’t answer phone calls from numbers they don’t know, especially 800 numbers. SMS has proved to be effective because customers always have their mobile devices at their fingertips. Ninety seven percent of customers open SMS messages and 83 percent read them within three minutes.

SMS is often preferred because it’s easy for many customers to use and it’s convenient. SMS, when done in a compliant manner and when adhering to best practices, can benefit companies because it’s easy for customers to engage with them. If you have the option to provide an enriched experience and increase customer loyalty through SMS, why wouldn’t you?

Tags: Communication Strategy, Engagement Opportunities, Customer Service, SMS, Customer Satisfaction

Getting in Front of the Storm | Weather and Inbound Customer Communications

Posted by Natalie Davis on Wed, Jul 03, 2013 @ 08:07 AM

 

When severe weather hits, many consumers don’t have access to the resources and services they rely on. Whether a customer is out of power, has a delayed flight, can’t pick up a prescription or can’t receive a package, customer service across all industries remains vital when weather is a factor. So why wait until it hits, get out in front of the storm and the ensuing wave of communications from your customers demanding answers and action.

C  Users nkdavis Desktop Storm cloud (grays)

 

Being proactive means being a true customer advocate

Reaching out to your customers before they have to reach out to you is a great way to improve customer satisfaction by providing a higher level of service. But don’t stop there; continue to inform your customers throughout and even after a weather event to reduce their frustration with your company, ease their anxiety and help them to comfortably weather the storm.  

Here are several examples of helpful proactive communications:

  • Safety and Preparedness Tips

  • Store Closings & Modified Hours of Operation

  •  Service Delay Notifications

  • Timely Status Updates

  • Emergency Contact Information and Instructions

Immediate Benefits:

By reaching out to your customers before they have to contact you, not only will you make them happy, you may also see a reduction of inbound calls, the strain on your call center and the resources needed to operate it. While you can never head off every call, and really why would you want to?  You want to provide the service your customers want and expect from you. If you can reduce costly inbound calls by a small percentage – wouldn’t that be worth it?

This goes farther than the call center.  Your PR and marketing department is also on deck during events like these.  They are preparing a multitude of communications for your upset, stranded and/or self-described “under-served” customers around the clock.  Do them and your customers a favor and enable them to be proactive.

Long Term Benefits:

During weather events and the disruption of service that ensues, your clients are using social media to read and talk about you and your great service or the lack thereof.  Your actions and or reactions to what to your customers consider a critical event will undoubtedly be the difference between favorable reviews or tongue lashings, that as mentioned above will undoubtedly have your PR and marketing departments scrambling. 

By communicating with your customers before, during and after a weather event, you give them peace of mind and build the foundation for a trusting relationship that will stand the test of time, and even a tornado.

For more information, please review our communication kit - Proactive Communications Around Storms. This kit provides best practices and sample messages that may help your team quickly communicate important information to your customers before, during and after a weather event.

Tags: Communication Strategy, Storm Season, Customer Satisfaction, Proactive Communication, Weather