Support teams are the glue of customer service — managing expectations and handling multiple queries to keep customers happy. But the job is not as simple as just “talking” to customers. Support teams are responsible for responding to customers quickly. Still, they also have to be trained to manage multiple channels, think email, phone, and social, and they need to know how to deescalate problems while saving their company money to drive revenue and not costs. A business texting software, like Textline, can help support teams manage all of these expectations and more. We’ll cover the best texting use cases specifically for support teams like yours.
Common challenges support teams face
Support teams handle a wide range of topics, from taking returns, answering FAQs, and working triage to transfer conversations to the right people and departments. This need to wear multiple hats poses its own set of problems. Some of the more common ones that arise when servicing customers are slow response times, an agent’s inability to calm down angry customers, and not being efficient with their time, becoming a cost center instead of a revenue center. Another huge problem for customer support teams is high turnover. The average call center has a turnover rate of 30 to 45 percent, and most call center employees between the ages of 20 and 34 stay in their roles for an average of a year. Because turnover is so widespread in the department, teams are often understaffed and not given enough time to train correctly. Other problems include:
- Understaffed teams
- Cost of customer support
- Inability to answer customer questions
- Recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining staff
- Assigning and escalating tickets to the correct person
- Managing customer expectations
Many businesses turn to texting to help them handle large amounts of support tickets relative to low-staffed teams or teams with frequent new hires. That’s because texting makes it easier to resolve conversations faster, handle multiple inquiries simultaneously, and keep support team members happier, so they stay longer.
7 ways to use business texting to improve your support teams
Here are the seven different ways your support team can use business texting to enhance their workflows and overall experience.
Meet customers where they are
While every customer has their preferred channel, offering support on a range of media makes it easier for you to service customers the way they want to be helped. According to studies, more than half of consumers prefer contacting customer support through text. Texting a business in a customer’s preferred medium will make them slightly happier to contact you, and it will also reduce the friction it takes for a customer to reach out. Texting, by nature, is a personal experience, so for customers to text a business allows them to not only get the help they need but also helps them develop a deeper relationship with the company.
Manage customer expectations
Businesses can use text support to set customer expectations that align with their SLAs or working business hours without being a hundred percent available all the time. One example of setting a customer expectation is simply letting customers know when you’re available to help them. Whether that means sending an automated out-of-office message if a customer texts outside of business hours or shooting out a text when you’re experiencing longer than usual wait times. Letting a customer know that you received their message but will get back to them later ensures your customers aren’t left in the dark waiting for an immediate reply.
But the best part of using business texting is that support teams can offer this real-time help without being put on the spot to respond. Support teams can use text to give a customer a quick response, or they can buy time if they need it by telling customers they’ll get back to them shortly with an answer. That way, your support team has time to catch up on messages without worrying about upsetting a customer due to unclear communication.
Resolve conversations faster
As we mentioned, texting allows support teams to provide real-time support, but not all teams can handle the stress of supplying real-time help because they’re at their working capacity. One way to help support teams ease their strain is to make their workflow more efficient. For support teams, this can look like reducing their time to resolve a conversation, which will allow them to reply to more tickets.
Texting has a faster response time than email and phone, at just 90 seconds, making it the perfect tool for increasing speed while maintaining efficiency and quality. The faster a support team member can respond to a customer, the higher their chances are of resolving the conversation quickly.
Sending photos and links
We’ve all heard the cliche “a photo is worth a thousand words,” and that couldn’t be more true for support teams. Business texting software, like Textline, allows for multimedia messaging services, or MMS, that can help clarify communication to resolve conversations faster. In short, sending pictures via text helps explain what words can’t sometimes. What’s more, support teams can send or receive images because texting is a two-way communication channel.
Support teams can also send links in text messages to direct customers to a specific product page, help article, and more. Links in texts have an eight times higher click-through rate than other marketing tools, like email or social. Again, the overall goal with sending and receiving MMS or links is to resolve conversations quicker.
Turn calls centers into revenue-generators
The ability to drive more personal conversations in a shorter period with business texting also helps turn call centers from costly operations to revenue-generators. Because texting allows customer support agents to handle multiple tickets simultaneously, lowering a company’s cost per contact significantly, amongst other expenses.
The tools that come with texting also help support teams resolve tickets fast, making them more efficient. For example, sending a photo or link via text to drive customer action can significantly reduce the time to resolve an issue. The best part is that texting keeps the personal element without sacrificing quality, so your company is still developing close relationships with its customers while serving them at a lower cost.
Offering text support can help you collect valuable customer feedback, too. Companies can text survey links to gather feedback from customers, and because texting has a 45 percent response rate, you’re more likely to receive a reply if you send surveys on that channel (unlike email or over the phone.) Customers are more inclined to click a link and take a survey on the spot if there’s less friction to do so, which texting does. Texting is also the highest-rated contact method for customer satisfaction than all other communication channels, including social media.
Gathering customer feedback helps you understand what areas in your customer experience process need improvement. It also lets you know what support members are standing out or struggling, so you can reassess your team’s needs, too.
Lower employee turnover
Turnover is a massive issue for support teams, especially those working in call centers. Sadly, support representatives are often subject to yelling and harsh words from unsatisfied customers. It’s understandable that constantly being shouted at on a phone call can cause a person to be unhappy and leads them to quit. With texting, support teams completely subside having to deal with a customer on the spot. They have time to collect their thoughts and respond to customers in a more calm environment. In short, texting might provide a less stressful environment.
Not only that, but having a unified texting system makes it easier for support representatives to work as a team because they can jump into different conversations to help each other out if they’re new or understaffed. Working support as a team will help improve productivity, keep support teams aligned on the same message, and increase longevity since support agents aren’t working alone technically.
The bottom line
Essentially, text is one of the best communication tools for support teams because it allows them to address more tickets at a time, resolve issues quicker, manage customer expectations, and feel peace of mind when handling more challenging conversations.