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Using MMS for customer support: When and how to do it

Nina Godlewski
10
minute read

Your customer support team can benefit from using MMS messages to have conversations with your customers. Learn about all the ways they could be using MMS and when exactly it can be used to better customer support interactions.

Your customer support is integral to the success of your business. Ideally your customers never find themselves in need of customer support. But the easier it is for your customers to contact you when they need to, the better. The best customer support teams are always looking for a way to improve that customer experience. One of the best ways for businesses to improve their support is by adding texting, and even better than that is MMS, or sending photos.

What is MMS?

The messages you send that solely contain text are called SMS, or short message service, messages. These messages are the original text message and have gone mostly unchanged since their creation in the 1980s. What has changed, though, is the ability to send attachments to messages, like photos and links. When we talk about MMS messages though we're specifically talking about photo and video messages.

With MMS, or multimedia message service, you can send far more than just words. These messages allow you to send photos, PDFs, video, and audio. Of course, you can always also use links, in SMS or MMS, to help illustrate your point or share information with customers.

Now that we know the difference between SMS and MMS let’s take a look at the examples of how and when to use MMS for support.

When to use MMS for business support

You’ve probably used MMS with friends and family regularly to send photos of your pets, kids, or latest culinary accomplishment. Over 90 percent of the 1.4 trillion digital photos taken each year are taken on smartphones. Most people are quite familiar with using MMS just like many are used to SMS. It’s a medium that customers and customer support are already comfortable with so it can add value to your customer support. Take a look at the examples below to understand when and how you can use MMS for your business and specifically for your support channel.

90 percent with a photo icon
Percent of the 1.4 trillion digital photos taken each year on smartphones

When to use MMS for photos

One of the first things that comes to mind when discussing MMS is photos. There are numerous scenarios during which you might text a photo over any other medium because a support photo can be worth 1,000 words. Here are a few reasons why you should use MMS for support.  

Damaged product

One of the most common examples of when you might ask a customer to send a photo is when they received an item that’s damaged or missing parts. As much as 11 percent of items are damaged in transit to the customer. This scenario is quite common, as many support specialists will probably know. It’s not uncommon for an item to be damaged in transit, come off the production line damaged, or be missing a part. When this occurs, you want to resolve the issue as soon as possible. 

Using MMS to send a photo, allows customers to skip the step of explaining the problem with their item. It also helps you verify that the item was actually broken, or see how packaging can be improved in the future.

Damaged product photo in MMS conversation

Receipt and confirmation information

A business might find itself using MMS to share bills, invoices, account statements, and more. Customers would be able to use MMS to share a statement or bill they wish to dispute, or share that they paid off a bill that they have an outstanding balance for. 

If you’re asking a customer for a photo of a product you might also need to see their order confirmation or a receipt for a purchase. You won’t always have all of the information on your end or you might need to confirm they made the purchase. They can easily send a photo of their receipt from the store or their order confirmation. This allows your support team to make sure they have all of the information they need to resolve an issue.

For instance, say your customer made a purchase in store and they were charged more than the price tag said. They might contact you and send a photo of the receipt and the tag to ask for a refund of the difference of the prices. Your support team can easily resolve the issue by verifying the cost on the tag and the cost on the receipt with photos. Saving your customer a trip back to the store.

Personal purchase support

Another way to use MMS to send or receive photos with customers would be to help them find an item they want. They might also use a feature like this to send a photo of an item they’re searching for to see if you have something similar. Your support team might also be able to send photos to offer a replacement item if the one the customer wants is out of stock. 

This is a way to use MMS to personally help customers make their purchases. Your support team can do this to help keep customers happy and make them feel personally cared for during their shopping experience. Research shows that consumers are 80 percent more likely to make a purchase when they receive a personalized experience.

Product photos in MMS conversation

Work coordination and confirmation

Support teams can use MMS to help nail down what work needs to be done and whether a customer wants the job completed. A great example of this is when a customer brings their damaged car to the auto shop, and the repair team determines what needs to be done. 

The support team can send photos of work that needs to be done and check with customers to be sure they want the repair done and they’re okay with the price before doing the work. This eliminates a trip for the customer and helps keep them informed in decisions regarding their personal items. 

Support interactions full of personality 

When it comes to offering support, you can significantly add to the personality your support team shows by giving them the option to send MMS messages. Instead of working only with words to show solidarity with a customer while dealing with a difficult support situation you might want to be able to send a photo or gif. 

GIF in MMS conversation

Another situation is if a customer relays that they’re contacting support about something connected to a wedding or birthday. Your support team would want to share their congratulations in ways beyond words. Your customers, like 86 percent of consumers, prefer human interaction when dealing with support. To get the most out of this, you can keep it blatantly obvious that you’re a human by being friendly and personable when using MMS.

86 percent with customer support icon
Percent of consumers who prefer human interaction when dealing with support

When to use MMS for PDFs

The PDF is a business staple. You’ve probably sent or received them via email before but you can also share them via text. Support teams use them for problem solving on a regular basis. They can be used to share information with customers like their account, billing, and more.

Billing

There are a number of reasons you might choose to text your customer their receipt, a bill, or even an invoice. The first and most simple scenario is when a support team sends a customer a copy of a misplaced receipt or order confirmation.

But there are slightly more complex reasons why you might need to send bills or invoices over MMS. For those purposes, PDFs sent via MMS could really be useful. Industries with high-ticket prices and any ecommerce at all would also have a huge need for bills and invoices to be sent via MMS. Emails are easily lost, and only have open rates that hover around just 20 percent.

Order confirmations and receipts in the form of PDFs are necessary for businesses that allow customers to pickup orders in store. Customers would need to present their receipt or order to confirm that they’re meant to be picking up the order.

Sharing location and maps

Your support team might also send a PDF via MMS to share a business location or a map of a meeting place. The nice thing about this is that your customers can then have the map on them because it’s on their phone. Alternatively, it can be useful for directions where GPS might not be reliable. For example, directions within an office park, a hospital, or a college campus.

Map photo in MMS conversation

Sharing instructions

Instructions sent via PDF can be useful for your customers. If a customer reaches out to support looking for help troubleshooting, you might send a PDF offering solutions or instructions. This can be especially useful if you’re in a business where many customers ask the same question or need help troubleshooting the same issue routinely. You can have specific PDFs ready to send when customers reach out to help get them a resolution as soon as possible. 

Scheduling

People are busy, so when it comes to scheduling a good general rule of thumb is: The easier, the better. That way your customers can choose when really works best for them. Gyms and exercise studios are a great example of this. Your support team might share a schedule of exercise classes for gym members to choose from. 

Another reason you might do this is for employee support. By that we mean sharing the schedule for your employee’s for the week. You can easily send it out as MMS so they see it and can easily access it right on their phones for later reference. 

Job quotes and appraisals

Lastly support might send PDFs via MMS to share a price or cost structure for job quotes or for appraisals for a job. Say you charge for something by the square foot or by the hour. You might send a PDF showing the ranges and what each one costs. If one to three hours of work costs $60, and three to six costs $115 and so on, you could share that via a PDF.

When to use MMS for video

Video can be incredibly useful when connecting with customers for support. Below are a few ways you might choose to send short video clips via MMS to customers.

Troubleshooting

Business support teams might send a quick tutorial video to customers for troubleshooting a technical problem. It could also help your customers explain their experience as well. They could send a short video of the problem they’re having with a product. There are some things that are just too difficult to explain via text, email, or phone calls. Instead it might be easiest for you to send a short video showing or explaining the solution. 

Walk through/product review

Another instance during which you might send a video is if you’re showing something that a customer can’t be there for. This is particularly important during virtual business transactions. Realtors can send videos of potential rentals using MMS. Other businesses like interior designers might opt to send a video of items in a showroom when the one a customer wanted is out of stock. 

Instructional

Support channels might also choose to send informational videos via MMS answering simple or common questions via an animated video. This is similar to troubleshooting but can be sent before a problem even arises for a customer.

Using MMS messaging for customer support: The bottom line

There are so many ways and reasons you might use MMS for customer support. The type of MMS you send might be influenced by the type of support you’re offering. No matter how you choose to use MMS for support, your customers will appreciate you going above and beyond to make their experience the best.

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