Customer service is more important today than at any point in recent history. Multiple studies, such as one by American Express in 2012, indicate that consumers are increasingly valuing companies that provide exceptional customer service. Companies have been progressively integrating technology (such as smartphone and computers) into their customer service strategy, often with varying levels of success.
Recently, a bank reached out to us about an article we wrote discussing the use of text-messaging features in customer service. The bank had been using a system for quite some time that incorporated a “text us” feature into their online banking and smartphone banking application, which they believed made it easier and more convenient for their customers to contact them with questions, concerns, or service requests.
However, it turned out the bank was manually processing all the customer texts that came in. Every time the bank received a text, an employee was responsible for opening, reading, and responding to the messages. While the bank should be commended for even including a “text us” feature, the way they ended up approaching it was in inefficient and time-consuming for employees and customers. Fortunately, there are alternatives available that work far more effectively than that bank’s approach, like text chat.
Text chat is just what it sounds like: customers text message a company and can live chat with an agent. With platforms like OneReach’s, consumers can transfer from an automated conversation to a live agent conversation with the push of a button. Agents are notified when there is a customer who needs help and are able to send responses real time using their current chat solutions. The customer then receives the agent’s message as a text on their phone and continues the conversation.
Integrating text chat into your existing customer service system increases the number the options that are available to your customers. For example, when a consumer reaches out to your contact center, they would be able to speak with a live representative, use a web chat system, or text a customer service agent who can respond using their computer’s chat software.
Combining text and live chat can also deliver potential financial savings. The average phone call with a live agent costs anywhere between $6-20 depending on the type of call; web chat pushes that cost down to $2-5 per session. And automated texts end up being 10x cheaper than web chat: they only cost 25 cents per session. If you crunch the numbers, a contact center that manages one-third of their calls with automated texts and web chat can will see an immediate 25% savings.
On its own, text-based customer service decreases wait times and significantly reduces the cost of providing high-quality customer service. Live text chat allows customer service representatives to help more customers simultaneously, decreasing the cost per call down to $2-5 per session. Live chat also dramatically increases conversion rates: up to 44% of online consumers say that being able to use live chat during an online purchase increased the likelihood that they would actually complete the transaction.
The integration of live chat and text combines the adaptability of an agent with the speed of text, providing the customer with an optimized experience and the business with a 25% cost savings. So, what’s stopping you?