To view the first post in the series, click here.
If you’re anything like me, you’re bothered (maybe even offended) by retail businesses answering the phone instead of helping patrons.
We’ve all seen it happen. A customer is waiting to check out when the clerk answers the phone (sometimes several times), often only to respond to the caller with store hours or the address. On behalf of the patron who’s standing there waiting and the caller, I’m annoyed by this.
Here’s a thought – we all text. You text and your customers text. So perhaps it’s time to look at text-enabling your retail business. According to a study conducted by Harris Poll and commissioned by OneReach, 64% of customers who text would rather text than call your business. If customers could text your business, the activities they would prefer to do the most would be:
- Check order status (38%)
- Schedule or change appointments (32%)
- Make or confirm reservations (31%)
- Ask a question (30%)
- Find a store location (30%)
- Check balances or due dates (30%)
- Refill orders (29%)
- Reset password (27%)
Think how much easier it would be for your customers to do all these tasks over text. Instead of having to wait on hold or wait in line to get helped, you could solve problems with a text message or two.
If your business was text-enabled…
- Customers who have predictable questions could get what they need without interrupting your staff (or customers who are standing right there waiting for you to get off the phone!). One company that did a pilot with OneReach found that 65% of people were calling in just to reset their password. That’s a lot of time and money just to answer a simple question that could easily be automated. By letting people text in and reply with automated, actionable answers, retailers can save customers time while devoting effort to the people who are literally right in front of them.
- For example: “Thanks for texting Acme Co. For directions and hours reply 1…”
- You could offer callers the ability to switch from calling you to continuing via text message. We like to call this “the channel pivot.” One of OneReach’s customers was able to divert 40% of their calls to text by offering a text option, which drove up satisfaction for customers and some really serious cost-reductions for our customer. In fact, our Harris Poll study found that 44% of customers would prefer to text with an agent rather than wait on hold. Letting customers switch to text is just more convenient for everyone – you can get on with your life while still getting what you need.
- For example: “Thanks for calling. Did you know you can text us now? To continue via text message, reply # or stay on the line to continue with this call.”
- You could still help callers without interrupting customers in your store/business. Callers/texters that need more than automated options could still chat live with your staff – customers could text from their mobile phone and your team could respond via web chat from a desktop, laptop or tablet. It’s far more convenient for both you and your customers, because they can stay on the device and channel they’re using rather than having to transfer to another one.
- You’d save money. If you’re offering automated answers to the most commonly asked questions, all via SMS, then you’re cutting down on phone costs. Answering the phone costs money and gets in the way of other sales. If customers still need live support via SMS (and you’re responding via web chat), you can chat with more than one customer at once, something you can’t do with voice. (You don’t have apologize to whoever’s standing in front of you when you answer the phone instead of helping them). Helping more customers means more money (and more return customers!).
- Customers will be more satisfied. It sucks to wait on the phone while someone puts you on hold. Our Harris Poll study found that 64% of customers would be likely to have a positive perception of a company that offers texting, and 41% would be likely to feel the company understands their time is important. If customers could text you, they could get on with their lives instead of waiting around on hold, etc. The only thing that perhaps sucks more than being put on hold is standing at a cash register, wielding cash or plastic for your purchase, only to be ignored while a clerk answers a phone call.
If you think even some of these possibilities are worth more than $65 bucks a month to you and your customers, then you have no excuse. You could be up and running in about as long as it took you to read this article.
To learn more about adding text to your business phone, download “10 Texting Tips” white paper here. If you want to learn more, consider downloading our 2014 Harris Report to see why customers prefer text for customer service.
Image from Opposing Views.