I’ve worked with businesses who know that, done well, customer communication over different channels not only deepens and enriches the experience but can also be more cost effective than maintaining relationships over the traditional channels. It certainly costs less to send an SMS than it does to make a phone call.
However, the cost of NOT doing well at multi-channel communication needs to be considered. Take this SMS that I received the day before I was due to check into an interstate hotel:
Could you please inform us of your estimated time of arrival at [HOTEL NAME]*
**DO NOT REPLY**
So what’s wrong with this picture?
I assume that they felt that getting this information was important enough that they needed to send the text (not email, which has a lower and slower response rate) – yet, by not providing me any clues on how to get in contact with them, they not only delayed my response, but also made me a bit tetchy.
Not a great way to start a relationship
I would have preferred a quick phone call. It would have been much more convenient to me and could have been made while the receptionist was not busy – rather than when she had a group of people checking out, as was happening when I (eventually) called.
So – lessons to learn?
*I’ve removed the name of the hotel because – after this bad start, my stay was actually quite pleasant.