Many companies try to enter the world of multi-channel by dabbling in SMS communication – usually for sending one-way customer notifications. However, without the right technology in place, they may be doing more harm than good. The reason for this is simple, and goes back to age-old rule of communication. If I choose to speak to you, I expect you to speak back. If I write you a letter, I expect the response in writing. If I receive an SMS… I expect to be able to converse with you over that channel.
In the past, we have been limited to the channels of voice (phone calls) or mail. Email and fax increased the channel choice and became popular alternatives, then the introduction of mobile telephones saw the birth of a new communication channel – SMS messages.
It has taken some time for SMS to become a method for businesses communication. Now that the benefits are starting to be realised and more customers expect it – SMS is being added to the communications arsenal of more and more businesses. However, it is still extremely rare to be given any option to reply, or engage in a conversation via SMS.
I am increasingly receiving SMS reminders of appointments or missed payments. Great! But I’m not able to respond – and that is frustrating. Imagine your dentist calling you to remind you of your appointment tomorrow and then hanging up without asking for confirmation, and without given any options to change the appointment if required. Not only is would that be considered as bad customer service, but could be seen as rude. So why do it with SMS?
There are many SMS solutions out there which allow replies to be received, so as a minimum I would expect to be able to reply with my confirmation or cancellation. Some solutions offer a much richer experience allowing me to have a conversation and change my appointment. But it’s still rare that either option is offered to customers.
This is one of the reasons why ipSCAPE developed Agile Messaging Service (AMS). AMS works in partnership with a contact centre, or a sales and marketing team, to automate parts of the customer conversation via SMS, email, web chat and voice, and can deliver the ability to have those conversations across this emerging new channel – SMS.