Don't overlook the SMS in conversational commerce

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SMS messaging, or texting, is still king. Loved by millions, the original easy-to-use mobile message technology was extremely succesful before the proliferation of messaging apps today. But SMS never really went away – it has actually recently seen a tremendous increase in its use globally.

A lot of it has to with conversational commerce. In contrast to the popular messaging apps platforms, people use SMS as a more serious channel. As there is less informal clutter, SMS retains its power in delivering messages that users read and react to.

For businesses, this is a great opportunity. In conversational commerce the SMS can be used in myriad ways. Here's the top three opportunities of what SMS can do for your conversational business:

 

1) Easy authenticating

SMS can be used as a great simple way to authenticate users in pretty much any system. Based on the phone number it is very both for the user – everybody remembers their own number without much hassle.

It is also very reliable for the technical side of things, with very high rate of success and practically no chance of getting misidentified or mixed up into another account. Also, as personal phone numbers really don't change that often, the contact and identification information depreciates much, much slower than email, for example.

SMS authentication can serve as a gateway to more complicated service or self-service portals, smoothing out the service flow.

2) Fast small interactions

We all are familiar with simple little SMS interactions, such as one-message confirmations or NPS measuring follow-up texts. Don't let the simplicity fool you though, as these rather small steps can actually combine into sophisticated discussion trees.

For example, for a client of ours we have set up a SMS feedback system that measures the Net Promoter Score very soon after they have picked up something from a service point. If there seems to be some kind of issues with customer service, the system then automatically escalates bad feedback into a specialized customer service agent who can react immediately to get back to the customer to offer discounts, find out what went wrong etc..

3) Analytics & business intelligence

This third point is pretty much the sum of the first two. With easy authentication and identification, and fast customer interactions you can really build an advanced analytics and business intelligence set up with smart use of SMS.

To continue the example, the client of ours also maps the real-time Net Promoter Score in all its locations, giving the managers valuable, up-to-date insight on where and how their customer experience is actually delivering and helping to identify bottlenecks quickly. 

To sum it up, don't forget the humble SMS when building your service. For a simple tool, the SMS holds a lot of power to really boost your customer experience.

July 24, 2017