Written words are never as personal as actually speaking to a customer, so you’ll want to take extra steps to make things as personal as possible if you mostly communicate to your clients through text. Simply referring to your clients by their real name isn’t enough, though it’s a start. Most people don’t like to receive messages that refer to them as nothing more than a valued customer. In many cases, this makes them feel like anything but!
Start off by looking at your email and SMS templates. Chances are that they look like the boilerplate documents that they are, so you’ll want to shore these up first.
Personalizing Each of Your Emails
The best solution would be to write every single email individually. Small business owners certainly can do this themselves if they don’t get too many inquiries, but the sheer number of requests can become unwieldy fairly quickly. While templates aren’t ideal, they’re better than leaving people unanswered. Somewhere around 55 percent of written customer requests on social media are never acknowledged at all. These customers would more than likely be happier with any response than nothing.
Consider investing in a set of professional email templates that can help your human support agents to write real messages around them. This can help to dramatically reduce the amount of time that they spend getting back to someone while still ensuring that they send something back to the consumer that’s personal. Ideally, each of these would be signed and dated to prove their authenticity.
Get a plug-in for whatever email application your service normally uses. Open-source signature add-ons are offered for tools like Thunderbird. Those in the Microsoft ecosystem might consider an Outlook signature creator. Even just writing a little message at the end of each email would be a big improvement.
Since so many businesses use text messages to reply to their clients, you’ll want to take a closer look at how your agents use these as well.
Improving Customer Service with SMS Technology
Texts are even less personal than emails, but they boast a 98 percent open rate so they’re a great way to reach people instantly. Customer service agents who use it should be even more certain that they’re able to address each consumer by name, since using a phone number can accidentally make an incoming text message look like spam. In a worst case scenario, a poorly worded message could cause a consumer to block you out of further communications.
Sending out texts to show progress toward a specific goal is a great way to stay in touch without looking like you’re spamming your truly valued customer. If they ordered something that takes a while to make, then you might send them an update each time you meet a particular milestone. This is how companies that sell glasses online are able to assure consumers that their order is on the way. You might want to consider sending out shipping updates this way as well.
Give consumers the option to text for every type of transaction if at all possible. While this might seem to fly in the face of the idea that you should make your organization as personable as possible, more than two-thirds of consumers would prefer to text than call or email. In fact, you’ll want to let your customers dictate the pace of all your business communications.
Putting Things into Your Clients’ Hands
Reach out to your own customers whenever possible and see what sorts of communications they’d like to receive. Try using an opt-in paradigm instead of sending things out cold to your consumers and asking if they’d like to unsubscribe from unsolicited messages. Sending out unnecessary messages that people never asked for is basically a way to suggest that your organization isn’t above pestering the very people it’s supposed to serve. People are more likely to read things that they actually signed up for, which makes this a more effective marketing practice anyway.
Take a few moments to review all of the automated messages you send out to those on your mailing or contacts list. While it can be difficult to personalize newsletters or SMS blasts, there’s a good possibility that you know enough about what people like to at least better gear your messages toward their particular interests. Most marketing automation software has at least some degree of support for this kind of thing. Naturally, you’ll want to also respect people’s privacy choices so if they want to completely opt out of any information collection you’ll need to follow through with that even if it gets in the way of your personalization plans.
As long as you’re sure to always focus on their needs before your own, your clientele will start to see this and associate your brand with the level of service they’re looking for.