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Dear Customer: Please don’t assume those text messages were an automated conversation

People today are in constant reach of their smart phones, so it only makes sense for businesses to use text messaging to quickly, easily, and conveniently communicate with customers. With open rates as high as 98%, it seems like a no-brainer for companies to implement mobile messaging into their communications tool kit. More and more companies are seeing the positive results of sending promotions, appointment reminders, surveys, loyalty communications, and more through mobile messaging communications.

Mobile Messaging Features

If an organization is just getting started with mobile messaging, determining which platform to use (as with any new technology selection) can be a bit overwhelming. When selecting and implementing a technology, it’s always crucial to evaluate your organization’s needs.  What are you trying to accomplish? Will this technology help you achieve your outcomes? What features are required? How will it get implemented? What will your budget allow? These are all questions that should be addressed when selecting any new technology provider; not just a mobile messaging provider.

Once use case needs are determined, evaluating platform features to meet those needs is a vital next step. Features such as reporting and analytics provide the ability to monitor and track mobile messaging campaign progress and make outcome-driven campaign decisions and adjustments. Robust automated conversation capabilities reduce the need for manpower so teams can focus on more important tasks, saving time and resources.

A Closer Look At Automation

Pre-programmed, two-way text messaging campaigns can be powerful when it comes to communicating with a large number of audience members, no matter your business vertical. With automation, messages can be conversational, well-planned, structured based on conversation data, timely, and personalized. However, certain types of messages are better sent from a live agent in real time.

When To Automate

Screenshot of mobile messaging conversation

An awkward text conversation between a customer and a pizza business

It’s safe to say that many subscribers assume texts they receive from businesses are automated, especially for certain types of texts. You would never expect a live person to login to a system, check upcoming appointments for the week and manually text reminders out to customers. The same goes for messages like order confirmations, automated order subscriptions, and promotional coupons. It is resource intensive and doesn’t make sense for a person to manually send out these types of messages one by one, so it’s not expected.

But what if a business just doesn’t have the technology to send automated messages? Well, things can get awkward.

Things got a little weird when a customer though he would have some fun in a text conversation with his favorite pizza joint, unaware that he was texting a real person. This could have all been avoided if Pizza Palace’s automated messaging system had been set up and working. We hope the worker on the other side of the conversation got a good laugh out of it and wasn’t traumatized from Dave’s weird sense of humor.

Other than pizza orders, there are many reasons to automate text conversations, but there are plenty of exceptions. A few of those include:

  1. Customer Service – Customers want real support agents at the other end of the conversation when they need help or have an issue. Support is an area where that real-life human touch goes a long way.
  2. One-to-One messages to individuals as part of a campaign – This could be used when you need to contact an individual subscriber when they are part of an automated conversation. For example, if you host a contest with automated messages, you might want to send a single, manual text to notify the winner and connect with them on how they can collect their prize.
  3. Order issues – If a restaurant patron places a mobile order and something happens such as running out of an ingredient, a one-on-text conversation connected to a real person would save time correcting the order while adding an element of customer service to make the patron happy.

It’s up to you to determine what types of text messages should be pre-programmed for your business, but it’s a good rule of thumb to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think about what situations would be better for them if a real person were on the other side of the conversation. And avoid those awkward encounters by saving time and resources with automating conversations that don’t need manual agent interaction.

 

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