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Email & SMS: Reaching
the customer inbox

By Dan Vanrenen | March 2021

Speaking to customers where they want to be spoken to is half the battle of customer service.

Customers the world over have their own individual preferences when it comes to interacting with companies. For many, these preferences lie in messages being delivered directly and conveniently to their SMS and email inboxes.

Albeit traditional channels that are less hyped than newer solutions, SMS and email both remain incredibly powerful tools that businesses can use to communicate with their customers.

Globally there are 4.78 billion mobile phone owners and 3.8 billion email users. In other words, more than half of the global population use these channels to communicate.

Indeed, it outlines the opportunity for businesses – that email and SMS can be used to reach streams of people. These channels, therefore, should be central to any customer care strategy.

Email customer service

Let’s first consider customer service via email.

For many, email is the primary method of interacting with companies. 54% of customers used email for customer service in 2019, and consumers want to communicate with companies via email (62%) more than any other channel.

The volumes are immense. It is predicted that, by 2022, 347.3 billion emails will be sent every day, with around 80% of businesses depending on them for both customer acquisition and retention.

These estimates have only been accelerated by the pandemic.

During a period in which many companies were unable to provide a safe call centre facility, demands on email customer service became immense, the rapid scale-up and subsequent delay in response times becoming both a frustration and a hinderance to customers.

Considering that securing a new customer costs anywhere between five and 25 times more than retaining an existing one, it is crucial to get your email strategy right.

Here are some of the key tips shared in our white paper, Adopting omnichannel customer service: The technologies and people
you need,
for delivering effective email customer care:

 

Do respond in a timely manner. The less urgent expectations surrounding email compared to other channels such as live chat can make them easy to neglect, but those emailing your business still expect a prompt response.
Do focus on answering concerns. Despite being less personal than a phone call, customers still want to feel that they’re being listened to. Taking the time to understand their problems will ensure you are providing relevant solutions.
Do use appropriate language. From subject lines to signatures, ensure the language you are using is clear and concise. Include your brand name, product name and service enquiry, and ensure it is easily searchable so that the customer can find it later should they need to.
Do dedicate appropriate resources. Owing to the popularity of email, businesses can quickly  become  inundated with  concerns,  questions  and  complaints.  Managing this flow and avoiding backlogged inboxes is critically important.

Here are some of the key tips shared in our white paper, Adopting omnichannel customer service: The technologies and people you need, for delivering effective email customer care:

 

Do respond in a timely manner. The less urgent expectations surrounding email compared to other channels such as live chat can make them easy to neglect, but those emailing your business still expect a prompt response.
Do focus on answering concerns. Despite being less personal than a phone call, customers still want to feel that they’re being listened to. Taking the time to understand their problems will ensure you are providing relevant solutions.
Do use appropriate language. From subject lines to signatures, ensure the language you are using is clear and concise. Include  your  brand name, product name  and  service  enquiry, and  ensure  it  is  easily  searchable so that the customer can find it later should they need to.
Do dedicate appropriate resources. Owing to the popularity of email, businesses can quickly  become  inundated with  concerns,  questions  and  complaints.  Managing this flow and avoiding backlogged inboxes is critically important.

SMS customer service

Like email, WhatsApp and SMS are convenient for the customer.

The former is a platform used by two billion people around the world, facilitating the transfer of 65 billion messages every day. The latter meanwhile boasts similarly promising numbers:

• 78% of consumers say SMS messaging is the fastest way to reach them.
• 90% of SMS messages are opened within three minutes.
• Text messages are opened 98% of the time


Mobile text messaging is a fantastic way of ensuring you are heard by your customers. Here are some of the other benefits of incorporating it into a customer service strategy:

• Cost efficiency. A report from Oracle  reveals customer service calls cost roughly $16.Text threads, on the other hand, cost between $1 and $5 per interaction.  
• Marketing opportunities. The high open rates of text messages make this the perfect way in which to reach out with offers, products and other promotions.
Reminders. Send customers friendly, timely prompts about appointments and bookings. Compared to disruptive phone calls or sending emails to busy inboxes, a simple text can be much more convenient.

Indeed, both email and SMS are critical components to any helpful, honest, comprehensive omnichannel customer service strategy.

Latest Ebook

Adopting omnichannel customer service: The technologies and
people you need

In this e-book, we cover basic to advanced topics about
how to create a best of breed customer satisfaction
team, as well as how to evaluate opportunities within
your organization for ongoing optimization.

This e-book is essential for anyone involved in an
organization’s customer engagement team or
Center of Excellence setup.

Latest Ebook

How to create a best of breed
Customer Satisfaction

In this e-book, we cover basic to advanced topics about how to create a best of breed customer satisfaction team, as well as how to evaluate opportunities within your organization for ongoing optimization.

This e-book is essential for anyone involved in an organization’s customer engagement team or Center of Excellence setup.

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