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How to communicate faster with customers (without losing your mind)

Ah, instant gratification!

If you’re a customer, it’s wonderful. Same-day shipments, plug-and-play electronics, one-click purchasing: Everything you want seems to be right at your fingertips. No wonder customers get so impatient if they think you’re wasting their time.

But as the business providing the service, it’s a more complicated equation.

When customers reach out with questions or because they have a concern, your day-to-day responsibilities mean you don’t always respond as fast as you should. Plus, there are so many communication channels you’re trying to keep track of. How can you keep up with them all?

There’s a big opportunity here … if only you can grab hold of it. Let’s take a closer look at how — and why — quick communication can work for your business.

Responsive customer service really is that important

Interrupting your day to respond to a customer can sometimes feel like an unwelcome distraction in the face of so many competing priorities. Under these circumstances, it might be tempting to make your customer wait until you’ve got more time to reply.

While that’s understandable, it’s not a good strategy.

Our consumer research revealed that 32% of your customers expect an immediate response when they contact your business. When that’s the expectation of nearly a third of your customer base, can you really afford to ignore them?

If this has got you feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place, at least know you’re not alone. Many companies struggle to respond to their customers. The problem is so bad, in fact, that a survey conducted by SuperOffice revealed that 62% of companies simply don’t respond to customer emails. Those that do answer take an average of twelve hours before they reply.

Better late than never? Perhaps. But there are two key lessons to take away from this data. The first is that email, while fantastic for many purposes, struggles when it comes to providing prompt communication.

As for the second, well … let’s just say there’s a big opportunity here for your business.

Differentiating your business with quick responses to customers

As we’ve learned, consumers place a high value on fast communications, but struggle to find businesses that can actually deliver.

Here’s another datapoint to consider: When PwC asked consumers how businesses could earn their trust, the top answers included “quick response and resolution to customer concerns” and “responds to feedback and provides a reliable experience. Our own research revealed that 82% of consumers feel more confident about a brand when they can message the business.

In other words, the way you respond to your customers plays a critical role in how you build trust. This process of relationship building through responsive communication is critical to how you stand out in the marketplace.

In other words

the way you respond to your customers plays a critical role in how you build trust. This process of relationship building through responsive communication is critical to how you stand out in the marketplace.

The problem is, it’s not that you don’t want to communicate, right?

It’s a question of time and resources—you can’t create more hours in the day. So how do you improve your response time without burning yourself or your team out in the process?

SMS is your secret weapon for fast, efficient customer communications

To get the conversation going quickly, people need to see your message right away.

And when we asked consumers which channel best gets their attention, 50% chose SMS, while only 36% chose email. SMS also won out when we asked consumers how they preferred to hear from businesses.

This is all great news for your business. Why? Because SMS lets you provide that quick, customer-delighting responsiveness, without having to clone yourself (or hire extra people).

Here’s how it works:

  • Where email threads can take days of back and forth to resolve, SMS is uniquely suited for quick, clear questions and answers. As a channel, SMS allows you to spend less time on messaging customers while providing them much faster service.
  • Consumers are faster on SMS, too. Our research found that nearly 80% of consumers reply to an SMS within ten minutes. If you need more information to resolve a customer issue, you’ll get it faster through SMS.
  • Functionality like automation can help you do even more. Integrating SMS into your customer relationship management tech stack can make it easy for you to schedule and automate texts as part of your sales and marketing workflows. It also enables you to keep track of all your customer conversations in one place.

As a channel, SMS gives you a uniquely direct line to your customers, whether they’re at home, at work, or out running errands. It’s personal, efficient, and effective, but most of all it’s what your customers want.
So, why not give it to them? As a tool, SMS helps you live up to customer expectations without overwhelming your team. In an age of instant gratification, where response times can serve as a key differentiator for your business, SMS offers a powerful way for you and your customers to quickly connect.

Discover how conversational messaging helps you connect with your customers.