8 Great Questions Answered on Providing Text Message Customer Service


The following is a guest blog written by Lauren Kindzierski, VP of Solutions & Capabilities | Global Growth Strategy & Marketing Team, at Hinduja Global Solutions. Learn more about HGS by visiting their website.

Your customers are texting. Do you know how many are already texting to your company toll free line? At our March 23 webinar, How to Launch Text Message Customer Service, we provided some key insights into how to provide this customer service channel to meet, and exceed, the raised bar on today’s CX expectations.

For our poll regarding “What is the status of your brand launching text as a customer service channel,” we noted that 64% are thinking about launching text as a service channel.

The second poll, “How are you currently using text for your customer service?” revealed that 79% of respondents are considering options. A total of 15% of attendees are using one-way notification and alerts, while 3% are using two-way text to interact with customers and resolve issues, and 3% are using both.

According to our webinar attendees, a good sampling of companies across verticals, today’s businesses are increasingly turning to text as a channel to reduce customer effort and meet the demand for optimized CX. Here are some of the questions brand leaders from across North America had regarding launching a text solution:

Q1: What should the average response time for text be?

A: When a customer is texting a business, they are definitely going to want a response within seconds, if not faster. When texting friends and family, the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds. Therefore 90 seconds is a really good starting point, because that’s what consumers have come to expect.

Q2: If a customer is in the CRM and is marked as “opted-out,” can a rep still text the customer? Is there anything that stops the rep from texting an opted-out customer?

A: In our system, if a customer has opted-out, the rep cannot text the customer. The customer would have to re opt-in through the legal disclosure process.

Q3: How do you recommend hours of service if customer care is generally offered Monday through Thursday 8 to 8, for example? What happens during off hours?

A: We have the ability to set after hours automated responses. For example, with one of our clients, if someone texts outside of regular business hours, they receive a response that says, “Thank you for contacting brand XYZ. Our business hours are x to x. We will get back to you first thing in the morning. In the meantime, please visit our self-help portal page or Frequently Asked Questions here.” You can then provide a link to the website.

Q4: How many texts can one CSR handle simultaneously?

A: Text is very similar to the chat channel. Typically, two to three texts is average, especially if it’s a new channel and a new agent learning things. As time passes, agents become more efficient. It’s important to recruit agents who are good multi-taskers and are text savvy. This is a good rule of thumb. And when beginning a pilot, take your existing call center volume and anticipate 20% of that being converted to text. The 20% rule is a good industry best practice. This will help you gauge how many people you need for the pilot, and with 20% it would be two to three conversations by concurrency.

Q5: If 20% of contacts are received via text, is that percentage a replacement for other contact channels or is it incremental volume?

A: Typically, 10% is a replacement for calling the 1-800 number and pivoting from IVR into text, while the other 10% is incremental.

Q6: You mentioned a 77% response rate with post transaction surveys. Did the scores increase or decrease based upon additional surveys being returned versus the traditional email replies with a 9% response rate?

A: Usually, you find a positive response rate with text surveys. With text, because everybody does it on a daily basis, and you have told customers that it’s only going to be two questions, they are more willing to respond. You will find that text surveys are more positive and have a higher response rate.

Q7: Does the affirmative consent requirement responding “Yes” lead to any attrition among text users?

A: You might get a couple of instances of attrition, but it’s typically not a problem.

Q8: What are standard response rates after hours, nights, and weekends? Do they vary?

A: If your contact center is open Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, it means that when agents come in on Monday morning, they may have to tackle a few that have come in over the weekend. This may be more volume than they can get to. Therefore, you might want to consider staffing heavier on Mondays, if you have those business hours in place.

If you have further questions about text message customer service and to hear more about this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Austin, September 18th-20th, 2016.