Thanks to its reach, reliability, ease-of-use and flexibility, SMS is a vital tool for small and medium businesses and can, amongst other things, be used to enhance your day-to-day customer service.
For instance, Kenyan concierge service, Dash2do.com, offers its customers everything from quick errand running, shopping services and DIY jobs, to taxi services and security.
In the business of offering its customers convenience and proficiency, Dash2do.com needs to be super-efficient in everything it does.
Communicating by SMS
To get this right, it uses SMS as the main way it communicates with customers and its network of “dashers” – the people who actually carry out the various tasks its customers ask for. It uses SMS to do everything, including:
- Accepting bookings
- Confirming details and any last-minute changes
- Sending driver details and pickup times
- Allocating dashers to tasks
- Billing customers.
SMS keeps customers in the loop
Dash2do.com knows that it can reach almost everyone via an SMS, whatever cellphone they have, that people respond quickly to SMSs, and that with the increase in third party messaging apps, customers’ SMS inboxes are now increasingly free of social conversations, giving business-related SMS’s more prominence.
The benefits of this, including improved and immediate communications, is minimised customer complaints, fewer incoming queries from customers, and increased efficiency.
In the case where something takes longer than planned, or details change at the last moment, Dash2do.com can immediately inform its customers, accurately setting expectations, allowing customers to adjust their plans thereby reducing anxiety.
Automated SMS is the key
How does Dash2do.com do this? Clearly this system needs to be automated using an SMS service provider, rather than done manually.
Step 1: Choose an SMS service provider that gives you the capability to integrate your processes and services. It should be flexible enough to accommodate your business needs, and not force you to compromise your requirements to fit it. Your service provider should also be able to guide you on the best way to achieve your communications goals.
Step 2: Develop a communications flow connecting customers with ongoing process updates. This will differ from business to business, but try to identify the crucial junctures where your customers may need an update from you, or to interact with you. Get the balance right between just enough information to be useful, but not so much that your customers start ignoring your notifications.
Step 3: Integrate this into your mobile messaging provider’s infrastructure – you should have access to a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) from your service provider that your developers can use to do this.
Step 4: Integrate the automated mobile messaging flow with your back-end systems to make the tracking of bookings, orders, updates and so on easier. You can access a wealth of business intelligence this way and also track the effectiveness of your SMS communications and customer service.
Step 5: Via these back-end systems, also link the SMS communications service with other channels, such as call centres, to improve the efficiency of these as well.