How to Use SMS Text Messages For Fantastic Service Industry Customer Support
Because every business is formed by individuals and designed to provide specific services to a targeted audience, each company chooses their own suite of communication styles, software, and tools. Some businesses are satisfied with just phone or email while others spread so social media in order to build an online following. These methods may work well for other businesses but in the service industry, you need to be able to contact your customers incredibly quickly just in case something comes up on a job or right beforehand. After all, more often than not you are working in someone’s homemaking decisions that will affect their quality of life and having the customer ‘in the loop’ is vital to providing excellent service.
While calling on the phone is the traditional method of contact, the best way to make sure your messages are seen almost instantly by a customer and responded to with equal promptness is with text messages through an SMS feature in your business software suite. Of all business texts, sent 98% are opened by customers, and 95% are read within three minutes of being sent. Whether you’re sending a helpful reminder or asking an important procedural question, your clients are much more likely to respond to a buzz on their phone than even a phone call, which requires them to not be in a meeting, driving, or in a quiet area to be able to answer. This means that text messages allow you to provide superb, responsive, and immediate customer service with a simple and popular tool. The only remaining question is how you will use text messages to improve the quality of your customer service.
1) Appointment Reminders
“Good Morning, Ms. Smith. Super Plumbers will be arriving at your house at 1pm today”
By far the most common and universally helpful form of business-sent text message is the appointment reminder. If a customer has scheduled a work order with you, especially if they need to be present for the service, a friendly text an hour and then half an hour before the scheduled service will drastically reduce the number of times you arrive but your customer has completely forgotten. With an hour warning, this gives forgetful customers plenty of time to wrap up their other activities and prepare for the service or let you know they can’t make before you head out to their location.
2) Appointment Scheduling
“Hey, can I get a full cleaning this afternoon at 3? Clients just scheduled a viewing at 5. Thanks.”
Of course, if your customers can text you back (and know it), you open up a whole new door to quick-response customer service by allowing them to reach out to you rather than simply responding to your messages. Especially if you have a regular customer who schedules with you once a month or more, texting allows them to request their next service even if they can’t make a phone call or get to their desk to write an email. It might even result in an uptick in business as it becomes easier to schedule appointments.
3) Schedule Changes
“Hi Mr. Munroe. The truck is stuck in traffic so we’ll be about 30 minutes late. Sorry for the inconvenience”
Timing a home service is not always as simple as it should be. Between traffic and the random circumstances of modern life, there will be times when either you or your clients will need to reschedule. When your work orders get too backed up, the truck breaks down, your best technician calls in sick, or some other unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstance, you need to let your customers know right away that plans have changed. A text ensures that they get the message and you don’t get an angry “where the F are you???” messages. Likewise, texting allows customers experiencing personal emergencies and unforeseen setbacks to let you know that they won’t be available even if they can’t make a call or send an email.
4) Progress Updates
“Basement pipes are almost done, putting in the insulation tubes now.” [Picture]
If you are working on a long project that doesn’t require customer supervision, one of the best ways to provide continual customer service is to send progress updates. Every day or every few hours, depending on the project, your crew can snap a picture and send a small helpful report on successful progress, keeping your customer in the loop and engaged in the work you’re doing for them. This also gives them the chance to give positive or corrective feedback based on what you share.
5) Quick Consultations
“Hi, Awesome Electric… Is this light fixture a safety hazard or just a bad idea?” [Picture]
A picture is worth a thousand words, and so is the ability to check on something before it becomes a disaster. Many service businesses offer maintenance and repair, and everyone would rather get maintenance than have to repair a broken appliance, fixture, or structure. If a client is uncertain about the seriousness of their issue, the ability to get a quick consultation is invaluable and may result in an immediately scheduled work order. Likewise, if you’re working on a client’s property and something comes up, text messaging allows you to consult with them and get answers quickly so the work can be completed without delays.
5) Logistical Questions
“The GPS says we’re at the correct address, but we don’t see your house number. Is it around the back?”
Sometimes scheduling, preparing for, and arriving for a work order can require a surprising amount of coordination and logistics. If the client has a complicated problem, their payment method poses an issue, or their home is particularly difficult to locate, you may want to shoot them a quick text message in order to prevent delays and any further confusion. This ensures that no matter what the customer is up to, they will have the opportunity to help you find them, complete payment, or resolve some other logistical conundrum so work can proceed as planned.
6) Arrival Confirmation
“Hi, Mrs. Hendricks. This is Pest Pogrom at the front door. Do you need us to meet you in the back yard?”
Every now and then, a customer is supposed to meet you on location but is nowhere to be seen and don’t answer the door. In the case of an emergency pest control call, they might even be hiding somewhere on the property, trying to keep away from the exact problem you’re here to rescue them from. While you might know that they called you about a snake in the backyard or roaches in the garage, always text first to ask if you need to go meet them or wait at the front door.
“Hello Mr. Putts. Thank you for scheduling service with HVAC Heroes earlier today. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know. We look forward to working with you again in the future.”
The follow-up is an incredibly important aspect of any customer service technique. By sending a simple, friendly message to customers after service is complete, you let them know that their opinion of your work matters and you’d like to maintain a customer-company relationship even though the latest work order is done. This is also your opportunity to collect feedback, encourage positive reviews, secure repeat business, and remind customers that regular maintenance is a good idea.
If your service business is still working on the old phone and email system, it’s more than time to upgrade to something that offers you comprehensive two-way text messaging. From scheduling to logistics to followups, texts provide more convenient communication, faster responses, and a higher chance of reaching your customers when it’s really important. For more information on business customer support and SMS text messaging for the services industry, contact us today!