Guest Post BY Marciela Ross

The retail world is changing fast. The use of technology has cleared a path for a new type of retailer and a new type of consumer. Digital-first customers are the new norm and they demand convenience and personalization from brands that fit into their mobile lifestyle. These customers are not just mobile-phone-wielding-millennials, but exist across all demographics and include every generation, gender, and background. The use of text messaging via SMS/text messaging , Facebook Messenger, and web chat are how all consumers want to engage with you – and anyone else for that matter.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Research shows that 69% of consumers expect to see all companies offer text messaging as a customer service channel.[/tweet_box]

This stat tells us that messaging is transforming the way customers want to interact with online retailers and customer. Here are 7 more ways messaging is transforming customer service for online retailers.

1. Be where your customers are

The most popular reason companies want to offer messaging is to be sure they are where their customers are. They want to be available any way consumers want to reach them. Nearly everyone has and uses a mobile device. They communicate with family and friends on that device and they expect to engage with companies the same way.

2. Let your customers drive the interaction pace

To ask customers to take a break in their busy day to call customer service or craft a detailed email for assistance is an added burden in already busy lives. With messaging, consumers can reach out whenever is convenient for them and go about their day, text messaging a company as they are available.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Today’s customers expect to get help without having to dedicate time to a phone call or email or having to be tethered to their laptop for a chat conversation.[/tweet_box]

3. Present customers with help – at their fingertips

Consumers can easily get assistance from wherever are. Mobile devices are in the hands of nearly every customer, and the prevalence and ease of text messaging allows consumers to engage with a brand for pre-sales questions or post-sales support at the touch of a button.

4. A picture is worth 1000 words

Sometimes, consumers need to show, not tell, customer service what they see or are experiencing. Customers already know how to take pictures, videos, and attach documents to messages on their phone. Text messaging makes it easy to perform those tasks and easily transmit them to an agent to bring more context into the conversation – often making it even faster to resolve inquiries.

5. Reduce wait and resolution times

A surge in traffic or successful promotion can cause inbound phone calls to spike, forcing hold times, and consumers hate to wait. Adding text messaging as a choice in the phone system, or IVR, allows those customers the option to engage via text message instead. Consumers get off the phone and are still able to connect with a company while getting on with their day.

6. Save money by shifting phone calls to messaging

Inbound phone inquiries for topics like order status, delivery tracking, or password resets can be handled more effectively and at a much lower cost with text messaging. These simple questions don’t require a more expensive phone agent for resolution. Instead, agents managing the messaging channel can handle multiple text conversations at one time, while still helping customers quickly get the information they need.

7. Increase customer satisfaction scores

Consumers who use messaging for customer service are in control of the conversation. They are able to get help on their terms and usually with less wait. As a result, consumers using text messaging to engage with companies report significantly higher customer satisfaction ratings than any other channel.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]Customers perceive companies that use text in a favorable light. Research shows that the ability to text message a company causes consumers to select one product over another improves their brand perceptions, and increases their willingness to pay more.[/tweet_box]

Customer satisfaction scores are typically higher on the messaging channel than email and voice giving them more reason to come back as a happy customer.

Ensure your customers can find you where and when they need you, and drive repeat business based on the great experience text messaging offers. Now is the time to take action and implement messaging before this transformation becomes so ingrained as the new norm that your business has to play catch up.

Marciela Ross is Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Quiq . Quiq helps companies connect with their customers via SMS, FB Messenger, Web Chat, Kik and In-App messaging.