• Explore. Learn. Thrive. Fastlane Media Network

  • ecommerceFastlane
  • PODFastlane
  • SEOfastlane
  • AdvisorFastlane
  • LifeFastlane

Guide To Customer Service Messaging: SMS Tips + Templates

guide-to-customer-service-messaging:-sms-tips-+-templates

Text messaging as a customer service tactic is becoming more popular. Find out how to use it and get some helpful templates here.

Customer service messaging via SMS is a powerful way to elevate the customer experience and delight customers’ beyond their expectations. It’s one of many recent customer service trends that are shaking up how ecommerce and D2C businesses offer support.

What makes SMS customer service so special?

For customers, sending a text message to get support feels much more personal, casual, and convenient than other channels, like email or phone support.

SMS support is also much better for “on the go” communication, since most people always have their mobile phones and can usually reply quickly to texts.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how your business can start leveraging SMS support in your customer service strategy — if you’re not already. 

Let’s get started with why it’s important for businesses to offer SMS customer service.

{{lead-magnet-1}}

The importance of SMS text messaging for customer service

Customers love one-to-one messaging for customer service because it’s so quick and casual. When implemented well, conversational messaging allows customers to reach your CS team quickly, avoiding phone trees and queues and getting their answers faster.

Some examples of conversational messaging channels include:

  • SMS text messages
  • Live chat
  • Chatbots
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook Messenger

The advice and templates offered in this article apply across most messaging channels and apps, but we’re going to focus on SMS customer service, specifically.

SMS customer service is especially attractive to your customers because of the speed and convenience it empowers. They are getting the answers to their questions on a device they’re already checking 96 times per day.

Example of SMS in Gorgias helpdesk

Things to consider when providing SMS customer service

If you try to take your playbooks from other channels and apply it to customer service messaging, you’ll find that they don’t quite fit. Here are some things to keep in mind when your support agents are messaging customers.

Personalization is key

Personalization is important across all channels, because it matters to customers. A recent Salesforce report finds that 80% of customers consider customer experience to be just as important as a company’s products and services. Further, 68% of those surveyed expect personalization or customization in every interaction. SMS provides a more personalized feel, so lean into it as you’re training your customer service team.

Keep it short and sweet

Because SMS customer service takes place on a user’s phone, you need to keep responses short, yet friendly. The long, detailed macros and templates you might use for emails won’t work in SMS customer service messaging — depending on your platform and your customer’s phone, long messages might not arrive or might get broken into multiple text messages in a way that’s not user-friendly. 

Don’t keep them waiting

Speed is an important factor in all customer service interactions, but it’s critical when sending SMS text messages. Customers are used to a speedy response time over text in personal conversations, and they’ll expect it from your brand.

Fast reply to an SMS conversation

What to look for in SMS tools

SMS customer service is an avenue that customers are growing to expect. But managing yet another communication channel — much less one that demands real-time responses — takes careful planning.

Implementing a messaging strategy requires using tools built for that purpose. Some customer service messaging platforms offer SMS support natively, while others integrate a third-party SMS integration tool to add this functionality. 

As you consider the available options, make sure the one you choose offers the features you need. Some tools are full-fledged SMS marketing solutions. Others focus specifically on SMS as a support channel.

It’s easier for most businesses to use an all-in-one customer service platform like Gorgias to support an omnichannel approach. With this kind of helpdesk platform, SMS tickets can be handled in the same feed as your other tickets and benefit from the same workflows and automation.

Customer service helpdesk with SMS

Here are some other features your customer service tool needs to have to handle SMS ticket effectively:

  • Conversation history (for SMS and other text-based channels like Facebook Messenger or webchat) so your agents know what this client has asked about or needed support for in the past
  • Ability to create and customize macros as replies to SMS questions
  • Ability to send and receive images or videos (this is great if your support teams need to see the damaged item to issue a refund, for example)
  • Routing or triaging capabilities to make sure SMS conversations don’t get lost in a queue of tickets
  • Integration with other ecommerce tools so your agents have all the context they need to reply in a single space (e.g., surfacing Shopify customer data or CRM data during a support interaction)

Image with top Gorgias integrations

Is SMS customer service right for your business?

SMS customer service is the right choice for many businesses. But is it necessary (or even wise) in every business?

At Gorgias, we believe that any industry can find value in offering SMS support, though it’s true that certain industries get more bang for their buck in this space.

If you’re on the fence about offering SMS customer support, consider whether either of these points are relevant for your business:

Are millennials or Gen Z a big part of your target audience?

First, consider your primary audience. If millennials and Gen Z are a big part of it, SMS customer service deserves serious consideration.

These two generations grew up texting. It’s a very natural communication style for them, so they’ll feel right at home texting your brand. They’re also absolutely massive groups — combined, they make up a staggering 42.3% of the U.S. population.

If you’re targeting an older generation, texting may not feel as natural, and they have a higher tendency to prefer email.

Is your marketing team already sending SMS campaigns?

One of the biggest hurdles to implementing SMS support is getting the systems, hardware, and staff in place to respond to SMS requests at scale. If you’re already sending SMS campaigns, then you already have some of that infrastructure in place (since you need a way to respond to questions that come from these campaigns).

So if you’ve already made the investment in SMS for marketing purposes, then integrating SMS with your helpdesk and customer service team requires minimal additional investment.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put a phone number on your website for customers to start initiating texts with you, but you should have a way for replies to SMS campaigns to get assigned directly to an agent for fast response times.

Klaviyo Gorgias integration example

Are customers not sticking around to finish the conversation on other channels? 

One of the benefits of SMS is that it’s easy for your customers to continue talking even when on the go. If you notice that chat conversations go unfinished or email threads receive no reply from your customer, that could be a sign that your customers need a faster, more convenient channel to talk to your team. This is a perfect use case for SMS customer service messaging.

4 techniques to utilize SMS for customer service messaging

As you begin offering SMS messaging experiences as a part of your customer care portfolio, use these four leading techniques to maximize the effectiveness of your SMS-based workflows.

1) Use autoresponders to react to customer support tickets quickly

First, start every interaction with an autoresponder. This tactic lets your customer know that you received their request, and it gives your human agents a small buffer of time to finish up their current encounter before starting the new one.

You can use this tactic whether you’re incorporating chatbots for basic query automation, or using your customer service agents for all customer interactions.

2) Replace email and/or phone calls with SMS for matters with an easy solution

Emails are slow and clunky. They can get lost or delayed, or your customer may move on before you have a chance to get back with them. And phone calls can lead to customer frustrations, especially if your wait times are excessive.

For issues with easy solutions, there’s no reason for customers to engage with email or phone. Texts are far faster than either option and can provide simple, accurate information that leads to speedier solutions — and happier customers.

3) Conduct surveys using text messages to collect feedback from customers

Text messages are an effective method for collecting feedback from existing customers, too. Once customers opt in to SMS communication, you can use this point of contact to launch quick surveys that provide valuable feedback.

Response rate is always an issue with email surveys, so why not try to reach people in another way? Using a multichannel approach will increase your response pool and help you make more data-driven decisions with the results.

Note: In a customer service tool like Gorgias, you would use one of our integrations with Klaviyo or Attentive to send the survey to entire segmented lists of customers or prospects, all at once.

4) Select the most widely used messaging applications in your industry

SMS and other personalized one-to-one support channels can get a little complicated because not everyone wants to interact on the same messaging application. True SMS support goes out over cellular networks and lands in users’ actual text messages, the same way messages from their friends and family do.

But you may need to be ready to handle other support channels that use similar short, text-based communication. These include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and your website’s web chat. Depending on your industry, some of these tools may be more popular than others — or you may have other specialized messaging channels or messaging platforms that you need to support.

As a rule of thumb, you need to be where most of your customers are, which varies across businesses and industries. But to reach the desired level of customer engagement, most businesses need to be reachable via the major applications and support channels.

Types of customer service messaging

{{lead-magnet-2}}

SMS customer service templates for common response types

Ready to start implementing an SMS customer service strategy but not sure what to say? We get it: Staying concise yet friendly is tough, and so is conveying all the needed information in such a short space.

We’ve put together a collection of proven templates you can start using today. Adapt as many of these as you need to fit the contours of your business, and bring them into your customer service platform of choice. In Gorgias, you could auto-populate these responses through our Macros.

Ticket received template

Like we mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to set up an autoresponder. This tactic can buy your team time to finish up a previous interaction or send an email, yet it shows you’re on top of the interaction and will be back soon.

Here’s our template for a ticket received autoresponder:

Thanks for texting {Brand Name}. An agent is reviewing your question now. We’ll get back to you shortly 🙂

Introduction message template

The introduction message is the point where your autoresponder or chatbot passes off the reins to a human agent. It’s the first point of personalization, and you want to make a solid impression. Still, your agents don’t need to be typing these out every single time. Use a template like this one to break the ice (just with a little less repetitive stress injury):

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Thanks for messaging us. What can I help you with today?

Agent introduction template for SMS

Hours of operation template

There are two frequent scenarios where an hours of operations text makes sense. One is as an answer to a frequent query, when customers message you on social media or elsewhere just to ask when you’re open. In those cases, use this template:

Hello, {Customer First Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Best, {Your Name}

The other scenario is with an asynchronous autoresponder, when a customer reaches out via a messaging channel and there’s no one on the other end. If your helpdesk isn’t open 24 hours a day, use a template like this when the team isn’t live:

Hello, {Customer First Name}! Our live chat helpdesk is open {list hours}. You’ve reached us outside those hours. Leave a short message here and we’ll get back to you tomorrow.

Order status template 

This one’s pretty obvious: You want to let the customer know the status of an order, and there’s no reason to manually type a whole message to do it.

Use this template when a customer asks for their order status. You can create variations of this one for delays or other order status updates, and even customize it further to include tracking information.

Hey {Customer First Name}, great news: Your order has shipped! It will arrive on {delivery date}. Let me know if I can help you with anything else!

SMS template for order status requests

Payment reminder template

Customers with recurring subscriptions sometimes forget the frequency they sign up for or when their next payment will be. Use this template if customers frequently ask your brand when their next payment is:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your next payment of {amount} is coming up. Your card on file will be charged {due date}. Questions? Reply here or call {phone number}.

Pro tip: While there’s nothing inherently wrong with soliciting payment via SMS, many consumers will view this with suspicion. Text channels may not be the best avenue for inviting bill payments.

Deals or rewards template

If you’re trying to build brand loyalty or win back an upset customer, sometimes a simple discount code can go a long way. At the end of an SMS conversation, there may be times where you can surprise and delight customers by sending over an exclusive deal. Here’s a template (though you’ll certainly need to customize this one further to fit the details of your offer):

{Customer First Name}, thanks for being such a loyal customer. We’d like to give you {details of the offer}! Click to redeem: {short URL}

Refund issued template

Refunds happen, and they don’t always require a massively complicated interaction with your contact center. If you’re able to resolve a ticket and issue a refund with a simpler interaction, this template can finish the one-to-one portion of the encounter. Notice it specifies that the interaction will finish up in an asynchronous fashion (via email). It’s a great way to tie off the synchronous, real-time interaction and lead the customer right to the next step (check your email.) 

Here’s the template:

Hey {Customer First Name}! We’ve issued a refund for your last order. We’ll send all the details to your email, but feel free to let me know here if you need anything else.

SMS template for refund issued

Customer check-in template

The customer check-in is another asynchronous message that occurs outside of an active conversation. Perhaps the customer walked away from a previous encounter, or seems to be stuck on the customer journey based on other CRM data.

Whatever the reason, a gentle, well-timed message can sometimes get the customer back on track.

Here’s a model:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Just checking in to make sure everything is working well for you. If you have any issues with our {products/service} or need anything else, let me know!

Ecommerce SMS marketing tools to complement your customer experience

SMS marketing lets brands connect with consumers in a personalized and measurable way, just like with customer service. According to Attentive, average read rates of 97% within 15 minutes make SMS a prime channel for connecting with prospects and customers.

If you’re looking for the right SMS marketing tool to work in tandem with your new SMS customer service channel, consider these four leading tools. Each one integrates with Gorgias, along with most of the rest of your tech stack.

Each tool offers a slightly different feature set. Revisit the list of features we compiled earlier in this article to help determine which are the most important to you, then vet these four tools against your customized list.

  • Klaviyo, a Gorgias preferred partner, is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform that leans heavily on SMS communications. Automatically create tickets in Gorgias if customers reply to Klaviyo SMS messages, and send Gorgias events into Klaviyo to create targeted audience lists based on support experiences. 
  • Attentive, also a Gorgias preferred partner, sends automatic text messages to your subscribers at each step of the customer lifecycle. It collects real-time behavioral data on customers as well, and the Gorgias integration allows you to see that customer data within the Gorgias sidebar. If a customer replies to an Attentive SMS, it’ll automatically create a ticket in Gorgias for agents to reply to. 
  • Postscript is an SMS messaging tool that drives revenue growth and improves the customer experience over SMS. If a customer replies to a Postscript SMS, it’ll automatically create a ticket in Gorgias for agents to reply to.
  • SMSBump is a D2C focused SMS customer journey automation tool by Yotpo that boasts powerful results: 45% conversion rate and 25x ROI for D2C brands. By connecting SMSBump with Gorgias, tickets will automatically be created if customers reply to SMSBump campaigns. 

And if you’re worried about bothering your audience with texts, a mix of segmentation with SMS marketing templates can ensure you’re hitting the right people with the right offers — and never too often. 

Here are some of our favorite SMS marketing templates.

Templates for SMS marketing and relevant integrations 

Though a customer service platform can handle the above templates, you’ll likely want to expand even further through additional integrations with the platform. If you take that approach, here are some opportunities that open up:

Discount template

If you’re running a sale or trying to drive traffic to your site, a great way to do so is by texting a discount code to customers on your SMS list. Because their phone is probably close by, it’s great way to promote your sale and make sure it gets noticed. Here’s a template you can use (but remember to update with your own promotion!): 

Flash sale, this weekend only! Up to 40% off, including our latest collection. Shop now: {insert URL} 

Discount template for SMS

Appointment reminder template

Medical offices and other organizations that schedule appointments or meetings can bolster attendance and reduce no-shows by providing yet another reminder — one that reaches patients and customers directly via phone.

If your SMS system supports it, you can invite an auto-reply to confirm or cancel an appointment, too. Use this template:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your appointment is scheduled for tomorrow at {appointment time}. See you then! Reply Y to confirm, N to cancel.

Order confirmation template

Order confirmation messages simply confirm that your business has received and is processing a customer order. These don’t typically take place during an active one-to-one customer service interaction. Instead, they’re sent automatically and asynchronously, whenever the order confirms.

Still, you can set them up as personalized messages and enable replying so that, if something happens to be wrong, the customer knows how to reach out.

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your order #{order number} has been received, and we’re working on it now! We’ll message you again when it ships. Questions? Reply here.

Order confirmation template for SMS

Pickup notification template

If you’re in an industry that offers pickup services (whether curbside pickup, custom goods like eyeglasses, or anything else), a text message is a great way to let someone know their order is ready for pickup. SMS reaches customers when they’re on the go in a way that email frequently doesn’t.

Here’s an example:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your recent order #{order number} is now available for pickup at {location}. Stop by to grab it anytime today before {closing time}!

Survey or poll template

This message asks your customers to respond to a survey or poll. It’s a data-gathering tool that can pull in responses from people who ignore your emails or the messages at the bottom of store receipts. Try a script like this:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. We value your opinion as a customer and we’d love specific feedback on {topic}. Here’s a 5-minute survey: {short URL}

Membership renewals template

Membership renewals, like payments, ought to be set up as automatic occurrences. Still, it’s helpful to remind a customer that a charge will hit their bank account soon — you don’t want to track down non-payments, and you don’t want angry customers who weren’t prepared for a bill.

Here’s an example:

Hi, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your annual membership renewal is coming up on {date}. Your card on file will be charged on that day.

Membership renewal template for SMS

Message your customers in real time with Gorgias

Customer service messaging across a wide range of message-based platforms can be a powerful addition to your customer service channels. Of these, the SMS channel is one of the most powerful options for businesses that want to reach customers directly where they are.

The scripts and tools provided in this guide should put you well on your way toward a successful SMS support rollout. But make sure that at the core of your customer service operation, you have a platform robust enough to handle everything you need to do — and whatever functionality you might add in the future.

Gorgias is the customer support and helpdesk platform built for ecommerce businesses like yours. Our live chat tools and 150+ integrations equip you to reach your customers — whenever and however you choose.

See how Gorgias supercharges customer support and helpdesk via SMS.

Special thanks to our friends at Gorgias for their insights on this topic.
Prev
What Is EDM Marketing?
what-is-edm-marketing?

What Is EDM Marketing?

Next
How To Write A Product Roadmap That Works
how-to-write-a-product-roadmap-that-works

How To Write A Product Roadmap That Works

You May Also Like
Share to...