How Texting Can Improve Customer Service

Being a school, you don’t often think about parents as “customers,” but they really are. They are the ones that allow us to do what we do. By always keeping that in our mind, schools should always be looking for additional ways to allow families to communicate with them.

Over the past decade, texting has become the dominant communication platform for a lot of people. 79% of 18-44 year olds keep their phones with them 22 hours per day. In fact, a lot good percentage of text messages are read within three minutes.  

By allowing parents to have another way to let us know of changes to their schedule or ask questions, we are making ourselves even more customer friendly. But schools aren’t the only place where text-based customer service makes sense. There are tons of reasons to do try this approach, and and they all come back to offering easy ways for your customers to interact with your business.

By giving parents another way to contact the school, we are making ourselves even more customer friendly. But schools aren’t the only place where text-based customer service makes sense. There are tons of reasons to do try this approach, and and they all come back to offering easy ways for your customers to interact with your business.

Why would schools want to use this?

  • Car line pickup changes
  • Reason for child being absent
  • School event question
Why would a coffee shop want to use this?
  • Drink re-orders
  • Notify if the bathroom is dirty
  • Question about the specials for the day
Why would a doctor’s office want to use this?
  • Allow patients to cancel appointments (instead of just missing)
  • Rescheduling missed/cancelled appointments
  • Easy patient follow up after an appointment
Why would a hotel want to use this?
  • Room service orders
  • Maintenace requests
  • Questions for the front desk
The great thing about technology in 2015 is that deploying a service like this is incredibly easy thanks to cloud technology. There isn’t a complex server to install. It’s as simple as selecting a vendor and signing up.

Text Request is an option that my school is using. You can have multiple users and multiple numbers. If a message comes into one user, it can easily by sent to another user as well. Users can mark messages as “resolved” so others know that it’s already been handled. There is also a Text Request iPhone app if you want to manage your texts on the go. Pricing starts at $25 per month for 400 texts. If you go over, it’s just $.06 per text.

Another option is SendHub. It starts at $64.99 per month for 10,000 messages. Like Text Request, it’s also completely web based, so it’s something you could deploy today. It also offers MMS support, so customers could report spills in a retail story or a messy bathroom.

One other option I found is eVoice. It starts at $12.99 per month for its calling plan (which includes SMS built in). Like Text Request, it also includes mobile apps for keeping up with customers on the go. One neat feature of eVoice is that it’s a complete calling solution, so it can handle voicemails, faxes, and SMS messages.

As technology evolves, it’s an opportunity to offer new ways to connect and offer great service to your customers. Regardless of whether you are a school, hotel, or coffee shop, allowing customers a way to reach you in an extremely fast and efficient way will improve customer service. It’ll likely cut down on time-consuming phone calls as well.

Bradley Chambers has been the Director of Information Technology at Brainerd Baptist School since 2009. At BBS, he manages a network of Apple and Chrome OS devices. He also writes at Tools & Toys. The Sweet Setup, and 9to5Mac.

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