By Amy Robinson, senior brand development manager at Esendex

Advancements in technology have drastically changed the way businesses communicate with their customers, and with more platforms available than ever before, firms are making the switch from sending physical mail, where only 2.5% receive replies, to methods like text messaging with 95% open rates.

As technology has improved so has customer expectations – they want fast responses to their enquiries and complaints – and this shift has also led to millions of businesses to invest in online portals, social media, SMS and live chat marketing, for example.

Here are a few simple ways a company can leverage technology to improve its customer service levels.

Enhance everyday communications with customers

Social media allows businesses to communicate their commitment to customers on a daily basis. Firms can connect with customers as they offer improvements to existing products and services, using this feedback to make real changes to their business. Social media can also act as a tool for businesses to understand the sentiment that their brand is developing, providing them with a channel for the manipulation of their communication to demonstrate to customers what their brand stands for.

Running marketing campaigns

When SMEs are planning to run a marketing campaign, they often automatically plan for email correspondence with their customers. In fact, 90% of emails are considered spam compared to only 1% of text messages, making SMS an appealing method to gain the attention of customers and allows them to further stand out from the crowd. Surveys and PDF documents can also be incorporated into text messages, which can help businesses to gather feedback on new products or promote limited-time offers.

Effectively handling customer complaints

Customers who have their complaint handled in less than 5 minutes will go on to continue purchasing from a business, demonstrating the crucial nature of dealing with customer complaints quickly. Using live chats or social media messaging is a highly effective manner to handle customer complaints since customers have the ability to send businesses a simple explanation with the details of their complaint. The business, in return, can sort through queries quickly and efficiently, organising automatic follow-ups to support these customers with their future queries.

Converting customers to make a transaction

Using Rich Communication Services (RCS), businesses have the ability to capitalise on their everyday communication with customers. RCS improves customer service by combining the rich, functional experiences of mobile apps with the engagement rates of SMS. Those working in retail for example, could use this communication protocol to send images of recommended products that customers can view, add to basket and purchase all within a text message – without the need to click through to a website or be sent off to a payment portal. This further enhances the customer journey and ensures a more streamline route to purchase.

Gather feedback to improve your services

Technology allows businesses to easily gather responses from their customers. The increased likelihood of replies which social media messaging, SMS and live chats provide, can aid firms who wish to gather responses to surveys, thus improving their customer’s experience. Customers can find postal and phone call surveys intrusive of their personal space whereas technology channels often fall outside of this remit. Online surveys facilitate agile business improvements which feed into improved customer communication and satisfaction, in a cost-effective and non-intrusive manner.

Track the results of your communication

Each message, letter or email sent to customers must hold value and be tracked through analytics. Modern-day communication allows firms to track their open rates, CTRs and replies to understand how their strategy is performing and how they can adapt their language and tone to best suit their customers’ needs.

With social media providing powerful communication methods for businesses and their customers, and SMS continuing to grow, the support technology can provide to customer communication is ever-expanding. By creating richer and more interactive conversations between brands and customers, firms can boost their chances of attaining their business goals.

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