16 Mar Why Customers Prefer Text Messages to Phone Calls
Customer service has come a long way in the last few years. Only a couple of decades ago, if you needed help with a product or service, your only options were calling the company or sending a letter – or perhaps physically traveling to a local office. Today, there are more options than ever before, but one stands out more than any other – SMS and MMS text messages.
How Popular is Text Messaging?
You probably send a handful of text messages every day, whether through the iMessage feature on your iPhone, your device’s built-in messaging application, or even a service like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. According to Pew Research, 97% of smartphone users regularly used text messaging in 2015, making it the most prevalent basic feature or app still today.
Why Would Customers Rather Text than Talk?
Smartphone users across the country make and receive five times fewer calls than they send and receive text messages, and statistically speaking, 30% of smartphone users would completely give up their ability to make and receive calls in favor of text messaging. The reasons for this are many, but some of the most prevalent include:
- No unexpected imposition. When the phone rings, consumers feel compelled to pick it up, answer, and have a conversation right then. When the text message notification dings, these same consumers don’t feel the same need to answer immediately, and because consumers prefer to do things on their own time, they view text messages as more convenient.
- The quickest option. If a customer wants to know whether their order has shipped, and they can choose between calling and texting, texting is generally the fastest solution. They simply ask the question and then move on; they can read the response later. With a phone call, the consumer must carry out the entire process all at once, which takes longer.
- Impersonal nature. Text messages are viewed as more impersonal in nature than telephone calls. In fact, many people believe it is proper etiquette to text someone and ask for permission to call before calling them. A text message is a quick interchange that requires very little in the way of small talk or pleasantries.
- A written recording. Finally, many customers prefer text messages because they serve as a written reminder of the information they exchanged, which can come in handy later – especially for getting a tracking number, checking a balance, or making a payment arrangement, for example.
What Do Consumers Want in a Customer Service Experience?
Though every consumer has his or her own preferences on the best way to contact your business for help, there’s one fact that stands out time and again: your customers want options. The more options you give your customers to contact you for help, the happier they will be. A few years ago, one of the world’s leading credit card issuers, American Express, conducted a survey to find out what kinds of contact options consumers preferred. More than 60% of the respondents said they preferred a digital tool such as online messaging over telephone calls, emails, and in-person visits for simple questions and inquiries.
When your customers interact with you, they expect to get the information they need as quickly and as painlessly as possible. With all the technologies available to you and your customers today, SMS/MMS messaging is convenient, fast, and impersonal – all the things today’s customers have come to expect.