Using SMS for customer service to
provide a fresh approach in the competitive
financial comparison sector
Difference Corp, a valued partner and customer service telecom specialist, approached Comapi on behalf of their client – an SME loan provider. The client, now in its twelfth year of business, has grown recently from a staff of around a dozen to nearly 50 and were looking for the key to increasing loan application completion rates. By switching from just SMS to a 2-way SMS for customer service solution, the client saw a dramatic improvement in both customer experience and completed journeys. They were able to take advantage of some of the unique capabilities of SMS, and required a provider who fully understood both their needs and the needs of the end-consumer in a highly competitive market filled with financial comparison sites.
The client had a well-established relationship of six years with partners Difference Corp when their interest was piqued in SMS through an alternative provider. This SMS provider, however, offered no form of response management, which meant the solution they were employing was in no way feasible in the long run, but the hunger for SMS as a channel rich in opportunity and customer engagement lingered.
They also wanted to optimize the experience of the customer journey, from the point of enquiry (normally through a third-party comparison site) according to the steps in the loan application process. If a call is required for completion of sale, the client required the lead to be as warmed-up as possible and wanted to offer this in a way that made them be thought of as the favorable option by the end-consumer.
Many of the end-customers of the client would use comparison sites at a time where it was not convenient to take a phone call, for example, if they were at work or travelling or about to leave the house. With the use of Comapi’s APIs, the client was then able to take advantage of the non-intrusive nature of SMS to follow up a lead, and offer a personalized journey with correspondence that is automatically integrated into a CRM system.
They were able to automate messages depending on the customer. For example, if there was no answer after a phone call, the SMS would reflect this and say that there was an attempt to call, and ask the customer when would be a better time. With the adoption of 2-way SMS for customer service, customers enjoyed the novelty and convenience of being able to text the number back, from their office desks, or on the way out of the door, arranging a call back that they would be more receptive to.
“Businesses are moving in a direction where they are realising the power of the unparalleled open rates of SMS. But when businesses are offering the two-way route, a lot more people are responding to that. It stands out.”
Comapi also identified a need for a dedicated long number for the SMS communications to appear to come from. It was important to the MD that the customers were able to phone the company straight from the text message and get through to an agent who had context of that customer.
The solution resulted in an improvement in customer experience, in application completion, and in converted leads. Customer’s noted that they enjoyed the ability to text back at their own time and appreciated the approach, with the perception of it being a friendlier sell in comparison to competitors who’s phone calls were perceived as a harder sell. This made the customers think of the client more favorably which correlates to the increase in conversions. The convenience of using SMS for customer service for scheduling purposes also made application completion easier for both customer and the client to achieve, improving the overall efficiency of the call center agents who are now able to better manage their time.