How to Use AI Text Messaging for Better Customer Service and Sales

How to Use AI Text Messaging for Better Customer Service and Sales

April 18, 2023 | Convoso

Let’s face it… more and more consumers prefer texting as a form of communication (especially Gen Z, entering the market). 

Outbound sales and customer support teams still successfully use voice and email channels, but texting preference is quickly becoming a critical part of these operations as well. 

Thanks to advances in AI technology, delivering on those preferences don’t have to mean a higher burden on your agents. In this guide to AI text messaging, we’ll cover:

  • What is AI text messaging?
  • The uses of AI-driven SMS in customer service and sales
  • How to support compliance while texting

What is AI Text Messaging?

AI text messaging, or SMS AI, describes any SMS solution that leverages conversational AI technology to communicate with customers and leads over text. 

The AI models that power AI text messaging solutions such as are typically trained on large amounts of text and speech data. This helps the system learn how to understand, process, and generate human language. Over time, with more and more training, the systems become increasingly skilled at understanding and responding to more complex situations. 

And ultimately, the leading solutions wind up being capable of engaging with people over two-way text message conversations. These solutions can deliver sales and marketing value to organizations in virtually any vertical, from lead gen contact centers to political campaigns.

How to Use AI-Driven SMS: Boost Customer Engagement and Sales

SMS marketing can be a powerful way to reach customers, whether it’s for the purpose of making a sale or providing support. The statistics behind this fact sort of speak for themselves:

  • Compared with other channels, including email and voice, text messages offer astonishingly high open ratesup to 98%, according to studies.
  • And people aren’t just opening texts; they’re engaging with them. Omnisend found that about one-third of SMS recipients engage with the message’s CTA. And of those users, an incredible 47% go on to make a purchase.
  • SMS doesn’t just drive sales though. It can be a great channel for providing support. 61% of consumers say they want to be able to text a business back for things like appointments, event reminders, and customer service questions.

So, how do you translate these stats into real-world impact for your own business? Start by leveraging these use cases for AI text messaging.

Easy Appointment-Setting

Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer for a moment. 

Perhaps you’re one of the 83% of millennials that would rather text a business than call for help. Or maybe you’re among the 85% of Gen-Z consumers who have engaged with a contact center via a virtual agent. 

Either way, you’ve just submitted a form to learn more about home services. You receive a “thank you” message via text, which includes questions about your availability to further discuss your needs. Entirely over text, you converse with an agent and arrive upon a time to talk to a sales agent about your project. Meanwhile, you can’t tell whether it’s human or an AI, all you know is it works

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? This is one of the ways an SMS AI solution or text-enabled Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) can free up agents to focus on the actual sales or service appointments rather than the back-and-forth involved in just setting them. It’s a win-win for your business and your customers.

Two-Way Support and Sales

Of course, text messaging AIs aren’t just masters of the calendar. They’re capable of providing solutions to some rather complex customer issues. And some are even capable of offering personalized product recommendations.

This is the power of AI in action. By taking into account all the available data in a customer’s history, potentially analyzing customer sentiment, and delivering a personalized reply based on those inputs, AI text messaging can support two-way conversations for successful customer service and sales. And because AI never sleeps, these tools are available 24/7 to deliver value for businesses and customers.

Related Content

How to Use SMS Drip Campaigns to Boost Conversions and Sales

Convert with Automated Omnichannel Campaigns

Outbound texts don’t need to be a standalone tool, either. Because let’s face it, as much as some customer segments (like Gen Z-ers and millennials) may tend to prefer text messaging over other channels, the preference is by no means universal. 

Instead, text messaging can serve as part of a strategy that can deliver for all customers. That is, it can function in tandem with other avenues of outreach as part of an omnichannel strategy—the type of approach that today’s customers overwhelmingly expect.

Automation and AI text messaging only help add efficiency to this omnichannel model. As part of automated workflows, texts can be timed to perfection as part of a predetermined, well-optimized outreach cadence. In this way, texts can amplify the effectiveness of outbound calls and vice-versa.

It’s no wonder, then, that multichannel campaigns drive nearly five times higher engagement and sales than single-channel ones.

How to Support Compliance While Texting

AI text messaging can deliver incredible benefits, but that doesn’t mean businesses can simply throw caution to the wind. Just like when dialing customers over voice channels, businesses need to abide by both state and federal regulations when sending texts. Violating these rules can bring both steep penalties and blocked messages.

When texting consider the following compliance best practices:

These are just a few of the things you should do to support TCPA-compliant messaging. For more, explore this guide to minimizing SMS risk from Contact Center Compliance. Meanwhile, consult with counsel before you move into the SMS space, and make sure you partner with a software provider who has their finger on the pulse when it comes to compliance changes.

And, don’t text and drive… Laugh if you made it down this far. But, seriously…don’t.

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