Article | 2 min read

SMS: The New, Old Channel for Customer Service

By Josh Frank

Last updated May 12, 2016

We’ve come a long way since the dawn of SMS, which started in 1992 with a simple “Merry Christmas” message. Since then, SMS has become one of the most popular channels people use to communicate with friends and family. Now it’s time for businesses to join in.

Introducing a native SMS channel in Zendesk and a more personal way to connect with customers.

SMS isn’t a new technology, which invites the question why SMS and why now? With the rise of mobile, many customers are looking to new channels for support. Not surprisingly, SMS is gaining popularity as a place that customers turn to receive service. And it makes sense that businesses are jumping on board. When a customer initiates a conversation with a business over SMS, it’s more than a customer service interaction, it’s the beginning of a personal relationship.

Along with being a personal channel, it’s also one of the fastest ways to engage with customers as they aren’t required to log into a chat session, check their email or enable push notifications on their mobile devices. According to Forrester Research analyst Art Schoeller in Weave Support For Text Chat Into Your Omnichannel Customer Service Strategy many businesses also report shorter handle times resulting from SMS’s shorter messaging format.

We have already seen adoption across a variety of industries in our beta, from e-commerce with Birchbox to B2B software with RSI as well as within the on-demand and app economy. According to Evan Aldrich, head of customer support at Favor, a fast-growing on-demand delivery business based out of Austin, TX, “Our customers and Runners prefer to interact via SMS, making it a key part of our customer support strategy. Using Zendesk to provide SMS support is easy to setup and fits perfectly into our existing workflows.”

Brands who move quickly to incorporate SMS into their support strategy will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t. Previously, businesses were required to have the technical resources to implement a successful SMS integration into Zendesk or another support tool. The good news is, with this launch, an SMS channel is available to businesses out-of-the-box with Zendesk workflow and reporting behind it. Customers can simply flip a switch and businesses can open a new support channel to start connecting.

Interested in testing the SMS waters? Be an early adopter and sign up for our new native SMS channel Early Access Program. Sign up here to register your interest.