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Texting and Your Business: Setting an Example for Customer Service

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Today I received a text from an eight digit number with the following message.

[Carrier] Free Msg: You're a valued [Carrier] customer. We'd like to add 1000 bonus Rollover minutes to the mobile number ending in 5555. There's no cost or obligation to you. It's our way of saying thank you. To have your minutes added, reply "YES" by 9/7/2011. Reply stop to end mktg msgs.

Like everyone else, I love free stuff. And while I’d love to have extra rollover minutes added to my account, how do I know that this message is really from my wireless provider?

I log in to my wireless account online, but there is nothing indicating that I’ve received this message or that I am eligible for this bonus. I call Customer Service and they don’t have proof that they sent me a text message. The operator says they can confirm that messages like these are being sent out to a few select customers who have been with them for more than two years.

I ask them how I can verify it was sent by them, and the response makes my jaw drop.

“The message should start with “[Carrier] Free Msg:”.  Any text message from any number that starts with those words is legitimate and you can trust it.”

This is horrible customer service. I expect all communication from my wireless carrier to come from one trusted number, and it shouldn’t be an eight digit or four digit dashed number. It should be a ten digit customer service number that I can call to verify.  I shouldn’t have to assume a communication is legitimate, and all forms of interaction should be logged in my account to reference at any time, no matter who I get on the line.

Customers will embrace your brand and business when they can trust you. Most businesses attempt to build this relationship through the use of CRM solutions, like Salesforce.com. But few businesses understand the the potential impact of integrating their phone system.

Click-to-dial, inbound screen pops, real time metrics and the ability to manage communication through any platform whether it is email, phone or SMS: these are the solutions which can make or break your relationship with your customer.

These solutions can make your business an example of excellence, instead of an excellent example of poor customer service.

If you’d like to learn more about M5 Networks telephony integration with Salesforce.com, and are attending Dreamforce, stop by Booth #701. We hope to see you there.