Texas A&M Graduates from Emails and Auto-Dialers to the Messaging Channel

Texas A&M, a public university located in College Station, Texas, has been providing students with quality education since opening its doors in 1876 as the state’s first public institution for higher education. Today, the school is home to over 68,000 students that benefit from its ability to drive innovation on campus.

But innovation isn’t just happening in classrooms and labs, it’s also evident in the way the school communicates with students. Emails had been the official way Texas A&M shared information with students. Realizing that students weren’t reading their emails, the school looked for alternative ways to reach their students beyond the email, phone calls, and auto-dialer they typically employed. A pilot with Quiq to test text messaging students was launched in June and the school isn’t looking back.

“Students are so glad they didn’t have to wait in a phone queue!”

Rachelle McDonald, Director of Customer Service

Successful adoption of messaging at Texas A&M

When asked about Quiq’s implementation and its integration into the schools existing CRM system, Oracle Service Cloud, Texas A&M’s Customer Service Team “didn’t remember even one problem or issue.” Now the school’s call center, which is staffed by 8 student workers, can handle both inbound and outbound texts from new and existing students.

“The student workers love using text messaging,” states Peggy Carey, Director of Student Business Services. The ability to add emojis makes conversations more personal and staff has found this channel to be much faster than phone calls.

The new channel has also been well received by students who appreciate not having to wait in a phone queue with questions. Students are pleasantly surprised that when they text in, staff can see their profile and past interaction history for more information.

Messaging use cases at Texas A&M

So far, university staff has seen an increase in response rates to some of the most common, but critical communications with students, such as reminding students to choose between locked and variable tuition rates or alerting students when they are at risk of being dropped from classes due to non-payment. Messaging conversations, which are usually resolved in 5 messages back and forth, has proven to be a fast and effective way to engage students, especially during busy times of the year.

Other successful examples of messaging at Texas A&M include:

  • When students are missing a photo for their required ID, the school sends an outbound message with a link where students can submit their photo. With messaging, the school has seen a 14% increase in the number of students who click on the message and comply.
  • Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit to receive refunds. This is also communicated through a link sent via text, which opens directly to the appropriate website. Every student that responds to this request saves the university the workload and expense of having to cut a check for disbursements, which costs about $3 per check.
  • When a student leaves the university with an unpaid balance, collections can send a message that complies with the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act instead of calling, seeing a much higher response rate.
  • New students are offered the option of locked or variable tuition when they enroll, allowing them to align their choice to their education plans.

So What’s Next?

The university has seen a lot of students respond to messaging, but they believe there’s more room to grow. Texas A&M admits to taking things slowly with messaging at first, having initially promoted messaging through outbound texts only. Within two months the school added a “Text SBS” button to their website, so students could text directly from there. Now, the university is ready to push the channel further by promoting the “text us” feature on other mediums and expand on the success they’ve seen. For example, Student Business Services plans to promote the option to text on the emailed billing statements. They also plan to present students with the option to send a text message instead of waiting on hold in their IVR.

Along with added promotional efforts, Texas A&M plans to increase communications over the messaging channel, to both broad and targeted audiences. This summer, when online photo submission becomes a requirement for students, the school will push the message via text to all students. Targeted efforts include informing graduating students when their diploma will be held due to non-payment and notifying students to sign up for direct deposit to receive Title IV student aid funds that have been returned.

Texas A&M continues to push innovation past the walls of the classroom to deliver excellence beyond the athletic fields by offering messaging as a way to better engage with students. The school has realized great success in communicating time-sensitive information to new and existing students and doesn’t plan on looking back.

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6 Reasons to Use Business Text Messaging

It’s no secret that texting is the preferred channel of communication for most consumers. The ease and convenience of text messaging aren’t lost on any generation. While volume and velocity may differ from the Millennials and Gen Z populations versus Baby Boomers, most would agree that text is best.

Popularity and ubiquitousness aside, there are other reasons that a business should use business text messaging to engage with their customers. In this post, we’ll take a look at 6 of the best reasons companies benefit from a business text messaging service.

Business Text Messaging Benefits

1.Customers expect it

In our post “7 Reasons Why Customers Want to Text You,” we dove into the reasons why customers want to text you, and many of these reasons boil down to one thing: customers want to communicate however they want, whenever they want. More than ever, consumers feel empowered by all of the services at their fingertips, and their patience is dwindling for hold music and restrictive hours of operation.

In other words, customers want to be the ones who call the shots. No one wants to jump through hoops to connect with customer service. Though it may lack the presence of a human voice, text messaging is the perfect channel for users who want instant gratification.

The new world language is instantaneous and emoji-rich, so your business better speak it.

2. It’s easy

Yes, texting is easy for your customers. Most consumers usually have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7, and sending and receiving texts doesn’t disrupt their day. “But, what about me? How does it make it easier for me?” a lot of business owners and managers ask. Well, grab a seat and get comfy—this could take awhile.

      • Easy to engage

Since messaging is so popular, engaging with your customers happens with less friction.   Whether you’re receiving inbound texts from customers who want to buy something or to book an appointment, or sending outbound messages to customers to inform them of their order status or to remind them of a promotion, information exchanged to and from your customers happens on their preferred channel, which means you can build stronger relationships to fuel brand loyalty and higher revenue.

      • Easy to implement

Quiq’s implementations typically take days, not weeks. Quiq, for example, can be used as a standalone product, but even integrations into CRM platforms like Salesforce.com, Zendesk, and Oracle Service Cloud, can take place with our pre-built integrations, giving employees the ability to send and receive text messages within a company’s existing CRM system.

      • Easy to train

As easy as it is to implement, it’s just as easy, if not more so, to train employees. Since most employees use messaging on a daily basis, the learning curve looks more like a Nebraska plain versus a Denver mountain. Employees, like the customers they engage with, share texts, emojis, and links on a daily basis, so there’s little disruption to day-to-day operations as they’re learning a system.

      • Easy to manage

Many companies worry about staffing the messaging channel and fret about managing another point of contact with their customers. A business text messaging platform, like Quiq, alleviates these concerns. Quiq brings all of the SMS/text messages, as well as messages received on web chat and social media platforms, into one intuitive screen. Employees don’t have to hop from system to system rather, employees handle multiple simultaneous messaging conversations all within the Quiq desktop.

3. It will actually save you time

Business text messaging can make your operations more efficient. Features like pre-built responses and chatbots make collecting data and sharing information easier. Chatbots, for example, can guide every step of the customer journey, from initial contact to final feedback. They can also route users to the appropriate agent.

Pre-built responses, also known as snippets, help employees quickly send canned messages like greetings or answers to frequently asked questions. Snippets are also a great way to share information that may be lengthy and cumbersome to type, like a return policy or details about a promotion.

4. You can do more with what you have

One of the primary uses of business text messaging is the instant access customers can have to customer service resources. Whether they text you off-hours or during holidays, chatbots can point them toward articles that might help to answer their questions. If the problem is beyond the scope of what can be solved through a chatbot suggestion, a support ticket can be opened up using the details from the message or chat.

With customer satisfaction being the aim of any good business, providing a channel for consumers to get in touch with you whenever they like goes a long way in keeping them satisfied. This also means being available on all of their preferred channels, whether it be through Facebook Messenger, a chat button on your website, or through a simple SMS text. Let your customers know that you’ll be there when they need you.

5.Get your messages read

While sending out marketing emails can be like walking the razor’s edge between the spam and promotions folders, text messages are almost always read. In fact, some estimates put SMS read rate at 98%. Email, on the other hand, might get you a measly 10%.

This is not to suggest you start spamming every number in your database Instead, when a customer buys something or subscribes to your service, ask them if they would like to receive updates via text. You can communicate order updates and other notifications via text and they can easily reply back with any questions or feedback.

6. Get feedback, fast

At the conclusion of a sale or after a customer has been trying out your product for a while, a business text message is a great way to get feedback from them. It’s fast, convenient, and less of a hassle than filling out a survey. Simply asking a customer to rate a recent purchase via text is more likely to get a response than an email would since the read rate is so much higher (as noted above).

Business text messaging at its best

Not all text messaging platforms are created equal. Quiq has built the leading asynchronous messaging software, allowing customers to connect with companies across today’s most popular business text messaging channels such as SMS, live chat, Facebook and within their own app. When customers can connect with your business how they want and when they want, they will be more satisfied.

To unlock the potential of text messaging for your business, request a demo today.

Press Release: Quiq Receives SOC 2 Type I Attestation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Quiq Receives SOC 2 Type I Attestation

Independent Audit Verifies Quiq’s Internal Controls and Processes

Bozeman, MT – April 2019– Quiq, a customer engagement platform and business SMS text messaging solutions provider, today announced that it has completed its SOC 2 Type I audit. This attestation provides evidence that Quiq has a strong commitment to deliver high quality services to its clients by demonstrating the necessary internal controls and processes.

SOC 2 engagements are based on the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria. SOC 2 audit reports focus on a service organization’s non-financial reporting controls as they relate to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of a system. KirkpatrickPrice’s audit report verifies the suitability of the design of Quiq’s controls to meet the standards for these criteria.

“The SOC 2 audit is based on the Trust Services Criteria. Quiq has selected the security, availability, confidentiality, and privacy categories for the basis of their audit,” said Joseph Kirkpatrick, President of KirkpatrickPrice. “Quiq delivers trust-based services to their clients, and by communicating the results of this audit, their clients can be assured of their reliance on Quiq’s controls.”

About Quiq

Quiq makes it possible for any company to deliver a world class customer experience using business text messaging. Quiq’s messaging platform enables companies to use their existing landlines to send and receive messages to their customers via SMS/text messaging, live chat, social platforms, and in their own app.

About KirkpatrickPrice

KirkpatrickPrice is a licensed CPA firm, PCI QSA, and a HITRUST CSF Assessor, registered with the PCAOB, providing assurance services to over 800 clients in more than 48 states, Canada, Asia, and Europe. The firm has more than a decade of experience in information security and compliance assurance by performing assessments, audits, and tests that strengthen information security and internal controls. KirkpatrickPrice most commonly provides advice on SOC 1, SOC 2, PCI DSS, HIPAA, HITRUST CSF, GDPR, ISO 27001, FISMA, and CFPB frameworks. For more information, visit www.kirkpatrickprice.com, follow KirkpatrickPrice on Twitter (@KPAudit), or connect with KirkpatrickPrice on LinkedIn.

5 Ways Rich Messaging for Customer Service Transforms Customer Expectations

Remember when using acronyms like LOL, BRB, and BTW were the only way to express yourself on a text message? For a clever few, with a little time on their hands, the use of textual characters morphed into a new form of art to help convey a message. Who knew everyone would use it to communicate visually ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Fast forward a few short years and you’ll find the insurgence of rich messaging has us sharing the kind of rich media we could only dream about back then.

Rich messaging allows companies and customers to exchange hi-res images, videos, gifs, and even complete sales transactions all within a text messaging conversation. Rich messaging, aside from providing a more modern messaging experience, has the power to change the expectations of your customers. In this post, we’ll look at 5 ways rich messaging is transforming customer expectations for customer service.

Rich Messaging Basics

Although we’ve provided a pretty in-depth primer on rich messaging in a previous post, we wanted to remind you of the basics before we dive too deep into how this new way of messaging is changing the way customers are engaging with companies. Here’s what you need to know.

First, rich messaging is a new standard of text messaging that’s already been adopted by Apple and Google, plus a lot of well-known brands like Overstock.com and Brinks Homes Security. Much like SMS, which is the simple text message limited to 160 characters that most people are used to, rich messaging provides customers and companies a way to exchange concise messages over mobile devices. That’s the messaging part. Unlike SMS, rich messaging allows messages over 160 characters, high-resolution images, videos, and a whole suite of other features that make it a better experience than a simple SMS message.

Rich messaging isn’t just about images though. Rich messaging is really about meeting customers’ expectations of convenience. High-resolution images and videos help to convey a message, but that’s only part of the story. The ability to complete transactions within a message or present customers with suggested responses, enabling them to reply to an agent with a tap of a button, adds elements of speed and ease to interactions that consumers expect.

As customer expectations of service continue to increase, rich messaging will help shape their expectations. Here are 5 ways rich messaging for customer service will change customer expectations.

5 Transformative Ways to use Rich for Customer Service

1. Provide responses better and faster than phone and email

There is no doubt that today’s consumer is busier and on-the-go more than customers were even a decade ago. They expect rapid responses and want to communicate one-to-one with businesses – all on their terms. We can thank the digitization of everything from media to services for shaping consumers’ on-demand expectations.

By leveraging rich messaging, businesses can provide their customers with the same type of on-demand support that on-demand products deliver by removing some of the friction around engaging with a company. For example, if a customer searches for a company on their iPhone that has implemented Apple Business Chat, they can immediately start a messaging conversation simply by tapping a “message” icon in the search results. No need to call the company. The customer can simply message what they have to say.

2. Share media that tells a story

Rich messaging isn’t just a pretty face, or GIF rather. The ability to share videos, recordings, hi-res images and yes, even GIFS has been a gamechanger. The ability to share rich media, up to 10MB per message to be exact, makes it easier for agents and customers to help with purchases or troubleshoot issues.

For instance, customers who want to shop around for a new security system can send a picture of their current hardware to see if it’s compatible with the prospective company’s monitoring or if they’ll need to purchase new hardware. This eliminates the need to schedule an appointment for a technician to come to their home to see their current setup, which means less time and hassle for the customer.

3. Allow customers to complete transactions

Rich messaging is all about making the entire experience with your business as convenient as possible for your customers. There are a plethora of use cases and industries where the value is evident, but none so much as retail.

From browsing for a product to buy to completing transactions, rich messaging can help companies support customers through their entire purchase lifecycle. Helping customers navigate a site or find options within a product assortment can easily happen without the customer switching channels.

With rich messaging, customers never have to leave the messaging channel to complete their transaction. Instead of shoppers clicking around to check out, agents can send transaction cards, where customers purchase through a secure cart.

4. Enable customers to make reservations

It’s not just retailers selling tangible goods that can benefit from rich messaging. Services, consulting, travel and hospitality, or any industry where booking an appointment or making a reservation is important should be interested in using rich messaging.

For example, a hotel can a send reservation card to prospective guests allowing them to make an instant booking. The key word being instant. According to Statista, online travel sales are expected to hit a staggering 755.94 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, with mobile travel sales making up 95 billion U.S. dollars.

Going to travel agencies and booking by phone has become a memory only a dwindling few can recall. Travel and hospitality have set the precedence for making reservations. After all, if you can book a houseboat in Bali for 6 months from now from your phone, shouldn’t you be able to schedule your local lawn service next week with the same amount of ease? Making online reservations, with a focus on mobile reservations, a feature is more crucial than ever for companies that care about increasing revenue.

5. Give customers peace of mind with identity verification

Robo-callers with scam offers and bulk SMS messages from shortcodes that can’t be identified are becoming more commonplace. Consumers are becoming more aware and wary of such behavior and won’t hesitate to block numbers or type “Stop” to avoid receiving further communication.

Rich messaging gives your customers peace of mind that they are talking to the trusted brand they intended to engage with. With rich messaging, companies go through a rigorous verification process. Once verified, the company can use their official brand name, colors, logo and font in their messages.

Rich messaging adds another layer of trust to customer service communications. Regardless if the customer receives an outbound message from your company on their Android device promoting a new product or they send in a text message to troubleshoot an issue with a product on their iPhone, they’ll have the confidence that the information they share is private, secure, and going to the right place.

Rich Messaging Behind the Scenes

In addition to all of the features mentioned above that make rich messaging a better experience for your customer, the ability to understand how your messages perform allows companies to understand and improve engagement behind the scenes. Quiq’s messaging platform gives you key metrics for messages that were sent, delivered, failed, and responded to

Rich messaging doesn’t have to be limited to text messages either. Clients using Quiq are able to provide rich experiences to users across chat and other business messaging channels as well. This means that companies can provide content-rich, personalized experiences across SMS/text business messaging, web chat, social, and even within their own app when using Quiq. Ready to take transform your customer service with rich messaging? Schedule a demo to see Quiq’s messaging platform in action.

Forrester Webinar: Connecting with Customers Through Messaging and Bots

Today’s consumers’ expectations around engagement have driven companies to “up-level” their accessibility and responsiveness. In this on-demand webinar, Kate Leggett, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research joins Mike Parish, of Brinks Home Security, to discuss how to connect with customers through messaging and bots.

As the leading expert on customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service strategies, Kate shares deep insights into the consumer behaviors that are shaping how many of the leading brands leverage messaging and bots to better engage with their customers. Mike Parish, Director of Experience and Service design at Brinks Home Security reveals the results and surprises from implementing messaging and bots.

How Chatbots Are Revolutionizing eCommerce

In recent years, chatbots have made their way into the mainstream, becoming an integral part of the way modern businesses interact with consumers. In this post, we’ll take a look at chatbots and how they are playing an increasingly important role in eCommerce. We’ll then dive into the ways that businesses can use bots across all channels.

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are software applications that simulate human conversation.  Customers can interact with chatbots much like they would with a human via SMS/text, web chat, social media or in a company’s app. Chatbots can be written to follow simple instructions such as to greet the customer with “Hi, how can I help you?” and ask for the customer’s name. Bots can also execute more complex processes based off of rules or keywords such as gathering order information, routing the customer to a different department, and displaying the customer’s order history to the agent.

The earliest chatbots were simple systems that picked up keywords from a user’s message which triggered certain scripts. Responses may have come across as canned, but the mere fact that a user was chatting with a robot was novel in itself. In the 1960s, computer scientists at MIT developed ELIZA, which emulated a psychotherapist. Many individuals who used Eliza were convinced they were talking to a real person at the time. Though it was initially developed to show the superficiality of human communication, the developers were surprised by the large amount of feedback they received attributing human-like emotion to the machine. Chatbots have come a long way since then. Modern artificial intelligence has made it so chatbots are more helpful than ever, and natural language processing has seen major developments in recent years. Now, chatbots are instrumental to the way that many businesses connect with customers. Through Facebook, SMS, and web chat, chatbots can guide customers through every step of their path to purchase as well as provide intelligent customer support.

How contacting customer service has evolved

Calling and emailing a company for pre-sales questions or post-sales support has gone the way of the VCR. Sure, there are some people out there that still use those channels, but for the vast majority, it’s not the first way people think of when they need to reach a business. Today’s connected consumers demand engagement that’s flexible, convenient, and fast. That’s why consumers are gravitating towards mobile means of engagement, where they can have more control over when and where conversations take place. The availability of smartphones and tablets mean that browsing, buying, and requesting support can happen anywhere there’s a mobile device available and consumers haven’t hesitated to use this freedom to engage businesses whenever and however is most convenient for them. Live chat for business, for example, is frequently used for customers to connect while they are browsing a company’s site.  Further efforts to connect with customers on their own terms has led many companies to enable their landlines to send and receive SMS/text messages since many consumers prefer texting over phone calls. The mere thought of managing conversations over multiple channels would normally keep contact center managers up at night fretting about operations and agents worrying about efficiency metrics.

Quiq’s messaging platform bring conversations from SMS/text, web chat, social, and in-app into one streamlined UI so that agents and managers have one place to manage every conversation. Unlike phone calls and emails that can only be handled on a 1:1 basis, messaging platforms, like Quiq, allow company employees to handle multiple conversations at once. We see employees handle 6 to 8 concurrent conversations at one time. Even with all the efficiency modern messaging platforms provide, human-only messaging systems are limited by things such as hours of operation and the amount of staff available. Enter the chatbot. Businesses are adopting chatbots for every messaging channel, including web chat, SMS/texting, and social channels as a way to route customers to the right department, or to an agent that can help them. Today, advanced chatbots, like those powered by Quiq, are predicted to handle 85% of customer service interactions by 2020, using artificial intelligence to meet the unique needs of customers in increasingly efficient and satisfactory ways, such as greeting the customer and gathering data to better understand the nature of their inquiry.

What chatbots offer to eCommerce

eCommerce is perfectly suited for the features that chatbots offer since the entire customer journey — right up until delivery — primarily happens on mobile devices. Chatbots are available around the clock to engage customers with a welcome message, suggest products or promotional offers based on their browsing history, and help answer any questions that arise. Consider some of these interactions where a chatbot can help augment interactions with human agents:

  • Determining the type of question, whether pre-sales or post-sales, in order to route the inquiry to the correct team.
  • Collecting information on what the customer is shopping for to narrow down a selection or suggest pages that customers should check out.
  • Checking on order and shipping status.
  • Helping customers troubleshoot a technical issue by asking questions to eliminate possible causes.
  • Providing returning customers automated help with a password reset.

If the consumer makes an inquiry or gives feedback which is beyond the chatbot’s capabilities, it can seamlessly and immediately connect the consumer to an appropriate agent. The approach of having chatbots as the first point of contact, to gather data for human agents, maximizes efficiency and frees up resources while still maintaining the human element. In fact, chatbots can be used throughout the conversation, not just as the first contact. Human agents and bots can seamlessly transfer messages back and forth without disrupting the customer’s experience.

Perfecting messaging for business

In fact, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, and Google Rich Business Messaging are all popular avenues for connecting with customers. The more your eCommerce enterprise branches out into these engagement channels, the tighter your connection will be in the daily lives of consumers. Modern customer service is all about providing solutions to customers on their own terms. That means that consumers should be able to reach you whenever they want to, via the channels that they prefer. Quiq enables companies to engage with customers over multiple channels while using live agents, chatbots, or a combination of both. As chatbots become increasingly capable of complex tasks, the expectations that customers have when interacting with chatbots will only grow. Your customer service interface reflects the quality of your eCommerce brand as a whole, which is why it’s critical to use a platform that continues to advance along with the times. Quiq helps your brand stay ahead of the curve with advanced features such as agent performance optimization and real-time reports.

Get Quiq and get chatting

Chatbots will continue to transform the way customers interact with businesses. By connecting with your customers via their preferred modes of text communication, you can ensure that you’re speaking their language and getting your message across. This means increased connections, higher sales, and improved customer satisfaction. If your brand is ready to explore the potential of a perfected chatbot platform, request a demo with Quiq today.