Using Outbound Messaging in Field Services (Ft. Terminix)

We talk a lot about outbound messaging here on the Quiq blog. And it’s easy to make connections between better CX, more revenue, and outbound messaging across many different industries.

But there’s one industry in specific that benefits from outbound SMS messaging that we don’t talk about nearly enough: field services.

The field services industry relies heavily on phone calls and other cumbersome technologies to connect the home office, field agents, and customers. Yet we’ve seen just how effective it can be to adopt outbound messaging in place of the good ‘ol telephone: Just ask Terminix.

Continue reading to see how to use outbound SMS to increase efficiency, sales, and customer satisfaction in your field services business.

Why Terminix was itching to make the switch.

Terminix, which helps businesses and residents get rid of common household pests, needed a better way to manage outbound calls to their customers. So they switched from phone calls to Quiq’s outbound messaging for appointment scheduling and other customer communications.

The problem with phone calls.

Many businesses—especially in the field services industry—rely on phone calls for most of their customer communications. We get it. Calls are an easy way to connect instantly with your customers. But they come with their own set of challenges.

1. Calls are inefficient.

According to Verizon’s Fleet Technology Trends Report, 44% of surveyed field services companies say costs were their biggest challenge in 2021. There’s no denying that the inefficiency of phone calls leads to increased costs.

You typically have two options when managing phone calls. You either have your field agents call customers (usually to confirm time, location, and availability), or you centralize your phone operations to your home office. Neither is an elegant solution.

The success of your field service agents relies entirely on how many visits they can make in a day. Asking them to stop and make phone calls does the complete opposite. Not only do the phone calls take time (especially when talking to especially chatty customers), but it also increases the chance of interruptions. If customers call back in the middle of a job, that hinders your field agents’ productivity.

Centralizing calls in your home office or using a dispatch service is another popular option that comes with its own set of frustrations. While it leaves your field agents to work uninterrupted, it requires dedicated staff. Paying staff salaries adds to your costs. Plus, having a large home office staff means you have to manage staffing issues, balancing the number of staff members you have between your slow and busy seasons.

2. Calls are harder to track.

Who manages your calls? Whether it’s your field agents, home office, or a mix of both, the more people you have making and receiving calls, the harder it is to track.

But you should be tracking your numbers. Whether you’re calling to remind customers about their existing appointments, scheduling new visits, or notifying them of changes, you should track your numbers. Call volume can help you forecast staffing needs (instead of using the It feels busy, we should hire more method). Tracking call times can help you determine how efficient your team is. There are vital metrics that are difficult to measure without expensive call-tracking tools.

3. Customers don’t like phone calls.

It’s no secret that Millennials and Gen Z despise talking on the phone. The memes and the Tiktoks are abundant. And almost no one these days answers calls from numbers they don’t recognize. So spending time calling to reach new and younger customers is like rolling a boulder uphill.

And when customer service is so important, concerns like preferred communication methods are vital. According to Verizon, 40% of field services businesses report customer demands as one of their biggest challenges in 2021. And it makes sense since 94% of customers say how a brand treats them is their most important buying decision.

Using a communication method customers prefer will make them more likely to see it and respond—and view your brand more favorably overall.

We know what you’re thinking. Okay, but what about emails? Why can’t we just use what every other business uses on a daily basis to interact with our customers?

And you’re not wrong. Every business uses email communication in some form. But that’s just the problem. Sending appointment reminders via email means it’s going to be in among the retail sales and the tech newsletters and the work communications and the endless notices from kids’ schools and… *enhancement* emails that somehow managed to slip through the junk mail filter. The odds of your customer seeing that email and opening it are stacked against you.

The benefits of switching to text messaging.

Switching to text messaging is a huge change in operations, so for a business like Terminix (and many others), ROI has to be huge. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from switching from phone calls to SMS text messaging.

Increase open rates with text messaging.

Whether you’re sending appointment reminders or notifying customers of a discounted service, it won’t matter if they don’t see them. Email open rates run anywhere from 3% to 30% depending on whose stats you use, and standing out in a crowded inbox is just plain hard to do.
Text messages don’t have that problem. Terminix, for example, uses rich text messaging to connect with its customers, and to date, it boasts a 100% open rate. If nothing else, customers will actually read your outbound text messages.

Service on your customers’ terms.

Customers don’t always want to engage with your team—but then again, sometimes they do! Terminix was able to use Quiq’s AI technology to let the customers lead the conversation. Customers got to decide if they wanted to communicate via text, when, and how often.

More efficient field services management.

Using automations and Quiq’s chatbots, staff will spend less time on transactional phone calls (like appointment setting, rescheduling, reminding, etc.) and more time providing value to your customers. Chatbots can handle everything from appointment scheduling to answering simple questions, while your team can focus on deploying field agents and solving more complex customer issues.

Plus, instead of contacting customers on a one-to-one basis, your team can pick and choose how to connect with customers. With Quiq, your team can deploy text messages to thousands of your customers at once or send a personalized message to one customer.

How does outbound text messaging work?

So how will you actually use outbound text messaging to reach your customers? Take a look at these examples.

Send appointment reminder texts.

Sending SMS reminders is a great way to notify customers of upcoming appointments without draining your staff’s time. Automatically send appointment reminders, and give customers the option of canceling or rescheduling without involving your team.

Customers get to communicate how they want, asynchronously, and you’ll have fewer no-shows as a result.

Increase sales with texts.

The fastest way to more revenue is to keep current customers coming back. Employ bots and automation to send regular appointment reminder text messages so customers never go too long without their next appointment.

Terminix took its sales pipeline to the next level with outbound messaging. They used chatbots to engage with cool and warm leads so customers could respond in their own time. When those leads didn’t respond, they used customer service agents to follow up.

By adding Quiq’s outbound messaging, Terminix saw $7M in ROI in just 9 months.

Boost efficiency with SMS notifications.

Sending a “time for service” reminder text message is a great way to generate more revenue, but if you use them strategically, it can increase field efficiency, too. For example, you can send out service reminders to customers in one geographic area to group them together. You’ll save on fuel costs and commute time without changing anything fundamental in your business.

You can also use it as a sales tool. Once you’ve booked one service in a geographic area, send out text message reminders to other customers in that area to generate more revenue. You can even pass along the fuel savings to your customers with a special discount if they book on a certain day you’re already in the area.

Put “service” back into field services.

The weight of customer expectations hang heavily over the field services industry. With rising demands and changing preferences, traditional methods of communication just can’t cut it anymore.

Companies that opt for outbound messaging, like Terminix, will see big rewards in both efficiency and revenue. Don’t hesitate to ditch voicemails and embrace the text.

Increase Sales With Instant Messaging

Many consumers love the convenience of eCommerce sites but become frustrated if they can’t get questions answered. This obstacle causes lost sales and missed opportunities. First and foremost, people want to feel confident when making purchases. A live, text-based conversation removes doubts that would otherwise cause them to decide against completing transactions.

How to Increase Sales With Instant Messaging by Guiding Consumers

Instant messaging helps eCommerce brands and other sales-oriented businesses avoid scenarios that decrease transactions. It lets conversations happen between those entities and their consumers using the most preferred and convenient channels.

An instant message platform gives useful answers to shoppers’ pre-purchase questions, providing the guidance they need and want before buying. eCommerce brands can also use messaging platforms with augmented reality. This capability lets retailers have conversations with consumers where potential buyers can picture products in their homes. Whether the merchandise is a pair of shoes or a couch, the chance to visualize it in a real-world environment makes shoppers eager to buy.

How to Increase Sales With Text Messaging and Compelling Offers

eCommerce consumers appreciate receiving content beyond standard text messages. If an online retailer sends a message to a lapsed customer, it could include a direct link to a product similar to what the shopper purchased before. This approach reminds the past buyer of the brand’s relevance. 

Creating a special offer for returning shoppers is another excellent way to bring them back. If brands send exclusive offers or content about upcoming sales in messages, people get excited and feel compelled to take advantage of perks. Purposeful alerts can also show consumers that retailers have solutions that fit their specific needs — whether those include buying a new outfit for a wedding or purchasing a desk for a home office. 

Choosing a text messaging platform that supports custom payment methods allows shoppers to use their preferred options to complete transactions. This advantage removes friction that can discourage purchases.

How to Increase Sales With SMS Messaging and Helpful Content

When consumers opt-in to receive further communications from retailers, that decision helps brands and shoppers stay in touch. Similarly, when retailers select a messaging platform that does not require consumers to download anything before starting a chat, they provide a hassle-free way to reach out and get personalized assistance. 

It’s also possible for eCommerce businesses to send videos and images during conversations. Brands can then continue connecting in useful ways by giving shoppers instructional videos, illustrative photos, or similar content that eases uncertainties. If a shopper wants to purchase something requiring professional installation — such as new internet service — a video works well for showing how quickly the setup happens.

Increase Sales With Instant Messaging by Contacting Quiq

The rich messaging options provided by the Quiq Conversational Customer Engagement Platform let eCommerce companies cater to consumers through custom payment methods, dynamic suggestions, instant solutions, and exclusive promotions. 

These offerings reduce interaction times and boost the likelihood of shoppers acting and purchasing. Contact us today to learn more or try out a demo to see how Quiq improves consumer-brand interactions.

Sending Customer Updates is Easiest With Text Messages

People use their mobile phones to work, play, text, and scroll every day. That’s why businesses use customer service text messages to stay in touch with customers. It’s a great way to increase loyalty and reach a wider audience. For industry leaders who are looking to enhance their customer service strategies, integrating SMS solutions is essential.

How Businesses Can Use Text Messaging for Customer Updates

The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to implementing customer service text messages. Customer service agents can use SMS to interact with consumers in easier, more engaging ways with higher levels of satisfaction.

Asking for Feedback

The key to success is the willingness to grow and adapt. With this in mind, you can implement SMS messages for customer service by using them to gather feedback. Consumers like to feel heard, and they like to know that businesses respect their opinions. 

Asking for constructive feedback during and after service is a great way to connect with consumers and show an interest in their needs. This can help increase customer engagement and lead to company growth over time. Automated messaging solutions can expedite this process by helping companies reach customers and collect meaningful data more quickly.

Sending Business Updates

Text messaging is an excellent opportunity to send quick, convenient business updates, such as:

  • Shipping notifications: Text notifications can provide customers with shipping details and updates.
  • Billing reminders: Billing reminders help ensure consumers make payments on time and know when their funds have been withdrawn.
  • Promotions: Advertising discounts and new product updates are easier than ever with outbound messaging platforms.
  • Troubleshooting: Asynchronous troubleshooting allows customers to address issues and fix them quickly and at their convenience without having to talk on the phone.
  • Replacement product options: Representatives can give customers more options by sending product replacement opportunities via text.
  • Delivery updates: It’s easy to design brief automated texts that provide location, arrival time, and delay updates.
  • General business information: The business can send out information regarding products, business hours, company updates, and more.

The Benefits of Text Message Updates

Offering customer service updates through text message is a major part of staying competitive in retail and online markets. The benefits of SMS message updates include:

  • Improved customer experience: Selling products and services is about more than making the sale. It’s about engaging with customers and providing the high-quality experience they deserve. Text message is a more intimate and accessible form of communication that improves the experience for both consumers and customer support.
  • Increased customer loyalty: Happy consumers become loyal consumers. While one negative experience can sour a person’s experience, effective communication helps prevent misunderstandings and inspires the customer to keep coming back. Customer loyalty is great for business, and it can improve a retailer’s reputation in the long run.
  • Asynchronous: With customer service text messages, retailers, and eCommerce providers have the freedom to engage with consumers at a faster pace. Asynchronous communication is perfect for mobile users, as it allows them to message back and forth with representatives on their own time. This method also ensures that all conversation messages are saved so the two parties can pick up where they left off.

Contact Us to Learn More About Business Text Messaging

Using SMS messages for customer service is a smart way to improve consumer relationships and foster more efficient communication. Text messages are useful for all types of communication, from promotions and reminders to convenient technical support. If you’re interested in learning more about how asynchronous messaging enhances the retail industry, contact Quiq online today.