How to Use SMS Customer Service Software for Text Support
Kyle Kuczynski
Kyle Kuczynski
MessageDesk Co-Founder & CMO
Updated: Oct 13, 2022

Using SMS Customer Service Software to Text Customer Service & Send Support Texts

How your current customers feel about you and your business or organization is wildly important because…

It’s far cheaper to keep existing customers than get new ones.

But customer service preferences and expectations are changing. Some 67% of customers want the option to text rather than call or email for support.

So I’ve written a guide to text support and service for those who want to learn:

  1. What text support and SMS customer service are
  2. Why SMS customer service and text support work
  3. How to get started with SMS customer service software and platforms
  4. 7 ways businesses and organizations use text messaging for customer service
  5. Frequently used SMS templates for customer service

By the end, you’ll have everything you need to get started with the right SMS customer service software.

Read on for more.

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What is Text Support and SMS Customer Service?

Text support and SMS customer service are the support your business or organization provides to contacts, customers, and clients via SMS text messaging. SMS customer support is text-based customer service. There’s often no face-to-face interaction or verbal communication. All customer service communication takes place in the native text messaging app on a customer’s phone.

3 Reasons Why SMS Customer Service and Text Support Work

Happy customers are often your greatest referral source. This makes them a growth driver.

When things go well for existing customers, they tend to tell their friends. When things go poorly, they tend to do the opposite.

So proactive customer service helps you retain customers, earn referrals and drive revenue.

But SMS doesn’t replace email and phone calls. Instead, SMS support fills in the gaps left by these more traditional communication methods.

However, texting does have some clear advantages and benefits. Especially when you [compare it to email and voice.

1. Text message customer service is faster and more responsive than email

Email is the defacto way of connecting with customers. But email exchanges can take forever and inboxes are getting overwhelmed.

But text messages are more user-friendly and they only have a 3% spam rate.

Plus, 74% of consumers respond to texts from a business within an hour. Compare that to only 41% for email.

So text messaging can be the better way to message customers. Especially when you need to deliver real-time updates and timely responses.

2. Text message customer service is more convenient and scalable than answering phone calls

Paying someone to answer phones gets costly. The average customer service phone call costs about $16.

This is where SMS support is far cheaper and more scalable than answering phone calls.

Keep in mind, there will always be a place for voice calls in your customer support process. A human voice can also make a world of difference when it comes to customer engagement.

But text messaging can insulate your customer support staff or front desk from having to answer every phone call. You get to reserve the most valuable customer service requests for real-life employees and team members.

3. Text message automation makes it easier to manage more customer service conversations

Automated text messages make it possible to provide all-day text customer service. SMS customer service software helps you automate the response and follow-up process.

This even leads to reduced call volumes and improved customer engagement.

All a customer needs to do is text an autoresponder keyword like “HOURS”, “SCHEDULE” or “HELP”. The response then directs the customer to a support resource or escalates the issue to the next level of support.

Automated texts can also support two-way SMS and one-way SMS. You can manage a bunch of incoming text message threads in a team inbox and assign a teammate to respond.

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How to Get Started with SMS Customer Service Software and Platforms

So, how does text customer service work? For starters, texting customers for support isn’t like texting from your personal phone.

Here’s what you need to know to get started with SMS customer service software.

1. Choose an SMS customer service software

The first step to sending business text messages is choosing a customer service platform.

Looking to get your whole customer support team texting in an SMS help desk? You’ll need a business texting service with a shared team SMS inbox.

Doing large-scale customer service SMS alerts? You’ll want a customer-support texting app that supports bulk text messaging and text blasts.

MessageDesk offers text support features that support both of these customer service text messaging needs.

MessageDesk Team Inbox

2. Create a free account

Your next step is to create a free account. Almost every business texting software offers some sort of free trial. MessageDesk offers a 14-day free trial.

Are you a larger organization needing custom or enterprise pricing? Free to meet with a messaging expert to learn more.

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3. Select a new SMS customer service number or text-enable your existing customer service number

Next, you’ll need to get a text number for your business or use your existing customer support phone line. MessageDesk gives you a range of options including both local 10DLC SMS numbers and toll-free numbers.

To text from your existing business landline, you’ll need to submit a number porting request.

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Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request. Sometimes, this process is referred to as number hosting (not to be confused with number porting).

4. Create views using filters

Not every customer support agent or front desk manager needs to respond to every conversation. This is where filters are handy. Filters can help you configure your SMS inbox into views for specific teams, teammates, or departments.

MessageDesk comes with advanced filters. These filters make it easy to sort by “newest to oldest” or “oldest to newest” and by status: new, waiting, replied. You can also filter by assigned conversations.

For even more advanced filters, you can use custom fields. Custom fields make it possible to add custom information to customers and conversations. You can then sort, filter, and create views based on custom fields.

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5. Save reusable text message templates for quick answers to customer service inquiries

When you text for customer support, different support agents often send the same messages to personally message different customers.

This is where pre-saved, reusable text message templates, tags, media, and links come in handy. You can even customize your text messages with tags to automatically insert a customer’s {{ FirstName }} into a text.

Templates save time. But they also help keep messaging consistent across your entire team.

This can reduce errors and omissions of critical information while allowing team members to focus on resolving conversations quickly.

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6. Set up automated texts and autoresponders

Autoresponders get triggered when someone texts your customer service number. Text support autoresponder keywords are often something like:

  • SUPPORT
  • HELP
  • HOURS
  • LOCATION
  • UPDATES

You’ll want to choose a short yet memorable keyword for your autoresponders.

Here are some additional keyword examples used in context:

Dear {{ FirstName }}, Text SUBSCRIBE to receive all our latest news and exclusive offers! Text UNSUBSCRIBE to stop these updates.
Hi {{ FirstName} }, Text WEATHER to receive a 7-day weather forecast for the [AREA/CITY]. Want to stop receiving these messages? Just text STOP.
Hey {{ FirstName }}, text HOURS to see what our opening hours are over the Christmas holidays.

MessageDesk also allows you to customize and set up automatic out-of-office or away messages. Just set your availability using the date/time picker for any day of the week.

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Note: Every automated text messaging service requires that you get consent from your contacts before you text them. TCPA compliance is mandatory for A2P 10DLC texting. Otherwise, customers can’t receive automated texts from you. Read my guide to TCPA compliance for more information.

7. Connect your customer service texting software to integrations like Zapier

Connecting to other customer service apps using services like Zapier can automate your entire customer messaging experience.

There are three ways you can use Zapier with MessageDesk to automate your customer service text messaging.

Add or update a contact

Whenever a new contact is created in your CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce, you can sync them with MessageDesk. Or, when you add a contact to your rewards program or newsletter in an app like Square, Shopify, or Squarespace.

Add contact to a group

You can also add outside contacts to groups in MessageDesk as well.

Send a message

Trigger a text message to be sent when an action happens in another app. You can automatically send a message to a customer 2 days before an event and much more.

Try SMS Customer Service Sofware for Free

Get started with a 14-day free MessageDesk trial. No payment required. ❤️

7 Ways You Can Use SMS Text Messaging for Customer Service

I’ve explained what SMS for business customer service messaging is and how it works.

The following are seven ways your business or organization can use customer service texting software.

  1. Add a click-to-text button or advertise your SMS customer service number on your website
  2. Manage expectations with out-of-office and emergency messages
  3. Automate appointment reminders and confirmations
  4. Send order status and delivery updates
  5. Set up payment reminders and billing notifications
  6. Collect customer feedback by texting links to polls and surveys
  7. Send texts asking for a review

1. Add a click-to-text button or advertise your SMS customer service number on your website

Already using your website to generate leads and start text conversations?

Consider adding a click-to-text button to your website, a landing page, or social media site. This can be a great use of texting for customer support.

This makes it easy for your customers to directly start conversations with your SMS customer service number on their cell phones.

What is click-to-text?

It’s an easy way to start conversations with your customers. It usually appears as a button, chatbot, or clickable phone number listed on your website.

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Suggested Article: How to Grow a Text List with Click-to-Text from Your Website

2. Manage expectations with out-of-office and emergency messages

Customer communication is important at all times.

With texting, it’s easy to:

  • Set up automatic out-of-office replies
  • Send scheduled SMS notifications
  • Blast out text alerts
  • And send updates to your customer base

An example of this is if a customer texts your number for an emergency beyond business hours. Your auto-response text could then provide additional emergency contact information.

Prompt replies aren’t only part of business texting etiquette. They’re also essential to setting and maintaining customer engagement. And you get the added benefit of not having to listen to a bunch of voicemails with texting.

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Suggested Article: How to Set Up & Write Out-of-Office Messages (Email & Text)

3. Automate appointment reminders and confirmations

Aside from offering reactive support, text messaging also makes it easier to be proactive.

Texting appointment reminders is one of the most proactive ways to improve customer experiences. Appointment reminders reduce no-shows and smooth out day-to-day operations.

Smoother daily operations mean happier customers and staff.

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Suggested Article: How to Text Appointment Reminders | Guide + Free Templates

4. Order status and delivery updates

Customers are used to having information at their fingertips. Everyone wants real-time updates. With text messaging, you can send timely updates to customers, clients, and others for:

  • Orders as they move forward in the supply chain
  • Scheduled text delivery notifications and alerts
  • Driver assignments and ETA
  • Alerts and weather updates

For instance, you can send an SMS when an order is out for delivery. Depending on the time of year, what happens if there are any delays due to inclement weather or traffic?

You can send out a text message broadcast to let everyone know. This keeps everyone updated, enhancing transparency and customer experience.

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5. Set up payment reminders and billing notifications

Getting paid isn’t easy. Reminding someone to pay you takes time and can be a hassle. This is especially true if you’re only sending emails or making phone calls to remind customers about their late payments.

In a recent survey of 400 businesses, 27% noted that they have a hard time creating and sending invoices. Another 46% said they have difficulty getting paid on time. While 49% said they have a hard time following up on late payments.

These numbers probably don’t surprise you.

But what will surprise you is how text-to-pay can help you collect payments and send reminders.

Business text messaging providers like MessageDesk offer text-to-pay as a simple, streamlined, cashless payment method.

Some business text messaging services like MessageDesk even sync directly with small business accounting systems like QuickBooks Online and Xero.

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Suggested Article: Small Business Invoicing Guide | How to Send an Invoice

5. Collect customer feedback by texting links to polls and surveys

Conducting customer surveys and polls used to require a lot of effort.

But customer texting services work well for acquiring customer feedback.

Now, anyone can send NPS surveys and CSAT polls. All you have to do is send a text message with a link to a Google Form. You can also use a tool like Survey Monkey.

In fact, 45% of text message users have already interacted with businesses and organizations for surveys or polls.

And these numbers are growing as more businesses and organizations start texting.

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Suggested Article: Guide to SMS Text Message Surveys and Polls

6. Automatically ask for reviews

When was the last time you checked your business or organization’s reviews? What does Google display when you search for your website?

Texting makes it easy to follow up with someone after they’ve had a great interaction with your business or organization. With texting, it’s easier to send a more timely message with a link that asks for a review.

Catch a person at the right time and they’re more likely to leave a positive review.

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Suggested Article: How to Ask for Google Reviews + Examples & Templates

SMS Templates for Customer Service

Below, I’ve added a list of customer care messages and text message customer support examples. Check out my list of 60+ text message templates for more.

Hours of operation autoresponder SMS template

Hey {{ FirstName }}. Our hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. For emergencies please call {{ OrganizationPhone }} - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Out-of-office autoresponder SMS template

Hey {{ FirstName }}. We’re currently out of the office for lunch. We’ll be available to answer your questions starting at 1pm.
You can expect a response from us then. We appreciate your patience. - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Document request SMS template

Hi {{ FirstName }}. We just wanted to remind you that we’re waiting for the [DOCUMENT] you agreed to send us. If you have any questions, please text or call us. - {{ OrganizationName }}

Appointment reminder SMS template

Hey {{ FirstName }}, just wanted to remind you of your appointment today at 3:30pm. See you then. - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Missed appointment reminder SMS template

Hi {{ FirstName }}. We’re sorry to see you missed your appointment today and hope everything is well. If you’d like to reschedule, please reply to this message or call us at {{ OrganizationPhone }}. - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Billing reminder SMS template

Hi {{ FirstName }}, it’s {{ OrganizationName }}. We just wanted to remind you that your credit card on file will be charged {{ InvoiceAmount }} on 3/25. You can view your invoice here: https://bit.ly/5UhJ9Ve
If you have any questions, please reply via text or call us at {{ OrganizationPhone }} - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Inclement weather SMS template

Hi {{ FirstName }}. Due to the weather, we’re canceling service today. We will keep you updated on all weather-related updates and future closures. - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Survey or poll SMS template

Hey {{ FirstName }} we’d love to know what you thought about your last service. Did it meet your expectations? Do you have any feedback for us?
Please take a minute to complete this survey: https://bit.ly/5UhJ9Ve. If you do, we’ll take $10 off your next service. Thanks! - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Google or Yelp review SMS template

Hi {{ FirstName }}. So happy you had such a great experience with your service today. Would you mind taking some time to leave us a review on Google?
It’s super easy and only takes a few minutes. Just follow this link: https://bit.ly/5UhJ9Ve thanks! - {{ UserName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

Try SMS Customer Service Sofware for Free

Get started with a 14-day free MessageDesk trial. No payment required. ❤️

Ready to start texting for customer support and service?

SMS customer service software can simplify your messaging and help your business or organization support customers.

When used correctly, they're a fantastic way to build and maintain positive experiences with your contacts, customers, and clients.

Start sending texts with a free MessageDesk account today. Check out our paid plans - pricing starts at just $14 per month. You’re also free to meet with a messaging expert for a demo.