Just How Much is Text Messaging Underutilized in Customer Service?

Being a rider of mass transit in and out of New York City via New Jersey Transit (NJT), I understand the value of texting messaging within the context of customer service. NJT provides SMS alert advisors to riders who sign up when foul weather or mechanical difficulties conspire to cause delays.

So when I came across this CRM – daily.com article about a 911 call center in Iowa becoming the first to accept text messages, it got my thinking. Now while the idea of texting a 911 dispatcher when my place is on fire, I’m choking, or being assailed by mugger doesn’t exactly instill confidence in me, I think text messaging is still underutilized as a customer service medium to save time and deliver more efficient service. Here are a few examples I’ve either thought up of or come across in all my reading up on CRM.

Restaurants – In Sydney and parts of Europe, restaurants don’t take down your name or give you a pager…they take your mobile number and send you an SMS when your table is ready.

Long Lines – Waiting for a service…whether it be the DMV or some other government office or simply waiting to get your car repaired…is the worse as these events usually waste an entire day of somebody’s life. Text messaging could save hours, either by checking in and receiving texts within 30 minutes of your name being called or being able to register with the dealership when business is slow.

Field Service – Perhaps the mother of all service delivery conundrums: the house call to install TV, Internet, phone or to make a repair to a major appliance. There is nothing more annoying than sitting around all day during a 6-hour window and contemplating whether you can start your next “to-do” without the doorbell ringing a few seconds later. Text messaging could shrink the window to an hour or two – enabling people to do close to home errands or at least narrow down their waiting time.

I know I’ve missed literally dozens of other examples where texting messaging can apply, so feel free to comment on those you think are no-brainers.