The Benefits of Utilizing SMS Texting and 2-Way Chat With Customers
The transition to immediate communication has evolved beyond a luxury or novelty and into what most people consider a minimum requirement.
A handwritten letter received in the mail communicates something beyond the actual words in the letter. It means the other person took the time to handcraft their words, organize their thoughts and maybe add an illustration. It’s more than the sum of its parts.
A handwritten letter is a great marketing or sales piece when communicating with customers, but it’s not the most efficient or expedient way to communicate that someone’s house is on fire or that someone may have broken into a customer’s house.
More and more, people rely on and expect immediate communication; “I want it now!” or “I need it to be clear and concise.” Almost everything else in your life communicates with you through your phone. Work when you’re home, home when you’re at work, the news you’re interested in, Amber alerts, weather warnings, games, etc.
The transition to immediate communication has evolved beyond a luxury or novelty and into what most people consider a minimum requirement. Why should your alarm system, or monitoring company be any different?
In the alarm monitoring industry, this move to immediacy from the personalized touch of a phone call is being replaced with concise and accessible electronic communications via SMS notifications or two-way chat features. Both features create a more efficient mode of communication with end users when the alarm is activated.
Think about this: there are plenty of times throughout the day when you can’t take a call but you can glance at a text, or you may not even want to pick it up for fear it may be an unknown caller or someone asking you about your extended warranty.
Texts are easier to read and refer back to for information than trying to recall a 30-second conversation with someone several minutes or even hours after the event. There is little chance of misinterpretation as well because there is no background noise, potential language barriers or a bad phone connection; simple and clear information.
Another great benefit of using SMS notifications is that, unlike calls that are often ignored anyway, text messages are sent in a fraction of the time it takes to make a call. Texts are immediate and accurate and provide lightning-fast communication to your subscribers.
If you’re a business owner with multiple locations you can see in just a glance the name, the address, what zone and what action has been taken when an alarm was activated at one of your locations. You can scroll through past notifications and immediately see if it was the same zone that went off last week or the week before.
In addition to SMS notifications, almost all monitoring centers have two-way chat services. This can help your subscribers communicate not only with the monitoring center but also with other responding parties on the call list to find out what’s going on at the location and make informed decisions about their security such as whether or not the police department should be dispatched.
For example, when an alarm is activated at a residence, a family can discuss, in a secure chat room, among themselves whether the authorities should be dispatched or whether Junior just got home from practice and didn’t put the code in quickly enough.
At a business, a group of maintenance members or employees can discuss whether they were expecting a delivery coming in early, or everyone can confirm they’re not at the store and the authorities should be dispatched.
Talk to your monitoring center and see what sort of SMS notification and two-way chat features they are integrated with that can help improve alarm communications with your customers. Most SMS and two-way chat features can be customized to fit your company message and brand. You can pick what types of signals to use for SMS notification and two-way chat.
For example, lower priority signals can be sent to the customer via SMS while high priority alarms like intrusion or fire can be sent via two-way chat so all the important parties can communicate with each other and freeing up dispatcher time for real emergencies.
Similar to the personal touch of the handwritten letter, you can personalize their service for them, customize your message, and give them faster response times by giving your customers the option to take advantage of text and chat notifications. The innovation and convenience of these services is in itself a modern handwritten letter from the monitoring center to your customer.
Mike Lamb is Administration & Compliance Manager for UCC.
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