Face it, your customers don’t want to talk on the phone, they want to communicate with you the way they do with everyone else, using text. Sure, this is a generational issue but the young are getting older. Moreover, the parents and grandparents of all those kids have learned something very important in the past decade… If they want to communicate with their younger family members, they better buy a pair of reading glasses and learn to text.
But many companies aren’t prepared for a world where customers text them. Sure, there is chat capability at a lot of company sites but a number for texting? No way. It’s rare to see this beyond a small company where the owner’s cell phone receives the SMS.
This is where TextGen comes in. CEO Thomas Howe, a veteran of tech and telecom spoke with me yesterday about how his company allows texting to be brought into a company the way a PBX connects them to the voice world. He also jokingly said how funny it is that after spending billions to enable the world’s citizens to speak to each other, we just learned people prefer texting.
One example of using the service to streamline a business process is placing unique telephone numbers on printers which customers can use to text to when toner is low. Phone numbers can be associated with specific printer lines or can be linked just to a specific type of toner.
In another example, they worked with Westinghouse Digital to help the company with accurately determining the number of people using the digital tuners in its TVs. You see, it was paying royalties on 100% of the TVs shipped but not all consumers were using the tuners. They subsequently began to require consumers to text in to have their tuners activated. The two positives were that only 10% of the consumers needed the digital tuner, meaning they saved 90% on royalties and the company was able to find out who was using their TVs. This latter benefit was important as the products are typically sold through distribution channels.
Using a sophisticated form of middleware, TextGen can translate messages in various languages – can remember questions and answers to repeat them if needed and can work with your company to accurately respond to routine questions. The system can escalate to a live person if needed, can scale, can be programmed using a script (see example above) and finally can ensure your company complies with best practices for texting which will keep you clear of regulators and angry carriers according to Howe.
In addition, it can work with Twitter, Facebook, Kik, WhatsApp and other texting platforms to communicate.
It’s worth noting, other companies I have encountered in the past who are also innovating in the texting market are Nice Systems who is also attacking this customer service problem and ZipWhip which is associating non-wireless numbers with texting accounts.
In the future, we can expect natural language processing from TextGen as a new and exciting feature which should cut down on manual intervention. In the meantime, the company has a great opportunity to bring new models to texting while ensuring people who don’t like to talk on the phone have a way to communicate with companies in a manner in which they are most comfortable.
Here are some use cases
(Update) See an earlier interview with TextGen conducted by TMC’s Erik Linask