In what language do you converse with your customers who call into your call centre? In what language are your marketing and sales calls? Is it predominantly in regional languages? If yes, why leave out your SMS communications in English? Using Exotel, you can send out SMS is any of the languages, be it part of your call flow, or from the dashboard or as just a SMS campaign. Some of our customers have done some very good integration with SMS, and have experimented with sending out regional SMSes and have found encouraging results.
A case study in numbers
One of our customers, an NGO uses SMS-es extensively to reach their members for fund raising. For one of their campaigns, they tried a SMS blast to their members in their regional language. The results were extremely encouraging for them. There was a 8.1% increase in the response rates compared to campaigns in English, referral growth saw an increase of 23.6% and an impressive 13% of their inactive members responded to the SMS. 13% in their case amounts to 1,31,000 members and they had been inactive for greater than six months. For them the ability to get back the inactive users was a big win.
Talking to your customer in their language has its own charm and pull. At the same time, you need to get it right. It needs some good research about your customers and target audience. If you are responding with an SMS from the call flow, you need to be absolutely sure that the caller does know the language in which you are responding. A naive implementation that responds with an SMS based on the region of the caller can go wrong easily.
Bangalore is a wonderful place. When I first moved here one of the striking things I noticed was that most of the locals spoke many languages. I remember once walking into a clinic with my dad, and the doctor greeted us in our mother tongue much to our surprise. He said a considerable number of his patients were from other states and he gets it right 70% of the time, and when he got it right it helped him break the ice quickly. Ah, I digressed a bit there, but it is a nice “Bangalore moment” story in a way related to this post. If your callers are from Bangalore, and you send them SMS-es in Kannada, a good part of your customers might not be able to read it. Another issue you need to consider is the handset of your customers – while most of the smart phones render unicode(regional) SMS-es well, the older phones do not. The SMS-es would show up garbled. Hence know your demographics well. A little research on who your customers/users are would vastly help to get it right.
Integrate, Experiment and Measure
One of the advantages to use cloud telephony products rather than a in house black box to manage your call center is the ability to integrate with different other software components, and hence the ability to dynamically respond to calls. Exotel provides some powerful features that makes this integration simple. A lot of Exotel customers have done deep integration with popular CRMs like SalesForce, SugarCRM, Pipedrive, Zoho, as well as their own in house software. They record every call and SMS interaction there and also uses the data in their software to dynamically control their call flow – for example respond with a customized SMS, or connect them to a particular department. The other advantage is it lets you measure.
When you send your SMS in local languages, measure how many folks react to it. Your call to action might be a visit to the website or a call back. Measure your ROI, in case your responses drop , experiment with the content (do this irrespective of whether it is in regional language or not), tweak it and test. In case you have not integrated with a CRM, you can still measure if your call to action is for your customers to callback. In such cases, use different numbers in your SMS message for people to callback. You can measure by just seeing the number of calls you get on the number. Go ahead, talk to your customers in their language using SMS, measure and see if it works well for you.