Playbook: How Berkey Filters Drove Customer Adoption of a New SMS Support Channel

Morgan Smith
Morgan Smith
Last updated on 
August 11, 2022
Playbook: How Berkey Filters Drove Customer Adoption of a New SMS Support Channel
Learn how Berkey Filters launched an SMS support channel and got customers to use it over voice and email in this Support Performance Playbook.

When your company decides to launch a new support channel — usually for efficiency and customer convenience — setting it up is only half the battle. The other half is driving customers toward the new channel (and away from your old ones). Without a concerted effort for customer adoption, you risk paying for a support channel that nobody uses.

Berkey Filters, a world leader in water purification and seller of water filter systems, wanted to add SMS as a support channel for their shoppers. SMS is more convenient for on-the-go shoppers and allows agents to provide service to multiple shoppers more efficiently than other channels.

The launch was one of the most successful we’ve seen to date, both in terms of ticket efficiency and customer adoption. Within a month of launching SMS, Berkey Filters: 

  • Achieved a 2-minute average first-response time for SMS
  • Achieved a 20-minute average handle time for SMS
  • Converted 2% of tickets to SMS from more time-consuming channels
  • Decreased time-consuming phone tickets by 23%
  • Decreased time-consuming email tickets by 21%

We sat down with Jessica, the Gorgias account owner and Customer Experience Analyst for Berkey Filters, to ask how Berkey Filters achieved such suburb support stats so quickly. Jessica was generously willing to share her strategies to drive customer adoption of the new support channel. 

In this Playbook, learn about the six tactics Berkey Filters used to launch SMS, increase the number of customers using this channel, and decrease ticket volume on older channels. 

Why add SMS to your helpdesk in the first place?  

SMS is one of the fastest-growing support channels today. It’s one of five channels consumers expect from brands, alongside email, website, voice, and chat. 

Consumers love SMS because it’s fast, convenient, and always with them (even on the go). They don’t need to block off time in their day to sit by their laptop or on the phone to deal with a support situation. They can carry about their day and effortlessly reply to texts whenever they have a moment – something most people already do. 

Support managers love direct messaging channels because conversations are typically shorter and resolved faster. And as long as SMS tickets are managed in the same places as other channels, it’s easy for agents to manage. 

A cartoon hand holding a phone, with the words "SMS FASTER, ON-THE-GO SUPPORT"

Jessica was specifically interested in using the SMS channel in Gorgias for Berkey Filters to:

  1. Decrease the number of phone calls they received (because agents can only talk to one person at a time) 
  2. Decrease the number of times a customer reaches out across multiple channels for the same issue (because faster response times on SMS would make it less likely for duplicate tickets to come in) 
  3. Let customers using mobile — which accounts for half of their website visits — contact customer service on the device they’re already using
  4. Easily send photos back and forth with customers (especially because they frequently get questions about how to fix or store their products) 
  5. Offer a channel that doesn’t require a stable WiFi connection (because they have customers all over the country, including in rural areas that don’t always have reliable service) 

Jessica’s team also views SMS as a modern support channel. More and more brands want to offer a customer service experience that’s seamlessly integrated into the shopper’s day, and Berkey wanted to be an early adopter. 

While some of these benefits are pretty applicable to any store, make sure you’re clear on your “why” before adding a new support channel. This will help you know how to prioritize it compared to other channels and justify the work that goes into adding a new method of communication with your customers. 

How to add Gorgias SMS to your helpdesk

For the purposes of this playbook, we’ll assume you’ve already created your Gorgias helpdesk. If you haven’t, get started with a free trial or schedule a call with our team for a personalized demo. 

Gorgias SMS allows you to send and receive 1:1 SMS and MMS messages with your customers. To add it, go to Settings > Integrations > SMS

You’ll need a Gorgias phone number to get started. If you have one already (likely because you use Gorgias voice support), you can add the SMS integration without changing numbers. If you do not have a number yet, it’ll prompt you to create one first. 

If you already have a phone number but it isn’t owned by Gorgias, you’ll need to port it. Learn how in this help doc. 

If you’ve just added SMS (or any new channel), there are a few administrative tasks we recommend before following the steps outlined this playbook: 

  • Create a dedicated view for SMS tickets
  • Set up routing Rules for SMS tickets
  • Create SMS-specific Macros (SMS messages should probably be shorter than some of your other channels, for example) 
  • Review existing Rules to add or exclude SMS as a channel trigger

Now, we’ll share exactly how Jessica promoted SMS for Berkey Filters customers. 

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6 steps to drive customer adoption of your new SMS channel (inspired by Berkey Filters)

Jessica knew they would eventually add their SMS number directly on the Berkey Filters website, but she also knew she’d have to wait for her developer to do so. In the meantime, she started with the tools available to her in Gorgias. 

Here are six tactics Jessica used to drive adoption of the newly launched support channel: 

  1. Launch a Gorgias Chat Campaign on the Berkey Filters “Contact us” page
  2. Customize the auto-reply that was sent to new email tickets
  3. Add the SMS number directly on the “Contact us” page
  4. Promote SMS in the top banner of the website
  5. Leverage their 2 min. first response time (FRT) for SMS in messaging
  6. Maintain that FRT with an SLA view in Gorgias

Let’s break each of these down. 

1) Launch a Gorgias Chat Campaign on the Berkey Filters “Contact us” page

Even though Jessica would need to wait for her developer to update the actual page content, she knew she could launch a Gorgias Chat Campaign on the “Contact us” page to announce they now offer support via SMS. (If you don’t know, a Chat Campaign is a live chat session that automatically and proactively triggers for targeted website visitors, often to announce special promotions.) 

Here’s what their campaign looked like: 

Berkey Filters' chat box lets website visitors know about the new SMS support channel with a proactive chat campaign message.
Source: Berkey Filters

Jessica’s campaign automatically opens a live chat box announcing the launch of SMS for anyone who stays on the Berkey Filters contact page for longer than 30 seconds. That time frame is a good way to target anyone who’s clearly trying to identify the best contact method, and not someone who accidentally clicked onto the page (and would likely bounce before 30 seconds). 

To create a Chat Campaign in Gorgias, go to Settings > Integrations > Chat and select the chat widget you want to use. Click the “Create Campaign” button in the top right. 

From here, you can enter the URL(s) the campaign should appear on, set a required time spent on the page, and customize the message that displays. 

Read this help doc to learn more about chat campaigns. 

2) Customize the auto-reply on new email tickets

One of the best ways to tell customers about a new support channel is to promote it on one of your existing channels — especially to customers who are already accustomed to those existing channels and may never visit the contact page again. 

For the segment of customers who already use email to contact support, Jessica leveraged the initial auto-reply that Berkey Filters sends when a customer emails them to announce the new, faster channel. 

In addition to the standard, “Thanks for contacting us! An agent will reply back shortly,” Jessica added, “We are currently experiencing high contact volumes and will be responding as quickly as possible. Our chat and text response times are typically faster. We are now accepting text messages at 1-800-350-4170.” 

Berkey Filters' email auto-response lets emailers know about the new SMS support channel.
Source: Berkey Filters

By customizing the auto-reply to promote the new channel, Jessica met Berkey Filters’ customers where they were to make sure they knew about the latest and greatest way to get support. 

3) Add the SMS number directly on the “Contact us” page

At this point, Jessica got developer support to add the support phone number to the website. The contact page is a natural location to add any new support channel, because you know new customers will go there looking for contact information. 

Here’s what the Berkey Filters “Contact us” page looks like: 

Berkey Filters' support page visibly advertises their two fastest support channels: SMS and Live Chat.
Source: Berkey Filters

When building this page, Jessica made many intentional decisions to funnel visitors toward the new channel. Specifically, she:

  • Featured SMS next to another efficient (and therefore preferred) channel
  • Put the phone number in the headline so it’s easy to see
  • Added “Text Us” and a chat bubble visuals to clarify the number is for texting, not calls
  • Pointed out that texting is great for “Conversation On The Go,” reminding people to use the channel if they plan to step away from the computer
  • Set expectations by listing each channel’s average response time (ART) 

The lesson? When releasing a new support channel, don’t be afraid to give extra context around it to help your shoppers understand when they should use one over the other. 

4. Promote SMS in the top banner across the website

The banner at the top of the website is a high-visibility location that’s especially great for getting in front of returning customers (since they may not need to visit your contact page anymore). 

Brands usually use the top banner for promotions or sales, but Berkey Filters uses it for a mix of sales and support to cater to the entire customer experience. If you refresh their website a few times, you’ll see it rotate through three messages: 

  1. Free shipping on orders over a certain amount
  2. Chat now for an immediate response
  3. Text us for support on the go
Berkey Filters' website banner advertises their new SMS support channel.
Source: Berkey Filters

5. Promote first response time (FRT) for SMS in messaging

You might’ve picked up on this already, but Jessica was doing something really strategic with her messaging about SMS: She was promoting their first response time of 2 minutes.  

That’s fast! And therefore, a pretty compelling reason for shoppers to use it over other, slower channels like email or voice. 

Now, obviously this only works if your team is achieving a fast response time like that and willing to maintain it. (More on that in the next point.) 

What’s important is that Gorgias gives you insights into your support team’s performance. While that’s useful for internal planning (staffing, budgeting, etc.), we also highly recommend leveraging these data points with your own customers to show the value of the support you provide. 

Support stats that are great to leverage when promoting support via SMS: 

  • Global first response time
  • SMS first response time
  • Global resolution time
  • SMS resolution time
  • Global CSAT score
  • Total or percentage of tickets your brand has answered via SMS (if you’re still trying to increase adoption post-launch)

We don’t currently include SMS CSAT score in Gorgias reporting. If you’d like to measure and promote your SMS CSAT score, share that product feedback here!

6. Maintain that FRT with an SLA view in Gorgias

To help her team keep those impressive first response and resolution times, Jessica knew she needed to improve (and not just measure) those times. She set up a service-level agreement (SLA) view in Gorgias that shows SMS tickets that are open and were created more than one minute ago. 

Here’s what that looks like: 

Jessica from Berkey Filters set up a custom view in Gorgias to monitor the SMS support channel's first response time.
Source: Gorgias

This view sits at the top of their sidebar along with a few other SLA-based channel views, so agents can quickly prioritize what tickets they should solve next. 

In addition to the view, Jessica created an Auto-Reply Rule that sends the first message to an SMS ticket. 

This message thanks the customer for texting support, and states the business hours for Berkey Filters. We love how this helps set expectations right from the start, especially for customers who might text in outside of these hours. (So they don’t text again waiting for a reply!) 

Here’s what that Rule looks like: 

Gorgias Rules let Berkey Filters send an auto-response to all incoming texts that go unanswered for a minute to reduce FRT.
Source: Gorgias

Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that Jessica was also incredibly intentional about rolling all of this out to the Berkey Filters agents. Specifically, she involved them in the decision to launch the new channel, trained them on the new system, and made sure they were prepared before launch. 

None of this would be possible if agents were unsure how to handle incoming SMS tickets or use the SLA view.

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Berkey Filters’ results from adding support via SMS

We’ve already teased some of the impact that Berkey Filters has seen since adding SMS support, but how does it all add up? 

In their first 30 days using Gorgias SMS, Berkey Filters: 

  • Closed over 250 SMS tickets
  • Sent almost 1400 messages via SMS
  • Achieved a 2-minute first response time
  • Achieved 20-minute resolution time
  • Converted 2% of all tickets to SMS
  • Decreased phone calls by 23%
  • Decreased emails by 21%

That’s remarkable! And while those stats certainly speak to the high quality of their support team, they first needed to make customers aware and excited about the new channel.  If you decide to launch a new support channel, we recommend following Berkey’s lead and creating an intentional adoption campaign to accompany the launch. 

Get your customers excited about texting your brand and deflect tickets from time-consuming channels

Prioritizing SMS shifts customer service conversations to a “live” channel where agents can help multiple customers at once, giving everyone a better experience. 

And even if you’re strained for resources (like waiting for your developer to be able to update your store’s site) you can follow Berkey Filters’ lead and use other features and channels in Gorgias to start promoting your new channel.

To get started with Gorgias SMS, log into your helpdesk or click here to sign up for free.

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