TECHNOLOGY

Customer service–it’s just a text away at Lamps Plus

BY Dan Berthiaume

Specialty lighting retailer Lamps Plus is giving customers shelter from any issues or concerns via direct SMS text message.

Lamps Plus is now allowing customers to send texts with questions to any of its 37 stores to receive immediate answers from store associates. Customers can make mobile inquiries about product availability, product details and other lighting and home furnishing questions, and receive quick answers from an associate.

Operating a mobile website instead of an app, Lamps Plus enables customers to interact by texting directly with any of the company’s stores from their phone’s SMS app. The service itself is free, although the customer’s own message and data rates may apply.

In each store, the manager or assistant manager carries a dedicated company iPhone during store hours to respond to customers’ texts. The local store can be reached by customers in store areas once they tap the “Check Store Availability” option from every mobile product website page, leading to a page where a “Text Store for Availability” prompt generates an initial SMS message about that product. Customers can also find stores’ text numbers on store pages, in customer marketing emails, and inside printed catalogs.

Customers can also send photos to ask about adding products to their home’s interior design or they can request product photos and videos from the store. Texting responses from store employees can include photos of products or parts of products, like switches or chandelier bulbs, depending on customer requests. A product’s functionality or a three-dimensional view can be shared through video by the store associate.

According to Lamps Plus, since the service went into initial pilot in December 2018, the most frequently sent customer texts are about product availability, sizes, colors, and other design features. Lamps Plus says that typically, text message conversations last for several exchanges before ending, often with a customer making a product reservation or a transition to a phone call for a purchase. Products can be reserved through text for purchase and pick-up in-store, although actual purchases are only accepted through phone calls for security purposes.

Since pilot launch, this customer service option has grown to thousands of customer texts to stores per week. While the frequency and volume of text message conversations has doubled from the number of store calls, the amount of calls has remained the same.

“We consider customer-to-store texting to be important for the future of brick-and-mortar customer service,” said Dennis Swanson, founder and CEO of Lamps Plus. “Customers have shown they want the convenience of reaching their local Lamps Plus store through texting. While we prioritize all in-bound store phone calls, texting adds another level of ease for customers to get answers and details through one-to-one interaction.”

Lamps Plus uses customer mobile numbers only for text conversations with the store. Customers can opt out of text communications with a request.

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