Building Trust in Text-based Customer Support: Tips for Authentic Communication

Marisa Wilson
11 min read
Mar 12, 2024
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Customer service has evolved into a defining and important aspect of modern brands, with almost all consumers reporting that it influences where they shop.

86% of customers consider communicating with a real person at a given business crucial. Without the confidence of a quality connection, these customers have no problem finding new brands that offer better service.

Retaining customers is crucial to business success, and investing a little to keep current customers can save costs compared to acquiring new ones.

With increased competition in nearly every industry, customers expect more, and the status quo isn’t enough. Creating memorable experiences is essential to your business to avoid being left behind.

Direct and meaningful communication with employees and your audience is vital, and the most effective way to do this is through short message service (SMS). Why is it so effective? It's helpful in building trust in a digital world.

Cell phone usage

For starters, 97% of Americans own a cell phone and spend up to six hours daily on these devices. Moreover, 90% of that time is spent on messaging apps and social media rather than web surfing.

This audience is highly engaged; many smartphone users do not own computers or have internet service at home.

Their phones are a vital portal to your business model, making text messages ideal for reaching most customers. Your messages are more likely to get a response than other channels because they get seen.

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What is text-based customer support?

Text-based customer service, or SMS customer service, refers to customer support conducted through text messaging to employees of a business.

This includes support provided through SMS customer support platforms and third-party messaging apps like Messenger or WhatsApp. Being easy to contact helps in building support because it shows you want to help.

How does it work?

By using text messaging for customer service, employees can provide updates and notifications, resolve customer inquiries, conduct surveys and reviews, and track products, all through a few text messages.

Most text-based customer service strategies employ SMS customer service software to manage larger volumes of messages, minimize errors, communicate, and maintain organization.

Utilizing software or a texting platform helps track messages, organize data, and streamline notification and update processes.

When using text-based customer service, building trust is essential. The following sections will discuss trust building and why it matters.

Trust building in text-based customer service

Building trust is vital for a successful business. It's not just about the quality of your products or services or your belief in your employees and partners.

Trust extends to your customers or clients as well. Without trust, you'll only have one-time customers or customers who are not committed and will leave at the slightest issue. That's why it's essential to earn their trust. 

How to build trust and personal relationships

Avoid making promises that cannot be kept. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver. If you are building trust, it doesn't happen automatically.


It's essential to have companies with a customer service line available during work hours and, if possible, 24/7.


Fluctuations in quality can lead to mistakes, a loss of customers, and a decline in your business' reputation. This can lead to trust issues.


Make your brand's reputation transparent by showcasing positive and negative reviews and demonstrating how you address issues. This will help build trust along with being transparent. Let’s look at transparency in more detail.

Brand transparency and building trust

Customer loyalty is achieved through simple acts of honesty from business leaders and their employees.

By being transparent, customers will feel more comfortable trusting relationships and supporting your brand.

Brand transparency is about being upfront, honest, and truthful regarding your company, products, prices, and overall business operations. Building trust means you are trustworthy in all parts of your decision-making.

How transparency is communicated

Transparency is communicated by being open in all aspects of your business, your communication, your company's accessibility, and even your capacity and willingness to acknowledge and rectify mistakes. Being transparent is crucial for building trust.

Businesses are not always flawless, and things do not always go as planned. Therefore, no matter whether you have to change prices abruptly or modify a popular service, customers expect you to be honest about the "why" you stand behind it and what you will do to address it. Your honest actions and decision making will help in building trust.

Personalizing messages

Customers seek a strong connection with the brands they follow. SMS customer service provides personalized interactions, reflecting your brand's unique personality and demonstrating how much you value your customers' time. 

Offering consistent service and establishing a personal connection with clients helps in building trust.

Text-based customer service helps you enhance your brand and establish a foundation for lasting relationships and long-term customer loyalty.

Personalized messages are essential for building trust because it doesn't come off as a generic response.

How to personalize messages 

Automated SMS and email communications are favored by many employees because they can be scaled quickly.

However, the downside is that they can sound impersonal. Add the customer or employee's name and dynamic content, such as order numbers or product details, to personalize your messages.

SMS technology allows for accessible and effective communication between customers and employees, but some platforms only offer one-way communication, limiting the benefits.

To show customers your dedication to their satisfaction, enable two-way texting and make it user-friendly.

Effective use of language tone

When employees respond to a customer complaint, it's important to apologize genuinely but not dwell on it.

You should focus on what you will do to solve the problem. Don't waste the customer's time with unnecessary pleasantries.

Match your tone to theirs to further build trust, rapport, and understanding. If the customer is formal, don't use informal language, and vice versa.

This will make the customer feel more comfortable, build trust, and help them understand your message more efficiently.

Tips to manage language and tone 

Building trust has a lot of factors and how you use language and tone can help. People tend to feel like someone is paying attention to them and matching their way of speaking helps them build trust with team members.

Read aloud

Body language accounts for roughly 65% of communication, and tone of voice accounts for about 38%.

Your words only account for a small fraction of your overall message. When communicating with a customer in person or over the phone, you can use your body language and tone of voice to your advantage.

However, expressing your intended tone or meaning can be hard when communicating through digital channels like email, live chat, and social media.

Without the benefit of body language or tone of voice, it's easy for customers to misunderstand or misinterpret your message.

One helpful technique you can try while composing an email or responding to a customer through live chat is to speak out loud.

This will help you anticipate how your message will be received by the customers and assist you in adding more descriptive phrases to clarify an issue further or show empathy.

Since you cannot physically show your concern, slightly exaggerating it when communicating through a non-verbal medium is acceptable.

Don't be pessimistic 

The best customer service representatives are determined to find solutions to problems and maintain a positive attitude.

While there is no definitive list of words to use or avoid in customer service, some phrases are often overused or not personalized enough.

Say "you," not "I," as much as possible

One of the most valuable tips I received for customer service is to use "you" language when composing an email.

"You" means using the noun "you" to address the customer directly. This approach subtly shifts the focus onto the customer's own needs.

This helps them feel like they have the service agent's full attention and receive direct feedback on their inquiry. It helps build trust when you feel validated.

The importance of timely and consistent responses

Customers who trust your brand expect you to fulfill your promises. This means being dependable and providing a consistent experience whenever they engage with your business.

Here is an example

For example, if you say you'll respond the same day, do it. Reliability involves delivering products or services on time without unexpected delays or surprises.

It also means offering excellent customer support that is responsive, helpful, and takes actionable steps.

Being consistent

Consistent means always keeping high-quality standards to ensure customers can always count on your employees to deliver great customer service.

Show that you appreciate and respect your customer's time by promptly addressing their needs.

Make it your goal for employees to provide quick and efficient responses to customers. Being responsive demonstrates that you value their concerns and are committed to delivering excellent service.

Empathy in digital conversations

Psychologists have classified empathy into three types:

All three types of empathy can be used by employees in customer service. Emotional empathy can facilitate better communication and foster a connection between the agent and the customer. 

Cognitive empathy can help employees to understand customers' situations better.

Finally, behavioral empathy uses all this information to drive meaningful, actionable steps that benefit the customer.

Customer relationships

Customer service is not just about satisfying the customer. It is about employees providing assistance and support that strengthens the customer relationship and fosters customer loyalty.

According to Forrester, companies miss the mark when focusing only on customer satisfaction because satisfaction does not guarantee customer loyalty. 

What drives customer loyalty is making customers feel respected, valued, and understood.

Let's focus on the keyword "understood" here. You may give customers what they want but cannot generate customer loyalty without empathy and understanding.

70% of consumers will likely shop exclusively with businesses that understand what matters to them.

Navigating difficult conversations builds trust

Employees should start with empathy when dealing with difficult situations via text-based customer service.

Once you empathize with the customer, you should follow the same principles you would use in person.

Another way to handle a frumpled customer is to avoid reacting negatively to their anger.

Practice active listening and make sure to repeat what the customer is saying. When frustrated customers have expressed their complaints, reflect their concerns to them in a way that shows them that they have been heard and understood.

Whether or not an acceptable resolution is offered can make or break the customer experience. To begin with, approach the problem with a mindset of finding a resolution.

You don't want to receive negative reviews or have negative interactions. Take the time to develop and communicate your solutions as if all customers are watching you.

Feedback loops for continuous improvement

A feedback loop is a cycle of improvement where the outcomes of an action are used as inputs for subsequent actions.

Imagine you run an online store and want to know how your customers feel about their shopping experience.

How it works

You collect feedback from them to identify improvement areas, such as your website's user interface, products, and customer service protocols.

The changes you make based on this feedback, in turn, create an improved experience for the customers, initiating the loop anew.

Collecting, evaluating, and applying data to refine processes is called a feedback loop. Your customers are the best source of feedback. 

The results

As a result, addressing customer feedback and actively making changes is the best approach for making the most of your customer interactions.

Though a customer feedback loop traditionally involves responding to your customer, passing that feedback to your internal teams is also essential to help improve your offering and overall customer service.

Balancing automation and personal touch in the business world

Organizations can use AI to analyze customer interactions across touchpoints and gain insights into why customers are reaching out for support.

This can help agents provide better, more personalized service during each interaction.

Before assigning an agent to a call or chat, AI can determine which agent best addresses a specific case and automatically gives the conversation to them.

How AI can help employees

AI can also provide employees with recommended next steps for customers during support interactions, such as suggested resources to share or tailored agent scripts based on the customer's history with the company.

AI can be particularly helpful in identifying customers at risk of churn and proactively alerting the appropriate employee to provide tailored support. ​

Connect with customers

LiveChat is a complete customer service platform that delights your customers and fuels your sales.

Trusted by 36,000+ companies

Free 14-day trial


Using text-based customer service support has several benefits to employees and customers. However, there are some essential elements to remember to build trust. You want to be transparent and take feedback seriously. Consider matching the customer's tone through text to make the customers feel connected, which helps build trust. 

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