Use SMS to Engage Your Customers
What is SMS?
SMS stands for Short Message Service, and is a more technical term for what we know as a text message. With SMS which does not need a data package, one can send a message of up to 160 characters to another device. Longer messages are normally split up into multiple messages. MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service and can send a message including pictures, video and audio content to another device. MMS does require a data package.
How to implement SMS technology
SMS API technology has advanced a great deal, thanks to companies like Twilio. These APIs make it easier to implement web, mobile and desktop applications to include SMS technologies. Having 20+ years of experience in both telecom and software applications world, and specializing in API technology and implementation, as Web Services Pros, we can help you incorporate SMS technology, advanced email processing and tracking and telephony in to your software applications.
Although it is not as popular as it is in South Korea or India, in the US, our use of texting (SMS, MMS, Whatsapp or other chat messaging channels) has become more and more an integral part of our days.
From a personal usage perspective, we have adapted texting as one of our most preferred methods of communications. To learn more about the differences between SMS and MMS visit here 5
It may have started out as a type of message that could be sent now but did not need to be responded right away”, or “just letting you know” type of message when we let someone know what we are doing, and has evolved to be a type of communication that we can carry on in multiple dialogs with several people on completely unrelated subjects, simultaneously, instead of many many calls we would have to make.
It is also a method of communication acceptable even at odd hours of the day when we cannot call someone but can easily text them.
Texting is no longer a place where we feel violated to receive messages from people we know and sometimes even we do not know, but it has become an accepted place where we are getting messages and notifications from businesses as a reliable method of communication over many other available technologies.
A great tool for business communication
From a business perspective, utilized properly, texting has an incredible potential to communicate with the customers as a secure and fast, and an interactive bi-directional communication tool without violating their personal space.
“When it comes to notification messages,
SMS is not only an accepted way of being communicated by the customers, but is also their preferred, expected, reliable and the trusted method of communication.”
“The global average open rate of SMS is 94%.”2
The important difference is a few words in natural language being typed in SMS and getting an answer instead of being required to visit many login and web pages to get the same information. Some simple examples:
The requests can be processed via the receiving computer and a short answer or a link can be provided to the customer who just texted a simple, a few words, natural language question vs having to search and visit many web pages to get the same information.
“It is only a matter of time when it will be indispensable for the consumers using the natural language when searching for information v.s. the traditional way browsing to get what they want.
SMS vs Push notifications
Unlike SMS, inline push notifications are messages that are sent from a backend of an application to a user and require internet connectivity. Push notifications and SMS may seem similar to a user as to how they both pop-up on a mobile device in a similar fashion, but they are different in terms of the technologies they use and how they are perceived statistically speaking. Push notifications seem to have a less sense of urgency and engagement compared to SMS notification. While SMS has a 94% 1 open rate, push notifications have up to 65% 3 open rate.
SMS is often used when communicating with a client who does not have an app, while push notifications are used in mobile applications.
Both push notifications and SMS messages are effective channels of direct communication with users of a mobile application. They are not incompatible or mutually exclusive and may be used in one app simultaneously to enrich the user experience. Every business decides for itself what best fits its goals.
SMS open rates 1
SMS vs Email
While both technologies are used to deliver messages to the recipients, there are some key differences as to what, how and how urgently they are delivered. As displayed below in Twilio’s “Email vs SMS” graph below, emails are used when the content is larger and more informative, but not as timely, and SMS are used when messages are more urgent and important but short. However, both technologies used together, they become very effective.
Like any high tech communication tool, SMS is also bound to be abused. Words like opt-in, opt-out, P2P, A2P, TCPA, and the CTIA could sound like a technology being highly regulated. However, implemented correctly, SMS is a powerful technology welcomed by the users.
The purpose of both the U.S. regulatory and telecommunication industry is to ensure that people do not receive SMS communication that they do not want to receive. In other words, people should only receive SMS communications from businesses or organizations they want to receive.
As a business or organization, should be your goal to send SMS communications to individuals who only want to receive them and unwanted SMS communications are a source of irritation and can result in potential damage to your business' brand.
Luckily, this is where the best practices outlined in this white paper 4 can help. Twilio’s best practices outline the industry-standard ways that organizations ensure that the messages they send are, in fact, wanted by the people receiving them, and in the process, ensure that they are in compliance with regulatory and industry requirements.