When is SMS the best choice for business communication?

Published on 29 July 2015

By Dr Piet Streicher

Faced with the rise in instant messaging applications, SMS has been under major scrutiny from customers suggesting that IM’s have killed the need for SMS messaging. With customer arguments concluding that SMS messaging is an outdated form of communication, the questions still remain then – why is SMS messaging thriving as a channel for business communication and when would SMS be the better choice when faced with the opportunity of communicating via any one of the other Instant Messaging applications.

SMS messaging was first used in December in 1992 and has since become one of the most widely used features on any mobile phone. According to recent experience sampling conducted by the Pew Research Centre based in Washington DC, text messaging is the most widely used smartphone feature, even amongst younger smartphone users.

While SMS may not be able to compete with the low cost of applications like WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat and Snapchat, SMS still has the upper hand on many fronts. Where IM’s offer low cost communication, the higher cost of SMS communication reduces spam as the sender actually has to pay to send a message. Where IM’s promise personal communication, SMS promises to remain versatile for both personal and business communications. Even though IM’s promise instant response, they come coupled with limitations that SMS evades. For example, in order to communicate effectively via an Instant Messaging app, the people you wish to communicate with also need to have the app downloaded onto their device which excludes basic feature phone users. Where SMS platforms offer managing and sending to large global databases, IM’s require that the necessary contacts be saved to your personal device. Where IM’s promise social networking opportunities, SMS promises to remain a trusted communication tool for both person to person and application to person messaging. With the myriad of applications available across various smartphone devices, SMS still remains integral to communication in the twenty-first century and can be used for versatile and creative communications.

Here are some examples of when SMS messaging is the better choice for electronic business communications:

  1. SMS is a universal communication tool and can be delivered to any mobile phone.
  2. SMS communications can be sent to rural areas or areas with poor internet connection.
  3. SMS offers reliable and targeted communications.
  4. SMS is short and sweet and offers concise and clear communications with consumers and colleagues. By using responsive bulk SMS messaging platforms you can steer clear of the inundation of replies and messages that are synonymous with IM group chats and save the recipients from receiving replies and responses from all other group members.
  5. SMS allows for consumer communication and interaction via SMS Shortcodes or Incoming Long Numbers.
  6. SMS API’s can be incorporated into system processes to offer automated application to person communication.