We’re living in a mobile age where texting is second nature to most people with a mobile phone and text messaging is increasingly used for business communications. Short message services (SMS) open up a number of capabilities for businesses of any size to deliver information to customers that keeps them in the loop and offers customer satisfaction. Dr Pieter Streicher, Managing Director of BulkSMS.com, a provider of messaging services to businesses, discusses the latest developments in SMS communications.

Text messaging is a well-received technology that people understand. It is quick, easy and low cost and as a business communications tool, more and more companies are leveraging its operational benefits.

Businesses are increasingly using a type of messaging known as application-to-person (A2P) where the messaging is integrated into back-office systems to be triggered automatically; saving time and keeping operational costs down. As well as the actual efficiencies that A2P messaging makes possible, it’s in its value as a customer care tool that it really enhances a business’ relationship with its customers. You only have to imagine the time taken in trying to contact customers by phone, leaving voice mails if they’re not around and never quite knowing if the message was listened to in order to appreciate that a text message, which is in most cases nearly instantly received, opened, and read by a customer, makes the whole customer contact process faster and more efficient.

As a medium for sending concise notifications to customers, SMS text messages are simple and easily understood. The immediate provision of information is important for businesses; enabling them to differentiate their services through using SMS communications as an added value. In retail, for instance, using SMS for order updates reassures customers at every step of the way that the services are being delivered within the promised timeframe; and according to the agreed parameters of the task.

Reassurance builds confidence and loyalty

As an example of it in action, SMS communication is the main means by which a concierge self-service online platform called Dash2do consolidates relationships with its customer base. Dash2do offers personal and business services that take the hassle out of daily life. It uses BulkSMS’s text messaging solution at all levels in the business; from accepting job bookings to assigning tasks to relevant staff members. Its services rely on trust to build brand loyalty and using the messaging platform offers a mobile technology that demonstrates the company’s dedication to customer-centricity through frequent and relevant customer updates.

The mobile messaging infrastructure supports a communications flow connecting customers with on-going progress updates. The process minimises customer complaints by taking more concerns off the customers’ shoulders. Dash2do has also integrated the capability to its back-end systems to make the tracking of all bookings easier and increase the efficiency of its call centre operations.

The communication value of A2P messaging can only be realised if the database of intended message recipients is created in accordance with privacy regulations and data protection laws. Customers must opt-in to receive SMS communications. A business should always use a targeted, permission based database of contact when running outbound SMS campaign. If this process is not followed then any communication is spam, and the company sending the message can suffer as a result; it will certainly not gain or retain customers.

Acquisition of customers through an opt-in process should be considered as an important part of the budget when planning a mobile marketing campaign. This process creates a targeted, permission-based audience. Thereafter, relevant and useful communication adds to the CRM activities of a business and builds loyalty.

Messaging means business

In an age of increasing mobility, time is a valuable commodity. A text message platform cost-effectively complements human interaction by providing timely, non-intrusive information updates on the progress of fulfilling customer requests. It gives customers peace of mind and adds value to your business operations.