Mobile phone users have their devices within reach an average of 14 hours a day, making text messaging the most immediate way to communicate. The rise of free messaging applications caused predictions that SMS’s reign was coming to an end, however, the data says something very different. With 8.3 trillion text messages sent last year, this is not a form of communication that is going away. SMS can be sent and received by anyone with a mobile phone, regardless of any apps they have downloaded, installed updates or the age of their phone. This makes it universally usable in a way that free apps and services cannot replicate.
It was only a matter of time before businesses found a way to integrate text messaging into their marketing and customer success strategies. The most effective way to utilize SMS for business has evolved from basic person to person text exchanges to business and automation to person exchanges. Let’s take a look at these three types of SMS communication and the value they have for business to consumer communications.
Person to Person (P2P)
Americans exchange on average 2X as many texts as calls making SMS the communications method customers engage with most frequently. It is also a very personal form of communication because it brings an immediacy that cannot be replicated by calling, email or instant messenger.
Business to Person (B2P)
Customers preferred B2P texting activities are to check order status (38 percent), schedule or change an appointment (32 percent) and make or confirm reservations (31 percent). This form of communication also enables support agents to easily help a higher volume of customers in a shorter window of time.
Automation to Person (A2P)
Millennials prefer automated text messaging over IVR. The rise of automated text solutions is the newest use case for SMS and is also the one with the largest growth opportunity. Automated text solutions allow you to type the information needed to eliminate errors caused by mispronunciation, words the system might not know or background noise.
Starting off on the right foot
There is incredible value in texting for business, so now what? When building a business communications platform you have decisions to make about how you want to engage with customers, especially when it comes to text messaging.
Short code numbers, text-enabled numbers that are only five digits long, are easy to remember and convenient for texting in high volumes. However, they lack the ability for your customer to communicate with you in a personalized way and can easily be seen as spam. Long code numbers provide a more personal form of communication by allowing your customer to carry on an in-depth conversation with your business. These numbers are the length of a standard phone number which makes them the most versatile type of text messaging for your business. Long code numbers can also receive calls and voicemails allowing your business to reach customers through whatever method they prefer at a given time, whether that is texting or calling.
Embrace the future of Customer Engagement
As we see more businesses turn to texting solutions to provide a top tier customer experience the need for easy to integrate messaging capabilities is greater than ever. There are a variety of ways to do this however, nothing gives you the same level of control as APIs. By integrating SMS into your applications and services through a Communications API the evolution of business to customer communication is completely in your hands.