Enterprises in various industries are realizing the significant benefits that incorporating messaging functionality into their customer engagement strategies can have on improving user experience and increasing overall ROI on IT investments.
However, despite these benefits and the technologies available, there is still an overarching disconnect between how businesses communicate with their customers and how individuals interact with one another. For example, 98 percent of smartphone owners text on a regular basis, yet as little as only 14 percent of businesses regularly use text messaging to communicate with their customers. The divide lies in text messaging, but the gap is getting smaller.
At Flowroute, we have witnessed firsthand the growing interest from businesses looking to leverage the power of SMS and MMS, and feel it is necessary to continue bridging the disconnect in communication patterns by helping business decision makers in all industries understand the power SMS and MMS can hold.
In contrast to email communication, consumers are more likely to open and respond to a text message from a business. For example, SMS message open rates have been found to be as high as 98 percent. Businesses that leverage SMS could drastically improve the quality and frequency of interactions they have with their customers. Further, with (Multimedia Messaging Service) MMS, users get all the benefits of SMS, plus the ability to send visually rich content such as images, video and audio, which can add even more value and efficiency to interactions.
Enterprises that have yet to invest in SMS and MMS and are instead relying on less effective forms of communication like email, could be putting their customer relationships at risk. Luckily, incorporating messaging services into a business’ current customer service model and existing applications is easier than one may think. For instance, Flowroute’s SMS/MMS features can be easily integrated into existing applications through telecom APIs. In using our messaging features, enterprises can turn their business phone numbers into a more immediate, engaging customer experience.
Below are four steps decision makers and developers should consider when adding SMS/MMS to their portfolios:
- Get the internal support of stakeholders who value messaging capabilities. Before integrating messaging features, it is important to make sure these tools will be valuable for your customer base. Communication offerings such as texting, video chat and even audio calling are not one size fits all solutions. Securing consensus from key stakeholders and external audiences before integrating messaging features into customer service strategies will help yield the best results.
- Do your background research on APIs. With the various API offerings on the market, it is important for a business to do its background research to find a messaging API that aligns both with the company’s needs and its industry.
- Test integration and messaging deployment. To ensure messaging features are working effectively, an enterprise should pilot and test its messaging services before deploying the communication campaign directly to consumers. A “trial period” provides the opportunity to monitor the deployment process and address any issues before rolling out.
- Update customers and partners. A business should inform customers and partners of its plan to incorporate messaging services and compile feedback, if possible. You will likely receive positive feedback.
- Once messaging APIs are enabled, send messages securely and strategically. Flowroute messaging APIs enable developers to programmatically send and receive SMS messages. The cloud then provides the services necessary to securely authenticate a user with administrative privileges, as well as send and track the message. Find more in depth tips for developers here.
With such a personal form of communication, we highly advise that enterprises are thoughtful about when and how they leverage messaging tools. SMS and MMS strategies need to feel authentic, relevant and non-intrusive for receivers. An enterprise messaging strategy loses its power if a business is inundating consumers with irrelevant text messages or sending messages too often or at inconvenient times (i.e. at 3 a.m.).
SMS and MMS interactions are most impactful when they are specific and streamlined as seen with healthcare appointment reminders, prescription refill notices, hospitality or travel updates, as well as banking or other security notifications.
As more organizations realize the role MMS and SMS can play in elevating their service offerings and customer experience, we will see the disconnect between individuals and business fade. To learn more about Flowroute’s messaging features or and our telecom APIs, visit: https://flowroute.wpengine.com/sms/