Today, it is estimated more than five billion people around the world have a mobile device, and over half of those devices are smartphones. Further, some of the most frequently used features on smartphones are text messaging apps. According to a recent report, on average, consumers send four times as many text messages than emails every day. Businesses that can effectively take advantage of the opportunity to connect with their customers via their mobile phones will increase the likelihood of engagement.
SMS and MMS are types of messaging tools that facilitate real-time communications. When businesses leverage SMS and MMS they improve customer experiences and drive engagement by delivering the latest information via the channels their customers prefer.
What is SMS?
SMS is an abbreviation for Short Message Service. It allows short messages to be sent to devices that can accept them over a mobile network connection. They’re suitable for messages that only contain text and are limited in length.
It’s important to note that SMS falls into a different category than popular messaging applications like iMessage, WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger. Unlike SMS, these applications are referred to as “Over the Top” (OTT) applications. SMS requires a mobile network connection, whereas OTT apps send and receive texts over Wi-Fi or a mobile internet connection.
What is MMS?
MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. MMS uses similar technologies as SMS, but as the name suggests, it allows users to send multimedia content via text messages. With MMS, users can send messages that contain a range of content, including pictures, audio, video files and phone contacts. Most MMS messages can hold up to 500 KB of data.
Whether a hotel looking to simplify bookings, a restaurant wanting to let people reserve a table quickly, or a retail company wanting to manage orders and shipping notifications, SMS/MMS services offer an easy way to improve engagement with customers. Outlined below are a few use cases of how businesses can leverage messaging services.
Reminders & Alerts
If you have a service-based business, using messaging to confirm and remind people of appointments is key. Not only is it convenient for your customers, it can also help keep no-show and cancellation rates low, which have costly impacts on a business. Research finds that 74 percent of customers have zero unread text messages on their phone while 17 percent of customers have zero unread emails. By communicating reminders via text, customers are more likely to see the message and take the associated next steps. For example, sending appointment reminders can translate to recouping lost revenue for health professionals where they could have seen another patient during that timeframe.
Messaging reminders are often used in booking confirmations, account changes, delivery status, payment notices and insurance policy renewal updates. Additionally, if your organization regularly utilizes two factor authentication (2FA), SMS/MMS tools can be a critical component when sending and receiving these alerts on mobile devices.
Engaging customer experiences & service
With MMS, you can turn your business phone numbers into a more immediate and unique way to interact with customers. For example, by leveraging MMS, businesses can send rich content – images, video, and audio – to their customers, providing a unique and more engaging experience.
One way to leverage MMS to improve customer service is in the insurance industry. For example, after an accident, customers can send photos to their agent to note damages and secure immediate feedback on what to do next. The agent can reply to the text sending quotes and policy information. Additionally, now that more states are allowing drivers to provide digital proof of insurance, texting the digital copy is quick and easy.
Marketing and sales
Mobile messaging is an extremely valuable resource for sales and marketing. Companies can send coupons, take orders and place items on hold via text. MMS messages also offer the option to embed hyperlinks within the text making it easy for customers to access the webpage or information they need.
In food and hospitality industries, for example, restaurants or food delivery companies can send discount links or rewards via text message. The customer can then review the text and use the code or link to place an order. In addition, MMS messages can be visually branded with company colors and logos to maintain a consistent brand image across all marketing efforts.
Outside of the external use cases, texting can be a great way to quickly communicate with employees. Using the tool, businesses can send important company alerts such as office closures, safety concerns or meeting updates in one easy notification to the entire team. SMS is also an efficient way to communicate with staff members who work outside the office (a growing trend in all industries due to COVID-19).
Ultimately, SMS/MMS is a fast, efficient way to reach customers and employees. It is direct, flexible, and an easy way to increase engagement across the board. For IT teams that want to create applications or services incorporating messaging, work with your carriers to determine the best next steps for your business and customers.
If you’re interested in learning about Flowroute’s solutions, visit Flowroute’s Messaging API portal. Flowroute’s messaging API provides programmatic control to build intelligent SMS and MMS interactions into apps and services.