Keeping it ‘Old School’ – The Enduring Value of Mobile Messaging for Business

By Jay Emmet, General Manager, OpenMarket, for Seattle Business Magazine

Today a proper mobile strategy is as important for a business as its products and services. With three billion mobile users on nearly six billion devices worldwide, it is the top channel for reaching and interacting with on-the-go customers and employees. As executives consider the checklist of mobile capabilities their business is utilizing, one key technology many are failing to remember is the most ubiquitous, simple and effective one available today – mobile messaging, or SMS.

SMS is Still Crushing It

SMS for business has seen resurgence in recent years thanks to Application-to-Person (A2P) mobile messaging, which is when a mobile message is sent from an application or platform directly to a mobile device by the business. As A2P mobile messaging is expected to be worth over $70 Billion by 2020,  it has become an influential tool for both customer and employee-facing uses across all aspects of a business. A major reason for this progress is the explosive growth of the mobile-focused millennial generation into the workforce, as nearly half believe their smartphone is the one thing they cannot live without. Millennials are 40 times more likely to take action when sent a text message – making this technology the best way to reach this generation above all other channels.

Recent 2015 market research shows that traditional mobile messaging is still the preferred method for quick mobile communication by today’s active businessperson as well.  As employees often feel overloaded having another app on their phone to check for information, 72% of workers prefer texting for work-based communication over  other alternatives like Over-the-Top (OTT) messaging apps due to its simplicity and ease of use.

Businesses shouldn’t abandon investing in new mobile technology, however; they should not overlook how to utilize an affordable, effective technology that’s already available and has a trained user base. There are more unique ways than ever for a business to use mobile messaging, and here are a few examples of where it can add significant value:

  • Deeper, Real-Time Customer Insights: Service and hospitality businesses such as locally-based Alaska Airlines are using SMS to solicit customer feedback even before the cockpit door is closed. By distributing post-boarding surveys to passengers via text messaging, they feel valued and important, and the airline is able to gain real-time feedback while the customer’s experience is still fresh in their minds. In addition, airline employees can view the responses in real-time and promptly understand where the customer experience needs to be improved immediately. These insights are also valuable to executives who are continually seeking information on how customer needs are being met.
  • Efficient Employee Communication: Sticking with the Alaska Airlines example, this workforce is typically always on-the-go providing customers with the best service possible. Mobile messaging is one technology that companies in this industry are using to inform employees of changes that may impact their work schedules. Whether it’s an internal system outage, changes in assignments, or an emergency notification alert, SMS improves critical employee communications, engagement and productivity.
  • Increased Service Efficiencies: Nothing is worse than sending a truck or service roll and a customer cancels. Sky, an international telecommunications and cable provider, uses two-way SMS to connect with customers prior to service appointments, giving them an easy way to cancel or request alternative times. These types of two-way appointment reminders can reduce no-shows by over 25%, eliminating a wasted service call and saving the company thousands of dollars in resource costs.
  • Tighter Security: Companies like Amazon and Google are leaders in using mobile messaging to add an extra security layer to employee and customer account transactions through two-factor authentication (2FA), the process of sending a confirmation code to a user that they must input in addition to a password to enter a protected site or account online. While seemingly simple, it’s an effective tactic used by organizations dealing with private and sensitive information. One local financial company that uses this technology successfully is First Technology Credit Union – a bank that works with many of the startups here in the Seattle area.

The scenarios above are just a couple of examples of how traditional mobile messaging, or SMS, is helping companies enhance relationships with their customer and employees, and optimize operations. Have you thought about how you can use mobile messaging in your business?

Jay Emmet serves as Senior Vice President of Amdocs and General Manager of OpenMarket and has more than 20 years of multi-functional communications experience.  Prior to joining OpenMarket, Jay was President-Americas at mBlox where he led the successful market launch of SMS services into the US market. He was previously Senior VP of Operations for ATG, and prior to that was VP of Sales and Marketing at New Edge Networks. He served 6 years as a United States Marine Officer.