Andy Shirey, Senior Product Manager – June 17, 2014
Most consumers today use MMS to share photos and videos with friends and family. Until recently, companies have been using MMS primarily to send mobile offers and promotional content (such as product images, videos, and coupons) to customers. However, there is now a growing trend of businesses that are trying to capitalize on consumers’ familiarity with the camera and photo-sharing capabilities of their mobile phones. Enterprises are incorporating inbound MMS into their mobile strategies in order to improve their customer service experience and to simplify operational processes. The end goal of this strategy is to increase employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
Below are five key reasons why inbound MMS is taking off:
- Camera Phone Journalism and The “Selfie” Craze
Almost all major news stories are supplemented with pictures or videos taken by bystanders. The fastest growing social networks are all inundated with pictures of people, products and places. The popularity and preference of consumer generated content is impacting enterprises IT strategies.
Gartner defines “consumerization” as “the specific impact that consumer-oriented technologies can have on enterprises.” IDG recently released a study focused on the “Consumerizaton of IT in the Enterprise.” One of their key findings is that “Over the next 12-18 months, organizations expect to see consumerization creating a positive impact in user satisfaction, user productivity, process efficiency and collaboration, and business agility”.
With each iteration of mobile phones including improvements to the embedded camera, combined with the demonstrated desire of consumers to utilize these cameras for information sharing, it is easy for enterprises to see MMS as a ubiquitous example of consumerization with a positive impact.
- Simplified Communication
Imagine being in a minor car accident and I handed you a copy of my insurance card. Odds are you’d pull out your phone, take a picture of the card and hand it back to me. You’d probably also take a quick picture of the damage to your car, and you might even take my picture.
Why would you do this? Because it’s a pain to have to copy down all the information from the card. What if you miss the important parts, or you make a mistake writing one of the numbers or letters, or you lose the scrap of paper you wrote it on. Additionally, if you are planning to file an insurance claim or have your car fixed, you are going to have to describe the damage. It is much easier to simply send a picture to your insurance agent or repair center then having to clarify if it’s a dent, a scratch or a ding.
This simpler and more accurate communication can be incorporated into many business processes. Rather than saving receipts and then copying them into the corporate expense system, employees can send in pictures of their receipts immediately. Rather than describing the rash on a newborn, parents can send in pictures to their care providers for quick reassurance that everything is ok. By making routine processes easier and less error-prone, companies can see productivity gains from employees and happier customers overall.
- No Transcoding Required
One of the challenges of sending digital content with MMS is the process of making sure your content is optimized for each operator’s network and every consumer’s handset. With inbound MMS, this step goes away since the content will be coming to your company’s content repository which isn’t limited by a specific screen size or technology stack. The content can be viewed via traditional media viewers which don’t have the same restrictions as a mobile handset.
- The App is Optional
Every company seems to have an app. Initially, companies thought that in order to enable improved processes, the app was necessary to get access to the phone’s built-in camera. A very popular example is banks offering photo based check deposits. The problem is that not everyone can or will download your app. Even if they do, will they keep it or will it be relegated to a second page app status never to be opened again? For pharmacies, do I want to download the app for the three different pharmacy chains near my house? No way. So, companies are now starting to realize that there is a better way. For many of the same reasons that SMS is a better “mobile first” strategy, MMS is also a better strategy for improving and expanding the reach of your customer service offerings.
- Growth of A2P SMS
According to a recent report from Juniper Research, A2P SMS volumes are continuing to grow. The report reveals that SMS is the most secure and reliable option for A2P communications. Since consumers are spending more time interacting with companies via SMS, we have a clear indicator of consumer preference. Incorporating MMS, which shares the SMS experience and inbox on mobile phones, is another way that enterprises can respect their employees’ and customer’s preferences.
At the end of the day, people want things they are familiar with and that are easy to use. Mobile technology is no different. Companies are seeing that inbound MMS makes things easier and that people are choosing to use MMS in their personal lives. Therefore, it only makes sense for companies to offer an inbound MMS option as a part of their mobile strategy.
Check out our “MMS Overview” datasheet to learn more.