OpenMarket – November 12, 2015
Powered by the steady growth of smartphones, mobile messaging technology—and particularly SMS—is now considered a viable and high-returning investment for companies in the financial services industry. In the coming years, the question won’t be “Should you integrate SMS into your business,” but rather “How should you integrate SMS into your business?”
In recent months, mobile messaging has seen tremendous growth within the financial services industry. Just consider some of the following statistics uncovered in an IDC InfoBrief that OpenMarket recently sponsored:
- A hefty 80 percent of all financial services companies are currently using or plan on using global SMS to communicate or interact with their customers and employees.
- 83 percent of financial services organizations believe mobile messaging has a “considerable” or “major” impact on their company’s brand awareness.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 financial services organizations feel like mobile messaging has a “considerable” or “major” impact on overall customer experience.
While some industries are still looking at SMS and mobile messaging with a bit of hesitance or delayed acceptance, the same cannot be said of the financial services industry. Adoption is happening at a rapid rate—and now is the time to make an investment.
4 Ways the Financial Services Industry Uses SMS
As you can see, the financial services industry looks pretty highly on SMS as a communication and engagement resource. But how exactly is the industry leveraging mobile messaging for a high return on investment? Let’s take a look at some of the top use cases:
- Communication with Employees
While most people think about SMS in terms of engaging customers and clients, there’s also tremendous value to be extracted from the internal applications of mobile messaging. Our sponsored research indicates that 73 percent of financial services companies consider SMS an “effective” or “very effective” tool for employee emergency alerts. In fact, this industry is considerably more interested in one-way SMS technology than any other industry surveyed.
As SMS technology evolves, both IT and human resources departments are using mobile as a tool for sending company announcements, providing IT system updates, sending account authentication and password reset information, timesheet processing, and mobile workforce management.
- Enhanced Customer Experiences
While employee relations and organizational management may currently garner much of the mobile messaging focus, companies within the financial services industry are also tapping into the value of SMS as a tool for enhancing customer experiences. What exactly does that look like? Here are a few examples:
- Client services. Customers within the financial services industry are typically pretty busy. This means they have very little time for calling their financial services providers, waiting on hold, and sorting through logistical issues. With SMS, clients and customers can simply text a question to their accountant/financial planner/banker/portfolio manager/etc. and get a response when the question can be answered.
- Safe authentication. In the financial services industry, security is obviously a big deal. One of the safest ways to authenticate transactions, account updates, or password resets is through the use of SMS. This ensures safe and timely delivery, keeping valuable information out of the wrong hands.
- Customer surveys. An increasingly popular use of mobile messaging is sending surveys to customers. These quick one or two question surveys typically produce high response rates and are much more effective than long internet surveys, or even email surveys with identical questions.
- Real Time Customer Alerts
SMS also allows these organizations to disseminate urgent information and timely alerts to customers and clients. This could be anything from a sudden market development to account-specific information that needs to be quickly dealt with.
Aside from internal network outage alerts, employee alert systems, and customer surveys, real-time customer alerts are seen as the most important use of SMS within the financial services industry.
- Mobile Banking and Portfolio Management
Finally, mobile messaging is frequently used within the industry to offer mobile banking and portfolio management services. Using simple SMS commands and responses, financial institutions and their customers can make quick, real-time changes to their accounts without the need for picking up the phone, sending an email, or even accessing a mobile application.
The 3 Basic Benefits of SMS
When looking at these four uses in particular, it’s clear that there are three primary benefits to leveraging SMS in the financial services industry.
- Customer Loyalty
From an external point of view, customer loyalty is obviously the biggest benefit. Customers respond well to SMS because it’s simple, easy to use, and accessible from anywhere. It can sometimes eliminate the need for logging into an account, making a phone call, or waiting on hold – things which often frustrate users and prevent them from seeking assistance.
- Rapid Communication
Whether it’s internally or externally, SMS accelerates the speed of communication. Whereas half of all emails aren’t opened for at least six hours, the average text message is accessed within a few minutes and responded to within 30 minutes. In an industry where so much is on the line, a few hours can make a massive difference.
- Healthy ROI
Finally, SMS almost always comes with a healthy ROI. If you’re worried about making an investment in mobile messaging, you can rest assured that the cost of SMS pales in comparison to that of more traditional marketing and communication methods. Costs are low, open rates are high, and very few financial services organizations report a lack of efficacy.
OpenMarket: The Leader in Mobile Messaging Solutions
At OpenMarket, we are one of the leaders in mobile messaging solutions. If your organization operates within the financial services industry, we would love to speak with you in further depth about the effectiveness of SMS and mobile engagement.