OpenMarket – December 3, 2015
When you think about logistics and transportation, text messaging isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, U.S. state and federal laws have made safe driving in this industry a focal point. However, that’s not the sort of text messaging we’re talking about. We’re talking about ways in which SMS is used by these organizations to communicate with customers and employees for increased visibility and engagement.
The Current State of SMS in the U.S.
According to the Pew Research Center, 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone, while 90 percent own a cell phone. A healthy percentage of smartphone owners – particularly lower-income Americans – depend on their phones as their primary means of accessing the Internet and communicating with others.
While SMS may be extremely important and relevant to the average consumer, employees also consider it to be a valuable asset in the workplace. One report claims 70 percent of employees believe their organization needs to use SMS to communicate with employees. A healthy 86 percent believe it shouldn’t be reserved for only communicating with customers.
In other words, both customers and employees hold SMS in high regard. Whether it’s for personal or business purposes, mobile messaging should and can be used by companies within a variety of industries – including transportation and logistics.
SMS in the Transportation and Logistics Industry
Despite the perceived value of SMS, transportation and logistics companies have one of the lowest adoption rates of any industry surveyed. According to an IDC InfoBrief we recently sponsored, less than 27 percent of companies within this industry are currently using or plan on using global SMS with customers and employees.
What’s holding these companies back? Well, for starters, transportation and logistics companies want affordable vendors. ROI is clearly the most important factor for these organizations, something that not all vendors can promise or deliver. Furthermore, 70 percent of companies demand global reach. Again, this isn’t something most vendors can guarantee.
But that doesn’t mean SMS isn’t being used at all. A little more than one-quarter of companies are using or plan on using SMS. Almost half of all transportation and logistics companies believe mobile messaging has a quantifiable impact on overall customer experience and retention. Roughly 33 percent believe SMS is effective for customer surveys.
However, it’s once you begin looking at the potential internal benefits of SMS that transportation and logistics organizations get excited. Approximately 81 percent believe the impact of mobile messaging is significant for enhancing employee communications, managing employee safety, and improving employee satisfaction. Nearly 90 percent consider SMS to be “effective” or “very effective” for mobile workforce management.
Ultimately, there are three primary takeaways when it comes to the current state of SMS within this industry:
- Mobile messaging is severely underutilized by transportation and logistics organizations, so there is an opportunity for this sector to embrace SMS.
- The majority of transportation and logistics organizations believe SMS is effective for communicating with both employees and customers.
- Transportation and logistics organizations see affordability and global reach as the two most important aspects when choosing a mobile messaging vendor.
6 Uses of SMS in Logistics and Distribution
Now that we’ve reviewed the current state of SMS in the U.S. and the transportation and logistics industry, let’s take a look at some of the specific ways in which business are currently using SMS technology to improve the communicative efforts of their organizations.
- Delivery Notifications
One of the most practical uses of SMS in this industry is delivery notifications and alerts. Using a simple automated text message, companies can notify customers and clients that a shipment is on the truck, delayed, or delivered. This added service can really enhance the customer experience and prevent unnecessary back and forth communication.
- Schedule and Route Changes
Internally, SMS can be used to notify drivers and distribution centers of schedule and route changes. This is far more effective than email, phone calls, or even dedicated transportation and logistics software. Text messages are short, concise, and instantaneous. There’s no delay and multiple parties can be notified simultaneously. Furthermore, the recipient can also be notified of schedule and route changes, which prevents unnecessary frustration and provides enhanced visibility and clarity.
- Vehicle and Shipment Tracking
Drivers and vehicles can be tracked using SMS. Each time a shipment is delivered to a particular checkpoint, short messages can be sent out. Drivers can quickly see pertinent information and easily provide locational updates to keep all parties in the loop.
- Customer Service Notifications
One of the more effective uses of SMS involves customer service. By allowing two-way communication between your company and customers, you can ease the workload of your customer service employees and free up time and resources. By allowing customers to send simple text messages to your company, you can speed up response times and ensure customers are given the appropriate information at the appropriate time.
- Two-Way Internal Communication
From a very practical perspective, SMS can be used within an organization to streamline communications between drivers and companies. Companies can send up to date traffic and weather information to drivers. Drivers can let their companies know about unforeseen delays or mechanical issues. The options are virtually endless.
- Employee Emergency Alert Systems
Finally, many transportation and logistics companies use SMS to send out emergency alerts to employees and drivers. In fact, according to our sponsored data, employee emergency alert systems are the second most popular industry use of SMS, behind mobile workforce management and notifications.
OpenMarket: Your Leader in Mobile Messaging Solutions
At OpenMarket, we are the premier provider of global SMS messaging solutions for the transportation and logistics industry. When you select us as your provider, you get immediate access to an enterprise-grade network that will exceed your requirements for reliability, output, and security.
Whether you’ve used SMS in the past and failed to gain any traction or this is your first time considering mobile messaging as an integral part of your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We would love to show you how our SMS solutions can significantly impact communication efforts.