With SMS, it’s a case of not if, but when?

Jonathan Morgan, CEO, OpenMarket – August 2, 2016

SMS has been around since 1986. On first inspection it may not seem as exciting as an app, or perhaps the first method of getting something done, but let me give you some of examples of how OpenMarket uses SMS to transform businesses which normally get their attention pretty quickly:

As part of my job, I spend a lot of time talking to our customers and potential customers about how SMS can transform their business. Often one of the first questions I receive, sometimes accompanied by a quizzical look, is “You use SMS?”

SMS has been around since 1986. On first inspection it may not seem as exciting as an app, or perhaps the first method of getting something done, but let me give you some of examples of how OpenMarket uses SMS to transform businesses which normally get their attention pretty quickly:

Here’s a couple of live examples first:

  1. A top Resort Management company

This company operates more than 40 luxury resorts at some of the most exotic locations in and around the Indian sub-continent. Because exotic often means remote, customers can experience difficulty traveling to the resort and deciding what activities to do during their stay. These logistics can be further complicated by the lack of reliable Internet connectivity in some of the locations.

By using our Mobile Engagement Platform, the company came up with an “intelligent SMS” based-service to handhold its guests prior to check-in. What’s more, the SMS service is based on a free-text format – the user can type as they would talk – and does not require specific keywords. So, if you want to know the resort address, you can send an SMS that says “Send me the resort address” and the address is texted back to you. If you ask “what does the weather have in store?” you will  get a real-time weather summary for the next three days.

Think about the value of such an initiative to a guest who has lost their way or wants to plan an outdoor activity during the stay. No training, no keywords, no data – a simple solution providing a “wow” experience to every guest. Read the full story here.

  1. A major Credit Card company

As a part of its customer acquisition initiatives, the company uses its contact centre to connect with potential leads and motivate them to become customers. However, being able to contact the prospect had been a primary stumbling block, with a majority of prospects not wishing to answer their calls.

To overcome the problem, the credit card company is now using an SMS solution powered by our Mobile Engagement Platform to connect with these prospects and capture their availability to speak to an advisor. Once the prospect replies with their availability, the response is automatically forwarded to the contact centre team to setup a call.
This solution provided two significant insights to the company: 1) if a prospect is replying, he/she is interested in your product, and 2) a prospect not answering your call isn’t necessarily disinterested in your product. In other words, superior customer experience translates directly into more successful customer acquisition.

We recently met with two companies that are starting to consider using SMS. Read their stories below:

  1. A major ATM operator

This company manages a large nationwide network of ATMs. ATMs should always dispense, you want money and so if they stop working, you want them to be fixed quickly. At the moment, these ATMs have a key contact phone number for anyone who experiences a problem. Nobody under the age of 35 is going to be calling these numbers, and I’d wager only folks working at banks or businesses affected would ever call the hotline.

How about a textable number printed on every ATM so that if there’s a problem, you just text a keyword to the number and a technician comes and checks it out? You’d have higher uptake and you’d have a shorter gap between failure and reporting. And then let’s take it a step further by letting OpenMarket’s platform handle the rostering of the first level responder. Our cloud-based service will look up the location of the ATM and which technician is available to work in that area today. The message flow would be to text them the new job, wait for them to accept, and if they are busy, automatically route to the next person until you have someone assigned, or escalate to the manager if you ever run out of options.

This can all happen whilst the relevant department is being kept up to date with what is being done, what stage the issue is at, and a full auditable set of logs to review after each event. That’s sounds like the future to me!

  1. A Building Services company

This company has a large fleet of technicians that travel around fitting equipment in tight spaces. Every evening each technician gets a call from the company’s call centre to ask them if they are safe. Not only does this require a call centre to handle the number of calls in the duration of time available, but also these folks are working in the evenings, which means they cost more. For the technician, they start receiving these calls just when they have gotten home and want to spend time with their families or doing other activities. If they don’t answer the call, the call centre keeps going as they might be trapped. This is a serious disruption to their lives, and is not well received, even though the purpose is well meaning.

So how about we just automate that whole process? We’ll look up which technicians are working today with our Mobile Engagement Platform, we’ll text them, we’ll handle the responses. For all the safe technicians, we’ll prepare a report and email it to the relevant manager. For anyone who doesn’t respond or needs assistance, we’ll automatically escalate through a series of folks until we receive a response that tells us someone is looking after the individual involved. This would all automated, all happening each and every day, and be massively preferred by the technicians, and represent a huge cost saving for the company.

Now tell me SMS seems out of date?

It’s never whether we can help enterprises, we always can. There’s always an application of our Mobile Engagement Platform that can help immediately, and then the use cases always spread across the organisation as more and more departments realise the power of combining messaging with automation. The only question is whether the organisation is ready now compared to all of their other competing priorities. If now isn’t the right time, I guarantee it will be next month, or in six months or next year. It’s never a question of if, but only when! Please contact us if we can help your business get started.

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