Making SMS intelligent

Making SMS intelligent

Peter Tanner Boomerang
Peter Tanner

Peter Tanner, managing director of Boomerang SMS Solutions, on what it takes to achieve effective customer communication.

Achieving effective customer communication is a key business challenge. For the past decade, organisations have invested massively in technologies designed to drive down the cost of customer service whilst improving the quality.

24×7 society

Expensive call centres still patently fail to meet customer needs, and the majority of direct communication is often highly inconvenient for the customer. Direct telephone communication is not always ideal, or possible, and few call centres offer the opening times required to support today’s 24×7 society.

With the continued focus on cost reduction and improved productivity, organisations need a far more cost effective and customer focused approach. There are several possible options available such as mobile applications or SMS. The first requiring major investment, complicated deployment, marketing and considerable support whilst SMS is ubiquitous, simple, global and can be easily integrated with existing systems.

 

From a lack of a broad demographic user base, limited often to just the iPhone and Blackberry users, to the customer-based delivery model, apps are hugely limited, resource hungry, costly to distribute into the market place and difficult to maintain.

Critically, by relying on a customer to choose to download and then even use the app, organisations lose any degree of control over the timing, content and adoption of their chosen communication.

 

Hello intelligent SMS

The exciting arrival of intelligent SMS is set to fundamentally transform the timeliness and convenience of customer communication. By integrating two-way texting, businesses can streamline processes, automate interactions, drive down costs and ensure convenient communication for both the customer, and the business alike.

Voice communication is the least efficient, most expensive and least customer friendly method of communication, often resulting in customers being forced to go through various options or spend hours waiting for a response at a call centre and risk being connected to a different country. Alternatively, those customers called directly by an organisation are more often than not called at a time or place where it is highly inconvenient.

Who wants to be called about banking services or dinner reservations in the middle of a meeting or late at night? Indeed, many individuals would prefer to communicate without direct personal interaction in the quickest and easiest way possible.

Organisations are beginning to recognise that customers do not want to be disturbed by an untimely telephone call and are looking for alternative communications channels. But it is essential to empower customers to communicate at a time and in a way that suits them, without ceding control over the communication process.

 

Doomed to failure

It is for this reason that investment in mobile applications to improve communications between customer staff and an organisation is doomed to failure, due to their very nature of requiring the user to proactively interact, rather than receive communication via a more direct method.

The most obvious, most pervasive and well accepted alternative to the telephone is without doubt the humble text message. And a small band of organisations have begun to use SMS as a means of providing customers with information.

Companies have begun using two-way SMS to confirm appointments or delivery times, however these existing SMS solutions have so far been unable to carry any unique identifiers, thus making it impossible to link multiple outbound messages with a recipient’s exact response.

This has ultimately inhibited the development of automated workflow or dynamic data exchanges between a database and a recipient via SMS. Therefore SMS could not be relied upon by business as an effective form of communication, resulting in minimum uptake and stifling the use of SMS being seen as an effective business tool. 

 

Revelation time

The revelation of intelligent SMS has established a way to resolve this conundrum by actively managing multiple outbound messages and its inbound response, automatically triggering the next action in the workflow and truly enabling two-way SMS all without intermediary human intervention.

SMS is entrenched in society today. But its true business value has yet to be exploited. With the arrival of two-way intelligent SMS, organisations can now embrace a killer opportunity that can truly offer the customer choice, along with delivering the goal of high quality, low cost customer service, whilst ensuring all communications are at the convenience of the customer, not just the business.

Boomerang SMS Solutions uses patented technology based around unique reference numbers, to manage contact details stored in a database and generate two-way SMS communication to multiple recipients. Boomerang intelligent SMS service allows businesses to easily harness the mass medium of SMS to complete simple everyday business transactions, as an extension of their automated workflow. http://www.boomerangsmssolutions.com/

 
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