USSD is one of the few truly inclusive mobile technologies available. USSD allows faster communication between the user and the client application, is not device dependent and can be operated without any form of activation taking place.
The process flow for a USSD session begins when a user makes a request to a USSD code e.g. *123*45# from their mobile phone. This is similar to request made when checking on airtime or data balance inquiry. As soon as the initial request is sent, the USSD gateway sends it on to a USSD application. The application calculates a response to the request and sends it back to the gateway, which sends it on to the user who receives it as a message on their mobile phone screen.
The most common use cases of USSD are when customers interact with a carrier’s services such as querying airtime or subscribing to information services(such as dialing *102# to check on airtime balance with Tigo, Vodacom and Airtel in Tanzania) and accessing interactive menu systems.
For a long time, USSD has been used only for applications such as checking airtime balance. This has changed over the years as application developers have gone far beyond the original use cases and are now using USSD to place various applications in the hands of customers. Other examples of application of USSD include;
- Surveys; USSD can be used in collecting customer feedback.
- Voting; in this case it can be applied during polls for voting in real-time.
- Financial Services; e.g. Mobile banking.
- Utility Services; Here it can be used for bill query and payment purposes.
- Paid Content Portal; USSD can be used to bill subscribers for accessing content such as education notes, news updates, sports highlights, weather forecasts.
- Product Promotion; Business retailers can use USSD to communicate special offers on product and can send discount vouchers for next payment or purchases.
- Competitions and Contest; Companies can create portals with entry pages, competition info, terms and conditions.
- Two-factor authentication; Some businesses i.e. banks have introduced the use of two-factor authentication during USSD transactions and not just the usage of USSD PINS put by customers to authorize transactions.
With numerous USSD applications comes numerous advantages of using USSD a marketing tool. Here are some significant benefits of USSD:
- USSD does not require internet connection or data to work. It allows free of charge roaming.
- USSD practically works on all GSM standard mobile phones. Since no high tech phone is required, you are guaranteed to reach more people as not everyone owns a smart phone.
- USSD can work across all mobile networks. It only needs a connection to the GSM network to work as it’s not mobile or SIM based.
- USSD is highly interactive; User can quickly see response on their phone screens and can make more requests hence allowing faster two-way communication and interaction that is seven times faster than SMS.
- It is highly customizable, making it ideal for all your business needs.
- USSD is extremely cost effective for businesses to implement and run, it is also free for subscribers to use.
- USSD content can be personalized and responses can be obtained in real time.
- It is user friendly and can be used by anyone.
- USSD service is easily accessible anytime and anywhere.
- USSD offers a possibility for portal structure building that can be simplified for users to easily remember.
Based on the above advantages it is evident that USSD remains a relevant and important technology. At Bongo Live, we provide USSD solutions according to your business requirements. To find out more about our USSD solutions, please contact us or pop by our office and we will help you take your business to new heights.