Communication with customers is one of the most important aspects of a successful business. There are many ways companies can interact with their clients, but one of the easiest ways for the customer is via SMS messaging.
SMS messaging is the most widely used mobile phone feature, surpassing phone calls, emails and internet use. At a lower cost and more convenient option, SMS is growing into its position as a channel of choice for the future and businesses have started taking notice. In fact, SMS messaging is the most highly sought-after channel for brands wanting to connect with their customers.
The “short message service” has come a long way since the first message was sent in 1992, and every company still has the chance to jump on the SMS messaging bandwagon. But don’t just pick up your phone and start messaging everyone who’s visited your store or website. We have put down five different ways a business can go about SMS messaging with their customer. So read through this list to discover which type of SMS conversation is right for your business.
- One-Way SMS
The earliest use of SMS in the corporate sphere was a bit limited. A business had something to say, so they sent out a single text message blast to get the word out. Much like TV advertisements or highway billboards, it was “I speak, you listen,” and that was the end of the conversation.
With one way SMS, a company is able to send out bulk messages at once such as alerts, notifications, reminders or announcements to their customers, but the customer is unable to respond. This form of SMS messaging is ideal for doctor’s appointment or prescription reminders, bank account alerts and notifications, shipping updates and more.
- Two-Way SMS
As technology becomes more advanced, so do the ways companies interact with their customers. In two-way SMS, communication is still limited, but the customer is able to respond to the message sent by the company.
Most of the interaction is based on a question and answer series, where the company’s message will tell the customer how to respond based on their needs. For example, a TV provider might send a message notifying a consumer about a subscription that was about to expire. The recipient can instantly let the provider know he or she wants to renew, and automation will take care of the rest.
Responses to these types of messages are usually limited to specific keywords. For example, the TV provider might ask if the subscriber wants to renew by responding “SUBSCRIBE” or “CANCEL.”
At Bongo Live, we provide two-way SMS solution allows organizations to interact and engage with clients via a long code (e.g 255784845874) or short-code (e.g 15352). This is a great way to extend your services or systems to receive user input for data collection, voting, feedback etc.
- Conversational SMS
Sometimes a customer’s requests can exceed the limitations of the automated service’s abilities. So to keep the conversation going, the much more advanced conversational SMS comes into play.
This form of messaging allows the customer to interact with a real individual representing the company. The representative is able to respond to the customer’s message through their computer. The customer uses a five-digit number in place of a telephone number to connect with the representative. As a result, the representative is able to help a number of customers concurrently. Being able to interact with several customers at once, allows the representative to deliver a faster response.
These types of SMS conversations have been around for about two years and are still evolving. By combining automation and agent support, consumers will frequently exchange 20 messages before ending the conversation.
- Toll-Free SMS
Toll-free messaging is similar to conversational SMS, however, it is much more simple. With this, you can send and receive messages (SMS and MMS) from toll-free numbers (such as those starting with 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833, and 800). It allows customers to send messages to the company’s 1-800 number instead of generating a five-digit number per customer. The customer is still provided with a representative to assist them, but they are able to reach the representative in a much simpler way.
Many businesses can use toll-free messaging to send high volume SMS messages to their customer with information like appointment reminders, shipping notifications, alerts and service updates and more.
- SMS Chatbots
Chatbots are the future of SMS conversations. This evolved form of messaging is so advanced that it eliminates the representative all together.
A chatbot is able to assist an endless number of customers with frequently asked questions, or enable them to subscribe to or end their business with the company. Chatbots are much more advanced that a simple automated system can learn from each message it participates in by reading text, viewing images and understanding context clues. The can learn from every interaction with a customer and are a great option for companies that experience high volumes of messages from customers.
Bongo Live has developed a unique chatbot model that combines one or more channels (SMS, WhatsApp & Facebook Messenger) to maximize reach as well as allow for interaction with and without network. This takes your traditional two-sms service to a whole new level by adding intelligence and richer content (images, video, web links).
To conclude, its obvious that different types of companies will have different types of customers with different types of needs. The top priority of any company should be to meet the needs and demands of their customers. The type of messaging a company chooses, should be able to maintain the satisfaction of their customers. Companies should still be on the lookout for the next stage in SMS’ grand evolution. As its popularity rises, customers will surely be communicating with their thumbs for years to come.