How SMS became a business tool

Posted Jan 9, 2018, 10:01 AM

Who would have thought 25 years ago that more than 180 billion text messages would be exchanged each year in France? Surprising when you know that initially SMS were not at all favored by the general public.

Remember, the ancestors of texting were messages dictated to a teleoperator and read from a kind of beeper, the famous Tam-Tam and other Tatoo. Then, little by little, the SMS was able to impose itself and ignore technical barriers and take advantage in particular of the interconnectivity of networks to become one of the privileged modes of communication. It is now positioned as a central tool in the relationship that brands have with their customers and it has even become an internal communication tool.

Many companies have understood the interest of this channel and have integrated it into their communication and marketing strategies. It has particularly imposed itself against e-mail, which is regularly deleted before even being read because its content is often considered undesirable. In addition, e-mail boxes are generally consulted only once or twice a day, while SMS are checked several times a day. Existing studies on SMS also report a reading rate of up to 98% and this, on average, within three minutes of receipt.

New uses

A real business tool, the text offers numerous application possibilities, whether it is used via a workstation, via business applications or for “technical” exchanges between machines. Airlines do this to notify their passengers of changed flights, delivery services inform their customers that their orders have been dispatched, and car rental companies send booking confirmations to their customers.

Banks can send mTans to their customers and as part of two-factor authentication, authentication services send their access data to VPN connections or online services. The human resources department thus manages its employees and the retail companies manage their sales advisers and salespeople.

Other scenarios that may involve logistics, starting or stopping machines remotely, controlling production flow, alert messages or campaigns from the CRM system.

A quick and easy tool

The SMS in the form of a campaign has the advantage of being able to be deployed quickly and at a lower cost. For each sending, the sender can automatically receive a notification informing that the SMS has indeed been delivered and document all the stages of the journey of the SMS until the transmission to the mobile telephone operators and the deposit on the recipient’s terminal.

It provides opportunities for engagement and more and more businesses are using it to drive customer feedback.

Its brevity is also an asset, it allows easy reading and the reduced length of the message induces better memorization of the reader’s part. Its simplicity and speed of implementation allow companies to act quickly because an SMS campaign requires less planning in advance than traditional advertising. Finally, it offers opportunities for engagement and more and more companies are using it to respond to their customers’ opinions in the form of a survey or satisfaction questionnaire.

A nice future

The SMS has become both a tool for customer acquisition, loyalty and increases sales. Its flexibility and immediate delivery are particularly effective in increasing the turnover generated per customer. This is why, 25 years after the first SMS sent, more and more companies are using it to communicate internally (despite the democratization of instant messaging), directly with their customers and business partners (B2C, B2B) from different ways, from healthcare to manufacturing.

The use of text is also growing in machine-to-machine communication and the Internet of Things. The rate of use of SMS also allows companies to engage in real two-way communication with their interlocutors. With the use of specific services, SMS has become more professional over time. Text messages can be sent from various business apps, email clients, or through a web browser using cloud apps. Messages sent directly to mobile phones do not require specific mobile phone infrastructure or additional hardware or software. There is no doubt that SMS still has a bright future.

Benoit Tremolet is the Managing Director of Retarus France

In, the SMS celebrates its 25th anniversary

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