Improve Customer Service with A2P SMS

Over the past year I have noticed that A2P SMS notifications have become more prevalent, and more entwined into my dealings with numerous organisations including financial establishments, retailers and travel companies. Thankfully, this isn’t a deluge of spam – these messages have actually made life easier or provided me with relevant information.

A recent holiday to the South of France epitomised this, with both airlines (Norwegian and easyJet) providing me with updated information and welcoming me to their service via SMS. It makes sense.

With battery life on smartphones being inadequate to say the least, 3G still not providing sufficient coverage (yes, I should upgrade to 4G), as well as trying to avoid roaming costs abroad, checking emails is not high on my priority list. Whilst travelling, SMS text messaging is going to get to me quicker, cheaper and I will be more likely to read it.

Hovertravel – which runs a hovercraft service to the Isle of Wight – understands this, and utilises SMS to update travellers about changes in schedule due to adverse weather conditions or unforeseen circumstances.

“If a crossing is going to be cancelled or delayed, or a craft is having technical issues, we automatically send a text to the customer informing them of the issues and operational changes,” explained Julie Robson, Sales Development Manager, Hovertravel. “The use of SMS allows us to reach customers when they are mobile. They rely on the updates when there is a disruption and text messaging seems to be one of the best communication methods. It also integrates seamlessly with our web communications.”

It is this simplicity of integration with business systems, whether CRM, ERP or sales, that many brands and organisations are implementing A2P SMS to stay in touch with customers.

A2P (application-to-person) SMS, also known as enterprise messaging or business SMS, is a process in which a text message is automatically generated by an application and sent to a subscriber. It is simple to set up and provides organisations with another channel to improve customer relations.

Toys R Us is a prime example. When I placed an order online recently, it was immediately confirmed via text message, providing the PO number, collection date and time. This was easily retrievable when I visited the store to collect the purchase.

Additionally, having placed an order with an online bathroom retailer (Better Bathrooms), I received a notification the following day confirming that my order had been dispatched and the time the courier service would deliver. Both were effective, providing me with the information I needed as well as confidence in the service.

Banking security is another prime concern, and another sector that is increasingly utilising A2P SMS to notify customers of any activity or changes to accounts. It is definitely reassuring to receive a text message notifying you that a new payee account has recently been set up and authorised.

However, it is also the simple uses that can make life easier, such as a taxi rank alerting me to the fact that my taxi is outside waiting to pick me up, along with the car make and registration.

Text messaging is still quite a personal communication and that’s why it still works. It’s in the owner’s hand, on a personal device, and that’s why it is successful every time. It’s simply quicker and more efficient.

“It’s also short, sharp and to the point,” explained Rachel Tout, Film Officer, Ritz and Connaught Cinema. “With SMS you are restricted to 160 characters to get your message across. People don’t have to scroll down or go into something else to get the full information – they can look at it at a glance and see the information we are trying to communicate and make a decision on whether it is useful to them or not.”

Ovum predicts the next few years “will mark a golden age for A2P SMS,” with the number of worldwide A2P messages increasing from 1.4 trillion in 2013 to 2.19 trillion by 2018. Thanks to simple integration with enterprise apps and the effectiveness, still, of SMS, this is hardly surprising.

Get in contact with us today to find out how simple it is to integrate SMS into your business applications.