Is SMS really dying?

In the news recently there have been claims that the popularity of SMS messaging has been declining. However, the distinction that needs to be made is between Peer to Peer and Application to Peer messaging because these markets tell very different stories.

Recent reports show Peer to Peer messages declining due to Over The Top, or OTT, applications such as BBM (Blackberry Messenger), Apple’s iMessage and WhatsApp. Chances are that your friendship group all have the same application, same types of phones and a network connection. Why pay for a message when you can send one for free?

However, Application to Peer or Business to Consumer messaging is different. Here’s why:

  • Businesses cannot guarantee all their customers have a smart phone
  • Businesses cannot guarantee all their customers have a particular application
  • Their isn’t a standard platform for mass communication by social media

The ubiquity and directness of SMS is the reason why this market is growing in popularity and the reason why Esendex has grown by 25% in each quarter since starting in 2001. It doesn’t matter if the end-user has the latest smartphone or an old-fashioned Nokia 3210, if they have WhatsApp, are on Facebook or have an internet connection. They can all receive an SMS.

The only other communication channels that have the reach of SMS for a business are email, telephone and direct mail. Email suffers from channel noise, telephone calls are expensive and direct mail can be expensive and ineffective.

When businesses need to be sure that the message has got through – be it confirming a delivery or the status of a mortgage application – you can’t beat SMS for cost-effectiveness and reliability.

Here’s some examples of how our customers use SMS:

Sales Promotion
SMS messages can be sent and read within seconds, can include many different calls to action such as webpages, directions and phone numbers. Not only can this be done in-house, saving media overheads, there is no time lag between sending a communication and being able to analyse its effectiveness.

Improve customer service
Order status updates can be used to prevent incoming calls; delivery notifications can be used to make sure the customer is in to receive the goods and SMS surveys can be used to close off the experience and get feedback. All of these examples not only help to improve communication and therefore customer service but they can also help to reduce overheads.

Increase staff effectiveness
SMS are used to communicate directly with field-based employees with instructions on where to go for their next job, appointment cancellations or to inform staff of available shifts. All without relying on complex and expensive telecommunications systems.

Communicate in a crisis
A message can be reliably broadcast within minutes no matter where the recipients are or what time of day it is. We have customers that send server system alerts, alarm system alerts and for adverse weather conditions for schools.

Reduce operating costs
Creating efficiencies with human resource or working capital has presented opportunities for our customers to redistribute resource to other areas of their business. Examples include sending confirmations and reminders to customers to reduce no shows and usine SMS to replace paper based or telephone communications.

Overall, SMS presents a very viable communication channel for businesses to get their voice heard in a quick and cost effective manner. Using SMS is increasingly becoming the communication of choice which is why Esendex has grown every quarter since establishing itself in 2001.

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