The company blog
Keep up to date with current news and highlights from the SMS industry
month 06
day 29
year 2017

Dos and Don’ts of SMS

SMS is a cost effective and efficient tool to communicate with your customers. Whether you want to keep them up to date with your latest offers and promotions, new products or exclusive deals, you can rely on SMS to deliver your message right into the hands of your customers.

We’ve created an infographic which outlines answers to some of the most common questions regarding best practices when launching an SMS marketing campaign.

Bookmark this to achieve consistently great results from your marketing by text message.

The Dos and Donts of SMS Marketing

month 06
day 21
year 2017

Further investment expands Esendex in Europe

Esendex expands in Europe

Esendex has continuously set itself the target to become a leading global messaging company, and thanks to continuous support from customers, suppliers and staff, we’ve made some great progress so far. Today we are delighted to announce significant developments which turn that target into reality.

Major technology investor HgCapital has acquired Esendex, expanding their own portfolio of technology companies, including Mobyt, an Italian market leader in business communications which also has operations  in France; and a successful French messaging company SMSEnvoi due to a recent acquisition.

Back at Esendex HQ we have been busy too. Last week we made the acquisition of  SMSpubil, an incredibly fast-growing business messaging provider in Spain.

The acquisition has brought all four businesses together in combination as part of the Esendex Group of companies, allowing us to serve the widest range of business sectors and territories across Australia and Europe.

While all four brands will be retaining their own brands and identities, we will be able to bring all customers the benefit of the wider group with exciting new products, new technologies and shared best practice.

Geoff Love, CEO of Esendex said: ‘With HgCapital’s backing for further acquisitions, as well as continuing strong organic growth, we look forward to helping even more businesses transform their communications with their customers and staff.’

If you would like to read more about the details of this transaction, you can read the press release here, or give us a call on 1300 764 946.

month 06
day 8
year 2017

The changing face of debt collection

Debt collection has been undergoing some serious changes recently, moving from traditional phone and snail mail to some really innovative Fintech, catapulting the industry forward.

This transformation can be seen not only in the way debts are collected, but in the relationships that in-debt customers now have with banks, credit companies and authorities. The experience of the “customer” has been placed at the centre, they are no longer just a debtor.

Here are some of the latest trends to watch:

Customer-centric and omnichannel engagement

A recent algorithm-driven collections process uses behavioural analytics and machine learning to build a profile of the customer in order to decide which would be the best course of action to take, in order to collect a debt.

Others are working on a platform that integrates social media and other web integrations to identify the person who owes debt and tailor the response.

Our colleagues in the UK have recently worked with a utility company to tailor an award- winning intelligent multichannel solution that has increased small balance final debt collection from 4% to 19%.

Real-time speech analytics

Just as voice analytics has helped companies identify and react to customer problems more quickly, debt collection agencies can also benefit from real-time speech analytics.

Advanced language recognition programs can be used to track keywords during phone conversations as well as identify emotions of debtors and collection agents to create triggers. Expletives or long silences would trigger a signal to prompt a supervisor to take on the call or offer additional help to the collection agent.

Avatars

Virtual collections agents like Zoey who are always warm and friendly, and can tirelessly smooth-talk debtors into payment are becoming more popular. They speak multiple languages and will weigh-up debtors’ credit scores when negotiating payments.

Most of all, Virtual assistants like Zoey help to take away the shame element of being in debt and make it easier for the customer to commit to a realistic payment plan avoiding the embarrassment of speaking to a real person.

If you would like to change the way you collect your debt and want to discuss your options, feel free to give us a call at 1300 764 946.

month 06
day 2
year 2017

3 reasons to rethink your internal communications strategy

changes in internal communication

We have seen drastic changes in communication over recent years. Mobile technology has transformed customer experience and engagement, so much so that noticeable shifts are happening within the workplace.      

Email marketing is becoming saturated

It is estimated that by 2019, the number of emails sent and received by businesses will reach a staggering 126 per day. Spam, marketing automation systems, and the popularity of the ‘all staff’ email have bloated inboxes, devaluing the credibility of this channel and its effectiveness. Email overload is a major factor in today’s reduced productivity, draining almost $1.5 trillion a year in the US alone.

A recent survey with senior internal communications professionals further reveals the diminishing power of email, with only 7% of respondents thinking that email will be used more in the future. The majority of those surveyed are seeking different digital, mass-audience channels to gain the attention of their fellow colleagues.    

Workforce demographics are shifting

As we welcome Generation Z to the workforce, we also have to accommodate their preferences among other generations.

These digital natives have never known a time without the internet, and are accustomed to social media, instant messaging and texting. Only 6% of this group send emails. They prefer to seek out the information they need rather than passively consume email content. They are also comfortable switching between apps and can confidently find their way around new technologies without the fear of breaking them.

To grab their attention will certainly require more effort than an “all staff” email.

Employees are going mobile too

According to research by Salesforce, 60% of staff are completing work-related tasks on their tablets and smartphones. They are not just reading emails, but are accessing enterprise apps and company’s social networks.

Just as we are trying to create mobile responsive website and optimising mobile experience for our customers, the need to go mobile inside the workplace is equally important.  

snapcomms

Our recent partnership with SnapComms, a global leader in employee communication software, is tailored to meet these changes. SnapComms provide various internal communication channels such as: scrolling newsfeeds (tickers), desktop alert messages and mobile channels. Adding Esendex SMS to their communication solution provides further versatility.

Depending on the nature and the urgency of the messages, they can be pushed through different channels and devices to make sure that staff read and respond to the message quickly and effectively. The impact and reach of each communication campaign can be easily tracked and measured via SnapComms reporting tools.

If you would like to learn more about our partnership with SnapComms or internal communications, please contact our team on 1300 764 946.

month 05
day 30
year 2017

How RCS can change business communication

Ever since Google acquired Jibe, the term Rich Communication Service (RCS) has gained a lot of attention in the telecommunication sector. Earlier this year, Google launched an early access program which invited messaging solution providers and mobile operators to join them in shaping the roadmap and future standards of RCS.

The program has already sparked the keen interest of major brands like Virgin Train, Philips, Subway and Uber who all joined the program in its early stages ready to adopt RCS into their communications channels.

In a previous post we discussed what RCS is, this time we explore further features of RCS, and how businesses can make use of it to enhance customer service and better engage customers.

Optimising the brand

RCS’ capacity for branding enables messages to be enhanced using a company’s brand colour palette and logo. Mixed media, such as photos and videos can also be attached without the need for download using rich “app-like” cards.

Use to send information such as: e-commerce orders, taxi journeys, digital receipts, offers and promotions etc. This allows recipients to be able to access key information without exiting the message app.

Seamless interactions with recipients

Geolocation is another great feature that businesses can benefit from for further convenience. Take the example of our taxi booking in our infographic below where recipient can track the whereabouts of their booked vehicle in real time, choosing to change the pickup location at any point.   

What does RCS messaging looks like?

Our infographic below illustrates how businesses can make use of the unique features of RCS to enhance business communication. We will continue to watch the development of RCS and post more updates on new features and usages.

Rich Communication Services (RCS)

 

month 05
day 26
year 2017

4 ways to create memorable & strong passwords

Creating strong and secure passwords

Passwords, together with email and social media, are listed as three of the biggest cyber security threats to Australian Businesses. While passwords are, indeed, the safeguards to our online world and for most of us, our identity, it appears the safety of them can often be a cause for concern as discussed in our previous blog post.

With technology moving forwards, it is very likely in coming months and years  we will have even more passwords to remember than ever before.

With this in mind we provide 4 top tips to create memorable and strong passwords:

1. Use a memorable phrase

One easy way is to think of a phrase or a saying that means something to you and preferably, only you. It will need to be of at least 8 characters, 12 would be better, but not too long that it becomes hard to remember. To make it even more secure, replace one word with a misspelt word to your phrase to make it even harder to crack.

2. Combinations of random words

Xkcd suggested using four or even more random words to create a mental image that is unique to you. The visual will make it easy for you to remember the combination, and the randomness will make it very difficult to hack.

3. Don’t overcomplicate things  

Of course, something like G&^)O;x3&!@=hN73-z would certainly pass any password security test. But what are the chances of you actually remembering this (writing it down doesn’t count…)? And don’t forget the first rule of password security – use a different one for each account you have. So remembering say, 20 of them? Are you still in?  

4. Human password generator

One problem with modern passwords is that the combinations of characters, numbers and symbols are incredibly hard for humans to remember. But with a little help you may be able to harness this. Establishing a certain rule or pattern that incorporates the name of the website you are logging in with some random words and symbols can prove to be very helpful. All you need to remember is one pattern, and you will have as many unique passwords as you need for each and every account you need to safeguard.

Lastly, don’t forget to check the strength of your password methodology before applying across your accounts.

month 05
day 19
year 2017

The inconvenient truth about grey routing

Grey_routing

If you are scratching your head right now, wondering what is meant by the term “grey routing,” then rest assured that you are not alone.

But we’re about to change that…

Earlier this year we ran a survey which suggested that more than 80% of our website visitors were unfamiliar with the term, and as such the risks associated with its use.

So what is grey routing?

Grey routing refers to the practice of disguising business SMS as personal SMS using international networks intended for person to person (P2P) communications to deliver the messages.

In doing so, providers get the benefit of avoiding charges that would usually apply to business SMS (also known as application to person A2P).

With many security risks to data and message content as well as no guarantee of delivery or when your message will arrive, grey routing does have its drawbacks for those who opt for a grey route provider.

Tempted? Ask yourself the right questions

While low price messages can appear tempting, is the compromise to quality worth the risk?

In our survey conducted earlier this year, we asked about the impact low price or quality connections had when choosing an SMS provider. Only 24.5% of respondents chose low price over messages security and reliability.

If you value the messages being sent and your recipients data and want to learn more then our latest eBook “What is grey routing?”  provides an in-depth analysis.

month 05
day 16
year 2017

Moving towards customer satisfaction based incentive schemes

customer satisfaction based incentives

Not long after the forceful removal of a passenger from its aircraft earlier this year, United Airlines announced its plans to link employees’ incentives with customer satisfaction levels. While a rather extreme example of how a bad incident can lead to improvements in service, this metric should be considered when determining the levels of staff reward.

And United Airlines are not alone in their move toward customer focused KPIs.   

Late last year, financial services provider, Westpac removed all product-related incentives for bank’s tellers and chose to implement an incentive scheme using customer feedback based on the quality of service received.

As of last month the ANZ Banking Group also overhauled its rewards scheme for employees opting for an incentive plan which focused on satisfaction instead of sales volumes. (source).

In fact, a recent report reviewing the Australian retail banking remuneration system urges more banks to adopt the same approach – moving away from sales-based incentives to customer-focused metrics which can help avoid scandals and fraud.

But are we measuring the customer-focused metrics right?

While some of the biggest banks have been trying to move from a sales to service culture, some staff members, feel sceptical about the change.

Those interviewed in the issue report reflected that measurements on their performance were still largely dependant  upon the sales figures and monetary value suggesting that while it’s no longer called “sales” but “helping customers” it still reflected conversions.

One of the key issues is that when measuring customer-center metrics, many banks simply don’t have the data, so end up repurposing financial objectives.

For instance in order to measure if staff were able to identify customers’ needs, they were measured by the number of products cross or upsold. As one staff member pointed out concierge metrics were not based on conversations but on branch sales.’   

So for banks and their staff members to be able to truly embrace the change, more effort and devotions are needed in each organisation to develop a set of metrics that truly reflect the customer experience.

Measuring customer experience on the entire journey

An article from the Harvard Business Review named The Truth About Customer Experience highlighted the importance of companies measuring customers’ experience during their end to end journey, rather than only focusing on certain touch points.

This is especially applicable to the service industry. Looking at banks as an example, one customer might feel very different six months after opening an account compared to the moment when they completed the application.

By surveying the customer periodically allows them time to really experience and understand the product or service, hence to form a more comprehensive view towards that. A more systematic and long term measuring scheme is therefore needed in order to establish a holistic view of how customers feel towards the brand and their service.

The tool to collect data

Collecting customer feedback is crucial for any organisation who wish to adopt customer satisfaction as the metrics to measure staff performance.

SMS Survey is, among all, one of the most effective tools enjoying a 98% open rate meaning a higher rate of response. In fact, Ipsos MORI found that 95.3% respondent said they would respond to an SMS survey.

It allow customers to respond at a time that suits them. Customers can simply reply using a rating out of 10, or a Yes / No response, particularly efficient when using the Net Promoter Score.

The data can then be fed back into a chosen CRM system, where required and highlight particular staff members for praise and give further insight into key area that needs improvement.

As a business owner, what are your experiences of measuring customer satisfaction? We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us your thoughts with the comment section below.        

 

      

 

month 05
day 12
year 2017

How mobile phones can help in managing health conditions

Telehealth

The recent Australian Telehealth Conference in Melbourne explored many world-leading virtual technologies, new services, and models of care that integrate m-health, e-health, telehealth and digital health into the current healthcare system.

(Not sure what all of those terms really mean? Scroll down for our quick glossary!)

We’ve learnt, for example, how The Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Program ensures 94% of Victorians are within one hour of stroke care by utilising telemedicine equipment to give city-based neurologists access to the patient and their brain images from rural and regional hospitals. The neurologist can then make a diagnosis and recommend treatment much more quickly, crucial when treating strokes.

While telehealth technology clearly delivers results for time sensitive acute treatment, one common theme our research has revealed is how effective mobile phones and telehealth technology are in managing chronic conditions and providing incremental care.

Mobile’s influence on behavioural change

One reason is that mobile devices have the ability to provide personalised and instant responses, which are crucial in assisting behavioural change. In healthcare, behavioural change is the key component to preventing and managing chronic disease.

This probably explains the flourishing of health-related apps. According to The Economist, there are now more than 165,000 health-related apps accessible as of March 2016.

While most of them fall into the category of “wellness”, which help people to monitor their diet, exercise and stress levels, there are also further health apps that have been created for medical purposes, and can even be used by physicians as an equipment supplement.

A good example is the smartphone app iECG which could even replace the traditional ECG machine to detect atrial fibrillation, responsible for one third of all strokes in Australia.

Flexibility of delivery

Another advantage of mobile devices and telehealth technology is their flexibility in delivery, which enable patients to stay at home while receiving the same level of care as they would in a healthcare facility.

According to the Primary Health Care Advisory Group Report, there is a potentially preventable hospitalisation for chronic disease in Australia every 2 minutes. With services like after-hour teletriage, these hospitalisations could be prevented.

Text messages can double the odds of medication adherence

SMS can also be of great help in managing chronic conditions. Researchers at The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney conducted a clinical trial which evaluated how an intervention by text message could be used to increase medication adherence in adults with chronic diseases.

Applications ranged from a text being sent to patients if they failed to open a medication dispenser to personalised messages regarding specific medicines and dosages. The conclusion was that SMS proved to be an essential tool in disease prevention, monitoring and management.

Telehealth encompasses preventative, promotional and curative aspects of healthcare, so it’s important for all providers to continue to explore the potential and build on their experiences.

We’re working with several providers in this space and are excited to be involved with initiatives that make such a difference to the cost and effectiveness of medical care.

Quick guide to telehealth terminology

Telehealth: the provision of healthcare remotely by means of telecommunications technology.

m-health / mHealth: the use of mobile phones and other wireless technology in medical care.

e-health / eHealth: healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication. Sometimes more narrowly defined as healthcare practice using the internet.

Digital health: electronically connecting up the points of care so that health information can be shared securely (source).

Telemedicine: the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical healthcare from a distance.

Teletriage: a medical professional speaks by telephone to a patient, assesses the symptoms, and guides them to appropriate care.

month 04
day 24
year 2017

Using SMS surveys to clean up your database

Customer data is a huge asset. According to Zswift, businesses with databases of 500 customers or more achieve a 140% increase in average order value compared to those with smaller databases.

But in order to benefit from this statistic it is important to ensure that your database is up to date.

Customer data can deteriorate so rapidly that it could be rendered useless within 3 years as a result of failed nurturing. (source).

When customer data is out of date, not only does it leave a sour taste for your brand, in some cases you may actually risk breaking the law.

For example sending emails to customers who have already opted out is considered a breach of the Spam Act 2003 and can cost you more than a few failed messages. In 2013, GraysOnline was fined $165,000 for breaching the Spam Act.  

Letters are expensive: hiring a freelance designer to work up the design, getting the mailshot printed, and the actual cost of mailing to recipients can all add up to thousands of dollars.

Calling customers can strain resources, and is also intrusive when you’re unaware of the best time to call – you’re not giving prospects the opportunity to respond at a time that suits them the best.

Email is convenient but it’s hard to cut through the voices of senders of the thousands of other emails from competing brands, arriving in the same inbox. Did you know that prospective customers are likely to receive up to 97 emails per day by 2018?

Yet with the help of SMS, updating customer data is pretty straightforward. Using SMS Surveys can help your business get a response from customers anywhere and at a time that suits them.

With a 98% open rate, as long as you are timing your survey carefully and keeping your questions short and to the point, it’s likely that you will get a good response from this channel.

We’ve developed a guide on how you can utilise SMS surveys to keep your customer database up to date. It contains examples of SMS surveys you could send and provides you with ideas on the sort of questions to ask.

Start using the tactics to keep your customer data up to date by downloading our guide.

If you would like to discuss how you can utilise SMS Surveys to keep your database tidy, please contact us at sales@esendex.com.au or call us at 1300 764 946.