Simplifying Business With SMS
There are a few industries paving the way for text-mediated customer relations. Consider how their innovative communication practices might help your business better reach its customers:
Transportation. Remember the days when you would call for a cab? After placing the call, you’d constantly look out the window, hoping someone would actually arrive. Then, after 30 minutes, you’d call the driver’s number and realize he’d been waiting around the corner the whole time.
Now, thanks to apps like Uber and Lyft, the transportation industry has been completely disrupted. Users receive texts when the driver is on his way, when he’s nearby, and when he has arrived. Users can even get a text after the ride has ended, saying thanks and giving them a chance to offer feedback.
Although these companies would prefer to use inexpensive push notifications to notify riders, push notifications require user permissions at install and can be disabled. Instead, they chose SMS; it works regardless of phone type or apps downloaded. Go where your customers already are.
Banking. The financial industry doesn’t have a reputation for innovation, but it’s doing some pioneer work in the realm of SMS communication. While banking alternatives like RushCard have utilized SMS for years to allow low-income individuals outside of the banking system to manage their money, these systems are vulnerable to attacks and network issues. RushCard has already incurred scrutiny from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because some customers couldn’t withdraw funds for weeks.
As a whole, the financial industry would do well to embrace SMS. Wells Fargo now offers its customers a “bank by text" model. By texting just a few letters, customers can know their balances (BAL ALL), check recent account activity (ACT), learn credit card due dates (DUE), and even locate ATMs (ATM + ZIP). Rather than asking customers to download an app, complete security checks, and wait for accounts to load, Wells Fargo customers can send a few characters and get the information they need. It’s a faster, simpler approach to mobile banking.
Education. Educators know how difficult it can be to quickly reach parents. Parents need to see report cards, receive messages from administrators, and quickly learn about emergencies that involve their students. No medium is so widely read as SMS, and it can enable educators to reach dozens of students and parents with a single message.
Texting can also be used to reach students who need extra support after school hours. Particularly during holidays, texting can help teachers and pupils communicate about difficult concepts. And, contrary to popular belief, texting has been shown to actually improve students’ foundational writing and communication skills.