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Keep up to date with current news and highlights from the SMS industry

The ‘Father of SMS’ Matti Makkonen dies at the age of 63

Source: BBC

Source: BBC

It’s a sad time for the tech world – Matti Makkonen, widely known as the ‘Father of SMS’ has died at the age of 63.

Although he didn’t develop the technology on his own, he had the idea of sending text messages via mobile networks. Speaking on the 20th anniversary of the first text message sent, Makkonen said “the real launch of the service as I see it, was when Nokia introduced the first phone that enabled easy writing of messages (Nokia 2010 in 1994)”.

SMS has and will continue to have a massive influence on the technology world. Text-speak and auto-correct have spawned from SMS, whilst also providing a template for hugely influential social media platforms like Twitter.

Matti Makkonen believed that some form of text messaging will be around in some form forever and we have to agree, its effectiveness is undeniable!

He has been described by friends and colleagues as a man whose fascination with communications technology was irrepressible, and he will be missed across the entire technology industry.

NEW: Introducing enriched Unicode SMS messaging

unicodeWe’re excited to launch our brand new Unicode feature, allowing you to personalise and further enhance your customer communications. With our new feature you can use special and regional characters for sending text messages to smartphones.

In an increasingly globalised and competitive market it’s important that your communication is personalised to your audience. With Unicode you have access to thousands of characters for sending SMS, making it easier to communicate effectively with your customers.

All modern smartphones support Unicode including: Windows Phone, iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.

For more information or if you have any features you’d like us to add, get in touch today, call us on 0845 356 5758 or email sales@esendex.com.

Serving up our exclusive offer just in time for Wimbledon 2015

Tennis playerWe’re celebrating our 25% free SMS credit offer* by looking back 25 years and rediscovering amazing sporting moments in 1990. In a series of 3 blogs throughout this month, we’ll bring you a mix of the iconic, the downright surprising and emotional moments during what was an amazing year of sport.

With less than two weeks until Wimbledon 2015 officially begins (June 29th), we’ve delved back in history – it turns out that 1990 was a very special year for one of the most iconic sporting tennis stars of the 20th Century. At this years Wimbledon, it will be 25 years since Martina Navratilova, the Czech born U.S based player, scooped the Wimbledon ladies singles title. It turned out to be the last of her amazing 18 grand slam single titles (to go with her 31 major doubles titles – which is still a record!).

Dubbed by tennis historian and journalist Bud Collins as “arguably the greatest tennis player of all time”, Navratilova has also been hailed by former number one champion Billie Jean King, former “the greatest singles, double and mixed player who has ever lived”. Keen tennis fans will know the names of the all time greats such as King, Navratilova, Graff and even now Serena Williams, but do you know the name of the original Ladies Singles Champion, the first lady of Wimbledon – Maud Watson? No?

Maud Watson (MBE) from Harrow-London, was the first Ladies Wimbledon Champion who won the title 131 years ago in 1884. Maud began playing competitive tennis in 1881 the year the ladies open events were introduced in England. Back then she played in a white corset and petticoat against thirteen competitors and even defeated her older sister Lilian.

Arguably the oldest tennis tournament in the world, the tournament was first played in 1877 in its London namesake and borough; Wimbledon. Back then it was only men that were permitted to play, won by Spencer Gore in front of only 200 spectators who paid a shilling to watch the final. Given that in 2014 the four tennis Grand Slams generated an estimated revenue of $268m* (Sports Sponsorship Insider ) through sponsorship and ticket entry prices, it’s unlikely the organisers of the 1877 matches would have foreseen the sustainability and success of Wimbledon as an industry in its own right.

We work with a range of sports clubs across football, rugby and cricket, by utilising our multi-channel communication platforms we are able to assist with season ticket renewals, routing customers to ticket offices, generating awareness of key fixtures, key player or manager voice blasts to fans, kit launch promotions, off season events (such as stadiums, gigs and shows) and stewarding and security messages.

With an expected 38,500 spectators for Wimbledon 2015 (Wimbledon official website), over 42 acres of the club’s car park and courts, it’s likely to be another iconic year for tennis fans and could well be a stellar event for your business, take advantage of our 25% free SMS offer and give us a call today – 0845 356 5758.

*25% free SMS credits for any bundle purchased and sent before the end of June 2015 with no minimum purchase.

4 ways SMS can help you become an effective online retailer

Using SMS for E-commerceAccording to Econsultancy, this year in the UK online retail sales are expected to hit £52.25bn (a massive 16.2% increase on 2014). On top of this, the average UK consumer is predicted to spend £1,174 online in 2015, making us the most frequent online shoppers in Europe.

As more of us are shopping online it’s not just our spending habits that are on the rise, our expectations are too! With this in mind, here’s 5 ways SMS can help retailers to deliver an efficient and hassle-free experience for their customers:

1. Going above and beyond
When people can find everything they would ever want (and more) online, good customer service is not just desirable it’s expected. 94% of consumers who have a hassle-free service experience will buy from that company again (CEB), so not meeting these expectations can have a serious impact on sales.

Let your customers know when their order is being shipped, send delivery confirmations and allow them to change their delivery time via text message. You can also engage in two-way conversations via SMS to resolve any problems quickly and easily.

2. More effective communication
Most retailers use email to communicate with their customers about their order, but why stop there? SMS is the perfect channel to either accompany or replace your email communication.

SMS has near perfect open rates at 98% compared to an open rate of 22% for email (Frost & Sullivan), on top of this 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes (mobileSQUARED). The instant nature makes text messaging ideal for sending time-sensitive delivery updates and answering customer queries or complaints quickly.

3. Add that personal touch
When a purchase is being done over a computer, tablet or even mobile there is no human interaction. By sending a text message direct to your customers’ phone, personalised with their name and order number, it gives their order that personal touch.

4. The possibilities are endless
Retailers can use SMS in lots of different ways to enhance the online experience they provide – it’s time to get creative! Get customer feedback instantly by using SMS surveys, you could even offer a special discount code once the survey has been completed. Send text messages to boost your sales by sending an automated message once an item is back in stock or encourage customers to complete their purchase by reminding them what is in their basket.

To keep your customers happy you need your communication to be fast and reliable. Here at Esendex, we’ve got direct connections to all the major networks so you can count on us.

Do It For Framework Day at Esendex

framework-blog-collageLast Friday was Do It For Framework Day! We had lots of activities going on in our Nottingham and Derby office to help to raise money for this great cause.

First a little bit about Framework…
They are a charity and specialist housing association working to not only prevent homelessness and help homeless people, but also to provide opportunities for vulnerable people to change their life. They work tirelessly, helping more than 11,000 people a year – the work they do really makes a difference.

Raising money for Framework
All in the name of fundraising we had a raffle, a bake sale and a few played dress up for the day.

We even managed to get a few of our managers and our CEO to get a soaking in the stocks. Our wheel of fortune decided their fate – would they be hit with water balloons, foam pie, icing sugar, water or eggs?

It was a great day in the office and in total we managed to raise over £800 for a worthy cause – thanks to everyone for getting involved!

Our latest feedback survey winner revealed!

Here at Esendex we’re always looking for ways to improve our products and services. With this in mind, we recently asked our customers to give us their feedback via a survey. Everyone who took part was entered into a prize draw – Moores Furniture Group were the lucky winners!

We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give you a bit of an insight into how they use our platform…

moores-furniture-blog-image-thumbWith over 60 years of experience, they are known for their high quality kitchens and bathrooms. Moores Furniture Group use our platform to send their customers delivery notifications and updates. Sending text messages ensures the process of getting a new kitchen or bathrooms runs as smoothly as possible.

Esendex is officially a Great Place to Work

Geoff Love, CEO

Geoff Love, CEO

Last night we went to London for the Great Place To Work Award ceremony and were crowned the 38th best medium sized workplace!

Being recognised as a Best Workplace is a massive achievement for us – it reinforces our position as a great employer, brand and business!

The Best Workplace awards evaluates the organisation’s culture, the leadership and HR practices that creates the employee experience – recognising employers that really do go that extra mile for their staff!

Geoff Love, our CEO comments:

“We’re delighted to have been officially recognised as a great place to work and it’s all the more pleasing as these awards are based on staff feedback.  Esendex has gone through a lot of change over the last couple of years, but this shows that we are committed to retaining and developing our unique culture and investing in our most important asset – our people. “

It was a great night, the awards were presented by BBC News presenter Huw Edwards, the food was fantastic and there was great music by the truly amazing band Stringfever.

 

A breakdown of Hack24

hack-24-blog (1)

Last weekend we were the headline sponsor for Hack24 – a 24 hour coding competition in the heart of Nottingham, hosted by Tech Nottingham. We also set a challenge for the coders to get stuck into on the day, and just like our APIs our challenge was simple: use Esendex in your hack.

There were loads of great entries, but ‘The Undesirables’ claimed victory with their Esendex-powered big-screen film quiz, which provided near real-time feedback as players text in their answers. They were rewarded with our impressive collection of prizes consisting of:

– Kano computer Kit
– Touch Board Inventors Kit
– Makey Makey
– Arduino-powered DIY Gamer Kit

A massive congratulations to all the guys in the team – we were really impressed with your solution to our challenge!

Our talented team of developers always jump at the chance to get involved in the developer community and Hack24 was no different! Our team spent their all nighter (fuelled by lots of coffee) working on the 7digital challenge – they were also crowned the winners!

Check out our quick interview below with Moreton Brockley, George Frost, Dave Wood and Neil Kilbride following their win at Hack24.

What was the challenge set by 7digital?

It was to spend the 24 hours building a context-based or thematic music application, service or store using not only the 7digital API but also APIs from at least one other source.

Talk us through your entry…
To create our application we used the 7digital, Twitter, and Esendex APIs which were all super easy to use. We made an intuitive web application that allows people to input, tweet or even text their moods.

People from all over the world can then join certain rooms via our app. This will then use the 7digital music platform to automatically find and play music that suits the overall mood of each specific room.

It allows a group of people to listen to music that suits them whether they are all in the same room or on the other side of the world. It’s perfect for parties, events or when you’re working remotely. Think of it as a radio station that plays music depending on how you and your friends are feeling at the time!

How did you decide on your idea?
We all had loads of ideas for things we could work on so we had lots of brainstorming sessions beforehand. Ultimately this idea seemed like something we would actually use if it existed today.

What do you think made your application stand out?
Our solution takes a collaborative approach to music streaming and makes it more social.

Have you been to any similar events before?
We like to try and attend as many developer focused events as possible! We’ve all attended Hack Manchester and a few other events.

What made Hack24 different?
We found that there was a great atmosphere throughout (even in the early hours of the morning)! Also, because we all live and work in Nottingham it was nice to go to a local hack event – they’re surprisingly hard to come by.

The venue was pretty special as well; Broadway in Nottingham is a creative space so it really facilitates events like this. It was also nice to be able to take a break and get stuck into a film in the cinema.

What’s more important, taking part or winning?
Definitely the taking part, although winning does help!

Well done to all the teams at Hack24, we can’t wait for next year.

Busting the top 5 SMS myths

Busting SMS mythsSMS is undoubtedly up there as one of the most effective communication channels.There are however some common misconceptions about SMS knocking around, so we thought we would give you the truth about the trusty text message:

Myth #1 SMS is impersonal
We’re now in an age where we simply can’t live without our mobile phones. 91% of us keep our phones within reach at all times (Morgan Stanley) – it doesn’t get much more personal than that. You can even personalise each SMS you send with first names etc. to give it that extra personal touch.

Myth #2 SMS is on its way out
There is now more choice when it comes to keeping in touch with people – with texting, instant messaging apps and social media just to name a few! But this doesn’t mean that SMS is less powerful, in fact, 89% of execs say their company has or will implement SMS messaging over the next year.

Myth #3 people don’t like it
According to Ofcom, SMS is the most popular form of communication in the UK – if you think your customers don’t want you to text them you should really think again! On top of this, Hipcricket revealed that 57% of consumers would be interested in opting into a brands SMS loyalty program – and 90% of users that participated felt they gained value from it.

Myth #4 it’s not effective
The average SMS open rate is 98% (Frost & Sullivan) so you know your message will be read – not only this but it’s effective too! Cellit suggest that text message engagement rates are 6-8 times higher than email.

Myth #5 it’s just for young people
Although it is true that teens text a lot, all age groups are embracing their mobile for sending and receiving text messages. A study by Nielsen revealed 18-24 year olds exchange 1,914 text messages per month, whilst 55-64 year olds exchanged 167 text messages. These figures suggest a decrease in texting with age, but show that people of all ages are using SMS.

Now we have busted some SMS myths if you’re interested in giving it a go why not sign up for a free 7-day trial!

Esendex customer workshop in Dublin

On Thursday we will be holding an Esendex customer workshop at Bank of Ireland’s Dublin office. The day will be focused on increasing operational efficiency and improving the customer experience through the use of SMS.

There will be some really interesting talks and presentations throughout the day from some Ireland’s major tech companies.

Our first three customer workshops have been a resounding success and this time will be no different! What’s more, with 50 attendees it’s going to be our largest workshop yet. They’re ideal to encourage our customers to learn best practice techniques from their peers, network and catch up with their account managers.

We’ll be filling you in on all of the details after the event – watch this space!