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Debt collection with an impact!

Using SMS for collecting debtNew figures show that local authorities are more and more reliant on bailiffs to collect debt – in fact it’s up 16% in the last two years (Money Advice Trust MAT). Innovating and thinking of new ways to encourage people to pay off any outstanding council tax or parking fines could save a considerable amount of time and also has a positive social impact.

A report by the Children’s Society has identified that most families who have been visited by the bailiffs say their children were at home at the time – the majority saying it left their children feeling frightened or worried. It’s thought up to 1.6 million children have been affected.

We’ve put together a few ways you can use digital technologies to increase repayments and reduce a reliance on bailiffs.

SMS
91% of adults keep their phone within arms reach (Morgan Stanley) so it’s almost impossible to miss a message through your device. Once a payment has been missed you can send an SMS reminder direct to their mobile. Including a link to an online payment portal is then a great way to encourage more people to settle their debt.

SMS chat
If people are struggling financially and aren’t able to settle their debts right away, giving them a friendly and less threatening way to get in touch is a simple but effective way of coming to an arrangement that works for both sides.

Offering an SMS chat service gives them the ability to talk through their issues with an agent and it seems much less daunting than having to speak on the phone. Having these conversations is a great starting point to getting debts settled.

IVR
Implementing an interactive voice response system provides another way to pay. Citizens can call up and pay over the phone. Automating the payment process helps to reduce your call volumes and give your agents more time to spend encouraging repayments.

 

How to break the cycle of inefficiency

Business IVR Is your business inundated with calls day in, day out? The overwhelming volume inevitably leads to your agents being swamped and frustrated customers facing long waiting times. An interactive voice response (IVR) system could be the answer.

62% of best-in-class companies use IVR platforms to deliver great customer service (Aberdeen Group). Here’s 5 ways a business IVR can work for you:

1. Quick and easy
82% of customers say fast service is the number one factor to a great customer experience (LivePerson). When customers engage with your IVR they can either solve their own issues or connect to an agent making the process much simpler. Also by connecting with the right department the first time around it reduces call times, freeing up your agents to have quality conversations with more customers.

2. In your customers’ hands
In the last five years the number of consumers that prefer automated self service has doubled to 55% (Convergys). With this in mind giving your customers an option to self serve is crucial to keeping them happy. An IVR gives the best of both worlds – they have the freedom to solve their own problems, but have the reassurance that they can connect with an agent.

3. Reduce costs, improve efficiency
An effective IVR platform will help you to automate certain engagements so your customers don’t need to be on the phone with an agent to make a payment, receive balance updates or make a request. This ultimately means less calls into your contact centre helping to ease queues and save costs.

4. Never turn off
You don’t need to have someone constantly manning the phone to make sure you never miss a call. An IVR is 24/7 so customers will have options to self serve or can even leave a voice message out of business hours.

5. It’s the future
Get ahead of the game – by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationship with organisations without interacting with a human (Gartner). An interactive voice response service feels personal but doesn’t require interaction with an agent, unless they choose to.

To break the cycle of inefficiency once and for all implement an IVR to see your costs reduced, more efficient processes and most importantly happier customers!

Esendex are getting colourful!

colour-run-blog-image-largeHere in the Esendex office we’re gearing up for The Color Run in Birmingham this Saturday – we’re ready to walk, jog and run the five-kilometer course, whilst being splattered from head to toe in every colour under the sun! All the money that we raise will be going to Framework.

Framework is a charity focusing their efforts on helping homeless people and preventing homelessness – the work they do really makes a difference. We have raised a lot of money for Framework over the last couple of years, from taking part in grueling 25 mile long walks, bake off’s and even sleeping rough for the night!

If you’re feeling generous and fancy donating to a good cause, here’s our Just Giving page.

Never miss a conversation with voice callbacks

blog-sms_chatNowadays we’re constantly on the move, whether that’s at work, shopping, exercising or on the school run, it’s becoming more difficult for businesses to have meaningful conversations with their customers.

Businesses are generally faced with two options, either call their customers at a time that may not be convenient, or customers can call in and wait to connect to an agent – when time is so valuable, neither option is effective.

Voice callbacks are transforming this process. Customers can reply to a text message or text a shortcode to receive an instant or scheduled callback. Not only is it more convenient, but calling when you know they’re available leads to more valuable conversations.

This communication tool is versatile and can be used across a variety of industries to make it easier for your customers to get in touch, from debt collection and financial services to public sector and retail. Whether they need to make a payment or have a query on a housing or loan application, voice callbacks help you to become more efficient.

In order to truly keep your customers happy you need to make interacting easy with a variety of touchpoints available. Take a look at our SMS, voice, web and multichannel solutions today for inspiration.

Financial services are banking on SMS

Sending SMS in the financial sectorThe sensitive nature of information in the financial services makes finding secure and reliable communication platforms a high priority.

A new study has shown that 88% of organisations in the financial sector believe sending texts to customers has a considerable impact on customer service (IDC InfoBrief). On top of this, 73% consider SMS to be effective for mission critical employee-focused transactions.

To engage effectively with their customers, organisations need to use a suite of channels to interact at every stage of the customer journey – it’s by going above and beyond that attracts and retains their customers.

With communication channels readily available at our fingertips we expect no less when it comes to customer service – it has to be instant and straightforward. To engage effectively, financial organisations need to adapt to the changing communication preferences of their customers.

Other powerful business communication channels

Whether customers want to make a payment or speak to an advisor they can text your shortcode or reply to a text message to receive an instant or scheduled voice callback. This makes the whole experience simple and hassle-free for the customer.

The number of consumers that prefer self-service has doubled in the last five years – it’s now at 55% (Convergys). Financial organisations can use an interactive voice response (IVR) system to allow their clients to self-serve by interacting with their voice system. Whether they want to make a payment, access their account or request a cheque book or quote all they have to do is dial a number and simply navigate through the options.

An online payment portal gives the freedom to accept payments 24/7 online – here at Esendex our payment portal is highly secure and PCI DSS compliant.

Are you communicating effectively? If you would like some more inspiration just get in touch today – call us on 0345 356 5758.

Are you having valuable conversations with your customers?

In a world that’s becoming increasingly social, where we Tweet, Facebook and Instagram our every move, SMS still remains the most effective way to reach people. The beauty of sending text messages is that we are glued to our phone, making it an ‘always on’ channel – in fact 91% of people keep their phone within 3 feet at all times (Morgan Stanley).

Businesses are sending text messages to their staff and customers, but are we missing a trick? Whether you’re looking to answer queries, suggest products or provide help, our SMS chat platform allows you to engage in real time conversations.

According to HeyWire Business, up to three-quarters of consumers prefer texting for customer support as opposed to email, phone or social media interactions. Nothing frustrates customers more than being placed on hold for hours trying to get through to a customer support agent, with SMS chat the conversations can happen at a time that suits them. It also means you can be more efficient, with more conversations happening all at once.

If you want more information on how you can use SMS chat just get in touch today – email sales@esendex.com or call us on 0345 356 5758.sms-chat-blog-image-large (1)

 

Do your good deed and give blood

Esendex give bloodBlood donations are a vital part of any healthcare system, after all it saves lives every day. With this in mind, a group of us at Esendex have gone down to our local blood donation centre to give blood.

According to NHS Blood and Transplant only 4% of us in the UK give blood – could SMS prove valuable to increase donations?

Blodcentralen in Sweden have found sending an SMS to donors when their blood has been used to treat a patient encourages donors to continue giving. The scheme which has now been running for three years has had a really positive response.

Innovative schemes like sending SMS updates to donors are a great way of encouraging blood donations that will one day save lives.

Introducing a refreshed website

We’ve just revamped our website and we’re really excited – we don’t want to keep the news to ourselves!

At the end of last year you might remember we acquired Collstream (a business communications provider based in Derby). With a suite of complimentary products and services, an outstanding team, great technology and a really strong customer base, our products and services combined really set us apart from the competition.

Our newly refreshed website is a great place to become more familiar with what we offer across our SMS, Voice, Web and Multichannel portfolio.

Why not take a look at our website – we’d love to hear what you think! Please send any feedback to marketing@esendex.com.new-website-email-header

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.