month 06
day 19
year 2017

New investment expands Esendex in Europe

new investment for

We’ve set ourselves the target to become Europe’s leading business messaging company, and with the support of our customers, suppliers and staff, we’ve made great progress. Today we’re delighted to announce significant developments which now turn that goal into reality.

Esendex has been acquired by HgCapital, a major European technology investor. Hg has a portfolio of technology companies across Europe, including Mobyt, the Italian market leader in business communications, with operations also in France. In addition to this, Mobyt has recently acquired SMSEnvoi, a highly successful French messaging company.

We’ve been busy here at Esendex HQ too, last week acquiring SMSpubli, an incredibly fast-growing Spanish provider of business messaging services.

The four businesses will come together as part of the Esendex Group of companies, though they will retain their own brands and identities.

In this way we can serve the widest range of business sectors and territories across Europe and Australia, bringing all customers, both new and existing, the benefits of the wider group: 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.”

The press release regarding the details of this transaction is available to view here. If you have any questions at this time, please contact your account manager or a member or our team on 0345 356 5758.

month 05
day 25
year 2017

Putting “girl power” into tech

Nottingham Girls High School students paired programming with Esendex

Earlier this month, our Prime Minister, Theresa May caught the eye of the media when  referring to a conversation between her and husband about household chores where they distinguished between “boy jobs” and “girl jobs.” While this conversation arose in relation to domestic tasks it’s an association often passed on in the way we often choose to stereotype gender roles in society and the workplace.

Esendex have previously touched upon about the lack of progress being made in the representation of women in IT, engineering and tech roles within the workplace. More recently, a global survey of chief information officers (CIOs) published earlier this week found that the percentage of female IT leaders remains low at just 9% (Source: 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey).

Seen in this light, our recent visit from a group of students of the Nottingham Girls’ High School couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time to turn the preconception of “boys’ jobs” and “girls’ jobs” on its head.

“To be honest, I think that the girls of NGHS weren’t the most enthusiastic when the idea of going to a software development company arose, but to our surprise, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,” was one of the testimonials of Amina Atiq, a Nottingham Girls’ High School student following her trip to Esendex HQ last week.

“Working with developers and getting a closer insight into how building code works was a step closer to helping us in our journey through tech. It was fun to play around with the many computers in the office and with the specific type of programming language they used.

“I was also delighted by the fact that many male workers were very supportive when asked about whether they think more women should be working in this same field.“

Isabelle Kaye-Oaks also seemed to share this sentiment: “What intrigued me the most was the fact that nearly all the mentors we were assigned to expressed the ever-growing importance of the employment of women in technology and advised us on how to get a job at a business like Esendex. Although we weren’t very enthusiastic about the visit initially, it proved to be a brilliant experience.”

There were a total of 16 Computer Science students who visited on the day from Year 10 through to A-level. The afternoon began with a tour of the various departments in the Nottingham office and then paired programming, where each student was paired with one of our software developers and got to play with our API, using various coding languages from Python and C#.

…And the students were pretty good, because their code worked!

At the close of the day refreshments were provided and students got to experience a retro analysis of the day, which has often been used to improve on future visits (students from NUAST suggested biscuits on their last visit, and this time we provided).

Nottingham Girls' High School students during their retroStudent, Mia Hyland summed up the day: “I walked away from the experience with a new-found passion for programming that I had never experienced before. The positivity the developers possessed was such an inspiration for me.”

She added: “Despite how challenging the work is, they enjoy trying different ways for solutions; they taught me to put things into perspective and think of alternative ways to solve problems. I feel as though I gained as much as I could from this experience and I am extremely grateful to have experienced it.”

We look forward to welcoming more of the future minds of technology in the future.

month 05
day 24
year 2017

Mobile messaging is the perfect partner for Microsoft Dynamics

At Esendex, we work hard to make our quality service available to as many people as possible and part of this is building our software partnerships. As more companies look to improve communications and engage with their customers without committing to costly software transitions, SMS is an easy option.

Our latest partnership with  XRM consultancy is part of that commitment, and we’re pretty excited about it. Why? Opening up the possibility to enable SMS to be sent from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, a CRM system used by more than 40,000 businesses, Esendex latest partnership now allows more than 4.4 million users to send fast, reliable and secure SMS messages directly through Microsoft Dynamics.Microsoft Dynamics

From text message reminders and SMS notifications through to critical alerts, users can benefit from the ability to reach customers on the go via Esendex’s direct connections – instantly without the need to import and export.

Learn more about how simple it is to send a text message from Microsoft Dynamics.

By offering SMS plug-in solutions that work in combination with some of the industry leading CRM and CMS software, sending business SMS using Esendex, has never been so simple.

We have a number of upcoming guides that explain how to send SMS from various renowned software partners such as Sage CRM, Flow XO, Oracle and Zoho. To keep informed about the latest additions to our partner solutions, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

month 05
day 15
year 2017

Grey routes – it’s as clear as black and white

Grey RoutingIf you’re not sure what a grey route is, you’re not alone. In fact, you’d be joining a majority of our website visitors.

We recently conducted a survey, published in our latest eBook, which found that almost 90% of our UK website visitors didn’t know what was meant by the term “grey routing”, and equally didn’t understand the implications.

In the same survey, we also asked whether the reliability and security of messages is more important than the price – and more than 60% chose the former. So we know message quality matters to you.

When choosing to put your business’ trust in the hands of a communications provider, understanding the various delivery routes your messages can take and the differing quality of them is fundamental in ensuring your message is delivered.

What is routing in the context of SMS?

It’s the means by which your message reaches your recipient’s handset. In the world of business SMS, there are three routes: white (good), black (illegal) and grey (not illegal but not necessarily desirable, as we’re about to see).

The quality of service you receive really depends on which of these routes your SMS provider uses.

The mobile phone networks – O2, Three, Vodafone and EE – make a key distinction between messages for business use known as A2P (application to person) and messages for personal use known as P2P (person to person).

Business messages are supposed to go down specific white routes which are secure, reliable and fast; equally, this premium service comes with a network charge. It is possible to skip this network charge by using grey routes, and, in doing so, offer very low prices for business SMS.

Where grey routes differ from intended business SMS routes

The temptation of grey routes is that they offer what initially appears to be the same service for a lower price. However, the devil is in the detail.

Despite the originator (the sender) and destination (the recipient’s handset) being in the same country, the message data is transmitted using international networks for free disguised as a personal message.

This can open up your messages to various security risks, as you lose all data protection sureties and become vulnerable to personal details being stolen.

Because your message is jumping from network to network, messages are likely to be delivered slowly.

Moreover, because the mobile phone networks are actively searching for this sort of activity and shutting it down, there is no guarantee that messages will be delivered at all.

Grey route fraud will cost the industry $82 billion by 2020 (Mobilesquared).

Our “What is grey routing?” eBook contains all you need to know to help you understand the affects of grey routing on your business and the telecommunications industry.

month 05
day 12
year 2017

RCS Messaging: What could the future look like?

Making engagements between brands and consumers more aural, visual and interactive, RCS (Rich Communication Service) enables brands to use features commonly associated with OTT apps and apply them to SMS; think instant group chats and file sharing.

In a previous post, we touched upon what RCS is and its origins. With Google’s plans to make RCS messaging a part of the latest Android phone models as standard, we’re exploring what it could make the future of mobile look like as it catapults SMS into the modern age of mobile technology.

Although a feature still in development and not yet widely available on Android devices, RCS is a pretty hot topic in communication.

There are already some major brands sharing a keen interest in RCS messaging including Virgin Trains, Philips and Subway who have already opted into Google’s Early Access Program.Taxi RCS

Pitch perfect branding

Producing on-brand communication with customers, clients and staff, across every medium, is every marketer’s dream  And whether it’s an accurate colour palette, photos, videos or intonation with RCS messaging you have more opportunities to personalise and tailor your message and showcase your brand.

With the ability to send rich ‘app-like’ cards providing key information about e-commerce orders, taxi journeys, offers, promotions, digital receipts and more, RCS offers an app-like experience, for Android users, without any need for downloads.

Interactive messaging

The option to adopt interactive buttons instead of easily-missed URL links offers opportunities to increase the likelihood of an action being taken, boosting message click-through-rates.

Geolocation can also be incorporated for convenience. In our taxi example below, not only will the recipient be able to see the route of the taxi and its current location, using geolocation there is an additional option to contact the driver or modify the pick-up address instantly through a simple text message.

Get a feel for RCS with our infographic

Trying to imagine what RCS messaging could look like for your business? Take a look at our latest infographic. As more information becomes available, we’ll continue to post updates which should hopefully spark some ideas for upcoming mobile marketing campaigns.

(more…)

month 04
day 25
year 2017

How Esendex and npower made the finals of the 2017 Credit Awards

Update: npower WON the Best Credits & Collections Technology award, and we’re so proud!

npower, partnered with Esendex, has been nominated in two categories at the 2017 Credit Awards: Best Credit & Collections Technology and Innovation in Customer Contact.

This collaboration has been such a rewarding experience for Esendex, and we wanted to talk you through what we’ve achieved together.

The challenge

npower is the UK’s third biggest supplier of energy, and, like most long-standing companies in the utilities sector, had difficulties collecting small balance final debt.

There are two main issues associated with the traditional white lettering and outbound dialling approach when pursuing small balance final debt.

The first issue is that many of the customers that leave npower (approx. 55%) do so as they are moving home. When moving home, customers don’t always provide a forwarding address and thus can’t be contacted via letter.

The second issue is that the cost of lettering and outbound dialling can often exceed the balance owed. It’s for this reason that npower had not previously been able to pursue small balance final debt.

The solution

npower provided Esendex with a strategy that considers a customer’s contact details, leaving reason and most importantly debt amount, from which we’ve been able to construct an intelligent contact platform – a ‘decision engine’ – that segments customers onto different contact journeys in order to maintain maximum return on investment.

Customer B, as illustrated in this diagram, is first contacted via email, and provided with three ways to pay off their final balance:

  • An IVR – Interactive Voice Response – system which can be accessed from a landline or mobile, and talks the customer through making a payment
  • A Mobile Journey, which is effective a mobile web app, accessible via a smartphone or from a computer. By removing distractions and elements that make completion on a mobile challenging, customers can quickly and easily make a payment via their mobile phone
  •  A traditional payment portal, best accessed via a desktop computer / laptop.

If the customer doesn’t make a payment, or the message fails to be delivered, they’ll receive an SMS. From the SMS they have the option to again, call the IVR, or click through to the Mobile Journey to make a payment.

If the outstanding balance is high enough, and the customer has either not responded or the SMS wasn’t delivered, they’ll receive an automated call with the option to use their keypad to make a payment.

At npower’s requested, we’ve also built an input layer that allows npower to stop any contact to any customer at any point in time; this gives them complete control over the contact even though they do not conduct the contact in house.

The outcome

npower enjoyed an uplift in payments from 4% to 19% after deploying the new methodology.

Including set up and running costs, they recouped their initial investment within five months, and in year two, because the set up costs won’t be repeated, they’ll recoup the annual cost after just two months.

This was a unique partnership combining npower’s knowledge of their customer base and Esendex’s expertise in digital communication and our ability to elicit a great response rate.

It utilises a digitally driven strategy removing the need for traditional paper correspondence and potentially lengthy call volumes.

“The use of an Esendex provided payment platform created a quick and easy way for our customers to pay off their outstanding debts whilst on the go and the uplift in payments is proving how popular and successful this platform is.” – Senior Credit Risk Analyst, npower

Win or lose, we’re really proud of this collaboration, and believe it illustrates how a personalised, mobile orientated customer journey can deliver a successful outcome, even when you’re dealing with a group of relatively disengaged ex-customers.

month 04
day 25
year 2017

Snap elections call for quick communication

Westminster spring

The UK is about to have its third nationwide government vote within 25 months. From the 2015 general election, followed by 2016’s Brexit referendum, to a snap general election to be held 8th June 2017.

Upon hearing the news of a snap election, many people empathised with Brenda from Bristol who expressed a certain amount of apathy to visiting the polling stations again so soon and so frequently.

Despite the high turnout at the Brexit referendum, predictions for turnout in June are expected to be the lowest they have been in recent years.

With only a small number of weeks to go until voters hit the polling booths, there is a race against time to engage with voters and encourage those eligible to vote to sign up before deadline dates. The BBC has reported that almost 350,000 people have registered to vote since the surprise announcement a week ago.

The biggest group getting their applications in to vote were young people. Over 100,000 people aged between 18 and 34 registered within just a few days of the announcement.

The numbers are encouraging but more can be done to ensure that potential voters are registered, and all registered voters remember to cast their vote on the day.

Is the UK missing the mark?

Sending text messages to members of the electorate is a relatively uncommon practice in the UK. In other parts of the world, it’s a lot more common as for example, Thailand’s 2006 election saw 25 million text messages sent to members of the public reminding them to vote that day.Text Obama

Back in 2008, Obama sent what has now been coined as his ‘most important text message’ announcing his Vice President pick Joe Biden to 3 million recipients. Throughout his campaign, his team elevated the use of texting to promote question and answer sessions with the use of a short code.

Leveraging SMS, you can better engage the public, organise events and ultimately mobilise people to vote. Moreover, with limited time to prepare for the election, text messages are a quick way to motivate people to register and vote.

The focus is on voice

If there’s anything that social media has taught us, it’s not that the public doesn’t voice their opinion. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Reddit, words can speak louder than actions.

Celebrity voices are powerful and influential, something that a lot of marketers have attempted to wield for various campaigns. This is no different when it comes to politics. During the Brexit campaign, we saw numerous online videos of ‘remain or leave’ celebrity supporters sharing their opinions.

Voice broadcasting gives local authorities the ability to send a concise, engaging message from a popular local figurehead to encourage registrations and voter turnout. Voice broadcasts have the added benefit of being as effective when delivered to landlines as they are to mobile devices.


Esendex can help you get voters to the polling station. SMS campaigns can be set up and sent within minutes using Esendex’s secure online platform. We have a professional services team available to help you get up and running with a Voice campaign in plenty of time for 22nd May (the deadline to register to vote). 
Get in touch to learn more.  

month 04
day 6
year 2017

Home delivery horror stories, and how couriers can get it right

Big or small, retail companies are heavily invested in delivering an amazing customer experience for consumers. It’s one of the cornerstones of competition – who delights most, wins!

But the world’s most intuitive eCommerce experience, coupled with well priced, unique products, can still disappoint if the delivery experience falls short of expectations. And that’s not something retailers are able to control.

During 2014, the courier and express delivery market increased to a value of £7.8 billion with 2.2 billion packages being delivered. This is estimated to reach three billion by 2019 (source), and, with Royal Mail no longer monopolising the market, hundreds of courier companies and delivery brokers are competing in this space.

Statistics on customer satisfaction with couriers

94 per cent94% of UK consumers have utilised courier or express delivery services in the past six months (source).

79% of respondents reported waiting in for deliveries that turned up late, and 61% of respondents reported not receiving their parcel at all (source).

58% of respondents who’ve had goods delivered by a leading courier rated their experience as bad (source).

 

Courier-statistics26% of people surveyed are put off online purchases altogether because they don’t want to wait in for a delivery (source).

65% of respondents cited ‘risk of failed delivery’ as their no. 1 reason for not shopping online (source).

68% of shoppers say that a good delivery experience has directly encouraged them to order again from a particular retailer (source).

 

A retail brand simply can’t afford to let bad experiences in the delivery stage occur; equally, poor performing logistics companies risk losing their contracts with retailers.

What does a good delivery experience look like?

The IMRG study shows that while alternative delivery point / click and collection solutions are growing in popularity, most people (80.6%) prefer home deliveries. So it’s unsurprising, really, that the dream delivery experience is all about visibility and control.

The following stats are taken from the IMRG UK Consumer Home Delivery Review 2016:

 

83.4% of households83.4% of households want to receive information about the progress of their delivery.

61.9% of households want to receive delivery alerts on the morning of delivery, with a time window specified.

 

SMS Alerts78.3% want online order tracking, and 76.4% want to receive an ‘in transit’ SMS or email to advise when delivery can be expected.

SMS has overtaken email as the preferred means of receiving delivery information, increasing to 45.03% of households from 38.3% in just one year.

The monetary cost of failure to couriers

In addition to retaining their lucrative contracts with retailers, transport and logistics companies can save considerable internal costs by embracing mobile technology – estimated at £303,855 per year by a 2013 survey from Intermec.

Failed deliveries cost retailers an estimated £711m in 2014 (source), but remarkably, Intermec’s report revealed at 72% of logistics companies had not reevaluated their existing processes for at least two years.

What’s the future of logistics?

The headlines are full of drone and car-boot delivery services, pioneered, of course, by the behemoth that is Amazon. They’re even planning an app that will let ordinary people earn by delivering packages en route to their destinations…

But while Amazon are reaching for the stars, every retailer needs to ensure that they’re not so far behind that they can’t even conceive of catching up.

If the prospect of offering real time delivery notifications, frictionless parcel tracking, and self-serve delivery rescheduling seems like a mountain to climb, get in touch; our retail and logistics team have years of experience in delivering these solutions affordably and effectively, and are here to help.

month 04
day 5
year 2017

The mobile-first banking world

Google have reported that more than 1 in 4 internet users only uses a smartphone to get online, which is almost twice as many as those who only use a desktop computer.

You may be thinking “we have a mobile-friendly website” but unless you’re prioritising the mobile experience and making your customers’ mobile journey easier then there’s always more to be done.

Here’s our breakdown of the three areas where a mobile-first experience pays dividends.

1. Making a payment

In 2016, Visa reported that 74% of British consumers manage their money or make payments using their mobile phone.

This huge expansion in mobile payments hasn’t gone unnoticed by mobile operating systems, who of course presented their own solutions to the market.

Apple Pay usage grew 50% in 2016 (source), and while adoption of this sort of service still only represents approximately 30% of smartphone users, it’s growing every year (source).

Paypal, with its emphasis on mobile-friendliness (“Pay quickly and more securely with just a mobile number and PIN”) is the UK’s third most popular payment solution, accounting for over 20% of all purchases made in 2016 (source).

In short,  consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to access their finances through apps and other solutions which means that demand is high.

Mobile first era for banking

2. Improving communication

There’s nothing worse for a customer than putting off an important phone call as they expect to be stuck on hold waiting in line. Offering a quick and immediate solution such as a text to callback saves your customers’ time and doesn’t deter them from getting in touch.

By promoting voice callbacks to your customers via SMS, email or letters, your customers will avoid premium rate calls, long queues and they’ll get to the right department first time, every time.

SMS accelerates the speed of communication.  Around 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of being received (source) whereas half of all emails aren’t opened for at least 6 hours. When getting in contact with your clients is critical, you need to rely on a system that is effective.

3. Improving customer service

According to OpenMarket, nine out of 10 financial service organisations feel like mobile messaging has a considerable or major impact on overall customer experience.

What does that look like in practice?

An increasingly popular way to gather feedback and find out what your customers are thinking is by sending surveys by SMS.

These short and simple questionnaires typically produce high response rates as mobile phones are often kept within arm’s reach, and can help you ‘take the temperature’ of your customer base, addressing issues before they become crises.

Our team presented a series of solutions for improving customer service in the financial services industry at a recent Mobile Marketing summit:

Mobile first is something no business can afford to miss. If you are considering a complete end to end mobile experience for your customers, please contact our team on 0345 356 5758.

month 04
day 3
year 2017

Pollen allergies: the dark side of Spring

Pollen

After the harsh winter breezes and chilling frosts, many people welcome the warmer weather of spring. Unfortunately, for over 10 million Brits who suffer from pollen allergies or asthma, spring isn’t as bright as the rest of us believe.

With hayfever rates expected to triple between now and 2030 due to city living, pollution and climate change, this presents a real challenge for businesses try to cope with the reduced productivity hayfever prompts.

Hay fever costs UK business £7.1 billion every year in lost productivity. A recent study from the Met Office has found the irritable symptoms of pollen allergies causes a 40% drop in productivity.

The survey of more than 2000 UK adults also revealed that 23% found the condition was impacting their ability to turn up at work and those experiencing severe hay fever took an average of 3.7 days off work in relation.

How GPs and Pharmacies can proactively ease the symptoms

It was widely reported in 2016 that the UK has the worst productivity in the G7 countries and that it’s still falling. It’s in everyone’s interest to improve UK workers’ productivity – and so information to ease the anguish caused by the symptoms should be readily available.

By using SMS, doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies can send pollen allergy alerts directly to patients warning them of a particularly high pollen count that day. A pollen count alert text message will enable sufferers to receive up-to-date information directly to their mobile.

Steps to help avoid allergy symptoms

Pollen forecasts help those with allergies plan their day accordingly. Those trying to avoid high exposure will appreciate a helpful reminder message: “remember to close your windows before leaving the house as pollen counts are very high today” or “Don’t forget to take your sunglasses today and protect your eyes from pollen”.

Send product information to patients

Pharmacies have an excellent opportunity to notify current patients when remedies and medicines such as antihistamines, eye drops and nasal sprays are available in store.

SMS notifications regarding when new or restocked products can be purchased or offering discounts on symptom relief products can also benefit those who suffer from hayfever.

Learn more about the applications of SMS within healthcare or contact a member of our sales team 0345 356 5758.