SMS has served IT Solution Providers well for the last 25 years. By integrating SMS functionality into their systems, providers can offer their customers the ability to send appointment reminders, delivery notifications, marketing and staff communications without having to use a second system.
Providers have also seen measurable benefits by providing SMS functionality to their customers using SMS. With click-through rates averaging 19%, and conversions averaging 32% (source), it’s the star performer in many use cases.
Why do we need to evolve our SMS communications?
According to the Wantedness survey, 85% of UK consumers measure all brands against a select few – think GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), and 90% want to engage with brands that are setting new standards. That’s a big ask for the vast majority of businesses, and any advantage that can be delivered through their existing software applications is likely to be extremely welcome.
So while SMS has been an exceptionally effective workhorse, if the opportunity is there to offer something that makes customers’ lives even easier, as well as increasing the effectiveness of their messages, it would be in IT Solution Providers’ interests to offer this.
How can we offer rich messaging to our customers?
Landing Pages are a great place for IT Solution Providers to start if they wish to offer visually rich, individually tailored interactions, which are designed specifically for use on a mobile phone.
Landing Pages work in a straightforward way. The customer receives a custom text message, which includes a branded preview of the landing page. The text message contains a link which will take the customer to the landing page. The customer can then perform the action the business wants them to. This could be anything from routing to a payment portal or arranging an appointment, to tracking a delivery or accessing customer service facilities.
The distinction between Landing Pages and any standard page on your website is firstly that Landing Pages are specifically designed to be viewed and actioned using a smartphone. Secondly, Landing Pages remove all distractions such as banner adverts, menu options and footer content, to encourage the completion of your desired action.
As well as Landing Pages, IT Solution Providers should also consider RCS (Rich Communication Services).
RCS represents the next evolution of SMS. It takes the exceptional open rate of SMS, and the ubiquity of this service (every phone can receive text messages), and gives it an upgrade for the modern marketplace.
RCS uses new tools like buttons, images with tailored information, and integrated payment facilities – all of which will appeal to customers who are keen to use the latest tools to self-serve. Senders will also be given “verified sender” status, which will reassure the recipient that the interaction is with a trustworthy source.
Perhaps the best thing about RCS however, is that the entire interaction takes place from within the user’s standard message application meaning there’s no need navigate elsewhere – which can have a positive impact on conversion rates.
Which channel is right for us?
RCS represents the long-awaited next evolution of mobile customer communications, and is expected to become the go-to channel for more intelligent customer interactions. However, at the time of writing (September 2018), the widespread use of the channel is still in its infancy in Europe.
This means that for many businesses who are itching to start sending richer customer communications, Landing Pages could be the way forward – in the short term at least.
Getting to grips with Landing Pages will also stand IT Solution Providers’ customers in good stead for an eventual progression into RCS. By sending richer messages, businesses can learn more about the end customer’s behaviour, and what elements of a message they find most engaging, so that when the time comes to progress onto RCS, businesses will have a good idea about what makes for an effective rich message.
How do we get started?
The evolution from SMS to landing pages and RCS might seem daunting, but it really doesn’t have to be. With the Esendex RCS and Landing Page APIs, IT Solution Providers will be able to offer their customers rich messaging functionality with minimal fuss. Our account managers are also on hand to quickly get you started and guide you through the process of providing richer messaging solutions in the easiest way possible.
You can register your interest online, or contact the Esendex team on 0345 356 5758 / firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you!