What does the future of customer communication look like for SMEs?

Topic: SME

From appointment reminders to delivery notifications, marketing to communicating with staff, SMS has served every kind of SME extremely well for the last 25 years. In fact, an impressive 10% of SMS sent by businesses are replied to, compared with a much smaller number of 2.5% for a traditional channel like post. Couple this with substantial cost savings, and it quickly becomes clear why the jump to SMS was made for many (source).

The need for smarter interactions has arrived

Despite the overwhelming success of SMS for more engaging customer interactions, SMEs are ready for the next evolution of customer conversations. Plain text messaging is great, but businesses now seek to interact in richer ways using their own branding, and advanced tools which allow their customers to serve themselves.

What are the options on offer?

Landing Pages are a great way to have more visually rich interactions, designed specifically for mobile phones.
The customer receives a text message which includes a branded preview of the landing page, and a link to the landing page. With no distractions (the landing page is separate from your main website) and a mobile-first design, the customer can then perform the action the business wants them to.  This could be anything from making a payment or arranging an appointment, to tracking a delivery or accessing customer service facilities.

As well as Landing Pages, SMEs should also consider RCS (Rich Communication Services) which we believe represents the future of business messaging.
RCS represents the long-awaited upgrade to SMS communications. It takes all of the best parts of SMS such as a high delivery and open rate, and gives it an upgrade for the modern marketplace.
SMEs will be able to set up fully automated and branded interactions with their customers, using 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. Service providers will also be given “verified sender” status, which will reassure their customers that their interaction is with a trustworthy source.
Perhaps the best thing about RCS is that the entire interaction takes place from within the user’s standard message application, meaning there’s no need navigate elsewhere – which in turn can have a positive impact on conversion rates.

Which channel is right for you?

RCS represents the long-awaited evolution of mobile customer communications, and is expected to become the go-to channel for more intelligent customer interactions over the next few years. However, the channel is still in its infancy, launching in the UK in Autumn/Winter 2018.
This means that for many SMEs who are itching to get started in 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 SMEs in good stead for an eventual progression into RCS. By sending richer messages, businesses can learn more about their customer’s behaviour, and what elements of a message they find most engaging, so that when the time comes to progress onto RCS, SMEs will already have a great idea about what makes for an effective ‘rich message’.

How do you get started?

The evolution from SMS to landing pages and RCS might seem daunting for many, but it really doesn’t have to be. Our account managers are on hand to quickly get you started and guide you through the process of sending richer messages to your customers.
To register your interest, complete our online form, or alternatively contact our sales team on 0345 356 5758. We’ll then work with you to set up your new rich messaging strategy.

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