The use of SMS as one of the marketing tool for businesses has been growing more popular. Customers largely prefer to use SMS messaging as their mode of communication with a business. Businesses usually send out promotional messages about their products or services to their target customers with the intention of conveying information. However, if businesses wish to interact with their customers, then the communication process changes as they should be able to receive customers’ responses too. For this to happen, businesses have to utilize two-way SMS.
What is Two-Way SMS?
Two-Way SMS messaging is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. This messaging system is great for businesses as it allows to send messages to any network and receive replies through a web based platform that uses API’s. Customers are allowed to reach back by sending keywords via short code or long code.
Short codes have 5-6 digit numbers (e.g 15352) and can only be used within a country. Long codes resembles standard phone numbers (255 777 123456). There is different regulations and requirements regarding these codes for different countries.
Two-Way SMS offers the ultimate personalized customer experience. It’s a direct message, sent specifically to the customer, with a real, live agent on the other end available to carry on an SMS-based conversation. Or in some cases the conversation takes place with a well trained bot that can act like a real, live agent. Regardless of how complex or simple the interaction, the beauty with two-way sms is that customers get responses right away. Such personalized experiences make customers feel like they’re more than just a number; they make them feel valued and appreciated.
Ways Two-Way SMS can be used
Examples of two-way SMS use case are: person to person, opt in/opt out campaigns, contests, customer support, SMS chat services among others.
- Person to person is probably what most people think of as SMS messaging.
- Opt in/opt out campaigns are when people send in a keyword to a short code or long code in order to sign up to a marketing list. Usually the business sends a response confirming the requested opt in prior to starting marketing messages.
- SMS contests usually involve people texting in a keyword to either a short code or long code which will give them a chance at the draw.
- Customer support using SMS can either be an automated process or a manual, live, exchange. An automated example is someone texting a keyword to their bank to receive their current balance. A manual process could involve a customer support agent answering questions about an account or product.
Benefits of Two-Way SMS
The benefits of two-way SMS are so many. It’s no secret that communication is most effective when it’s a two-way street and businesses that converse with their customers often are able to gauge their needs, which, in turn, enables them to serve them better. Here are some advantages of using two way SMS;
97% Read Rate: SMS messages have a higher open and read rate than other modes of communication such as emails. This way, your message is immediately read and can be easily responded to.
Low Cost, High Conversion: Compared to other types of marketing, SMS campaigns have lower setup fees and running costs. Return of Investment is also high as businesses are required to deal with existing customers or people willing to provide their numbers to receive their marketing messages. These customers, are more likely to acquire your services or buy your products again when they receive your messages.
Quick and Flexible: Two-Way SMS is a simple and immediate. Users can send a message to a hundred customers within minutes. Businesses can also choose to automate dynamic responses based on predefined keywords based on customer preferences thus saving time and resources.
Easy Access: Among other benefits of Two-Way SMS messages is that it can be sent and read on any mobile device. This makes SMS a highly accessible and effective tool for businesses to reach out to their customers. In addition, once a customer opts in to start receiving SMS messages, businesses can easily interact with the customers without their messages being ignored and viewed as spam messages.
User-friendly APIs: As an SMS messages service provider in Tanzania, Bongo Live has an easy to use API that allows users to read, reply and even monitor messages they send and receive. Users can also integrate easily with any third party tools or application.