Is the transit industry moving backward or forward when it comes to mobile technology? A recent report by IDC indicated the former with many transportation organizations not fully taking advantage of SMS services to connect with employees and customers.

Despite nearly 70 percent of American adults owning a smartphone and 90 percent possessing a cellphone, according to a Pew Research report, an IDC InfoBrief noted that less than 27 percent of transportation companies take advantage of mobile messaging to connect with customers and employees. Even more shocking is that nearly 50 percent of transit and logistics organizations believe that SMS plays a significant role in customer retention and overall experience, and 81 and 88 percent feel positively about its impact on employee communications, respectively.

Many transit companies have yet to fully embrace SMS because of costs and global reach limitations, which are provider-dependent. However, SMS technology is rapidly advancing and companies need to quickly realize how it can positively impact their businesses. Here are three ways:

  1. Route altercations: Routes change because of canceled arrangements, construction or company-related issues. Text messaging is a more viable method of communication than email or logistics software to notify employees of these changes.
  2. Customer service notifications: SMS allows companies to quickly contact customers about pick up times or route changes. This two-way communication improves customer satisfaction because it improves response time.
  3. Emergency alerts: Did an accident occur somewhere along a route? Employees should know this information immediately. Companies can use SMS to alert employees, which not only keeps them safer but also ensures customers are being picked up at the appropriate times.