Text messaging is a great way to keep in touch with your customers. It offers a fast, reliable medium for sending short messages, including promotional codes, links to your website and automated verification codes for additional login security. Keeping it running smoothly and in congruence with your business operations can be a challenge without some help.
A simple solution for this is to engage the assistance of an SMS service provider that offers scalable support for professional and enterprise services. What does an SMS support service bring to the table, and how can it help your business thrive?
Why you should use an SMS service that offers scalable support
A Support Plan to assist your SMS campaign requirements can be tailored to your needs. When something goes wrong with a broadcast, be it if you can't reach a specific carrier or your API connection is malfunctioning, the priority of getting a response in a timely manner to assist and trouble-shoot just makes sense. This is important in development and critical in live production.
A superior SMS Gateway offers competitive Support Plans that give you access to technical developers with a deep understanding of the SMS protocol and telecommunications, which is invaluable. It goes beyond customer reach. It allows you to adapt to the evolving mobile marketplace, the technical updates that carriers place on aggregation binds and access the best communication channels for your specific campaign requirements. Using SMS Support Plan services ensures the success of your texts and the reliability of your text message campaigns.
Remember, SMS text messaging is one of the most preferred ways for consumers to receive information from companies. An incredible 48% of consumers choose SMS as their favorite way to receive brand updates, according to 2021 research conducted by Finances Online.
This is largely because a text message is reliable but unobtrusive, allowing people to go about their day but still receive important or interesting information simply. For businesses, this is excellent news. The number of ways in which SMS messaging can enhance the customer experience is pretty extensive.
Organizations can use bulk SMS messages to provide many convenient services to their customers. These can range from appointment reminders and payment confirmations to emergency alerts and single-use codes. Additionally, customers can swiftly opt in or out of services and offers, simply by sending a text themselves. The key word here is convenience. Making life as easy as possible for customers is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and happy with the service you provide.
Of course, another factor that must be considered when looking at the convenience of using SMS for customer services and outreach is the way it integrates with business operations. Making it as simple and efficient as possible for employees and teams to utilize text messaging is imperative. This is where businesses see the benefits of professional SMS Support Plan services paying dividends. Leveraging SMS Support in your SMS Gateway aggregator, can provide counsel on how to best integrate text messaging into your native platform(s), to reduce errors, maximize throughput and make use of the data capture in text communications.
Messaging en Masse
Sending text messages conventionally with a mobile phone has its limitations, especially when you want to reach hundreds — even thousands — of recipients all at once. With the help of specialized application programming interface (API) technology provided by an SMS support service, one message can reach thousands of customers almost instantly with a single send. And considering the high open rate associated with texts, a large proportion of those messages are hitting the mark.
An SMS Support Plan attached to your service also helps optimize your text communications for businesses schedule alerts and messages. This provides a strategic advantage for time-sensitive SMS marketing or offers, and allows you to factor in international time zones. You can plan for your messages to be sent at optimum times to increase the likelihood of prompt opens and immediate customer engagement.
While the beauty of text messaging lies in its simplicity, this also presents some challenges for companies wanting to leverage SMS for customer outreach. Sending a conventional SMS from a phone gives the sender no discernable information on its performance — it doesn't even confirm if it's been received, let alone read. This isn't the case when using an SMS support service. Businesses can use an API to track delivery success, open rates and times, and perform analytics on the data to better inform future endeavors.
A standard SMS message is sent via telecommunication providers, which differ from one country to the next. This means it's possible some messages won't reach the intended recipient if they're in a country that uses different telecom protocols. An SMS Support Plan from your service provider can help circumvent this by providing counsel expertise in global telecom communication standards. This goes beyond just the use of a SMS Gateway, to "translate" the coding behind a text message to make it acceptable to international cellular carriers.
Simple and Cost Effective
In the end, business texting is pretty basic. It's just characters, with no need for extraneous graphics or layout designs that are costly to produce. The raw simplicity of a text means you don't need to worry about anything other than concision — one SMS message remains capped at a character count of 160. When sending in bulk, text messages are also remarkably cheap. With their high open rate and opt-in/opt-out functionality — keeping your pool of engaged customers high — they bring a better return on investment (ROI) than many options for customer outreach.
Taking advantage of an SMS Gateway that offers scalable Support Plan services helps address the pitfalls of platform integration, and ensures the broadest reach available on cellular carriers domestically, and internationally. It allows you to focus on your message needs.
SMS is far more flexible than one might initially think. SMS text messaging can be used in myriad ways to increase customer outreach, engagement and satisfaction. Here are some of the best ways to use SMS for enhanced customer service:
- Alerts and notifications.
- Payment confirmations.
- Booking confirmations.
- Appointment reminders.
- Delivery or shipping updates on orders.
- Single-use codes for two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Customer support with two-way conversation.
- Promotional offers.
- Sharing links.
- Event promotions.
The list goes on.
While many of these might be achievable without an SMS Support Plan attached to your SMS Gateway service, they would become time-consuming and complex for teams to manage, especially if multiple SMS marketing campaigns are operating at any one time. An SMS Support Plan service brings simplicity and efficiency to business-to-consumer (B2C) text messaging. It provides a comprehensive platform on which to operate, as well as quality connections to ensure SMS delivery around the world. Plus, the provider's support team is available to offer their technical support, expertise and knowledge to help get everything running smoothly or resolve any problems and challenges along the way, be it in development, or in live production environments when service performance is critical.
Common SMS Messaging Challenges
As with any technology or form of customer outreach, you may encounter some challenges if you use SMS for your customer service solution. Each can have varying levels of impact on your outreach efforts, but with the right support service, they can be mitigated and minimized as much as possible.
Your SMS API's temporary failure can put an immediate halt to operations. This has the same repercussions as if a business encounters a power cut or loss of internet connectivity. If your API freezes or fails, all outgoing text campaigns, automated messages and the ability to view incoming texts will stop until it's back up and running.
There are several main causes of SMS delivery failure that can impede campaigns. Telecommunications networks and carriers can experience technical issues and disruptions, resulting in downtime where messages won't be sent or received or at least delayed. Additionally, end-device errors and exceptions or invalid phone numbers may mean that messages are sent but not delivered to the intended recipient.
Using an SMS API means constructing text messages on a computer or other device, rather than a mobile phone. There are basic and extended character sets available in text messaging. Understanding them is critical to the successful delivery of your messaging and its intended audience. Some characters on computer keyboards and within word processing software that don't render correctly without some technical assistance. The most common example of these are unicode characters. If not properly coded, the recipient will only see the little empty square symbol, or simply nothing at all, instead of the emoji or special character you intended to use. To remedy this, a developer will need to synchronize gateway encoding with sender and receiver encoding so that the characters are compatible. This isn't always possible, as there are so many variables to factor in. Support via your SMS Gateway is invaluable to ensure that your intended audience is seeing messaging rendered correctly, and not garbled.
To protect users from unscrupulous and malicious text messages, all carriers filter spam messages by assessing the content of them and simply preventing those that violate their rules from being sent on to the intended recipient. When on a bulk SMS scale, texts flagged as spam may have severe consequences, such as fines or being banned from using the network. This can be a difficult pitfall for businesses that don't necessarily know what SMS marketing is or isn't accepted by cellular networks. It is not unusual for legitimate commercial or institutional text messaging to be caught in carrier SPAM filters inadvertently. Counsel and support from your SMS Gateway service provider can help avoid this and diagnose potential issues proactively.
The Benefits of SMS Support Services
By engaging an SMS support service, many of these potential challenges can be mitigated or overcome entirely, thanks to the knowledge and experience of the service's technical experts. These personnel can be on call to assist with any issues that may arise with the SMS API, using their strong understanding of the platform to offer recommendations, investigate faults and find solutions.
Additionally, using an SMS support service allows you to gain insight into what might have prevented a message from reaching its destination. Through support team members' assistance and recommendations, you'll be well equipped to establish the best courses of action for any delivery issues that arise.
For example, with the help of experienced professionals from an SMS support service, it's possible to overcome the issue of unreadable text. Expert technicians can determine the necessary adjustments needed to encode specific characters that will be compatible with your SMS gateway and the end user phone's parameters. Furthermore, the provision of training and advice on B2C SMS messaging best practices will help your company keep genuine business text messages from being misconstrued as spam and avoid the resulting complications.
Leverage Swift SMS Gateway Support Plans
At Swift SMS Gateway, we offer three levels of service plan to support your text messaging outreach: Standard, Professional and Enterprise. Each provides an exceptional level of expertise and professional support for your business SMS needs.
With our Standard support package, we offer assistance from a real technical support agent via email. Our agents are experts in SMS API methodologies and database integration, and are well-versed in best practices that follow both FCC (USA) and CRTC (Canada) guidelines. This support is available during standard business hours and always ensures best effort response times to help you resolve any problems as promptly as possible.
Upgrading to our Professional and Enterprise support packages guarantees faster response times and phone support direct to the desk of a live technical agent during business hours.
Enterprise also adds after-hours and weekend email support, ensuring 24/7 emergency assistance.
Read more about our support plans, including our priority ticketing system and what our Service Level Agreement (SLA) means for you when you need assistance, on our main support plans page.