Why SMS integration is key to successful contact center redundancy

Contact centers are the next logical step from call centers. SMS, online chat and email have steadily grown in popularity and show no signs of slowing down. In the past, a call center was the easiest way for customers to interact with a business, but calling is no longer the most convenient way to reach the customer service department.

Customers leading busy lives like to have options. Therefore, contact centers need redundant communication channels to optimize the customer experience.

SMS can improve customer satisfaction metrics

Today's customers just don't like to talk on the phone as much as previous generations. There's a reason why modern call centers are becoming more generalized contact centers, and it's the rapid pace of technology evolution. Millennials, the generation that grew up alongside the internet, simply prefer other forms of communication to telephone calls. In fact, research from O2 revealed that making calls is only the fifth most common use of smartphones, falling behind activities like using social media or listening to music.

Corroborating this data, a Gallup poll found that 68 percent of millennials say they text 'a lot' on a daily basis. Furthermore, research conducted by OpenMarket found that Millennials prefer texting for two-way communications with businesses. OpenMarket general manager Jay Emmet noted that the preference for texting is a major opportunity for businesses that want to better communicate with millennial clients.

"These results show that the capabilities of SMS are very prevalent with Millennials, who desire more opportunities to communicate through texting, including more personal two-way interactions. Businesses need to further harness the ubiquity of SMS to realize better overall engagement and customer loyalty with the Millennial generation," said Emmet.

Having more than one communication channel to your contact center can improve customer satisfaction by giving individuals options to choose their preferred method of communication.

SMS integrates seamlessly with other communication software solutions.SMS integrates seamlessly with other communication software solutions.

SMS API routines integrate seamlessly with existing solutions

Typical communication channels within a contact center include SMS, interactive voice response systems, email, messaging pop-up screens and voice mail. As SMS becomes more popular and preferences for voice decline, call centers will need redundant channels of communication to capture as many interactions as possible.

Simple configuration routines using SMS API routines facilitate easy SMS integration into a multichannel call center software suite. Plus, user-defined rules allow customized message flow. In short, bringing SMS functionality to a contact center is as easy as choosing a coding language and selecting an intuitive API.

SMS is constantly evolving and gaining new applications in the business world. Contact centers need redundant communication channels to deliver the best possible service to their customer base. SMS is an important channel that can't be ignored.

Swift SMS Gateway's experience serving thousands of developers ensures that your objectives are met in connecting SMS alongside email, voice and web services. Plus, reporting capabilities through SMS continue to improve with message delivery status analytics. To learn more, schedule a free demo today.

Why US Companies Are Migrating Data Outside the US

Citizens of the U.S. have a right to reasonable privacy, which includes access to sensitive personal information. A 2007 policy that extended those rights to foreigners was removed in January 2017, which has caused a number of U.S. firms to migrate their data abroad. 

What is Protected Personal Information and how is it regulated in the US?

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines protected personal information (PPI) as "Any information or characteristics that may be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, such as their name, SSN, or biometric records."

The Privacy Act of 1974 established a code of practices governing the collection, maintenance and use of personal information. The act prohibited bulk dissemination of PPI and set down regulations for how federal agencies should store information that could be accessed by an individual identifier.

Foreigners to the U.S. can not expect that their data will be protected by privacy laws.Foreigners to the U.S. can not expect that their data will be protected by privacy laws.

Why Foreigners to the US Are No Longer Protected

The Judicial Redress Act of 2015 extended certain rights of judicial redress to citizens of certain foreign countries, including those of the EU. However, an executive order signed Jan. 25, 2017 by President Donald Trump effectively retracted those rights from foreigners. The order states:

"Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information."

For Canadians and EU nationals, this order places their data in an unprotected position. Essentially, if a Canadian citizen's data enters the U.S., but the individual remains in Canada, the U.S. sees him or her as a nonresident alien, and therefore U.S. privacy rights are not extended.

The executive order effectively established what University of Toronto law professor Lisa M. Austin calls a "constitutional black hole," in which the data protection laws of neither country apply.

This becomes an issue for firms that use U.S. facilities to process, transmit or store data belonging to foreigners. Although the people who own the data never step foot in the U.S., their data may cross the border as they use the products and services of multinational institutions. Because foreigners can no longer trust that their data will be treated with the same protections found in their home countries, they may opt to find alternative solutions. Therefore, U.S. businesses that want to keep their foreign customers are looking to migrate their data centers to nations with more comprehensive privacy laws.

Companies that need to ensure the integrity of their foreign-owned metadata – such as the identifying information stored in a text message – will likely migrate their data abroad. The language of the executive order is clear: It does not simply say that organizations can choose not to extend privacy rights to foreigners; it states that organizations must actively exclude foreigners from privacy protections.

If your organization is moving data to Canada, trust the SMS gateway that is 100 percent Canadian. Learn more by scheduling a free Swift SMS Gateway demo today.

3 Ways Governments Are Using SMS Today

SMS is an ideal solution for mass messaging because of the ubiquity of the technology. Almost every mobile phone is capable of receiving SMS. Plus, it's easy for users to subscribe and unsubscribe as their needs change.

Local, state, provincial and federal governments can leverage SMS to reach their constituents with important information at any time. Here are three ways governments are using SMS:

1. Public Safety Alerts

Local governments can benefit from using SMS alerts to notify residents about public safety concerns. Residents can opt in to the program, and receive notifications about all kinds of events such as fires, police activity and even traffic jams.

Next Steps Marketing reported that New York state's NY-Alert system has leveraged text messaging to great success. In fact, 49 percent of the program's 4.7 million subscribers have opted to receive text messages about major road closures, severe weather and more. The network allows a number of organizations to send alerts, including local universities and government services.

Government organizations can tap into their volunteer networks with SMS.Government organizations can tap into their volunteer networks with SMS.

2. Volunteer Opportunities

Community engagement is the bedrock of local government. But with so many distractions competing for everyone's time, it can be a challenge to recruit volunteers for community projects. SMS offers a way for local government organizations to build contact lists and notify their volunteer networks when help is needed.

For instance, local organizations can use text messages to notify people of volunteer opportunities, calls for donations and much more. In this case, SMS can be more effective than a mailing list because users are more likely to read the messages right away. On short notice, volunteers may not have enough time to read through their email inbox – and messages from the government may accidentally get stored out of sight in the junk folder. SMS is much more reliable.

3. Facilities Management

SMS can also optimize internal functions at government organizations, especially in regard to facilities management. Managing government assets is never a simple job, but an SMS solution can make it more efficient. SMS services allow facility managers to easily communicate with vendors and contractors, so they can move their projects forward with fewer roadblocks. The more transparent the communication, the better.

Government organizations have a responsibility to their taxpayers to run as efficiently as possible. SMS helps to achieve that goal by streamlining communication in a way that is intuitive and easy for anyone to understand. After all, finding someone who isn't familiar with texting is harder to do with each passing year.

These are just three of the myriad ways government organizations can benefit from SMS. Stakeholders can find customized solutions to their challenges by working with an SMS gateway provider.

For your SMS strategy to be truly optimized, you need a network you can rely on in any situation. To learn more about how to choose a provider, sign up for a free demo of SwiftSMSGateway.com today.

Canada Messaging: What’s Happening with A2P Text

Text message has fast become the most effective way to reach the public. Recognizing this, in Canada mobile carriers have now set clear acceptance of A2P (Application to Person) 10 digit longcode traffic as separate from shortcode marketing. Rogers and Telus have introduced surcharges on this over and above their transit fees already collected, which effective immediately increases longcode costs.

Mobile carrier surcharges are effectively an admission that they want a bigger piece of this business.

Swift SMS Gateway has long been a champion of A2P longcode for non-marketing traffic and we have worked with clients to differentiate on the appropriate channel, be it shortcode, or longcode based on use to ensure your messages reach their intended audience. Despite the hype over messaging apps, SMS has enjoyed a healthy rise as the go to medium for developers in finding new and innovative ways in connecting the public, business, industry and utilities.

Reaching a Relevant Audience

It’s no secret Canadians prefer to communicate via a mobile device. According to Statistics Canada, 94 percent of Canadians aged 15 to 34 owned a smartphone in 2016. Overall, 76 percent of Canadians owned a smartphone. Importantly, millennials and members of Gen Z preferred text communication over calling in 2017, according to a report from LivePerson.

These tendencies highlight an important shift in how individuals prefer to communicate. Whether they’re talking with friends, or interacting with a business for personal alerts or in marketing, texting represents a form of communication that is less disruptive than other messaging platforms. Phone calls take time that texts don’t require of the participant. Convenience makes text messages a viable platform beyond just marketing. It’s become the preferred channel for assisting in daily scheduling and organizing personal calendars.

Whether a business is headquartered in the U.S. or Canada, it’s important that the organization is able to reach audiences across Canada’s vast expanses. SMS represents a simple method of communication with a high level of potential now realized in A2P longcode. However, strict regulations mean businesses need to be careful about who they message, how often they send messages and the content each message contains.

Approximately 94 percent of Canadians aged 15 to 34 own a smartphone.Approximately 94 percent of Canadians aged 15 to 34 own a smartphone.

Complying with Regulations

Canada has thorough regulations on text message marketing. The basic rule is that marketers need to obtain consent from the recipient, provide identification information as part of the message and provide an unsubscribe mechanism. According to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission, users may give consent in writing or orally, and it is a business’ responsibility to track and record consent.

Likewise, an organization must identify itself within the message or via a hyperlink contained within the message. Additionally, an unsubscribe method ensures that the second party can withdraw consent at any time.

Technical regulations and rules apply to SMS marketing messages, but A2P personal alert traffic should not be confused with sales solicitations.

Marketers should also understand restrictions applied to long code A2P messages. Long codes are best used for low-volume communication because there is a limit to how many messages can go out each minute, which make them ideal in Canada for calendar alerts, authentication pins, and account updating. Short codes continue to be the proper channel for  marketing.

Choosing a Dependable SMS Gateway

If your organization wants to reach Canadians, it needs to invest in a reliable SMS gateway solution, especially if the application demands a local presence. Swift SMS is the ideal choice because we offer 100 percent North American, international and global SMS coverage through more than 800 carriers. Plus, our solutions comply with all regulations to mitigate your organization’s risk and we have a long history and understanding in servicing the Canadian Market.

To learn more, sign up for a free demo today.

GDPR Why it Matters

Swift SMS Gateway is at work to make sure we are compliant to data protection principals of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Even if you think your business is not concerned about GDPR – It’s about Europe – You are still impacted by these new European data regulations. Its goal is to make it easy for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data. Consumer privacy and security is key. Consider it as part of our mutual security obligations.

All businesses large and small collecting consumer data are subject to GDPR compliance, but if you are a small business, any security breach surrounding data can be especially devastating. As we have highlighted in previous blog articles, remember 60% of small businesses cannot sustain themselves after a data breach. Consider now; starting on May 25th, 2018, non-compliance and/or a breach of consumer data as defined in GDPR is subject to fine from the EU. So data security and privacy protection measures for consumers are now even more relevant.

GDPR fines are to be based at two levels:

  1. Up to €10 million, or 2% of the company’s global annual turnover of the previous financial year, whichever is higher. 
  2. Up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s global annual turnover of the previous financial year, whichever is higher. 

For more information on GDPR fines go here. The EU is expecting cooperation from neighbouring countries in the enforcement of this. Being in North America will not make you free of these obligations.

Swift SMS Gateway services provide connectivity to global mobile operators with the majority of our business focused on North America. We take GDPR and all security matters concerning our client’s text messaging data, and end-user privacy seriously. We strive to make your text messaging service better wherever possible.

How Does GDPR Impact Text Message Services?

The impact of GDPR is global across many businesses large and small. Its scope is wide too, because interpretation of its definition of “Data Processing” and “Transactional Data” are broad. All communication services and business using public Internet in any aspect of their communications chain are potentially impacted. While the layman interpretation of Transactional Data is easily misunderstood as concerning a financial transaction, in the communications industry, understand that simple messaging can be considered as within the scope of Transactional Data.

What Privacy Assurances Does Swift SMS Give Concerning GDPR?

Rest assured Swift SMS Gateway limits Data Processing to facilitate data transit of your text messages and nothing more. As has always been our pledge to our clients:

Your SMS data is your own. Swift SMS does not share it, use it, or re-market it.

How we hold true to this pledge has always been to abide to the principal of Data Minimization, which is a key aspect of GDPR. All data service providers are subject to scrutiny around the area of data retention, because archive and storage is a bi-product of a transit service, whether it is paid for or not. Ultimately businesses must realize the ultimate right of data belongs to consumers. Swift SMS Gateway believes the spirit of our original pledge still holds true today.

Fundamentally, Swift SMS Gateway is paid to deliver text messaging and we deem message content, to have zero value to us as your text message service – We don’t analyze message content, but we do take your security seriously. We manage security around data retention on the “need to know” principals of data minimization, and the key requirements of fair and reasonable use.

Concerning GDPR guidelines, text messaging records are processed using two critical elements:

  1. Call Detail Records – The info around phone numbers and delivery receipt.
  2. Message Detail Records – The info in the text message being the content.

Fair and reasonable use of these two critical elements means we use the Call Detail Records (CDR) for accounting purposes to determine message use, while we place zero value on the Message Detail Record (MDR).

However, both the CDR and MDR are important to you, our customer. Ultimately, we both share in consumer privacy obligations.

As a whole, text messaging records are processed in our live record set. We call this the Gateway and then move these text messages off-line to archive in six weeks. Typical clients demand full access the text messaging record during the first six weeks. 99% of our clients never query data beyond the first 90 days.

Upcoming Changes for GDPR Compliance

Starting May 25th, 2018, Swift SMS Gateway will be scrubbing message content (the MDR) on all clients beyond the first 90 days. This process is called “redaction”, which means the censoring, or obscuring of part of text for legal or security purposes. Historically, we’ve only done redaction based on client request for non-typical clients. The scrub methodology we use is to redact message content with a standard message acknowledging the text string replacement of message content in an overwrite. This methodology is superior to deletion flagging. On the same date Swift SMS Gateway will be scrubbing the last four digits on text message phone numbers (the CDR) using the same scrub methodology.

If you have further questions and concerns about GDPR and how any changes regarding it may impact your business’s text messaging, please contact your sales representative here and we will be pleased to assist you and your text message requirements. Beyond GDPR, Swift SMS Gateway is committed to assuring you of the best text message service at all times.

Make Node.js Your SMS API Framework

Many developers tasked to integrate text messaging into business platforms are using Node.js; an open source, cross-platform environment written in JavaScript. Compared to Ruby, Python and PHP, the speed and performance quality of Node.js makes it an ideal web framework for connecting text messaging into your business with SMS API.

Here are three compelling reasons to learn more about Node.js:

1. High Performance for Web Environments

Since its introduction in 2009, the Node.js framework has become an increasingly popular solution. According to AltexSoft, technology leaders such as Netflix, Uber and eBay have employed the technology with great success. One of the reasons for its widespread use is that Node.js provides high-quality results with great speed.

Node.js utilizes a nonblocking I/O model, which permits processing to continue during transmission. According to the Node.js Foundation, almost no functions in Node.js directly perform I/O, so there’s little risk of dead-locking processes.

This functionality makes the technology perfect for real-time applications. For example, nearForm reported that Fastify, an HTTP framework built with Node.js, was able to process over 1.5 times the number of requests per second, compared to more established frameworks.

The speed and reliability of Node.js makes it ideal for a number of use cases, from app development to internet of things solutions. Nearly any data-intensive application that has to perform in varied environments would benefit from the Node.js framework.

phone with gearsNode.js is fast, efficient and easy to use.

2. Use of JavaScript For All Layers

Node.js is so fast because it uses JavaScript at all layers. By leveraging a single language, speed increases because there’s no conversion necessary. In essence, Node.js is perfect for server-side web applications with client and server channels because there’s so little lag time.

The ubiquity of JavaScript should make Node.js attractive to many SMS API developers wanting to connect text messaging into business applications, as there’s almost no new language to learn. Plus, the platform runs almost instantly, with little configuration necessary.

Compared to other methods, Node.js makes it easy to create a push notification server that plays nicely with Android and iOS devices. Configuration is minimal, typically requiring only a single command line to get the server up and running. This ability to get started almost immediately makes Node.js a great candidate for developers who are eager to get their projects off the ground as soon as possible.

3. Appropriate Architecture For Real-Time Text SMS API Apps

Node.js can do just about anything PHP or Ruby on Rails can do, but all with JavaScript. Developers creating real-time applications may want to consider Node.js in lieu of these other languages simply because it is designed from the ground up to handle persistent connections. To do the same thing in Ruby or Python, addition tools such as EventMachine and Twisted are required. With Node.js, an application can perform long-polling without creating an immense serverload. This functionality allows the app to update users in real time – no separate threads required.

Want to learn more about why Node.js is so popular in connecting text messaging into business platforms and integrating SMS API? Check out our resources for developers.

3 Factors That Make a SMS Aggregator Great

There are many SMS aggregators on the market today, but they aren’t interchangeable. To ensure that your company chooses the best aggregator for your needs, consider three important factors:

1. Speed

Whether your organization needs to reach customers with targeted messages like; client check-ins, appointment reminders, or even delivery logistic updates, speed of delivery is important. Compared to phone calls, emails and snail-mail, SMS has a major advantage: Real time delivery.

While postcards get tossed in the recycle bin and promotional emails lie dormant in unchecked mailboxes, text messages get noticed. In fact, Dynmark found that 90 percent of text messages are opened within 3 seconds. For many people, the chime of an incoming message is just too hard to ignore.

It’s of no value getting a message alert from your dentist late. It annoys you and makes your dentist’s office look bad.

Real time SMS offers a huge advantage over other forms of communication, especially when the content of the messages is personalized, relevant and important. A SMS aggregator should be able to deliver your content in a quick and efficient manner too. Your organization will benefit from almost instantaneous communication with customers and clients. Remember: Speed of delivery has a direct relationship to relevancy of your text message. Choose your text message SMS aggregator wisely.

2. Capacity

In today’s business environment, capacity plays an important role. In the past, it would take an enormous effort to prepare and send direct-mail flyers and postcards to an extensive mailing list. Now, organizations can achieve the same bulk messaging load with much less effort, but with this management consideration:

Always take care to ensure proper opt-in compliance. Message recipients have to implicitly agree to you contacting them via text messaging and to why you are contacting them. SPAM is not allowed.

So take note of a SMS aggregator that will assist you in capacity management and SPAM management best practices. Your choice of aggregator is critical. A good aggregator can advise you not only in setup and technical configurations of your SMS API calls, but help guide you in meeting the proper regulatory guidelines to improve your message content. Capacity management in terms of velocity (the amount of messaging you may place in the queue at anytime), can be adversely affected by mistakenly connecting using a less than optimal API syntax. A superior aggregator will give you guidance with support to provide real value in making your SMS API connection services agile. This is especially important when sending long messages that need to be concatenated.

Concatenation is when a long message is automatically split into multiple messages and reassembled in order, as a single message, on the receiver’s device. Once again, an effective aggregator will take care of this complex work for the user, saving them from the headache of additional work. So it’s important to closely examine the aggregator’s feature list to ensure that it can handle a bulk load of concatenated messages nimbly and efficiently.

3. Reach

Your customers and clients likely use smartphones from a spectrum of wireless carriers. To ensure that messages get delivered intact and on time, you need to select a SMS aggregator with superior reach and quality routing services. When auditioning an aggregator, ask them who their big messaging clients are, with this in mind:

Aggregators that encourage “SPAM Like” content to mobile marketers do not have quality routing and reach, because their numbers have been blocked by Telcos due to abuse. Choose them and expect poor message reach statistics.

Bulk mail service providers offering text messaging aggregation services are often plagued by SPAM, because so much of bulk mail is just that – SPAM. Critical messaging over recent years has moved away from e-mail to text messaging for this very reason. It is wise to separate your text messaging services from bulk mail services.

When you send messages, they get routed via various data networks. Your SMS aggregator needs to support each of the networks used by your organization, as well as those used by your clients. This work should be all but unnoticeable to the end user, who simply experiences a flawless transmission of data, but you need to concern yourself with these behind the scenes tasks, as you select an aggregator for your business organization’s text messaging requirements.

Are There Other Factors of a Superior SMS Aggregator?

Beyond speed, capacity and reach, there are other factors too. Experience with clients in the same business as you is invaluable. Quick and accurate response from Support when you have a problem is important too. This is especially true when Custom Message Handlers connecting SMS API routines are in your development requirements.

Learn other benefits of what a superior SMS aggregator can offer your business by visiting SwiftSMSGateway.com today.

Concatenation Support Importance Increases

Concatenation support importance is increasing. It is due to the popularity of rich text formats like iMessage and Rich Communication Services (RCS). SMS text message standards bridge them, but it’s the efforts of some aggregators and our diligence that is helping to improve the end-user experience by ensuring longer messages arrive in the right order. Consider many people take for granted when they tap out longer SMS text message and hit send, the message reaches its destination intact, as sent. Today, it’s easier than ever to communicate with clients and customers across the globe. From email to video chat, it only takes a moment to connect with anyone who owns a smart device. In this culture of constant accessibility, people forget all of the complicated work. Modern communication is so intuitive.

Seamless communication of lengthy SMS text messages can only be achieved with a behind-the-scenes mechanism called concatenation.

SMS messages have a limit to how much data they contain. Generally, a text message can deliver up to 1,120 bits of information. Every character in a Latinate language such as English, or Spanish uses 7 bits. Therefore, a single SMS message can contain up to 160 characters. Non-Latinate languages such as Chinese use 16 bits per character, limiting their length to 70 characters per message.

What Can Happen If Concatenation Is Not Supported?

Some SMS aggregators like Swift SMS Gateway support concatenation, managing relationships between wireless carriers and network peers. We build it into our services seamlessly. This means that if a message must be split, each chunk of a long message will arrive on the receiver’s device in order. Other aggregators may only partially support this feature. In some cases, a message may arrive, but its pieces will be out of order. This can confuse recipients and they may assume the message is corrupt. Rich Text formats such as iMessage and the alternative, Google’s RCS, rely on SMS aggregation standards to peer these two communication formats. Effectively, messaging sent between Androids and Apple iPhones will default to SMS to bridge these two message formats.

As Rich Text formats increase in popularity, it is likely message lengths will get longer still, so concatenation support will be even more important.

A device using concatenation adds instructions to each message. This designates the order that a text message should be assembled once received.

SMS text messaging contains two parts:

  1. The Data Header – Routing information such as which phone number sent the message and who will receive it.
  2. The Payload – The content of the message.

When a user inputs a long message, the device will separate it into sections and label each with a number that corresponds to its position in the overall message. Unfortunately, this introduces another complication: Remember that 1,120-bit limit per message? Concatenation instructions take up a little more room. This reduces how much information the payload can contain. End-users should never know the difference, making it appear seamless, but it complicates things for developers.

Ensure Your SMS Aggregator Supports Concatenation

SMS concatenation should be the standard for all text message aggregators like Swift SMS Gateway. Many aggregators and mobile marketers are still playing catch-up. Businesses can’t afford to worry about how their messages will look to each and every customer and client. That’s why Swift SMS Gateway takes care of all the behind-the-scenes development work for you. Our easy-to-use SMS API plans offer everything you’ll need in a text message service. We’ll take care of the technical details, so you can focus on growing your business.

Only with proper concatenation, can you be certain your SMS text messages will arrive as intended.

Rest assured your business’ text message communications support concatenation with your existing Swift SMS API plan. If you’re not using Swift SMS yet, try a free demo today of up to 50 messages.

Improve Your Toll-Free Number With SMS

Toll-Free have been around forever. It has improved customer service for many businesses. Today, Toll-Free has evolved and is used even more. If your company has a Toll-Free number as part of your customer service centre or appointment reminder system, take it to the next level: Add text by connecting to a SMS API from a text message aggregator.

Toll-Free 800 series numbers can now send and receive text on select aggregators.

Benefits of Toll-Free SMS

  1. Professionalism – Use one universal customer/client facing business line for text and voice.
  2. Responsiveness  Texting back clients can improve support.
  3. Documentation – Help recall important info via a simple text message.
  4. Reduced Hold Times – Make customers happy. Don’t keep them waiting.

The above four benefits offer compelling reasons to add SMS text messaging to your Toll-Free service.  Of course, domestic text messaging has no long distance fees regardless, but your business can now use text messaging providing a seamless point of communication for your business. You cannot ignore that text messaging is now the preferred way a lot of people want to communicate.

75 percent of millennials would rather text than call. This group considers SMS more convenient, less disruptive and more memorable than traditional phone calls.

Source: Open Market

Beyond customer service departments, Toll-Free SMS can also benefit medical offices, auto repair shops and other businesses that schedule appointments. These organizations can use texting to send out appointment reminders, which is how millennials prefer to be reminded. Toll-Free numbers look professional, and are very convenient too.

Combine Toll-Free and a SMS Aggregator

Toll-Free SMS may not be a service your current 800 service provider has and it gives a reason to switch to an experienced SMS aggregator that offers Toll-Free. Adding Toll-Free SMS to your existing, or new line is easy and you don’t have to worry about disruption of service. Select SMS aggregators that offer the service can manage the setup for you.

Swift SMS Gateway makes the process of adding SMS functionality as easy as possible. Toll-Free SMS is an add-on service available for API 2 and API 3, and Small Biz service clients. Our APIs are fast to roll out, so your organization can act quickly. With unlimited access to a library of simple scripts and the global reach of over 800 phone carriers, the possibilities available to your business are endless.

Learn how to add Toll-Free to your existing Swift SMS API plan, or if you’re not using Swift SMS yet, try a free demo today of up to 50 messages.

How SMS Notifications Improve Patient Engagement


Reaching patients at home has never been easier, but there’s a big difference between contacting a patient and actually getting his or her attention. Health care organizations that engage patients with technology can see a number of desirable benefits. However, those organizations need to choose their method of communication carefully to see the best results.

Why is Patient Engagement Important?

If you’ve spent any time on the administrative side of the health care industry, you’ve likely heard the term patient engagement bandied about. But what does it actually mean? And is it worth investing in?

Put simply, patient engagement is a somewhat nebulous measurement of how well patients pay attention to their personal health care. A patient who is disengaged might forget his appointments, neglect his medication or misunderstand his doctor’s orders. An engaged patient, on the other hand, is more likely attend her scheduled appointments, take an active role in becoming healthier and utilize additional resources such as a patient portal platform.

According to Healthcare IT News, other benefits of patient engagement efforts include improved patient satisfaction, better quality of care and safety as well as optimized financial and operational efficiency. In other words, when patients become more engaged with their personal health, everyone wins. The patients are more likely to lead healthy lives and the providers are more likely to protect their revenue cycle.

SMS appointment reminders can boost patient satisfaction.SMS appointment reminders can boost patient satisfaction.

Appointment Reminders: Call vs Email vs SMS

One of the most important patient engagement tools currently available is the automated appointment reminder. Patients lead busy lives, and that often means that health takes a back seat to more immediately pressing matters. In the long run, that’s bad for patient health. Appointment reminders help patients stay up-to-date with their care plan.

Many care organizations leverage automated telephone calls to remind patients of upcoming appointments. However, this method is far from effective. Researchers from Sheffield Hallam University found that telephone reminders have a success rate of between 30 and 60 percent. Email reminders aren’t any better. SmartInsights reported that health and fitness emails have a 21.93 percent open rate, and a click-through rate of just 2.57 percent. SMS appointment reminders, however, have a read-rate of 97 to 99 percent.

Other Uses for SMS

SMS reminders have a number of uses beyond scheduling appointments. Another key area of patient engagement is post-visit care. Patients come to their doctor, receive advice or medication, and go home with their instructions. How can physicians be sure their patients are following through with their care plan?

Care organizations can use SMS to easily and discreetly follow up with patients after a visit. These reminders help patients follow post-op care practices and stay on their medication regimen. In the long run, this interactive line of communication will help to boost patient health as well as the overall health of the community.

Setting up SMS appointment reminders is easy. To learn more about how to implement this powerful solution at your organization, visit SwiftSMSGateway.com today.