Financial Services SMS Are Trending

In the financial services industry, SMS is now serving alerts for employees, account holders and investors. It’s all about sending text messages when they are most needed. Banks internationally use SMS to validate client transactions, while in Canada collection agencies have been approved to use SMS to help reach debtors and produce better results with ethical and legal debt collection. Whether to fight fraud, get paid, or improve customer service, a reputable SMS messaging platform is a good tool to help achieve these goals.

Why Financial Services Companies Are Starting To Use SMS

Customers of financial institutions do not want to wait for notifications. If they are depositing money via a mobile app, they expect to receive a notification immediately. If fraud has been detected on their account, they need to be made aware as soon as possible. The timeliness of a SMS message is ideal for this. There are more reasons too.

People expect to be informed of changes that occur with their money in real time. Progressive banks and investment companies using an SMS API system to keep their customers in the loop concerning their funds and investments are showing increased customer satisfaction, according to The Financial Brand.

Here are few ways a properly integrated SMS API can function in a financial services system:

  • Fraud Alerts: According to Bankrate, 54 percent of banking app users have set up an unusual activity alert for their bank accounts. An SMS fraud alert can help customers take immediate action to protect their accounts and keep an eye on their financial health.
  • Market Activity: Investors can’t always keep their eyes on the stock market. It can be difficult to track sales of specific investments. SMS text messages can notify investors of market activity to help them make informed purchasing decisions. It can also come in handy in extreme circumstances, such as flights to liquidity, which can signal a credit crisis.
  • Transactions: Many customers conduct financial activity on mobile devices. They send money to friends via third-party apps, purchase financial assets, make contributions to investment accounts, deposit checks and more. Each time a transaction occurs, a properly integrate SMS Gateway via an API can send users notifications confirming activities.
  • Customer Service: A SMS API platform can reply to common questions with preset answers. Busy personnel shouldn’t need to be bothered by Interest rate and office hour inquiries.

How Financial Services and Customers Benefit From Text Alerts:

Consumers want SMS alerts from financial institutions they do business with. In fact, half of all financial services organizations used SMS messaging to stand out from competitors and improve customer service in 2015, according to Banking Exchange. By signing up for SMS text alerts, customers have greater peace of mind about the transactions they make and the safety of their bank accounts and investments.

The benefits of SMS messaging platforms extend internally, as well. Banks can effectively communicate with staff members in case of emergency. Likewise, internal communication via SMS is secure and instantaneous. It’s an easy solution to multiple pain points within the organization including; security, communication, customer service and engagement. That final point is key: Banks are starting to look more aggressively at ways to improve engagement beyond physical visits to branches. René Lacerte, a business payments expert writing for Forbes Magazine, noted that 86 percent of banks plan on investing in technology solutions that boost digital engagement. An SMS messaging platform meets that plan. Text messaging can help small and large financial institutions stay in touch with their customers wherever they are.

An SMS API connected to your services platform is also a common sense investment – The Pew Research Center reported that 95 percent of adult Americans have a cell phone capable of receiving SMS messages.

In 2017, mobile notifications are on the rise in banks and investment companies. Customers have greater expectations about being in the loop about everything that concerns their money. When choosing an SMS API, make sure you use an SMS Gateway that offers robust performance with reach and the flexibility to easily integrate with your financial services system.

Sources:
https://www.bankrate.com/finance/mobile/mobile-banking-alerts-everyone-should-activate.aspx
https://www.bankingexchange.com/news-feed/item/5657-ding-bank-text-message-use-still-growing
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2016/12/09/how-banks-are-rethinking-customer-engagement-in-the-digital-era/#21b0992546ee
https://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile
https://thefinancialbrand.com/37919/mobile-banking-alerts-research-engagement

Real Estate makes a direct connection with SMS

Real estate in the United States and Canada are both facing changes, but whatever the changes are, it shouldn't impact customers' experiences. Text messaging integration via SMS API’s connecting to real estate listings and brokerages is helping to sell and buy homes.

Text messaging has made a direct connection to prospective buyers, proving to be invaluable in listings, despite very different dynamics in Canada and the USA.

In Canada, a record price increase in Vancouver and Toronto is feared to be driving home ownership out of reach of the average buyer. It’s causing bidding wars, and soaring inflation in the housing market with prices up more than 30% from the previous year.

Yet in the States, some real estate agents are finding it harder to reach buyers, because of inconsistencies in listing platforms between brokerages. The Denver Post reported on a dispute between two real estate-related entities that could affect the way the market in the area unfolds. Differences in listing data platforms is making decisions and the access to properties harder.

In both Canada and the United States, more burden is falling on the agents themselves, especially in the commercial sector, to ensure that online listings are accurate. This is due to a flurry of demand in Canada to get listings on the market due to a shortage of supply, and in the United States it’s due to a lack of compatibility between real estate listing platforms that can’t share data. Regardless, in both markets creating a better, easier way for buyers to search helps agents distinguish themselves and the services they offer.

The demands on brokerages to coordinate with multiple different systems as technology evolves is a constant challenge, beyond responding to market dynamics. Luckily the simplicity of plugging an SMS API into their listing platforms is making customer experiences better and easier. Using SMS services has made searching for a home simple. Prospective buyers can get an update on their preferred properties simply by texting a number for the right information while they drive by a property. This provides an instant validated lead to agents to respond to.

Texting helps car dealerships manage clients

 

For car dealerships, consistent contact with clients helps build good relationships. With the right SMS service connected into their Dealership Management Systems (DMS), dealers can improve client scheduling and improve profitability in their service department. This not only improves communications, but gives customers what they want. Because of this, businesses may stay one step ahead of their clientele, while getting a big improvement on their existing DMS platforms, providing they are connected to the right SMS Gateway.

An October 2014 Morpace Omnibus survey found nearly half of consumers were either “very” or “somewhat” interested in auto dealer text messages at 46 percent of the populace thinking this. While it’s a smaller figure than the 50 percent who indicated the same feelings in 2012, it represented a 4 percent increase from just one year earlier. This confirms that consumers in today’s market are consistently interested and open to auto dealer text messaging in the servicing of their automotive needs.

In addition, the source clarified that this included service updates under the wider banner of any kind of text message that could refer to an owner’s vehicle.

It’s true that messaging clients on their phones in and of itself won’t guarantee engagement. For that, a better bet may be to stay in regular contact and avoid the possible losses that could come with any communication problems.

An Auto Dealer Today article called phones a possible “profit leak” and particularly mentioned the importance of follow-up communications. Without these, car dealerships have a possible loss on their hands instead of a source of business. At the bottom of this, the desire is to keep appointments scheduled, leading to greater value added in the long run for clients and car dealerships too.

With customer-centric messaging, car dealerships can broaden their reach and bring clients to their appointments again and again. Swift SMS Gateway provides easily integrated solutions for anything that requires large-scale texting.

Will 2017 see new boundaries broken in text messaging?

Though 2017 has already begun, it will likely be some time before we know for certain what the future will hold for text messaging. However, there are still predictions from last year to draw from when thinking of the updates around the corner. No matter what actual changes appear, there's the chance for companies to get creative, as a Business 2 Community piece recently said.

One example given in the source was the way text messages were used to promote styles at New York Fashion Week. It comes with the similar claim that text messaging is set to increase in popularity, which certainly seems likely.

Another factor could be the need for constant exposure. This is already a factor in some campaigns and it could demand further contact at all times, especially when it comes to customer service. 

However, greater creativity may not mean large and visually extensive campaigns necessarily. Sometimes it can be as simple as changing the messages themselves to make a noticeable difference. Mashable, for example, said that the new year could raise the bar for what constitutes personalizing a message, with the texts themselves getting more tailored as businesses zero in on their audience for the most engaging effect.

This also pairs with the company's move away from the traditional marketing personas and demographics used to drive campaigns. Though all of these predictions seem to relate to marketing specifically, other businesses could use the same tactics no matter their industry, or at least try to broaden their reach for a more responsive populace.

At the foundation of this are the tools you need to make massive messaging work in the first place. The content of the message can change while the strong SMS practices are always there to build from.

Text Message Alerts on College Campuses

According to a new survey from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, roughly 74 percent of adults in the U.S. aged 18 to 44 get their news from their smartphones. As such, text message alerts can serve as an effective means to reach students on college campuses. Students spend so much time on their phones that it's likely they will see news and emergency notifications there before they get it from anywhere else.

Some colleges and universities across the country are already taking advantage of SMS services to communicate with student bodies. Here are a few ways educational institutions are communicating with students:

Weather Alerts

From heavy snow to severe storms, flash flooding or even tornado warnings, it's important for students and staff to be warned of dangerous weather conditions. Although predicting the weather isn't yet an exact science, SMS messaging can provide crucial insights for individuals who have to plan on getting to and from class. Moreover, extreme weather conditions have the potential to affect campus activities as well. If there is going to be any cancelation or delay as a result of inclement weather, students (and faculty) deserve to know about it.

Emergency Scenarios

"Dangerous events can occur anywhere at anytime."

Dangerous events can take place anywhere, at any time. In recent years, it seems as though a number of them have occurred on college campuses. As a result, universities are searching for ways to increase their campus security. That's where text message alerts come into play. If, for example, there is an attack by a student or staff member, text message alerts can notify other students, faculty and staff members immediately to limit the danger. Text updates provide students and staff with real-time information and ultimately make college campuses safer.

SMS And Call Centers?

Contact – or call – centers are always looking for ways to improve their communications with consumers. Due to the rise in popularity of cellphones, contact centers are beginning to turn to text messaging services to reach them. In addition to the sheer convenience of texting with consumers, SMS messaging has proven to be a more efficient line of communication.

That said, SMS capabilities often go overlooked in call centers because they are "call centers," as opposed to "text centers." Although the technology is not exactly a recent development, of course, it's only recently that SMS communications have become standard among consumers in recent years.

Preparing To Use Text Message Services At Call Centers

At this point, there is little doubt among professionals that SMS services will make their way into call centers soon enough. Now, the only thing that's left is to make sure the employees at such centers are ready to implement the new technology in their day-to-day activities.

To begin with, call center agents will need SMS training. Because texting is such a unique form of communication, customer service representatives may struggle (at first) when deciding when it's appropriate to use text rather than call a customer.

In the same vein, the infrastructure at customer service centers will have to be readjusted to account for the new SMS services.  Keeping all that in mind, SMS support in the contact center has the potential to significantly improve customer service.

Logistics Industry Utilizing SMS To Communicate With Drivers

There is little doubt that the expansion of technology has made its way into the logistics sector. From automated picking and packing services to GPS systems in driver vehicles, the modern supply chain looks much different today than ever before. As industry professionals continue searching for ways to improve driver communication and increase delivery efficiency, communication between individuals on the road and people in offices becomes crucial.

That said, there are plenty of ways to communicate with individuals involved with every step of the supply chain. Smartphones, for instance, can serve as useful tools for fleet drivers and managers, as they allow for quick and easy distribution of company news, policies and even safety tips for those on the road. 

In addition to the road advisories and weather alerts that are for useful for drivers, new technologies are going a long way toward ensuring a more transparent delivery process for customers. In today's business world, customers expect deliveries to arrive on time, and as a result of advanced technologies, they often want to receive real-time data about deliveries.

The easier it is for drivers to communicate with field operations managers, the smoother the delivery process will be for suppliers and customers alike. Text message services are easy ways to achieve this.

Don't Forget About Social Media Platforms

In addition to using SMS services, fleet managers should consider communicating with their drivers via other methods. Popular social media platforms, like Facebook, are being used by a growing number of fleets already. Because so many drivers have Facebook accounts, companies can use it as a convenient communication network. Plus, Facebook pages give drivers, managers and other employees one easy place to correspond.

Using Two-Factor Authentication

As long as there have been usernames and passwords, there have been cybercriminals looking for ways to access others' information. In recent years, however, two-factor authentication has become a more common method to log into online systems because it is recognized as a more secure practice. Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, refers to the requirement of more than one security code to gain access to an account. In other words, users are required to enter a password as well as a protected PIN number (or randomly generated access code) that's sent directly to you.

This method is generally accepted as a more secure form of cybersecurity. And although 2FA is not a surefire way to protect yourself from hackers, it does offer a level of protection greater than the alternatives. In fact, researchers from Trend Micro maintain that 2FA is an effective security measure.

"In the security industry there is a tendency to let the perfect be the enemy of the good," Jonathan Leopando, technical communications researcher, said. "This is a good example. 2FA via text messages, for all its flaws, is still an improvement over an ordinary username-and-password system. In addition, the barriers to entry – cost, ease of use and hardware requirements – are lower than with more secure 2FA systems."

You shouldn't entrust your entire online presence to two-factor authentication, but it's better than having nothing between you and the hackers. That said, while this method of internet access still provides a stronger security framework than having no strategy at all, the best defense against hackers and malware is still cybersecurity software.

SMS Alerts – A Great Way To Reach Patients

Text message reminders to patients are gaining popularity, as healthcare continues to find new ways to improve health services. Healthcare uses SMS alerts to send text messages to patients that their medications are ready, and to remind patients of medical appointments.

SMS Alerts Make A Difference

Automated SMS text messages are a fast and efficient way for Healthcare professionals to connect to their patients conveniently. Healthcare leaders like CareScripts develop custom script messaging and setting for every patient. Appointment reminders to patients via text messaging are reducing missed appointments. A study completed by Televox Software demonstrated these SMS alerts reduced the rate of no-show appointments by 39.3 percent.

SMS alerts can be used to assist patients in other ways too. Prescription SMS alerts help patients – especially those with ongoing conditions. According to Sacramento Business Journal, some medical professionals use SMS alerts to remind patients to take medicines, or check sugar levels. 

“SMS alerts connect to patients fast and easily, while improving health services.”
Brian J. Johnson, President & CEO, Swift SMS Gateway Inc.

Sending a text message with an SMS alert to patients is discreet and not intrusive. It is the best way to maximize engagement today. According to Pew Research Center, more than two-thirds of adults in the U.S own smartphones. The same is certainly true in Canada. So, instead of leaving a voice mail hoping that it gets heard, send a SMS alert with a text message. Mobile Market Watch says about 98 percent of text messages are opened! With odds like that, sending a text message is the most efficient way to ensure your message is understood.

The best way to connect SMS alerts to your healthcare services platform to deliver text messaging is to speak to Swift SMS Gateway. They work with thousands of global software solution providers, and there should be no need to switch platforms. If your current platform can support a secure Internet connection, it can easily connect into Swift SMS Gateway.

Prepare Yourself for Mobile Business

Mobile is here to stay. Despite it changing people’s personal behaviours, many have yet to take full advantage of today’s mobile business opportunities. Consider this: The mobile market by 2020 is forecasted to be worth nearly $500 billion, according to AB Newswire. Think seriously how mobile can impact all areas of your business. Now is the time to create your business’ mobile strategy.

Today, more people prefer to text than call. This is why connecting to mobile via a simple text message is such an important part of your mobile strategy. It goes beyond marketing with text short code campaigns. Mobile can improve your response time in all areas of your business processes operations. Everything wire-line will soon be running wirelessly. A truly mobile business extends reach. It can improve efficiencies with faster response times to field operators and employees in your daily business.

Mobile Business – Sooner Rather Than Later

"Innovative strategies give your business an edge over competition."

Remember: Successful businesses are not static ones. A growing business uses great strategies to thrive. In recent years, mobile business strategies have become crucial. The impact of mobile is too big to ignore. As advertising and technology have changed, so too have the ways we communicate with employees and customers. Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. Your business should consider starting to collect cellphone numbers of your staff, your supply and distribution chains and your customers. Already, mobile marketing strategies using text messaging are commonplace. 

Keep Your Mobile Business Plan Simple

Focusing on basic modes of communication like SMS texting and exploiting SMS’ simplicity can help. This could be as simple as connecting your main business landline to SMS. Another great first step is to look at where email is failing in your organization and ask yourself; “Would a text message have improved this?” This may be in email’s failure to reach customers, or to assist in providing a timely alert to business operations. Migrating away from email in critical system operations may be a good idea. This is often true in the areas of logistics and system monitoring alert traps.

Many business management software platforms are upgrading their services to use text messaging. Swift SMS Gateway provides simple integration with SMS API supporting small and large businesses. If your software systems can connect into the Internet, it can connect into Swift SMS Gateway to manage your mobile business’ text messaging needs.

Taking all of the above into account, don’t put off business-wide adoption. Include all your departments from day one. It will you help get off on the right foot to avoid problems down the road with your mobile business strategy.