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.

Modern Two-Way Messaging

If you have encountered a text message that reads something like, "Text 2 Win" or "Text YES to receive updates," you have experienced the early forms of two-way SMS messaging. And while messages like those are considered rather antiquated by modern marketing standards, they served as great stepping stones to what conversational messaging services between businesses and consumers have become.

The Problem With Early SMS Messages

Although people with mobile devices were likely to at least open the text message advertisement, the marketing message was not always received by the consumer. Early forms of SMS services were extremely impersonal. And although marketing texts are sent in bulk, they should not make customers feel as if they are receiving spam. The awkward – often grammatically incorrect – language of the messages was enough to remind consumers that they were receiving messages from an automated system and not a human being.

Today's Two-Way Messaging

Current SMS messaging services have evolved to allow businesses and consumers to interact seamlessly as though they are casual acquaintances or even friends. If businesses to a good job of getting to know their potential consumer bases, it is much easier to send out text messages that have a more personal ring to them. Taking the time to perfect the art of two-way messaging will help businesses see improved results in customer engagement, and likely increase business overall.

It's important to remember that people don't typically don't correspond the same way in texts as they do in emails. At this point, consumers have come to expect spam in their email inboxes, but receiving one via text message can be seen as a much more severe invasion of privacy and personal space. Modern consumers often feel overwhelmed by the amount of marketing material that they encounter on a daily basis, so it's probably not a good idea to send out more than one or two a week.

How To Personalize Marketing Strategies

Recently, personalization of marketing material has been popular across various industries. Coco-Cola announced the "Share a Coke" campaign in 2014, which encouraged consumers to purchase an extra soda with the name of a friend or family member on it. The result was a 2 percent increase in sales, according to The Wall Street Journal. Dean Crutchfield, an independent branding consultant, explained the effects of personalization in the campaign:

"A Coke can or bottle is the most iconic design in the world and the fact you can impact that with your name has a huge curiosity and wow factor,'' he said, per the source.

Regardless of the industry, your organization should make an effort to personalize marketing efforts if you want to see more readership, conversions and relationships. The same mentality should hold true when it comes to your SMS shortcode marketing campaign.

Use Real Names

Do you want to make sure the recipients of your SMS texts actually read them? Using a potential consumer's real name in a text message can immediately boost engagement. Gaining access to a person's real name is fairly simple. If you got the lead from a form the individual filled out, just use the name listed there.

Don't Send Messages That Are Too Generic

"Hone in on different demographics."

Although some may think that sending mobile text marketing materials out to every phone number you've obtained is a good idea, a large amount of them will be deleted unread. Instead of mass-texting blindly, take the time to hone in on different demographics on the list of phone numbers you have, even if you just split the large list into smaller groups of people will shared interests. Doing so can help you craft your sms text messages to better reach a specific target audience.

Improve Your SMS Short Code Marketing

Short Codes used to be confusing, but text message services and SMS technology is improving fast. Over a short time span there have been vast improvements. Swift SMS Gateway, one of the earliest innovators in SMS API’s has made connecting text to your business easy, cutting both development time and costs.

Here are three changes for the better when it comes to Short Code text marketing:

1. Even More Personalized

While not all SMS marketing messages are overly personal, they are usually a step up from mass email blasts or generic television advertisements. One of the primary fears of marketing professionals is that their content will go unseen. Luckily, text messages are almost always opened and read, regardless of whether or not people know who they are from. Modern SMS marketing campaigns feature direct conversations between a potential customer and someone at the company. That means there are more interactions with people rather than bots.

2. Synced To Existing Software Platforms

Many of today's conversational messaging platforms route to programs that help companies manage their relationships with clients, so that they can grow their business more organically. Businesses would do well to remember that SMS is a messaging tool for customer service as well as lead generation.

3. More Responsive And Actionable

As effective as SMS campaigns were at gaining people's initial attention, they didn't necessarily provide much information on what a consumer could do, or how he should act. Customers may have been offered a discount or a promotion, but that's where the benefit to them essentially ended. If that individual wanted to reply with a specific question, it wasn't an option. Modern two-way messaging, however, informs customers about a sale while giving them the ability to ask more specific questions. The platform has gone from self-serving to consumer-serving.

Using SMS For Recruitment

Recruiters are needing to adapt their contact strategies to stay with the times to attract young candidates and use texting. Years ago, recruiters would call candidates on the phone. After that, correspondence was done via email and social media platforms. Now, in the age of millennials, recruiters have SMS messaging services at their disposal.

A Generation Of Texting

Millennials are rising up through the ranks of the workforce and changing the way professionals communicate in the corporate world along the way. In fact, texting has emerged as the preferred form of communication for Americans under the age of 50, according to research by Gallup. Nearly 70 percent of individuals surveyed reported that they sent or received a lot of text messages the previous day and almost half of individuals between ages 30 and 49 said the same. Both groups maintain that they prefer texting over both phone calls and email.

Recruiting Through Texts

"Candidates may not want to receive text messages."

Although the majority of people seem to enjoy texting, candidates you are considering may not want to receive text messages from a job recruiter. While millennials may be more open to the idea, older job seekers almost certainly will not be comfortable with it. According to survey from Software Advice, job candidates under the age of 45 are more likely than not to view texting as an acceptable form of professional communication and nearly half  of job seekers between the ages of 18 and 24 do consider SMS messaging to be professional.

Texting is poised to soon be the leading form of corporate communication. In order for recruiters to strengthen their relationships with younger candidates, SMS services may be the best choice now.