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SMS – the unsung hero of great customer service

August 15, 2016

Mick Higgins   

Blog contributor

My main concerns when I travel are how I am going to get to my destination and whether I have the means to pay for things along the way. I need to know that my plane or train will arrive and that I’ll be able to pay for my hotel or dinner when I get there. It is pretty basic stuff, and despite being a frequent traveller, I still think about it. The travel and financial services industries recognise these worries too, so they are developing solutions to bring people the information and services they need wherever, whenever.

For many of these businesses, the answer to ensuring better customer engagement and experience for people on-the-go is global application to person (A2P) messaging.

Through A2P messaging, mobile network operators (MNOs) can help my travel agent or my bank text me while I’m on the road and keep me connected and up-to-date – for example, to prompt me that online check-in for my return flight is now available, or to tell me the local currency exchange rate. The beauty of A2P messaging is that it is personal, because it is delivered on a mobile device and – as it’s a simple SMS – it doesn’t interrupt what I am doing. I can deal with it at any time, and because it is right there on my mobile and not buried in an email inbox, I’m more likely to engage with it.

Yet, the challenge for the travel company or a bank, or the so-called message originator that creates and sends the message, is to ensure that I can receive my text message wherever I am. This requires a local MNO to deliver, or terminate, my message at its endpoint – my mobile phone. Originating a mobile message without a termination agreement that covers the location you are sending it to, is the equivalent of sending a letter to someone in an area with no postal service. It’s a lovely thought, but it won’t reach its recipient.

That is why organisations that want to be successful in serving their customers with A2P messaging should consider three things when developing their strategy for rolling out new services:

  1. Global relationships – The organisation that sends or originates the A2P messages must have global relationships with local MNOs that enable them to terminate messages reliably all around the world and ensure they reach their intended recipient.
  1. Great user experience – The popularity of A2P messaging amongst mobile users, and therefore the effectiveness of A2P messaging as a customer service and engagement medium, will depend on the quality of service that it offers to users.
  1. Efficiency – In order to monetise A2P messaging, originators must find the most efficient and reliable way of delivering messages globally.

To tick all three boxes, an A2P messaging originator can try to establish direct SMS termination agreements with multiple MNOs globally. However, that is costly and resource intensive. It also means that they need to build trust with many new MNO partners and manage multiple relationships around the world.

The fastest and most effective way to gain global A2P messaging reach is to partner with a specialist A2P messaging hub provider, which combines the convenience of a P2P messaging hub with the reliability and trust of direct MNO relationships. With this model, a message originator or aggregator only needs to work with a single, trusted hub partner without having to develop its own, direct A2P relationships.

Ultimately, this approach ensures that companies across industries, including travel and financial services, are able to engage with users more effectively, building customer loyalty and boosting revenues – while travellers like me will always have the information they need at their fingertips.


To learn more, download our whitepaper Mobile Messaging on Your Terms

How do you see mobile messaging changing in the future? Let us know in the comments below.