Why Businesses Need to Answer Texts


Why Businesses Need to Answer Texts

By Rich Tehrani, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC  |  June 22, 2015

Here is some non-news: Millennials don’t like to talk. In fact, you can almost make the argument that no one likes to talk – not on the phone anyway.

It’s also noteworthy that people are already texting companies – and many of these messages go unanswered. Consumers don’t care that your company has a landline not a cellphone. In fact, if they are under 30, they may not even know what a landline is – unless of course they have grandparents.

The good news? OpenMarket (News - Alert), a mobile messaging and engagement provider that offers short codes, long codes, one-way and two-way global SMS, now offers text-enabled landlines and toll-free numbers for enterprise messaging in the U.S. and Canada. The addition of this capability to the company’s SaaS (News - Alert)-based services enables businesses to send and receive text messages from existing and familiar toll-free and landline phone numbers to enhance their customer service and boost sales. The service is similar to ZipWhip, which I wrote about in 2013.

Paula Bernier has also written about this kind of thing. In the March issue of TMC’s INTERNET TELEPHONY she explains how a company called TSG Global is investing in apps to expedite business text adoption.

In the piece, Paula talks about how TSG is partnering with companies like Green-bot to bring texting to the masses. TSG enables service providers to text-enable their numbers at the infrastructure level, TSG Global CEO Noah Rafalko told her, but the company discovered it was also important to have an application that service providers and enterprises could use to put text-enabled numbers to work without forklift upgrades. Green-bot is that application, and it’s just one of what TSG expects to be a collection of solutions from partner companies that will help drive adoption of the infrastructure-level capabilities that TSG provides.

Contact centers are leveraging Green-bot to alert agents and managers that a chat is waiting, and to notify customers who text in requests that their communications have been received and that the contact center is locating an agent with whom they can chat. It also can present details to receiving agents about why the customer sent the text, and it can pick up on key words and trigger events or automated responses based on those words. All of the above mean customers can communicate via text rather than voice, and that businesses can do the same – enabling them to handle five times the amount of customer inquiries within the same time period, and saving money in the process.

Another interesting tidbit I recently learned is that 64 percent of people surveyed prefer text to calling when it comes to customer service. Target markets are call centers and enterprises of all kinds. MMS is in the works as well. I learned all of this in a recent meeting with Steve French (News - Alert), vice president of worldwide product management for OpenMarket. He also told me about support for Matrix.org, an open source/standards project for interoperable IP-based messaging and VoIP services.

Now, Matrix.org can now provide SMS as a communication channel for developers building interoperable instant messaging for desktop or mobile use, WebRTC calling, and Internet of Things solutions using what they call the Matrix standard.

Matthew Hodgson of Matrix.org said the comparison between GENBAND (News - Alert)'s Fring Alliance and Matrix is an interesting one: The Fring Alliance is essentially closed federation between Fring deployments, while Matrix is an open standard for interoperability between any vendors and ecosystems. For instance, Fring is actually looking into using Matrix for providing the third-party federation between Fring Alliance and other ecosystems.

OpenMarket is a division of the multibillion-dollar Amdocs (News - Alert) meaning they have deep pockets and we can expect to see the company enjoy continued success in the space.

Most importantly, this is a huge opportunity. Businesses that target consumers these days should seriously consider such a service ASAP.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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