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Don’t sleep on SMS! Why Texts are the Underdog of the Electronic Messaging World

4 minute read

SMS (Short Message Service) is the most common form of text messaging used today. More broadly referred to as texts, they differ from MMS, (Multimedia Messaging Service) because they do not allow for image, video or audio files, and are limited to just 160 characters including spaces.

Texts are becoming increasingly necessary for businesses as a channel to engage customers, having become one of the most popular forms of business-to-consumer (B2C) communication in recent years.

With greater open and read rates than email, the opportunity to reach customers quicker and update them with important information (like order status, appointment reminders and promotions) is now being leveraged by many B2B and B2C organisations looking to build customer engagement. 

Across several different verticals and business types, SMS based communications are becoming increasingly popular to deliver highly personalised messaging and to engage in open SMS conversations with their customers as a two-way communication channel. Allowing them to reach out to the businesses they are working with, to ask questions, to manage appointments and to engage in their natural text-speak, delivers exceptional experiences for today’s customers who are used to instant gratification and real-time answers. 

A man looking at his phone

The disclaimer: Cybersecurity

Unfortunately, there is a dark side. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently reported a significant increase in SMS scams, accounting for 33 percent of scam reports in 2022 - amounting to 28 million dollars lost. 

Governments around the world have implemented SMS ‘sender ID’ registries to protect people from these targeted SMS scams. The Australian Government has recently announced that it is also planning to introduce a similar registry, making it crucial for Australian brands to comply with the new regulations or risk having their SMS messages blocked, or worse, incurring hefty fines and damaging their brand’s credibility.

The golden rules

Regulatory compliance is a rapidly evolving beast with differing requirements in different parts of the world. All businesses therefore, must ensure they comply with local legislation and relevant laws for SMS as a channel before using it to engage with their customers. The basic rules are:

Once you’ve got the basics covered, it’s critical to have a strategy that makes sense for your brand bedded down. What outcomes do you hope to achieve with, and for your customers by leveraging alternate digital channels? Ensuring your team and the experiences you have designed are optimised to deliver these outcomes is a consideration many organisations overlook. Tailored experiences, with inbuilt exception-handling processes maximise the opportunity you can expect to benefit.

Avoid sending spam

At Pendula, we understand the importance of security and privacy. As such, we’ve developed a few critical practices we recommend to our customers when they onboard onto the platform to start engaging their customers.

Initially, we suggest our clients run a “trust” campaign, in order to reassure their customers it is safe to interact and build confidence their information will be protected. Along with this, organisations are required to obtain the proper consent from their customers in an explicit and transparent process.

Allow us to introduce ourselves

Another key aspect of building trust with customers is to establish and maintain a consistent brand voice from Day One. This will ensure that customers recognise and trust future messages from the brand. This is an important factor to bear in mind should you engage in a future rebranding effort too.

You might have seen messages before with header information that includes a brand name. Whilst these are useful to build customer confidence that you are the sender, they have a big drawback because they only allow for broadcast messaging.

A screenshot of personalised message sent on imessage

By not enabling two-way text conversations, brands are forced to include links in messages to allow responses which in itself becomes an added security risk. 

A better tactic to explore is using a single number per customer for SMS marketing campaigns. Providing clear instructions for customers to store the number in their contacts can help them recognise your messages quickly, jump back into a message thread, and maintain a history of all communications with your brand.

Opt-out 

Customers should be able to opt out of receiving SMS messages at any time. This data should be recorded and managed centrally to avoid mistakes which can kill customer trust permanently. Pendula includes opt-out as an option that can be included in every message you send to your customer. This could be limited only to the SMS channel or can be broadened to incorporate additional channel preferences based on customer requirements. 

For example, you might send an SMS to a customer who prefers WhatsApp. Pendula can structure preferences to establish that information and leverage it for future outbound messages, ensuring they are delivered to customers via their preferred channel, every time.

Personalisation

It is essential to ensure all messages are relevant and of value. Personalisation is a basic expectation of most customers today, and you should ensure you are catering to each customer's specific needs and preferences based on the available information. 

Leveraging two-way SMS becomes a great way to build rapport and gather further information to support ongoing personalisation for your business. 

Click here for more best practise SMS tips

The Pendula approach

The ability to automate SMS campaigns is an excellent way to deliver efficiency to your business. But in leveraging this, you must also ensure automated outreach is scheduled appropriately, at the moments that matter for your customers. 

Any automated messages should be structured strategically to deliver a positive customer experience instead of triggering a stream of unexpected messages to a recipient. At Pendula there are built-in protections incorporated into your designed experiences to mitigate the risk of this type of thing occurring.

Furthermore, our Expert Services supports our customers with the whole end-to-end campaign setup, optimisation, and retrospective analysis with the ability to leverage ongoing support as part of your use of the Pendula Platform.

SMS is a powerful tool businesses can leverage to engage and support their customers. Enabling this channel opens a tremendous amount of opportunity for Aussie businesses. However, it is imperative that you build trust with your customers first. Providing ultimate convenience, delightful experiences and round-the-clock support will help build strong relationships and long-term loyalty. Leveraging a tool like Pendula with all the necessary security risks built in and managed for you, will provide peace of mind and allow you to get back to what you do best - building a brand that your customers love. 


Reach out to us if you’d like to talk about how Pendula can help you leverage SMS to enhance the customer experience within your business, build trust, and deliver better outcomes for all.

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Rick Lanman

Strategic Sales Director

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Summary

SMS (Short Message Service) is the most common form of text messaging used today. More broadly referred to as texts, they differ from MMS, (Multimedia Messaging Service) because they do not allow for image, video or audio files, and are limited to just 160 characters including spaces.

Texts are becoming increasingly necessary for businesses as a channel to engage customers, having become one of the most popular forms of business-to-consumer (B2C) communication in recent years.

With greater open and read rates than email, the opportunity to reach customers quicker and update them with important information (like order status, appointment reminders and promotions) is now being leveraged by many B2B and B2C organisations looking to build customer engagement. 

Across several different verticals and business types, SMS based communications are becoming increasingly popular to deliver highly personalised messaging and to engage in open SMS conversations with their customers as a two-way communication channel. Allowing them to reach out to the businesses they are working with, to ask questions, to manage appointments and to engage in their natural text-speak, delivers exceptional experiences for today’s customers who are used to instant gratification and real-time answers. 

A man looking at his phone

The disclaimer: Cybersecurity

Unfortunately, there is a dark side. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently reported a significant increase in SMS scams, accounting for 33 percent of scam reports in 2022 - amounting to 28 million dollars lost. 

Governments around the world have implemented SMS ‘sender ID’ registries to protect people from these targeted SMS scams. The Australian Government has recently announced that it is also planning to introduce a similar registry, making it crucial for Australian brands to comply with the new regulations or risk having their SMS messages blocked, or worse, incurring hefty fines and damaging their brand’s credibility.

The golden rules

Regulatory compliance is a rapidly evolving beast with differing requirements in different parts of the world. All businesses therefore, must ensure they comply with local legislation and relevant laws for SMS as a channel before using it to engage with their customers. The basic rules are:

Once you’ve got the basics covered, it’s critical to have a strategy that makes sense for your brand bedded down. What outcomes do you hope to achieve with, and for your customers by leveraging alternate digital channels? Ensuring your team and the experiences you have designed are optimised to deliver these outcomes is a consideration many organisations overlook. Tailored experiences, with inbuilt exception-handling processes maximise the opportunity you can expect to benefit.

Avoid sending spam

At Pendula, we understand the importance of security and privacy. As such, we’ve developed a few critical practices we recommend to our customers when they onboard onto the platform to start engaging their customers.

Initially, we suggest our clients run a “trust” campaign, in order to reassure their customers it is safe to interact and build confidence their information will be protected. Along with this, organisations are required to obtain the proper consent from their customers in an explicit and transparent process.

Allow us to introduce ourselves

Another key aspect of building trust with customers is to establish and maintain a consistent brand voice from Day One. This will ensure that customers recognise and trust future messages from the brand. This is an important factor to bear in mind should you engage in a future rebranding effort too.

You might have seen messages before with header information that includes a brand name. Whilst these are useful to build customer confidence that you are the sender, they have a big drawback because they only allow for broadcast messaging.

A screenshot of personalised message sent on imessage

By not enabling two-way text conversations, brands are forced to include links in messages to allow responses which in itself becomes an added security risk. 

A better tactic to explore is using a single number per customer for SMS marketing campaigns. Providing clear instructions for customers to store the number in their contacts can help them recognise your messages quickly, jump back into a message thread, and maintain a history of all communications with your brand.

Opt-out 

Customers should be able to opt out of receiving SMS messages at any time. This data should be recorded and managed centrally to avoid mistakes which can kill customer trust permanently. Pendula includes opt-out as an option that can be included in every message you send to your customer. This could be limited only to the SMS channel or can be broadened to incorporate additional channel preferences based on customer requirements. 

For example, you might send an SMS to a customer who prefers WhatsApp. Pendula can structure preferences to establish that information and leverage it for future outbound messages, ensuring they are delivered to customers via their preferred channel, every time.

Personalisation

It is essential to ensure all messages are relevant and of value. Personalisation is a basic expectation of most customers today, and you should ensure you are catering to each customer's specific needs and preferences based on the available information. 

Leveraging two-way SMS becomes a great way to build rapport and gather further information to support ongoing personalisation for your business. 

Click here for more best practise SMS tips

The Pendula approach

The ability to automate SMS campaigns is an excellent way to deliver efficiency to your business. But in leveraging this, you must also ensure automated outreach is scheduled appropriately, at the moments that matter for your customers. 

Any automated messages should be structured strategically to deliver a positive customer experience instead of triggering a stream of unexpected messages to a recipient. At Pendula there are built-in protections incorporated into your designed experiences to mitigate the risk of this type of thing occurring.

Furthermore, our Expert Services supports our customers with the whole end-to-end campaign setup, optimisation, and retrospective analysis with the ability to leverage ongoing support as part of your use of the Pendula Platform.

SMS is a powerful tool businesses can leverage to engage and support their customers. Enabling this channel opens a tremendous amount of opportunity for Aussie businesses. However, it is imperative that you build trust with your customers first. Providing ultimate convenience, delightful experiences and round-the-clock support will help build strong relationships and long-term loyalty. Leveraging a tool like Pendula with all the necessary security risks built in and managed for you, will provide peace of mind and allow you to get back to what you do best - building a brand that your customers love. 


Reach out to us if you’d like to talk about how Pendula can help you leverage SMS to enhance the customer experience within your business, build trust, and deliver better outcomes for all.

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