Here’s to Another 25 Years of SMS

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It is appropriate that I cover SMS in this blog post because 2018 marks the 25th birthday of SMS. By now, it is no secret that as we become increasingly dependent on our mobile devices we heavily rely on the mobile channels that go with it—in particular, SMS.

The average open rate of SMS is 98% and 83% of messages are opened within 3 minutes of the delivery according to a recent study by Martech Advisor. However, businesses are still not using it to engage with their customers.

SMS has come a long way since the first text message that was sent in December 1992. It is no longer just a way for businesses to let you know about a weekend sale or product release. It has become part of the omni-channel mosaic and is essential when it comes to contextual outreach, targeted messaging, and interacting with customers on their channel of choice.

And, because SMS has evolved so much in the consumer engagement arena—concerns about privacy and security are becoming a thing of the past. Enabling customers to use PIN codes and sending verification requests to finalize transactions, access information or maintain accounts to ensure security. Additionally, SMS plays a role in 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) where they deliver one-time passwords to customers.

SMS is becoming more relevant in industries that have been behind the times when it comes to consumer engagement. Take healthcare for example. Providers are using SMS to empower their patients to better manage their health by enabling them to manage appointments and access resources relevant to their situation, and health bots are slowly becoming a way for patients to find and take care of things on their own without needing to call in.

Retail, travel and financial organizations are taking SMS to the next level by leveraging chatbots and AI. By combining the two, customers can have human-like, two-way conversations where they can get real-time answers to their questions. This is critical because it reduces the need for live assistance and reduces hold and handle times—which means businesses can significantly lower costs and improve the customer experience.

By leveraging consumer data, businesses can use SMS to deliver messages that resonate with their customers on a personal level. Businesses that are staying ahead of their competition realize that SMS is the common denominator that links existing and prospective customers because it has become a staple in our everyday lives.