SMS messaging has its share of competitors — instant messaging apps, email, chatbots. But SMS continues to thrive because it’s widely accessible and convenient.
Almost any modern cell phone is natively SMS-capable, and 5 billion people in the world are able to send and receive text messages. So, it’s hard for channels that require an additional app or stronger connectivity to compete with the simplicity and availability of SMS.
That’s why over 781 trillion SMS messages are sent each month in the United States. It’s predicted that business SMS traffic will reach 3.5 trillion business SMS messages by 2023.
Business SMS is on its way up — not on its way out. It’s only going to get easier for businesses to use SMS. Here are a few business SMS trends to watch for.
A2P SMS messaging takes over
Sending SMS messages through an app is much more efficient for achieving the message volume businesses require.
SMS apps reduce the cost of adding SMS programs and reduce stress on human phone representatives. Going forward, more and more business SMS traffic will become Application to Person (A2P), opening new doors for SMS customer service, chatbots and more seamless omnichannel experiences.
In the short term — as companies and technology begin that transition — businesses can use SMS applications to automate simple customer communications like order status updates, thank you messages and SMS engagement.
SMS regulations tighten up
The biggest hurdle for businesses using A2P messaging will be SMS messaging regulations and consumer protection laws. Since organizations will be capable of sending mass text messages with SMS messaging apps, the volume of spam messages will increase dramatically.
Regulatory organizations will implement new laws to combat the surge of spam. And legitimate businesses will have to put in the effort to ensure compliance. In fact, the CTIA recently updated their principles and best practices to keep pace with changing regulations.
RCS makes SMS more interactive
So far, iMessage has been the only enhanced text messaging that requires no additional software.
However, Rich Communication Service (RCS) will change that by adding interactive buttons, read receipts, and improved engagement analytics for Android phones. RCS is actually more capable than the current iteration of iMessage, and it works on the standard SMS infrastructure.
Widespread enhanced SMS messaging means that businesses can deliver more information to customers and get more thorough customer feedback and engagement.
Businesses will be able to offer much of the convenience and functionality of a proprietary app or an OTT app through RCS. And if Apple gets on board with RCS, almost all smartphones will be RCS-capable.
Additionally, communication can easily be reverted back to standard SMS for customers without RCS capable phones. So adding RCS won’t negatively impact the experience of a company’s customer base as a whole.
More opportunities for innovation
Improved SMS messaging means opportunities to find new ways to use SMS for customer engagement. For example, new text messaging capabilities could mean:
- Better shipping and order tracking.
- SMS-based remote medical treatment.
- More efficient customer support.
Enhanced SMS offers almost unlimited possibilities for improving both automated and person-to-person customer service.
Any business, regardless of industry, will get a lot of benefits from adopting SMS. Those benefits will multiply over the coming years as SMS becomes a more capable and interactive business communication channel.
Now is the time to start using business SMS. It’s easy to implement and will help businesses differentiate themselves from the competition. And SMS is just going to get better with age.
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