Businesses are experiencing the proof in the pudding – mobile(text) messaging is a potent marketing tool. Some enterprises are catching on to the many other ways mobile messaging can positively affect their business. Today’s consumer expects convenience that meets the instant gratification need. Hence we are witnessing more and more services that use mobile messaging to interact between businesses and their customers.
The lion share of businesses using mobile messaging for marketing or other services must make a monthly commitment of $500 – $1000 to a mobile messaging aggregator for a Short Code and access to the Mobile Operators networks (ex.. Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T), plus a transactional cost on each message. For these companies, messaging is not part of their regular business phone service; it is another relationship to manage, an additional cost, and another bill to analyze and process.
What the mobile operators are not telling you is… there are other solutions businesses can use for messaging interaction with their customers (and, by the way, much more affordable). It is called the Long Code, a regular phone line, something all businesses have; it just needs to be activated. Mobile operators are also not telling you.
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There are very few companies out there that can activate a regular phone line because the Mobile Operators are using anti-competitive practices by blocking or limiting the throughput of the traditional telephone carrier customer’s messages, ultimately treating messages originating from landlines differently. SMB’s and Enterprise Businesses lose… rather than messaging being incorporated within the traditional phone service as a Long Code and provided by their phone company; businesses are forced into a solution that is:
- More Costly
- Significantly longer to deploy
- Difficult to manage
- It doesn’t provide localization capabilities
- Limits the customer reach
So why are the Mobile Operators doing this despite the negative impact on business, one might ask? Not to bore you with facts, but… The Short Code was created in 2002 to carry large volumes of text messages when text messaging was starting to catch on. Keeps in mind the extent to which text messaging has been adopted and grown since then. In 2003, the CTIA(Cellular Telephone Industry Association) statistic showed monthly text messaging volumes in the US to be 1.2 Billion. The CTIA’s latest data shows that same monthly number to be a whopping 193.1 Billion. That is a 16 thousand percent increase in text messaging volume.
The Mobile Operators explanation – they are just protecting people from spam! With that said, it is safe to say times have changed. During this time, consumers and companies have gone through an educational and adoption process with text messaging. How it is used, who it is used by, and more importantly, what the consumer wants out of text messaging has changed.
No one would argue the importance of protecting the consumer, but the Mobile Operators’ assumption that consumers would tolerate spam is an insult. Have the Operators forgotten about all the education and best practices established to mitigate SPAM in email and text messaging?
What can Enterprises and SMB customers do to change this and make messaging with customers more affordable? The first step is to find out whether or not the landline phone service provider being used can activate their numbers and make them a Long Code. The phone numbers then have the ability to be the primary point for all customer/business interactions. As a Long Code, the phone number can be used as a regular voice line, faxing, or text messaging, giving the customer a choice on their preferred method of interaction.
If a Landline carrier can not activate phone numbers, give them a copy of this article. Perhaps the phone company isn’t aware they can have this capability to offer their customers text messages. (You will get extra brownie points and faster action if you remind the phone company that this is a new source of revenue for them, and they don’t have to watch the Cellular carriers lay claim to it anymore)
If, in the meantime, it is just not available, take a stand and have a voice in the action to force the Mobile Operators to comply with the laws that tell them they can’t do this.
Consumers have proven the viability and value mobile messaging plays in customer/business interactions, and it’s time for all businesses, large and small, to deploy and manage a messaging component within a business affordably and without the need for the costly ShortCode.