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A third of businesses are ready to use Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging, a quarter are already using chat bots and 23% indicate that their use of two-way (actionable) SMS has increased.  That’s according to Ovum’s Enterprise Messaging Survey, developed in partnership with CLX and Symsoft.

The report, which explores the rapidly evolving business-to-consumer communications market, provides a clear indication that brands and businesses are ready to embrace richer, more immersive and interactive messaging formats.

With Apple’s Business Chat set to launch next year, the rise of chat bots and Google’s RCS business messaging standard coming to market, it’s fair to say that the messaging space is heating up.

Against this backdrop, the use of A2P SMS continues to grow. Ovum forecasts 1.28tn A2P SMS messages will be sent in 2019 (up from 1.16tn in 2016).

Here are seven key take-aways from the report, which can be downloaded now for free.

  • The use of two-way SMS is growing. 23% of respondents stated that their use of two-way SMS (where the recipient is able to send a reply to access further information or functions) had increased during the previous 12 months. Typical use cases include rescheduling appointments or having an SMS-based conversation with a contact centre agent.
  • Pricing elasticity. Pricing elasticity continues to play a role in the enterprise messaging SMS ecosystem, with 54% of respondents saying that they would send more SMS if the per-message price of an enterprise SMS were reduced.
  • Businesses are getting comfortable with chat bots and AI as part of a mix of enterprise messaging options. 25% of respondents in the survey said they have already deployed a chat bot to automate customer engagement. Improved customer interactivity, reduced churn and the ability to connect with hard-to-reach demographics like millennials were given as the main reasons.
  • Chat bots are being put to work across multiple channels. 84% of businesses that are using chat bots deploy them via chat apps including Facebook Messenger, Kik, Line, Telegram and Skype. 76% of respondents have deployed chat bots on social networks and social media. A further 48% of the respondents indicated that they use SMS to deliver a chat bot experience to their customers.
  • Ease of access is a market lever. The appetite to further increase the use of enterprise messaging is being whetted by the ability for enterprises to more easily access SMS and to integrate it into their marketing campaigns, processes, and applications via APIs. 48% of respondents cite this is a critical factor in increasing their use of enterprise messaging.
  • RCS is coming. One in three respondents (36%) are planning to adopt Rich Communications Services (RCS) business messaging. Among those businesses that are ready to embrace RCS messaging, 94% agreed that the ability to deliver richer communications, including images and videos was key, while 89% were interested in using RCS to allow their organizations to have a chat-bot-based, conversational interaction with their customers.
  • The value of RCS? Enterprises value richer, more interactive messaging formats. Over half of the respondents would be willing to pay between 1.5 to three times the price of an ordinary per-message SMS for an RCS message.

Whilst A2P SMS continues to grow, the report clearly shows that enterprises are moving past an experimental phase with new messaging formats and examining, more closely, how best they can engage their customers with the right format at the right time.

It’s also encouraging to see that businesses clearly value a more immersive interaction with their customers.  In the near future, this will be delivered by RCS messaging services and chat apps allowing the enterprise message to go beyond text to include app-like interactivity and rich media.  It’s everything MMS promised but unfortunately didn’t deliver.

Rob Malcolm

VP Marketing and Online Sales, CLX Communications


Download Ovum’s Enterprise Messaging Survey Now

Ovum’s Enterprise Messaging Survey 2017, developed in partnership with leading cloud-based communications provider, CLX Communications AB, and communications solutions vendor Symsoft, explores the rapidly-evolving business-to-consumer communications market.

It reveals a growing business appetite for more interactive forms of enterprise messaging, including two-way SMS, enhanced SMS such as messaging based on the Rich Communications Standard and chat bots.

Available now in the MEF Insights Directory