MEF CEO Dario Betti is joined by Marco Lafrentz, VP of Business & Market Development at netnumber Global Data Services to discuss factors behind the rise in business messaging and strategies for meeting this growing business trend.
Business outreach through text messaging is emerging as a preferred method for enhancing customer acquisition, engagement and sales. For telecom providers, this trend — known as conversational commerce or business text messaging — means the need to support an ever-increasing array of non-traditional messaging use cases, from Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging to call center SMS.
In discussing the movement toward business text messaging, Lafrentz said several societal shifts and issues are underlying this transition. For one, increasing fraud is making consumers wary of answering voice calls from unknown numbers, said Lafrentz, making the more controlled text messaging environment more appealing to businesses.
Coupled with communications fraud, Lafrentz said another major factor fueling this trend is a generational shift in communication preferences, particularly among Gen Z, which prefers contextual text communications over voice.
He also pointed to existing limitations in customer voice communications, such as long waiting cues, which have led many consumers to view voice calls as an option of last resort for business contact.
In discussing the movement toward business text messaging, Lafrentz said several societal shifts and issues are underlying this transition. For one, increasing fraud is making consumers wary of answering voice calls from unknown numbers, said Lafrentz, making the more controlled text messaging environment more appealing to businesses.”
While voice calls will always remain a necessary capability for customer communication, Lafrentz said business texting allows conversational engagements and reengagements on the customer’s own terms, a highly sought-after capability that will continue to push its popularity.
Emerging Non-traditional Use Cases Offer Business Advantages
In the past, businesses needed a mobile phone for texting. But today, programmable messaging is readily available and has brought texting to all sorts of environments, like Google Voice, Skype, TextNow, web service applications, call centers, customer care applications, and more, noted Lafrentz.
In this widening messaging environment, one non-traditional use case gaining popularity is the integration of business texting with voice calling through Interactive Voice Response (IVR), said Lafrentz, referring to automated phone system technology that guides customers through routine transactions, such as paying bills, without agent intervention.
Instead of customers waiting in an IVR queue to reach a live agent, Lafrentz said, the integration of texting enables businesses to offer customers the ability to explain their problem or need through text messaging, an approach which offers many advantages,
For instance, by enabling voice and texting on the same business line, brands can keep using their existing business phone number, which is well known to their customers, rather than introducing a completely new and separate number for texting.
It also can significantly enhance customer service, Lafrentz said, by giving callers a convenient and fast escalation path for their issue or question. Instead of waiting in a long voice queue to reach a live agent or going to the company’s website to engage a chatbot, the customer can explain their issue and get a response from the business via text messaging, an asset that can improve customer satisfaction and engagement.
This capability is well established in North America, enabled by the netnumber Service Registry (nnSR), the authoritative messaging routing registry there, managed by netnumber GDS, said Lafrentz. The registry checks for number accuracy and contains dedicated service details for individual phone numbers, and is a critical piece of the North American message routing infrastructure.
Lafrentz said the use of a central registry model could boost the expansion of non-traditional business text messaging in other countries, where the lack of infrastructure support and fraud issues have slowed its progress.
To learn more from industry and MEF leaders about the growing use of non-traditional messaging, you can view this insightful webinar above.