From internal staff and emergency communications to engaging with and retaining customers, one of the best ways to get a message across fits right in the palm of your hand. No, really – we mean your phone!
At Voyager, we were finding that it was difficult to reach customers and staff via more traditional methods. Inboxes are flooded with emails every day, so important correspondence like payment reminders are easily missed. Manual phone calls are time consuming, and resources are often slim. And direct mail? Far too slow, especially for urgent communications or timely notices.
Then we had our lightbulb moment: nearly everyone’s got a mobile phone; let’s use it to reach them quickly.
SMS texts to the rescue
iSMS (short message service) is a solution that allows you to send bulk and individual text messages to mobiles, using the internet. It’s reliable (90% of messages are delivered within 30 seconds) and effective (90% of texts are read within 90 seconds). Given that most people always have their phones on them, it’s not surprising that texts will reach them well before – and more often than – an email.
After extensive research, Voyager implemented an iSMS platform that allows us to send texts via email, a web portal, or an API. Some departments use the API for instances where we can automate text sends based on certain criteria for fast, efficient messaging. Others use the web portal or email for individual instances, like specific events or updates. Any way it's used, it's easy to create and manage contacts by simply uploading a spreadsheet.
Here’s a look at how Voyager departments use iSMS:
- Finance: The Voyager credit and finance team uses the API to automatically send texts for things like payment reminders to overdue accounts. Texts are triggered by criteria set within the API, so different texts are sent based on how long accounts are overdue. It’s a fast, effective way to recoup late payments.
- Human resources: Our HR team uses the web portal and email to text staff with important information, such as office closures or new safety measures. This has been especially useful during Covid, as staff are working remotely and the situation is fluid.
- Sales and marketing: Voyager’s marketing team uses the web portal for a variety of processes, including sending reminders of webinars, prompting our wholesale partners to check emails for important product news, and sharing special offers or promotions with customers.
- Network and systems engineers: Internally, Voyager’s engineers use the API to send texts that automatically alert staff of any infrastructure faults or urgent out-of-hours requests from customers. This allows us to address issues immediately, often before they even affect customers.
- Wholesale partners: Our wholesale partners receive outage notifications via text to let them know of anything that may impact them and their customers, allowing them to be proactive about helping or alerting them.
Seeing results across the business
After implementing iSMS for these uses, Voyager found that our costs in debt recovery were reduced, as we were able to send reminders and notifications in-house without draining our finance team’s time or resources. As a result, more payments are made without going to external debt collectors.
We also found iSMS increased customer engagement, particularly for events run by marketing. “Our latest webinar had a large number of attendees, which we attribute to an iSMS reminder that was sent out to registrants just before it began,” says Angela Hunter, Voyager’s Sales and Marketing Manager for SME.
“iSMS allows us to communicate with customers in real-time, which is great for live events like webinars or livestreams,” says Hunter.
Voyager’s wholesale partners also appreciate getting real-time updates on any network issues, as it allows them to proactively advise their own customers of known disruptions.
“Being able to contact all of our wholesalers instantly has really enabled them to improve their own customer experience,” says Senior Account Manager Rochelle Martin. “Having that immediate line of communication with them is crucial.”
“The iSMS solution has been awesome for our internal communications,” says Amanda Richards, Voyager’s People Experience Manager. “The web portal is simple enough for me – someone who is not a technical expert – to be able to send staff communications with urgent information.”
With such a wide range of uses for iSMS across the business, we have seen improvements company-wide. “But one of the great things about iSMS is that the possibilities are endless,” says Hunter. “Especially with marketing, we’re only limited by our creativity – that’s why we’re constantly considering new ways we can use it to improve the experience for our customers, partners, and our own staff.”
Want to know more?
Read our blog post for a quick start guide on SMS best practice and examples of how businesses can implement it for their own industry. Or for an in-depth introduction to iSMS, including a live demo, check out our webinar here.