It’s a Multi-Channel World

As consumers rely increasingly on smartphones and social media, the tried-and-true approaches to customer engagement need to be rethought. Customer communication methods that were designed for the wired-desktop and bulk email model of the early Internet era need to be re-crafted for the mobile wireless world we live in today. This holds true for B2C-oriented companies in virtually every sector — business as usual just doesn’t drive revenue like it used to.

A Fresh Approach to Customer Engagement

The Message Systems vision for customer communication is that companies should be able to connect with their customers at the precise time, and in the precise messaging channel, that’s most convenient at any give time. The success of that vision shines through in our highly diverse client base — a group of innovative companies that use our technology to connect on a one-to-one basis not just with customers, but guests, passengers, subscribers, members, friends, accountholders and gamers.

One of the key lessons learned from the explosive growth of cloud computing and social media in recent years is that when you have the ability to connect with customers through multiple touch points or channels — through mobile-optimized email, through SMS text, through push notifications or IM chat — opportunities for positive experiences increase. We see this in the marketplace with the greater convenience of mobile payments, text reminders from service providers and travel experiences made less stressful through trip update alerts. And when companies take the next step of allowing customers to set preferences for when and how you connect with them via targeted email and SMS marketing, positive engagement rises even further. This kind of preference-driven, multi-channel customer communication is exactly what Message Systems clients are creating with our solutions.

Get Smart With Targeted Email & SMS Marketing

It’s no coincidence that top cloud, social media and online innovators like Facebook, Match.com and PayPal rely on Message Systems solutions. Building on our technology, these companies are able to keep their users engaged and informed through communication programs that combine transactional alerts, lifecycle messaging and message-driven workflows in creative ways. Many top retailers, publishers, financial services providers and marketing technology providers are realizing that the kinds of engagement techniques pioneered by cloud and social media companies can be integrated into their own business models. Consider some of the ways that intelligent targeted email and mobile text messaging or SMS marketing can boost customer engagement and drive increased revenue for your business:

  • Produce and deliver relevant, compelling, and timely communications with targeted email that drives return traffic and more frequent visits.
  • Create new revenue sources by enhancing transactional alerts and notifications with value-added content or affiliate information.
  • Get messages to recipients quickly and reliably — especially time-sensitive content such as financial information — to create valuable differentiation.
  • Enhance customer care and support through multi-channel messaging based on customer preference to dramatically improve brand loyalty and create up-sell opportunities.

Whether it is boosting stickiness and accelerating growth, monetizing messaging streams, or increasing brand loyalty, targeted email and SMS marketing enable you to leverage better performance for a competitive edge.

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A number of marketers looking to provide more value to their customers through cross-channel communications have unexpectedly fallen onto the wrong side of the law. The punishment?  Class-action suits for sending customers an opt-out confirmation after receiving opt-out requests – a deemed violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

“No fair!” We hear them cry. “We’re just following best practice guidelines!”

Signed into law in 1991, the TCPA was meant to govern the etiquette of telemarketers in a vastly different landscape – one where telephones and faxes ruled the direct marketing world. Back then, SMS texts were not a part of the picture. Certainly, they did not play the defining role they do in modern lives now.

With the high open rates of SMS at almost 98% and more importantly, response rates from 15% to 30% (versus 5% for email), marketers simply cannot afford not to tap into this channel when implementing a cross-channel communication program.  This is especially so since 98% of SMS are opened within 5 seconds.

Imagine a geotargeting cross-channel campaign that is triggered when potential customers wander past a brick-and-mortar store. These customers might receive an instant text from the store offering 20% discount if they buy something within the hour. With low latency rates and consumers reading the SMS texts within 5 seconds, sales could well sky rocket! (Especially during the holiday season when everyone is desperately shopping for gifts.)

But what happens if customers choose not to receive such alerts? One would think that an opt-out confirmation after such a request is mere politeness. Certainly not the gateway to a lawsuit! Fortunately, the Federal Communications Commission has finally ruled in the favour of marketers to make opt-out confirmations a best practice under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

So the next time, a business decides to send an opt-out confirmation text in response to such a request, they can rest easy that they won’t have to face financial ruin for it.

In the light of the fact that industry associations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau have long established opt-out confirmations as a best practice, the decision of the TCPA is not just welcomed, but way overdue.