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Conversational SMS vs Regular SMS Business Messaging Is there a Difference?

Mark Oppermann | Head of Sales and Marketing

The straight answer to that question is absolutely!

So, before we get into a little more detail, let’s have a recap of why SMS is one of the messaging channels that businesses still rely on.  When you talk about messaging a lot of people generally think of WhatsApp, as we all have it on our phones.  But remember there was a day when we only had SMS or text messaging on our phones, and we were very happy with it.

Why SMS Business Messaging Matters

With so many people having access to smartphones and mobile devices, it’s one of the easiest ways for businesses and people to communicate with others, no matter what device they are using.

SMS is still a formidable and very reliable customer communication channel. In fact, 80% of people use SMS for business communications, find it convenient and fast with near-instant delivery of messages, with 80% of marketers stating that SMS performs better than any other communication channel. 1

Even with the proliferation of OTT messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger, the number of SMS messages sent per user still maintaining close to the levels reported back in 2010, with SMS being used alongside them and not as a replacement.  With over 5 billion SMS messages sent daily, it is a channel that should not be ignored.

Given that SMS is still an important customer engagement channel, it is important to keep up to speed with how the channel is evolving and is has evolved.

SMS has gone Conversational

What does that mean?  Has SMS business messaging not always been conversational? The simple answer to that is no, it hasn’t. SMS business messaging has come a long way since we first started using it way back in 1984.

From outbound fire and forget messages to two-way conversations that added the ability for customers to respond and have a simple interaction with keywords to the addition of limited automation, it was a very command-based impersonal type of interaction, but it was successful at the time.

But now the game has really been upped.  With the explosion of Conversational technology, SMS has followed suit and gone conversational.

Conversational SMS is basically, the next generation of SMS business messaging. Time is precious for customers and the business, so reducing the amount of time spent performing certain tasks are key and the process improvements with automation have a significant impact on the time, resources and costs for the business and the overall customer experience.

Conversational SMS uses automation and artificial intelligence to give the business the ability to have true two-way conversations that are highly efficient and effective using Natural Language Understanding.  And the name is apt as it’s able to handle and understand the normal everyday conversations your customers will want to have with you.

Driven by AI-powered chatbot engagement with live agents support built, in just in case something fails.  Businesses can design their conversations as they want – full or part automation blending live agent’s engagement key parts of the customer journey. The flexibility is there.

Putting the previous forms of business SMS that we all knew and loved in the shade, it is really a powerful engagement channel. Even with the excitement around alternative messaging technologies such as WhatsApp, Messenger, RCS, Apple Business Chat, Viber and others, there is little evidence that SMS usage is facing any decline in the foreseeable future.

In fact, we have seen the exact opposite. Clients who have upgraded to Conversational SMS have seen the rate of engagement grow and more importantly, the conversation conversion rates have skyrocketed. 

From successfully managing huge jumps in inbound customer calls during Covid to reorganising payment holidays, collecting more customer payments, and streamlining simple and complex process with API integrations, SMS truly has come of age. 

So having conversational SMS as part of your omnichannel offering is important. And the good news is, if you work with Webio, you can plug in any of the messaging channels with ease and go conversational – Conversational WhatsApp, Conversational Messenger there really is no limit. 

Why not check out our guide on 8 Tips on How to Use Conversational SMS Messaging

 


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  1. The Anatomy Of SMS Engagement, Forbes, February 2021
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