Omnichannel : The missing link in operator messaging revenues
The first text message was sent in 1992. Typed from a PC and containing only two words, it was sent via Vodafone’s network and became the first application-to-person SMS.
That one act turned what was previously a service notification platform, used mainly by operators to alert subscribers about waiting voicemail messages, into what’s become a staple part of daily communication for users all around the world. And it’s not slowed down since.
In the 25 years that followed, mobile messaging has seen more changes than anyone could’ve predicted back in the 90s. On the consumer side, we’ve seen peaks in activity as P2P traffic flooded networks, followed by changes in usage patterns when OTT applications and the influx of smartphones took hold, says Silvio Kutic, CEO of Infobip.
Text messaging has become the cornerstone of many services we’ve come to rely on as a key part of our connected lives, which has had an impact on the enterprise sector too.
Business benefits of mobile messaging
Fuelled by the growth of this technology in the consumer arena, there’s no question that mobile messaging has become one of the most important business communications channels. Take B2C marketing, for example, where emails often get lost in crowded inboxes and direct mailing efforts go unread. Text messaging, in contrast, continues to have the highest read rates out of all engagement channels. According to analyst firm Mobilesquared, 90% of all text messages are read within three minutes of delivery and 99% are read overall.
Its global popularity has driven enterprises of all shapes and sizes, including banks and retailers, to integrate SMS in their customer communications strategies, and this practice has become somewhat commonplace in recent years. End-users have quickly altered their expectations for brand-to-user engagement, becoming reliant on this type of service and the convenience it gives them.
Now, however, consumer expectations have changed once more. In light of modern technology and the plethora of communication channels available at their fingertips, today’s users have come to expect the ability to engage with businesses on any channel, platform, and device. It’s a shift that’s led to the steady rise of omnichannel messaging in the enterprise world, and is something that stands to generate new revenue potential from messaging for mobile operators.
The new mobile-enterprise foundations
Some years back, the concept of omnichannel for enterprise communications brought with it the idea of different channels and approaches working seamlessly through a single platform to drive customer engagement. This bears a lot of significance for the telecom sector, too, as operators already have a foothold in this arena and the potential to take this much further with a new approach.
After all, A2P SMS traffic has ballooned, with all manner of businesses tapping into the direct communication potential SMS holds. Recent reports suggest the market will top $70 billion by 2019, making enterprise SMS a channel that keeps on giving for mobile operators.
Many operator groups have already taken advantage of A2P SMS to bridge the gap between what enterprises need and what they can offer. But now, with the omnichannel paradigm emerging, much in the same way to how things started with A2P SMS all those years ago, operators need to look ahead at what’s coming for the future of business-consumer mobile engagement.
The combination of A2P SMS and email is no longer enough for businesses trying to reach and engage their end users and build seamless customer journeys. From an enterprise standpoint, engagement strategies are pushed to include multiple channels, devices, failover scenarios and intelligent workflows.
Looking at this challenge from the perspective of an enterprise or business, it’s easy to see that, until now, they’ve been left to cobble together separate platforms, providers, and solutions for any and all communications channels they use. From email to push notifications, from chat apps to SMS, and even for approaches like voice calls, a different technology has been needed for each.
Managing it all is often a daunting task, and finding one platform capable of combining them has traditionally been very difficult, if not impossible. When you need features like CRM and business intelligence system sync, or centralised reporting and analytics, it’s easy to see why a single solution is perceived as essential for the smooth running of omnichannel communication.
Role of the operator in an omnichannel world
Now, though, operators are in the position to assume a more prominent role in helping enterprises address this challenge. We’ve seen this in the past with A2P SMS where operators around the world were keen to monetise the revenue potential associated with this technology but didn’t have the infrastructure in place to manage the functionality in-house. In the same way this led to operators working with specialist messaging providers to effectively outsource their A2P SMS requirements, it’ll happen again with the shift to omnichannel that’s taking hold.
Omnichannel solutions give operators the ability to go several steps beyond their traditional channels. It lets them serve their enterprise customers a new all-encompassing platform that combines messaging across several channels, user segmentation, and reporting to handle their campaign and engagement needs.
This is the world of omnichannel communications. And this is the world operators will be tapping into in years to come.
The author of this blog is Silvio Kutic, CEO of Infobip
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