Reducing operational costs via mobile… The right way


It is no secret that we manage most aspects of our day-to-day activities via our mobile and tablet devices. We shop, we read, we play, and we communicate with each other and the companies we choose to do business with. And this last mobile activity is where mobile can make a significant impact on an organization.

 Companies, from all industries, are constantly on the hunt for ways to reduce the high cost of customer care and increase revenues while still providing excellent levels of service. Consumers, on the other hand, look for quick, easy, and always-available ways to interact with the companies that they chose to do business with. The challenge is to offer innovative self-service features in a way that increases customer engagement and satisfaction while at the same time reducing costs. And this is where SMS, which isn’t dead yet, has a great impact on numerous services and applications.

Which companies and industries benefit the most from such an influential medium? Companies who receive and manage a significant volume of customer service inquires and post-sales support can leverage this channel.  These verticals devote 40% or more of their total revenue to servicing costs and are always looking to reduce non-value added costs and traffic from their call centers and branches:

  • Financial Institutions
  • Cable, Satellite & Home Entertainment Businesses
  • Mobile Operators
  • Travel Industry
  • Auto Dealers, Servicing & Parts Businesses
  • Insurance Institutions

Here are 6 approaches the above industries can employ via the mobile channel and SMS to increase their revenue and reduce their operational costs, while simultaneously providing high-end customer service:

  1. On-Demand Account Information & Lookup – Customers can easily retrieve up-to-date details on any of their accounts, including balance information, payment histories, due dates, recent transactions and more
  2. Alerts & Reminders – Customers can be alerted and reminded of any upcoming appointments, events, payment deadlines and transactions taken place within their account
  3. Information & Product Lookup – A call center the way it should be. Customers can check product availability and look up information through a simple text message. Use unique codes for individual products and zip codes for stores.
  4. Text-2-Pay –Customers can pay their bills via a simple text, enabling businesses to easily collect outstanding balances with ease.
  5. Text-2-Chat – It is a call center through SMS. Users do not call, they text, eliminating long waiting times, on-hold calls and dedicated personnel. Customers simply ask and wait for their response, while the same customer support person can quickly serve up to 5 people at a time
  6. Offers & Promotions – Cross-sell and up-sell products through text messaging. With a 95% readership and a 10% click through rate, SMS messaging encourages sales.

The challenge to fully leveraging the mobile medium is a lack of understanding the benefits of using SMS within the overall marketing mix. A recent report shows that a whopping 86% of businesses are unaware of the great impact of SMS and of the high consumer response rates. The same study reports that SMS response rates typically range from 15% to 30% compared to 5% for email and 2.61% for direct mail and 95% of all SMS messages are opened and read within the first 30 seconds.

Finally, keep in mind that in order to develop an effective text-based cost deflecting mobile strategy, one needs to take into consideration and evaluate a number of parameters regarding the nature of the implemented solution. The right mobile strategy has to pay for itself through better service and lower costs, leverage current investments and work in parallel with existing solutions, work for everyone in the customer life cycle and a potentially high adoption rate.

*This blog post was also seen at blog.velti.com.

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