Using Text Messages in IVR Systems
March 01, 2011
While text messaging is a staple with the under-30 crowd and the main form of communication for the under-20 crowd, it’s still a relatively untapped tool for IVR system use.
Businesses looking for new marketing avenues and organizations that regularly use IVR systems are now turning their attention to SMS (short message service) as an alternative or accompaniment to IVR voice messaging.
For the older generations, SMS (text messaging) is the most commonly used form of data transfer in the world, according to Wikipedia, with 2.4 billion active users, or about 75 percent of mobile phone users.
According to Wikipedia, there were 4.1 trillion text messages sent in 2008. With the average price of each text worldwide at 11 cents U.S., that’s an $81 billion industry. SMS is more popular in Asia, Europe and Australia than it is in North America.
Text messaging works essentially the same way in IVR systems that voice messaging does, whereby a system sends out and receives messages. The only difference is the messaging never gets turned into speech on the outgoing side, and the incoming messages are in text already so there’s no need for speech recognition. The messages can be interactive or simple.
Organizations using IVR systems for alerts or emergency messages find text messaging a natural tool to use. It can also work well for organizations as appointment reminders or follow-up messages (e.g., “You have an appointment at…” or “Thank you for dining with us…”).
Text messaging for marketing purposes is a little more challenging because it runs the risk of turning into email marketing, which is now widely used for sending spam. If companies want to use text messaging for marketing, they need to target as narrowly as possible and always make it worthwhile for their potential or current customers.
Because customers have to pay for the texts, they need to get something out of them or it’s a waste of their time and money and only annoying in the end. If marketing texts don’t include immediate worthwhile offers, customers will likely ignore them.
Text messaging is a great tool for IVR systems. It’s simple and fast and efficient. But be careful how you use them, or else they’ll be the new email.TMCnet publishes expert commentary on various telecommunications, IT, call center, CRM and other technology-related topics. Are you an expert in one of these fields, and interested in having your perspective published on a site that gets several million unique visitors each month? Get in touch.
Edited by Juliana Kenny