Until a few years ago, email and SMS were the primary ways to send out business messaging to customers. However, the proliferation of smartphones and the internet have transformed the “business to consumer” communication landscape. From email and SMS, now we have social media, messaging applications and instant messaging all set to influence business messaging.
The digital impact on business messaging
The business messaging landscape is also witnessing rapid evolution as customers become more informed and digitally savvy. As the smartphone becomes an extension of the customer’s life, business messaging has become more refined, contextual, and sophisticated. That apart, along with the ubiquitous SMS, new mobile messaging technologies are becoming a part of the business messaging ecosystem.
Business messaging continues to rise in prominence and importance owing to the growing adoption of digital marketing solutions. With the era of notifications and alerts upon us, enterprises across the globe are looking to deliver quality information regarding their products and service offerings to their potential customers in a medium comfortable to both – the customers and the enterprise. This has been a major contributor to the incremental rise of A2P communication especially for enterprises as they vie to build customer loyalty, boost customer interaction, and build stronger customer relations.
Channels of business messaging have also proliferated because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As more businesses moved online, the need for effective and efficient communication and customer engagement services only increased.
Email marketing, once a very popular and preferred channel for business messaging has slipped down the popularity ladder. Customer inboxes are usually flooded with offer-related emails, making the discovery of relevant information harder consequently leading to low opening rates. Text messages and SMS’s, comparatively experience greater reachability. Gartner reports that “SMS open and response rates as high as 98% and 45%, respectively — in contrast to corresponding figures of 20% and 6% for email.”
This is further expected to contribute to and drive A2P SMS market growth
Enterprise A2P SMS services also continue to rise in prominence for business messaging as it is highly popular amongst startups and small enterprises. Lower costs associated with A2P SMS continue to be a major attraction along with increasing numbers of smartphone and internet users.
SMA retains its power
While SMS still continues to be a powerful business messaging channel, businesses are looking out for technology options that make SMS more engaging. Business messaging too is looking to access functionalities like embedded images, video buttons, animation, suggested replies, etc. readily available on consumer applications. RCS or Rich Communication Services (RCS) builds on this potential by helping businesses achieve truly engaging messaging experiences and bring about a messaging evolution.
Taking both SMS and RCS into account, the messaging industry is expected to grow from 1.55 trillion messages of A2P traffic in 2018 and to surpass the 2 trillion mark by 2023.
However, in the business messaging landscape, despite new developments, SMS technology is set to maintain its important position despite messaging apps continuing to vie for market share. This is especially so as email, though a preferred mode of business messaging, usually ends up in spam folders and has low read rates.
Instant messaging is still navigating regulatory waters as they can be available only as downloaded apps. Since these companies are usually outside of the regulatory control of local governments, enterprises are wary of depending on them and especially for critical functions.
While RCS looks like the most probable candidate, ensuring how to use it to best interact with the customer and get the best cost while doing so is going to be the next frontier to navigate.
Navigating the security landscape
The conversation about the changing dynamics of business messaging is also incomplete without speaking of security. Along with ensuring the quality of communication, maintaining consumer trust using strategies such as two-factor authentication and employing firewall solutions will gain momentum. The use of blockchain to further encrypt messages can bolster the security posture. However, the regulatory chasm still remains to be crossed. As such, it hardly comes as a surprise to see research predicting 3.5 trillion SMS business messages will be sent in 2023 – an increase from the estimated 2.5 trillion in 2019. The focus on A2P messaging will continue to be the preferred enterprise medium to communicate with the customers.
Voice, premium, instant messaging, SMS, OTT, white route messages, and grey route messages, both, constitute a massive opportunity for telco players and service providers – either to identify opportunities or to evaluate gaps that cause revenue and customer trust to leak and dissipate. While they explore new and potential opportunities that drive profit, building and maintaining customer trust by proactively maintaining a great security posture becomes critical. Elements like Network protection, building trusted, carrier-grade, real-time communications across IP network borders to enhance security, performance, and reliability will contribute to customer retention and revenues. A new world of business messaging is already here.