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How to Improve Your Communications Strategy and Consumer Engagement in 2014

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Moving to interactive mobile services is becoming a viable business strategy for many organisations wanting to improve communications. Demand from consumers for instant information is increasing and they have no time for queues or being left endlessly (and on occasion, fruitlessly) on hold. Customers want immediate access to the information they are seeking and failing to offer the right channels to provide real-time interaction will see businesses lose out to those quick to embrace innovative communication technologies.

The single biggest shift happening in the world today is a move towards a mobile centric approach to communicating with customers. Services designed without mobile cannot take advantage of mobile only users, so this transition will require a strategic shift in approach to be able to leverage this key communications channel.

Integrating mobile into engagement strategies opens up a number of different communication avenues for businesses and customers alike. With 97% of text messages being opened immediately, SMS offers an immediate, personal and measurable communication channel. SMS also provides you with the opportunity to build a coherent data list, ensuring that your messages will always be delivered to a receptive audience.

Voice Short Codes are five-digit numbers which support both inbound SMS and calls and provide a great opportunity to extend the use of mobile to a broader range of interactive services and campaigns. This allows you to simplify your marketing communication campaigns and improve the memorability of your contact number and attract mobile consumers in a price transparent way.

Moving elements of customer contact to efficient non-mediated channels has the potential to deliver significant cost savings for companies. For many services it also removes the human being from one end of the process, which in turn reduces the cost of the service and also removes one source of possible error. For instance, interactive IVR solutions can instantly bridge calls from a call centre to a consumer’s mobile device when appropriately triggered to ensures engagement with an individual right at the point of requirement. These interactions can be triggered by a range of call to actions and is suitable for any organisation looking to improve customer contact, reduce costs and improve overall operational effectiveness.

A mobile centric strategy plays a key role in integrating new elements into the mix and repositioning existing channels to accommodate it. Lowering budgets requires emphasis to be placed on removing unnecessary cost without compromising service levels, and this empowers you to adopt a ‘more for less’ approach to strategy. It is also important to ensure that you maintain a high level understanding of consumer technology behaviours and embrace these channels to leverage the growing preference to access services via the mobile phone anytime, anywhere.

Introducing new modes of communication can only work if you support and promote it effectively from launch. Integration with existing channels to maximise the service provision is required to ensure maximum buy-in from customers, such as including your short codes in your marketing activities.

Example of a successful mobile centric strategy

A well-known international bank was having serious resource issues with managing their fraud prevention activities. Their call centre agents were spending an average of 1.5 hours to resolve a single fraudulent issue, due to the amount of time an agent spent trying to get hold of a customer on the phone. By shifting their approach to a mobile communication based solution, the bank is now able to resolve issues in less than two minutes.

The solution works by combining SMS messaging with the bank’s customer database system and their call centre IVR system. The bank sends a text message to any registered customer who the banks database system believes has had fraudulent activity on their account. The customer is asked to confirm via return SMS whether a specific transaction is legitimate. If they reply positively, the bank simply authorises the transaction and informs the customer.

If the customer responds saying the transaction is fraudulent, the integrated mobile and voice solution sets up a ‘conference’ call between the mobile number of the customer and an agent at the bank’s call centre. The agent is provided with all of the relevant information regarding the transaction during the dial up stage of the call, allowing them to immediately start discussing with the customer how to resolve the problem.

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