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Inbound vs outbound SMS: What every contact center manager should know

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  • SMS messages represent an important tool for contact centers to reach customers and for customers to reach them
  • High-volume SMS is a way for businesses to communicate with a large number of customers at scale
  • To communicate at once with a wide range of customers, you need a communications solution that offers high-volume SMS functionality

Today’s customers want to be able to call, email, and SMS companies with whom they do business. They’re also open to receiving SMS from companies. To connect with customers effectively, inbound and outbound SMS are crucial capabilities for today’s contact center. High-volume SMS, the ability to send many text messages at once, is also becoming an important capability.

In this post, we’ll explore these topics:

  • The power of SMS to connect with customers
  • What high-volume SMS is
  • High-volume SMS use cases
  • How can I message my customers all at once?
  • How can I communicate with my customers via text message?
  • The benefits of SMS capabilities for contact centers

The power of SMS to connect with customers

If you want to understand why SMS is a powerful tool to connect with customers, take a look at these statistics:

  • In 2020, industry experts estimated almost 49 million people chose to receive text messages from businesses
  • SMS messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook
  • Text messages have an open rate of 98%
  • 59% of customers say that a promotional SMS led them to check out a bricks-and-mortar store or visit a brand’s online presence
  • Over half of consumers prefer contacting customer support through SMS
  • 43% of consumers say they’ve proactively texted a business

As these statistics illustrate, text messages represent an important tool for contact centers to reach customers and for customers to reach them.

What is high-volume SMS?

SMS offers contact centers the ability to connect with customers at scale through high-volume SMS.

There are two types of SMS messages:

  • Person-to-Person (P2P)
  • Application-to-person (A2P)

P2P SMS messages are designed for one-on-one communication. For example, a company could send an SMS to notify a customer that an order was ready for pickup, or a customer could text a company with a question about a product or service. Most companies don’t use P2P SMS messages for mass communication.

In contrast, A2P SMS messages allow for companies to send many text messages at once with their own business phone number or extension. They no longer need to purchase a separate number and program it, which saves time and money.

High-volume SMS use cases

Why would a company use high-volume SMS? There are several use cases:

  • Mass-marketing (for example, sending coupons to customers)
  • Automated messages
  • Notifications
  • Customer polls or surveys
  • Chatbots
  • Two-factor authentication
  • One-time passwords

The benefit of high-volume SMS is that many industries can take advantage of its ability to reach their customers. In the healthcare field, a hospital could use high-volume SMS to notify patients about appointments, while a financial services company could send out text messages to customers to let them know branches will be closed for an upcoming public holiday.

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Because high-volume SMS is automated and integrated into the company’s existing technology stack, organizations save time and money by sending out a large number of text messages at once. They can also track opt-in and opt-out responses in a single place, which reduces the management burden on contact center agents and staff. .

How can I message my customers all at once?

To message all of your customers at once, you need the right solution in place. RingCentral’s High Volume SMS API integrates high-volume text messaging into your current custom applications. It uses your current RingCentral number, so you don’t need to purchase another phone number and then program it. We’ll illustrate how it works with an example.

An online retailer will be launching a sale next week. It wants an efficient, cost-effective way to notify its customers. The marketing team opens RingCentral’s pre-built app and writes a text message notification.

The app sends out 5,000 text messages to the company’s customers with a single API request. These A2P messages won’t be blocked by carriers, which ensures customers will receive them.

How can I communicate with my customers via text message?

SMS capabilities are about sending outbound text messages as well as receiving inbound texts from customers. To receive customer SMS messages, you need the right solution.

RingCentral supports inbound text messages from customers to your current RingCentral number – there’s no need to purchase another number and program it. Customers simply text you and you can respond from within the RingCentral contact center software. The contact center software enables you to track text messages between customers and agents to understand how agents are performing.

We’ll illustrate how it works with an example. Claudia buys a set of wireless speakers, but she’s having trouble setting them up. She texts the contact center about the problem.

Within a few minutes, a contact center agent texts her back. Claudia and the agent determine what the problem is and how to fix it. For Claudia, the experience is positive: she didn’t have to wait on hold, she was able to communicate through the channel of her choice, and the agent was able to solve the problem on the first try.

The benefits of SMS for contact centers

Contact centers benefit from a combination of inbound and outbound SMS capabilities. Both inbound text messaging and outbound, high-volume text messaging have roles to play in today’s contact center.

Outbound, high-volume SMS messaging allows you to reach customers at scale in an efficient, cost-effective way. You can send messages from within a single platform without worrying that carriers will block these SMS messages. Inbound text messages enable customers to reach you through their desired channel, leading to a positive customer experience for them.

RingCentral boosts your contact center capabilities with inbound and outbound SMS

RingCentral contact center software includes inbound and outbound high-volume SMS capabilities, so you can connect to customers quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. To learn more about the power of SMS, get a demo.

RingCentral boosts your contact center capabilities
Learn more about the power of SMS

Originally published Aug 12, 2021, updated May 22, 2024

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