Latest 28 Jul 2020 | Messaging Channels | 5 min read

Why Messaging is Better Than SMS

Ah SMS. Those were the days. Flip phones with physical keypads, a 160 character limit, and predictive text.

Nowadays, private messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage have superseded SMS by offering users a whole range of rich and useful features.

Messaging volume overtook SMS way back in 2013 but many businesses still plough millions of dollars every year into SMS marketing campaigns.

Here’s why we think that’s a pretty bad idea.

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SMS is One-Way, Messaging is Two-Way

This is something that drives us crazy. A customer gets a text message from a brand. But, as it’s on SMS, when they respond back it says, sorry, please call us at 1-800 blah, blah, blah. 

This isn't the future. The future is a two-way conversation. 

All the marketing SMS providers that we know about only do one-way marketing. When customers respond it doesn't understand what they actually want. That game feels like it's over. 

The future is all about the ability to do outbound timely notifications that are predictive, that the consumer can respond back to instantly. Only then can you can route them to the right person and the right automation experience to get them what they actually want. This all about coming together in a single experience; a single channel is the future. 

"The future is a two-way conversation."

Developing Rich Customer Experiences on Messaging

One of the main things we get asked all the time is: "What's the difference between SMS and messaging?"

There's actually a huge difference. The first: messaging platforms are free. SMS is not. 

The second is the experience. What all these platforms have done is build rich UI elements into the entire experience that brands and developer platforms can use. 

This changes everything. Now brands are able to create experiences that feel similar to a native app. Do you have a scheduling UI that is really built for bookings? Anything that has to do with time tracking? You have list pickers, you have carousels. You can do images and videos. You can even build a full shopping cart. 

Messaging changes the game. And none of these features are available on SMS. 

We urge brands to dig into the rich UI of all the platforms and realize that app-like functionality, as well as payment, changes everything for you and your customer alike.  

Building Customer Relationships on Messaging

One of the biggest areas that we’re excited about when it comes to messaging specifically, is the idea of relationships. 

Relationships between friends today happen via messaging apps. The main thing about it is that it lasts forever. A single channel, all of your conversational history that gets better over time. 

The future of commerce is brands behaving the way we behave with our friends. It's not a bunch of one-off experiences and disconnected departments within organizations. Consumers are going to demand that brands bring the right answer, the right person, and the right service to them, when they need it. 

The days of one-way push notifications, emails, or even SMS's spammed out to everyone are over. The new name of the game is one-to-one, at scale, and with the intent to build real relationships - all within messaging. And the brands who understand this and implement it the right way will without a doubt sit on a huge opportunity. 


RCS vs. Messaging 

One of the areas that I see people getting confused about frequently is the difference between RCS, SMS, and messaging. RCS is a rich communication service, that is, it is an extension of SMS. The thing about RCS is that it requires both the platforms- Android and iOS- and the carriers to all implement. Because of this, the fragmentation of RCS is a real problem; we're going to get 5% adoption here, 7% adoption there, 14% adoption in Mexico, maybe AT&T does it in America, and after a whopping 10 years RCS will finally be fully rolled out. 

Until then, messaging platforms have all the necessary UI functionality and autonomy to allow us to build great experiences at scale for everyone in the world.

So, How Will You Build Customer Loyalty?

A notification sent to customers over SMS is only the tip of the iceberg. As soon as you look beneath the surface, you realize that it’s messaging channels where the real opportunity lies. Why use a vendor to send one-way notifications when you can work with a Conversational CX platform that allows you to build rich, two-way customer experiences that drive revenue and improve retention?

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