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Latest 15 May 2020 | Customer Service | 6 min read

SMS vs Messaging: 4 Reasons Why Messaging is the Future

SMS and messaging are not built the same. Back in the day, SMS was great for texting your friends (remember that 160 character limit?) but people and technology have moved on. Messaging is the more modern experience found on iMessage, WhatsApp and Messenger that combines text with images, videos, GIFs, games, payments, and all sorts of other plugins. Here are four reasons why brands should forget about SMS and focus on providing rich customer experience on messaging channels:

SMS is One-Way, Messaging is Two-Way

Two-way Messaging


"This is something that drives me crazy. I get a text message from a brand. It's on SMS and I respond back to it and it says, sorry, please call us at one 800 blah, blah, blah. 

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

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"All the marketing SMS providers that I know about, they only do one-way marketing. And then I respond back to it and it doesn't understand what you actually want. That game feels like it's over. 

"The future is two-way. The ability to do outbound timely notifications that are predictive, that the consumer can respond back to instantly. Then you can route to the right person, the right automation experience to get them what they actually want. This all coming together into a single experience, a single channel, is the future. 

"It's not the one-way game that builds email which then no one wants and the open rates fall through the floor. The future is a two-way relationship. That is the ability to send the right notification at the right time, and the person can respond back and start the conversation with that brand."


Developing Rich Customer Experiences on Messaging

SMS vs Messaging Platforms


"One of the main things I get asked all the time is what's the difference between SMS and messaging or Messenger or Apple Business Chat or WhatsApp

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

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

"This changes everything. Now we're able to do experiences that feel like what a native app would feel like. 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 and also there's a lot of buttons so you can almost build a full shopping cart. 

"This changes the game for messaging. And this is not available on SMS. 

"Dig into the rich UI of all the platforms and realize that when you can do app-like functionality, as well as payment, it changes everything."


Building Customer Relationships on Messaging

Messaging Relationships


"One of the biggest areas that I'm excited about messaging, specifically, is the idea of relationships in the future. 

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

"The future is brands acting like the way we act with our friends. It's not a bunch of different channels. 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 brands who get this right will have a huge opportunity. 

"The days of a one-way push notification or an email or even an SMS that is sent to everyone is not how this is going to work. It's one-to-one, at scale, to build real relationships - all within messaging."

"This changes the game for messaging. And this is not available on SMS."

RCS vs. Messaging 

RCS vs Messaging


"One of the areas that I see people getting confused is the difference between RCS, SMS, and messaging. RCS is a rich communication service, it is an extension of SMS. 

"The thing about RCS is that it requires both the platforms, Android, iOS, and the carriers to all implement. Because of this, the fragmentation of RCS is a real problem. It's gonna take a long time to get to market. It requires different carriers to do it with the platforms and we're going to get 5% adoption here, 7% adoption here, 14% adoption in Mexico, AT&T does it in America and all of a sudden maybe after 10 years RCS will be rolled out. 

"Until then messaging platforms: they have all the UI functionality and we don't have a bunch of parties in the way to allow us to build great experiences at scale for everyone in the world. And it's free." 

Why SMS Doesn’t 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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