Text messaging, more commonly referred to as “texting,” has evolved from a simple way for friends and family to connect to a powerful business communication tool. Due to its speed, simplicity, and reach, text messaging has become a viable communication channel for business marketing and outreach. Pew Research revealed that text messaging is the most widely-used smartphone feature, with up to 97% of smartphone users using the feature at least once during the course of the report’s one-week study period. And because of this widespread popularity, more organizations are recognizing the value of reaching customers via text messaging.
To help organizations leverage text messaging for business, Flowroute, the first software-centric carrier, recently debuted Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) as a part of its messaging platform. This new capability allows businesses to send and receive images, audio, and video using text-enabled toll-free and local phone numbers on the Flowroute network.
In the following article, David Rich, the Vice President of Product Management at Flowroute, talks about the company’s newest messaging capabilities and shares with VoipReview.org why MMS is a must for companies who seek to provide an enriched and more visual customer experience.
Tagged as the smarter and stronger cousin of Short Messaging Service (SMS), MMS is a powerful and personal way for businesses to reach their target audience via their mobile devices. MMS messages can include images and colorful graphics, animation, music, and video in addition to text. According to Rich, messaging as a part of a business's communications strategy has been growing at a significant rate over the last few years. In fact, recent statistics reveal that 20 billion text messages are sent every day around the world, 82% of received texts are read within 5 minutes, and texting has a response rate that is 20x higher than email. And while SMS is limited to 160 characters, MMS can incorporate both rich media and text.
“What MMS brings to the mix is the ability to streamline the communications process,” said Rich. “For example, if a customer is involved in a car accident they can send the pictures over to their insurance agent to start the claims process, significantly reducing the back and forth that typically takes place between the agent and driver.”
In addition to insurance companies, Rich said that there are so many other types of businesses that can benefit from MMS. This includes retail (for personal shopping, coupons, and QR codes), customer support (a picture of an error message, a picture of a broken part, or inbound rating) and also travel and hospitality (boarding passes, pictures of a resort, an itinerary, or even lost baggage).
Create Engaging Customer Experiences with Flowroute MMS
Flowroute, a leader in cloud communications for businesses, has seen the increasing consumer demand for both SMS and MMS interactions. To help enterprises take advantage of this medium, the provider recently introduced MMS support (in addition to SMS) to its messaging platform in November.
“It’s no secret that SMS and MMS are the primary communications channel for millennials, but businesses continue to underutilize and undervalue that particular channel,” said Rich. “With messaging being the preferred method of communication for most of the U.S. consumer base, it is no doubt that consumers would expect the brands they do business with to support text messaging as a customer engagement channel.”
Rich emphasized that the benefits of offering messaging support are not at all one-sided: companies themselves can also reap a host of benefits by providing such capabilities. These include the ability to differentiate themselves from competitors, drive a higher level of convenience to its customers, and ultimately help both parties save time by interacting more efficiently. “Most millennials don’t think about whether a message is SMS or MMS...they just expect a brand to be message-enabled considering their vast infrastructure,” shared Rich. “Flowroute is the only carrier to offer both SMS and MMS on toll-free and local phone numbers.”
Prior to launching MMS, the product was in beta testing for about 5 months. Zang, a cloud-based technology subsidiary of Avaya, is one of the customers who partnered with Flowroute during the beta testing phase. According to Jeff Hodson, Senior Director of Zang Cloud at Avaya, “Flowroute’s API helped us remove the typical hurdles associated with launching new telecom-related capabilities, such as MMS. For example, we received early access to Flowroute MMS and after only 30 days were able to announce a new offering to our customers.” Hodson continued: “We found the Flowroute team to be very responsive and dedicated to resolving technical issues. While it’s early in the process, we’re already receiving positive feedback from our customers about the availability of MMS services.”
Flowroute provides both SMS and MMS through a REST API which can be accessed through their developer portal.
Looking ahead, Rich believes that one of the key technologies that will greatly shape the evolution of business communications is Artificial Intelligence. “Artificial Intelligence is going to become increasingly important for software-centric carriers to manage connectivity to provide efficient routes,” said Rich. “As an example, SIP packets contain valuable information that defines delivery time and the quality of the route specific calls took,” he explained. “This information can then be fed into an algorithm which can automatically define call routes based on the highest quality, fastest route.”
As for the future of Flowroute, Rich said that they continue to aspire to be the AWS of telecommunications; thus, they are constantly looking at new ways to bring communications to the masses in a simple, affordable, and secure manner. “We are brewing up some new offerings, which we are excited to share with you in the first half of 2018,” stated Rich. “We are working on building in massive scalability, and we are doing internal work on microservices to help businesses scale infinitely as we have had a lot of interest from customers and their needs,” he added. “In terms of scalability, we mean adding massive amounts of numbers. We seek to provide the highest quality customer experience, routing and connectivity, and customer service and support.”
Founded in 2007 and based in Seattle, Washington, Flowroute became the first software-centric carrier in 2013. They provide developers and enterprises direct access to telephony resources such as phone numbers, call routing and messaging.
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