Enterprise Text Messaging is Failing – Here’s Why

office with zipwhip on computer screen

You might think your company already has a texting solution, but the reality is that your five-digit short code number isn’t adding the value that a texting platform should. One-way alerts and reminders often leave customers frustrated because they’re unable to respond. Put simply, five-digit short code numbers lack the innovation that enterprise organizations desire as we head into 2019. Innovative companies are moving forward with two-way texting platforms that increase efficiency, improve customer relationships and speed up internal processes.

What is the difference between short code texting and 10-digit texting?

Short codes are five-digit phone numbers that are only used for texting, not calls. A short code acts like a megaphone—the conversation only goes one way. Long-code texting, on the other hand, utilizes 10-digit landline, VoIP or toll-free numbers. Therefore, they support real human conversations as they can be used for texting and calling.

Ask yourself the following questions about your five-digit short code:

  1. What happens when customers text that number?
  2. What happens when customers call that number?
  3. What happens when customers text other numbers in your company (such as their agent or claim adjuster’s phone numbers)?

With short codes, the answer to all three of these questions is a broken and wholly dissatisfactory experience. For too long, enterprises have settled for a fractured communication strategy with customers. They call from one set of numbers and text from another. Moreover, the numbers they text from can only send in one direction.

What are the key limitations of 5-digit phone numbers?

  1. Short codes can’t support two-way messaging. Since there’s no human on the other end, customers texting a short code get a robotic auto response instead. The example below is of an insurance customer trying to simply ask for claim status. Now look to the example on the right for a faster, friendlier experience for both the customer and the claims representative.
  2. Short codes don’t support telephone calls. Phone tag delays closing your business process and frustrates the customer. Implementing calling and texting on the same number creates a highly efficient communication channel and dramatically reduces phone tag.
  3. You are missing important communication to your other existing numbers. Your customers are already texting the numbers you call from. Without two-way texting on your existing numbers, customers are getting error messages and agents and adjusters are missing important communication. Instead of being eliminated, phone tag is instead being exacerbated.

Side-by-side comparison of short-code vs zipwhip texting

How enterprise texting should be

Resolving insurance claims, answering questions, navigating billing issues and so many other functions of B2C communication are dependent on real-time, back-and-forth exchanges.

Therefore, conversational texting has come to dominate the world because it is simple, to-the-point and efficient. Your customers are highly responsive to texts in real-time and overwhelmingly prefer to text over all other forms of communication. In 2018, we have seen widespread adoption across all business segments, including the Fortune 500. Why continue to invest in a texting platform that doesn’t play to the medium’s strengths?

Zipwhip operates on a simple principle: Customers should be able to text as naturally back and forth with businesses as they do with everyone else in their lives. Businesses should be able to consolidate all communication with their existing numbers to achieve the greatest efficiency that texting offers.

Three key benefits of two-way texting for enterprises

Many enterprises are learning that strengthening their brand with human-to-human interaction is a huge differentiator that enables them to win new customers and retain existing customers. In particular, we have seen three major implications of opening up two-way text messaging on existing phone numbers in a claims environment.

  1. Customer Experience. An elegant customer experience makes your brand stand out as a company that is easy to do business with. Zipwhip can automate texts from triggered events (e.g. keyword response) and these responses will come from your company’s phone number. In other words, once the customer receives a text, they can respond and engage in a two-way conversation.
  2. Speed of Process. We have seen that even without any marketing of the service, the majority of texting conversations are initiated by customers. On top of that, the average response time for a text is 90 seconds and the open rate is 98 percent. That far outpaces other communication channels.
  3. Compliance. A software service like Zipwhip allows you to maintain a record of communications between customers and employees. You also have the ability to archive all conversations into your CRM. This level of security and administrative control is important when dealing with many employees across multiple locations or departments.

The bottom line: short codes are only half of the solution

One-way texting isn’t a communication strategy – it’s an alert system.

Two-way texting is a holistic and effective way to improve customer experience immediately. It offers customers of enterprise businesses the choice to communicate in their preferred manner, whether it be texting or calling a real phone number.

Make sure the next time someone asks, “Can I call that number?” or “Can I text you that?” the answer is the same: “Yes!”

Looking to enhance your texting strategy by replacing short codes with real telephone numbers? Contact Zipwhip.

Still not convinced? Read on to learn more about short codes below.

What are the different types of short codes?

Shared short codes

Did you know that hundreds, sometimes thousands, of companies can use the same exact number to send texts? This makes brands vulnerable. Since there’s no ownership over these numbers, they often get shut down for phishing, spam and illegal content (such as breaching TCPA laws that protect consumers). Even if you’re complying by best practices, your short-code number could get shut down because another company abused it. Since the numbers can be shared by many companies, customers have to opt-in using a specific keyword. This means no two companies with the same short code can use the same keyword. It can also be a confusing customer experience if a customer wants to receive text notifications from two companies that share the same short code.

Dedicated short codes

With dedicated short codes, businesses can rent or lease short codes so they can have unlimited access to any keyword. This gives them more ownership over the number, but not complete control. The approval process for dedicated short codes can often take months, because it has to be approved by each individual cellular network. In addition, this option is extremely costly compared to shared short codes. On top of that, random dedicated short codes aren’t as memorable as something like a particular pattern or number associated with your brand.

Vanity short codes

Businesses can opt for a vanity short code if they want a more memorable or recognizable number. However, it’s challenging to get these approved as well because they could be duplicates of other vanity codes. A series of numbers that spells a word on a keypad could also spell another word already claimed by another brand. Ultimately, these are the most expensive short codes and typically only used by large, well-known brands with strong name recognition.

Ready to replace short codes with real telephone numbers? Contact Zipwhip today.

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