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Tapping Into Mobile Text: Page 2 of 2
Delineating the Applications
The choice of which mobile texting solution is best for your organization comes down to the use case and the population with which you need to connect. We’ve identified four major classes of texting applications to date.
- General Texting -- Consumer and Enterprise: For your everyday texting, business or personal, the public OTT platforms dominate today. As iPhones represent the majority of enterprise devices, that typically means Apple Messages, though WhatsApp may pop into the picture if a company has a significant percentage of Androids in the mix. The public OTT platforms have become so prevalent that traditional SMS usage started to drop off after 2010.
- Employee-to-Employee (E2E) Texting: As with general consumer texting, the public OTT solutions dominate in E2E texting, with some exceptions. As noted above, highly regulated industries might require archivable texting solutions, and their use is mandated, at least for business-related matters. If users are making lunch plans, they’re probably using Apple Messages. Another is found in organizations that have adopted team collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, or any of the other myriad choices. One thing we’ve found with those solutions is that if participants start going off the reservation in their work or project-related communications, the utility of the collaboration platform plummets. User chafing at the “it all has to be done here” nature of those solutions still seems to stand as one of the major obstacles to their success.
- App-Driven Texting: One of the exciting applications for text is the new wave of services that integrate text into an overall process. Companies like Twilio have driven this development, providing integrated texting capabilities that support services like Uber; the other communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) providers are also trying to push this idea forward. The idea is clearly spreading as users have become accustomed to getting text notifications for appointments and a whole class of suppliers has grown around the need for emergency notifications in the wake of events like mass shootings. And text-based two-factor authentication is popping up in any number of security-sensitive areas. One of the great beneficiaries of this development has been the traditional SMS service, which has seen a resurgence of traffic -- you see, that LCD status does have an upside.
- Text In B2C Communications: As I’ve written previously, text has become one of the most important areas in contact centers moving from voice to omnichannel. Hoping to emulate the model pioneered by Tencent’s WeChat in China, marketers are eyeing the use of persistent chat to increase customer engagement and ultimately build customer loyalty. To that end, we now have considerable activity among the premium OTT services beefing up their B2C toolkits. Apple took the first serious step with the introduction of Apple Business Chat (ABC) in 2017. WhatsApp followed late that year with WhatsApp Business, and companies like Twilio and Amazon Web Services have moved into the contact center space with omnichannel solutions that don’t start with voice. Thus far, I’ve seen little in the way of deliverables on this front from the businesses I deal with, but the opportunities are tantalizing. However, the absence of a B2C-enhanced solution with the ability to access both the Apple iOS and Android populations (along with the marketing challenge of determining what users need, want, and will put up with) seems to have tied the industry in knots with regards to delivering on this promise.
It’s difficult to comprehend that the simple idea of sending a text message between two mobile devices has spawned what is now the modern texting business, but comprehend it we must. Indeed, developers and network service providers will need to come to grips with how text fits into their marketing and customer support mixes. As is often the case with mobile technologies, this is another case where the consumer tail is wagging the enterprise dog.
I’ll be looking more closely at each of these applications and delving into the relationship between applications and solutions at Enterprise Connect 2019, taking place the week of March 18 in Orlando, Fla., in my Wednesday 3:00 p.m. session, “Getting Your Arms Around Mobile Messaging Integration.” Join me and my panelists from Google, Infinite Convergence Solutions, Smooch, and Sinch. We hope to see you there.
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