This week Messente attended the World (SMS) Wholesale Conference in Madrid. We spent several long days of sharing thoughts with our partners, mobile operators and many people working in the industry. Based on what was discussed we decided to compose a short and comprehensive list of questions you should ask when choosing a partner to deliver SMS messages for your company.
Regardless of what you do – building a cool web application, running a logistics company or operating a bank the following aspects always need careful consideration.
How easy it is to connect?
SMS sending API documents used to be written in mobile operator language and the same goes for setting up the actual SMS sending connections. You might know the meaning of SMPP, DLR, HLR and all the other 3-4 letter abbreviations (this is just the easy end) but why should you? The same goes to your IT team. Unless you are a network operator yourself you might skip this part and work with an API which can be used by anyone capable of building simple websites and making HTTP requests.
And another thing – long integration documents don’t necessarily mean enterprise level quality and vice versa. Sometimes length just means clutter.
Look for simple API’s and don’t let adopting SMS notifications become a big software project in itself.
What type of SMS traffic do I have?
Sending reminders about appointments, notifications about bank account balance changes or informing someone about your new pricing offer all have different levels of how business critical they are. While some service providers are great in handling large amounts of marketing messages, other focus on delivering the business critical traffic with the best delivery success rate. I doubt anyone is equally great at everything.
What is the cost of an undelivered message for my business?
The pricing of SMS messages is a complex topic. After all there seems to be a great deal of different offers out there.
In order to make sure that all of the messages reach their destinations you need to be able to access many different channels to reach each mobile operator. For example Messente has about 10 ways how we can send an SMS to any operator’s network in the world. Very simply put this is to ensure that in case there is a technical problem or a delay, there are many backup channels to which your messages can immediately be directed to. (There are other reasons for having multiple channels like peak time handling for example but that is a topic for a whole separate post.)
The price of using each of these channels is different – so essentially the higher the message cost the more channels with higher delivery quality your service provider can use for your messages. When determining which cost level is acceptable in the case of your company we come back to the initial question: what is the cost of an undelivered message for your business?
How can I be sure what happens to my messages?
The correct answer here very is easy to give. Just like with package delivery service you should be able to track every single one of your messages on real time basis if you need to. Sharing this information should not come with any extra charges. After all you would not consider paying UPS of FedEx a separate “tracking fee”.
Which kinds of statistics do I need?
In a way automatically sending messages is a bit like plumbing – once you set it up you expect it to work without monitoring it every day. This makes it all the more important to be able to quickly get an overview of your SMS traffic or receive detailed statistics if you feel like keeping a close eye on it.
When choosing a partner make sure you get helpful reports with just the right numbers which do not increase your workload. Also it might very well be that your IT team or your accounting might need differently structured or more detailed statistics.
Asking yourself these five questions should cover all the essentials. Hopefully this list helps you to make good decisions regarding SMS sending.