December 16, 2014 by

Easy tips and tricks how to improve your notification messages.

Blogile

Use SMS messages as important notifications. Its easy and effective way how to keep your customers up to date with relevant info. Here are few tips and tricks what to keep in mind.

  • Sender – Always use sendernames, phone numbers or short codes what are connected to your business or brand. Let the message receiver know who are sending them information and try to avoid randomly generated senders.
  • Interactive – Try to make your notification messages more interactive by adding them clickable mobile friendly webpage links. For example: Dear Bill, here is your booking number “12345” and you can view your booking documents by clicking: m.airline.com/booking12345. Kind Regards Your Airlines
  • Personalize – Try adding message receiver first name or other information in the text body. For example: Dear “First name”, due to the fog, your flight to Amsterdam, leaving Heathrow at 11h00 today, has been delayed until 13h30. We apologize for the inconvenience. Kind Regards Your Airlines
  • Contacts – Give message receiver possibility to get back in touch with you by adding for example phone numbers to your customer support.

Keep texting :)

December 2, 2014 by

Why should your service consider 2-step authentication?

passwordscloud

Security is a growing concern to many companies when their clients need to login and handle confidential information. The more  data we use online, the more possible data leaks there is. While big data makes companies more vulnerable to security threats, many complicated solutions have been taken into use to reduce the likelihood of abusing identity and confidential data.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

The usage of smart phones is growing and users have started to adapt more security measures to protect their information. So there are three possible factors that help to protect confidential information:

  • knowledge factors, such as passwords
  • possession factors, such as mobile phones
  • inherence factors, such as biometrics

2-step verification

Knowledge factor passwords have a higher chance of violation due to its nature of staying static. But changing this password every now and then raises the likeability of forgetting it. Inherence factor protection needs hardware to read a fingerprint or eye iris, which is simply impractical solution in most cases. That is why possession factors come in handy. SMS password method helps to add an extensive amount of security by sending out a random, one-time password (OTP) over SMS. The exclusivity behind is that SMS is reachable only to the owner of the phone while the password is useless after first time usage, or it will expire after a certain time. This makes OTP as one of the simpliest yet safest security solutions. World biggest brands such as Google, Facebook, Snapchat use 2-step authentication in addition to its basic password request. In Messente we have exclusively concentrated on delivering business and time critical SMS message to many financial services and web applications. It sure is one of the most effective and safest ways to cut down chances of information violation.

In case you want to learn more about security capabilities of SMS, simply drop us a line at support@messente.com.

Read more about Application to Person Messaging on the Rise

November 18, 2014 by

Boost your Christmas promotion campaign

the word 'sale' using colorful cubes

Did you know that the number of online searches like “perfect christmas present“ or “dress for christmas party” start increasing in numbers right after Halloween?

As a matter of fact most large retailers already report increased sales starting from 5-6 weeks prior to Christmas Day.

It’s the end of November now and in case retail is your line of work then surely the Christmas period has started in your office. But the holiday season is not only busy for retailers. Service providers from almost all industries use this time of year to get new customers and increase sales.

Here’s a few tips how some of our customers do it.

An increasing number of companies use SMS in different creative ways as a part of their Christmas campaigns to engage with their customers. The main reasons for this are quite obvious.

a) There are no technical restrictions to reach someone (like customers having access to internet or having/not having an app installed)

b) It’s delivered (and also read) instantly which works extremely well in case of time critical messages.

All this makes SMS one of the best call to action channels as well as one of the most sensitive channels available.

This is what we learned form some of our customers who have mastered the use of SMS in their holiday campaigns.

1) Expect a lot of competition

Whether you are in retail or any other industry your Christmas promotions are competing for customer attention with thousands of online offers. That is much more than just your local competitors.

Simple discount offers might work during the low season but not when fighting for attention with campaigns powered by some of the most creative advertising agencies in the world.

2) Make it relevant and personal

Make your message relevant for every single customer your send it to in order to maximise conversion. Most companies we have talked to who use Messente always opt for sending a more relevant offer to fewer customers rather than sending out a generic one to more people.

Segment your customer pool into as many smaller groups you can based on as much data as possible. Design your message carefully based on each group’s profile.

3) Master the timing

SMS enables to time your messages very accurately because the time from sending it out to getting read is usually less than a few minutes.

Try out different sending times and figure out what works best for your business.

4) Create a conversation

Sending out promotional messages is just the starting point. Successful companies work hard to engage people in conversations once they hit the stores.

Because Christmas promotions offer a great opportunity to get excellent insight about what your customers like. Take the opportunity to update contact information, renew permissions to get in touch every now and then or have people download your app.

5) Measure and analyse

Every promotion campaign should be regarded as an experiment. Measure as much as you can, not just the bottom line sales figures. Dig in all kinds of data starting from SMS delivery statistics to conversion of each step of the whole process.

Hopefully keeping all this in mind helps you to fine tune your Christmas promotions and make the most of it regardless of the industry you are in.

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Read more on features which make your Christmas campaigns more cost effective.

November 10, 2014 by

Certificate Update for API Server on 15. November 2014

Current api2.messente.com HTTPS certificate will expire on 15. November 2014. We already have new one ready and will update it on the same day @ 21:00 UTC (23:00 EET).

Affected server: api2.messente.com
Date of update: 15. November 2014 @ 21:00 UTC (23:00 EET)
New certificateapi2-messente-com.crt

If you are using https://api2.messente.com/ for making API queries (not just http://), you will need to make sure you do not cache the https certificate.

There are known issues with some Java implementations, where the certificate is cached in the keystore and needs to be manually updated. Check this forum thread on how to clear the Java certificate cache.

If you are using some other ready-made library like cURL (PHP, C++) or httplib (Python), you should be already fine. Just make sure to double-check everything on the next day :)

November 2, 2014 by

Application To Person (A2P) Messaging Market On The Rise

world-map-dotted-black copy 2

Traditional Person To Person (P2P) messaging saw a decline for the first time last year, conversely to quickly growing popularity of various Over The Top (OTT) messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, iMessage etc. However that has not stopped mobile network operators from exploring new opportunities to revive their messaging branches and Application To Person (A2P) messaging is predicted to overtake P2P messaging revenues already by 2016 – 2017.

Opportunities in the A2P market highlight the beginning of a new and different era for SMS messaging. Recent years showed steadily growing interest towards A2P service, whilst the growth of the traffic was primarily driven by the increasing number of mobile phone users across globe. A2P market was estimated to have a continuous 16% year-on-year traffic growth in 2013, while estimating an annual growth of 6% for 2013 – 2017.

As of right now common A2P markets trends include seeking higher-quality coverage and accommodating growing demand for direct connectivity to mobile operators. At the same time mobile network operators focus more on optimising their revenues by making use of their existing partnerships and seizing control of the traffic on the network.

Three major trends that presently define A2P market for the operators are:
– consolidating A2P services;
– handling progressively more wholesale relationships;
– handling the increasing amount of business traffic that previously bypassed them or was handled by the international aggregators.

Essentially what we see is SMS messaging changing its channels and value, while capitalising on the ubiquity of A2P service, thus allowing companies reach any audiences and any handset at low cost.

In case you recognise potential of messaging for your business, but don’t know where to start, check out our Quickstart Tutorials and Helper Libraries at www.messente.com/docs or simply drop us a line at support@messente.com.

 

October 20, 2014 by

Security Notification – SSLv3 POODLE Vulnerability

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On 14th October the OpenSSL team reported that version 3 of Secure Sockets Layer (SSLv3) is vulnerable at protocol level – called POODLE attack (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption).

As a security precaution Messente has disabled SSLv3 in our servers therefore Messente HTTP API is no more vulnerable to the POODLE exploit.

In most cases your Messente https:// API integration should already support secure TLS protocol and no action is needed for Messente HTTP API users.

You can also take a look at Scott Helme’s step-by-step guide on mitigating this vulnerability on multiple platforms, web servers and clients.

If you notice any issues with the API calls to Messente servers, please let us know at support@messente.com and we will help you with integration to new and secure TLS protocol.

October 7, 2014 by

POST-EXPO 2014 in Sweden, Stockholm.

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Messente team visited one of the largest postal services conference in Europe called POST-EXPO 2014 in Stockholm. Almost 2,000 attendees from 73 countries, including Russia, Korea, Austria, USA, Belgium, UK, Uruguay, Poland and Finland, making it the most successful event in the postal industry.

As Messente is working with many fast expanding automated parcel service and postal companies in the the EU and Nordics, then it was the right place to have a meet-up with existing cooperation partners and also have a quick talk with new ones.

Old traditional postal service industry is also developing and innovating. This means more and more postal companies are introducing automated parcel service in their operating countries and markets. The main reasons behind this is that:

  • E-commerce is growing rapidly (last year world wide growth 19% and this year predictively 20%).
  • Companies are looking ways how to optimize their service and the same time stay close to their customers.

Messente has always specialized in high quality network operator connections. These type of connections are very good in case of sending time and business critical messages and as the cost of an undelivered message in automated parcel service is very high (everything from locker authentication PIN codes to reminders) then our cooperation partners have found us as a perfect business match in this industry.

 

September 23, 2014 by

Simple and easy tools for remote work

remote-work

In Messente we like tools that are dead simple and easy to integrate. We use a variety of them ourselves to manage, optimize and measure activities of our team while many of us are working remotely. Here are some of the tools that help us on daily basis.

Evernote

Why is everybody talking about Evernote? Well I used to ask the same question. Evernote is just one of those tools that covers everything regards writing – it’s a note-taking tool, digital file cabinet, task or project management system, and it even integrates with almost anything. All in all it simplifies your documentation. Tim Ferris, the author of 4-Hour Workweek says that Evernote is one of those tools that he can’t live without. Likewise, in Messente we are all for tools that increase our productivity.

Pipedrive

Excellent salespeople need excellent tools and we needed one that would help us to improve the main processes of our sales. The question always remains: should we work harder or smarter? Well, Pipedrive helps our sales team to evaluate precisely the individual steps we need to take from initial contact with a potential partner. But the primary reason for using Pipedrive is its lightweightness and simplicity. So it definitely helps us towards working smarter. While it is the best way to quickly understand the health of Messente’s sales, we also use it for hiring and customer management.

Skype

This tool has drastically changed the way we communicate. Often times we find ourselves using Skype instead of phone, but still we understand that it was never designed to be a replacement. In Messente, we use Skype for our international team to stay connected both via voice and text. We also do some of our hiring processes though Skype. We love it here in Messente and we think it provides a great way to keep costs low and productivity high concerning communication.

Help Scout

Today, companies distinguish the ones that they will work with based on the entire experience. So in a way we might consider customer support as a separate product attached to Messente. Help Scout has made it easier for Messente to get satisfied customers to become even more satisfied. Handling tickets is simple and the communication simply makes sense.

Zopim

At the beginning of the year we understood that we need to go beyond customer service via proactive customer support. Thus we also started using Zopim live chat for solving our customers’ time critical problems. As mentioned, customers are interested in valuable partnership, so increasing the time of solving one issue has yet again helped us to be closer to the companies we work with.

MailChimp

Through out the years of Messente, we have gathered a lot valuable knowledge from wich we pick up most relavant to share with Messente’s partners and clients in our monthly newsletter. Since one of the core characteristics of Messente has always been transparency, we felt that the web-based automated email marketing service MailChimp could help us to spread the knowledge in a most reachable way. By the way, if you are interested in receiving a monthly update, then check on the right side of this blog and sign up for Messente’s newsletter.

 

Using these tools to accomplish various tasks is one efficient way to increase the productivity of our remote team. The work becomes easier and less stressful when some carefully chosen tools help us concentrate more on our goals. We all like having a calm and clear remote working environment, so it would be easier to write, be creative and have more self-discipline.

September 9, 2014 by

5 questions to ask yourself about SMS sending

Decisions

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.

August 27, 2014 by

How to Whitelist IP Address Range for Messente API

Firewall

Dynamic IP addresses are the number one enemy for web service providers. Some third party services may require you to whitelist your IP address, which may cause failed API calls in case you forget to update the list when required. What a hassle.

Fret no more – as of today you can specify IP address range using CIDR notation feature just added to Messente API settings!

IP Address Format of CIDR Notation

I am pretty sure you have seen IP address ranges in the format of 192.168.2.0/24, but what does that mean?

Technically it means, that 24 bit of the address in the IP address must match the same as 192.168.2.0. In this example, the IP address range is from 192.168.2.0 to 192.168.2.255.

Another example: if you added 192.168.2.0/25 to Messente API Whitelisted IP addresses list, then the allowed IP range would be just 192.168.2.0 to 192.168.2.127.

Still sounds too complicated? You can simply use a CIDR Utility Tool to calculate the CIDR notation for your IP address ranges.

Whitelisting Range of IP Addresses

Most cloud web service providers also share their public IP address ranges already as CIDR notations, so you can just copy-paste the list to Messente API settings.

Here is a short list of some of the most popular cloud web service providers and their public IP address ranges:

Limitations and Workaround

Using CIDR IP address format, you can not always specify your required range of IP addresses as one line.

For example, if you wanted to whitelist IP address range of 192.168.2.12 to 192.168.2.34, then you would need to add three CIDR notations:

  • 192.168.2.12/30
  • 192.168.2.16/28
  • 192.168.2.32/31

At least you won’t have to insert all 23 IP addresses separately :) Also, you can simply just use the CIDR Utility Tool mentioned above to calculate the ranges for you.

Disabling IP Address Validation

We strongly suggest you to get a fixed public IP address if possible. However, if you really-really want to disable the IP address validation (we really strongly suggest against doing this), you could add “0.0.0.0/0″ to the allowed IP address list.

If you still want to disable the IP address validation – at least make sure you use HTTPS for communication. This way you make it pretty hard for anyone to sniff at your traffic.