We have spent long days of sharing thoughts with our partners, mobile operators and many people working in the industry and we often end up discussing what are the most important things that companies need to understand before choosing a partner to deliver their SMS messages.
Based on these discussions, we decided to compose a short and comprehensive list of questions that every company needs to answer before starting their messaging operations.
How easy it is to connect?
SMS API documents used to be written in mobile operator language and the same goes for setting up the actual SMS 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 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?
While some service providers are great in handling large amounts of marketing messages, others 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 seem to be many different offers out there.
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 solutions for sending 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 can be some other reasons too for having multiple channels like peak time handling for example).
The price of using each of these channels is different – so essentially the higher the message cost the more channels with the higher delivery quality your service provider can use for your messages. When determining which cost level is acceptable for 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?
Just like with package delivery service you should be able to track every single one of your messages on a 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 or 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.