If you’re already using marketing messages in the financial services industry, you probably already know that it can bring many benefits to your business, such as better customer communication and engagement, enhanced customer service and increased sales. Of course, you’ll only be able to fully reap those benefits when your SMS provider is delivering a great service for you. Sadly, good service with existing systems doesn’t always happen.
What to look for in an SMS Provider?
When you’re looking for an SMS marketing provider for business messages, there are a few things to consider before you make your choice, such as:
- How many messages are included in the monthly price of the service?
- Can I have unlimited contacts to upload?
- Are there any extra or hidden fees to access the full service?
- Will I be offered support if I run into any problems?
As text message marketing providers ourselves, we understand that not all SMS marketing services are created equal. Many SMS providers do not have all the correct features to provide easy to use text marketing services so be sure to find a service that is a fit for your business.
There are three common problems that we know many FinTech companies are facing with SMS providers. Here they are below – can you relate to any of them?
1. Undelivered SMS messages
Whether you’re sending an SMS marketing campaign, transactional message or customer service communication, there’s nothing worse than seeing that some of your scheduled messages have gone undelivered.
Failed text messages are the biggest pain point for financial service companies as it represents a cost. Here are some cases and possible consequences of what might happen when an SMS is undelivered:
PIN code failure – in this scenario, the end-user can’t log into your platform and use your services. They may not be able to complete a loan application, for instance. If a loan application status text isn’t delivered, the customer won’t know whether they’ve been approved or rejected for borrowing. And the consequence of this lack of information can vary from taking up an agent’s time unnecessarily, to losing the customer to a competitor.
Undelivered payment or debt collection reminders – this means you might not receive payment from customers.
Unserved marketing campaigns – this presents a lost opportunity for extra sales.
Here are the common causes of your message not being delivered:
Cheap routes - The bulk SMS business owners have always used clever tactics to squeeze the most out of their customers. Techniques like grey routes and SIM boxes are illegal methods for business owners for connecting to the telecom network in exchange for a tiny fee.
When sending out bulk SMS, generally, you get charged in proportion to what you pay. SIM boxes, because of their unlawfulness, get shut down by carriers and become very unreliable and unpredictable message delivery.
Rather than bulk texts, consider scalable SMS. With access to the proper communications provider, messaging the customers and prospects all together becomes possible, without spending a ton or risking data security. Also, it is easier to troubleshoot SMS problems if you have a dependable communications platform.
Encoding - Encoding problems may be the cause behind the SMS not being delivered. Basically, encoding decides the potential mix of characters because of which characters can be delivered. Usually, texts are delivered using either Unicode, allowing 70 characters, or with the global standard GSM 3.38 that allows 160 characters.
Filtered Content - When you send a text message to countries like Saudi Arabia or China, where the govt. has control over which information citizens can see, you most probably anticipate getting the content banned or filtered. And, they aren't just the countries with rules of heavily regulating the messages.
Besides governments filtering specific kinds of content, carrier filters are a problem too. For instance, in Japan, if there is a clickable link in a message, it won't be delivered. Such messages are seen as illegal and either they're discarded entirely or the part of the illegal text gets removed.
So before you begin an SMS initiative, research the precise restrictions and requirements in all the countries you're targeting. It'll ensure you get the best SMS delivery rate possible.
Incorrect Sender ID - The Sender ID is the "from" field you see when somebody gets an SMS. The complexity and the fragmentation of international bulk SMS can create issues for senders because different carriers and countries come with different rules regarding what can be shown in the text body.
For instance, in the United States, only numerical Sender IDs are permitted. Also, all application-to-person messages have to be sent via a short code. On the other side, in the United Kingdom, it's permitted to be alphabetical. If you're not aware of all the rules across the globe - an incorrect "from" field might be the cause the SMS isn't being delivered.
2. High service costs
Generally, the cost of bulk text pricing varies a lot depending on the:
Quality of the routes
Reliability of the routes
Number of text messages
And a number of other factors too. And usually, the interface/software needed to deliver bulk SMS is provided for free by the company, as the company is charged for all text messages on a per-message basis.
But the problem begins when, in addition to high costs per SMS text message, some platforms also charge extra fees, like a monthly subscription cost or support fees.
And it can be difficult to compare prices because many text messaging providers hide pricing details behind a landing page that directs you to make an enquiry - because ‘each client’s requirements are different.’ After which, you’ll speak to a sales agent who convinces you that you’re getting a great deal.
Here at Messente, we try to make SMS pricing as transparent as possible. We have a simple and clear business model: we only charge for the text messages you send (no hidden or recurring fees).
3. Poor business support quality
It’s inevitable that from time to time, something will go wrong. And when that happens, the issue must be resolved quickly – because the longer the problem drags on, the more costly it is for you.
Of course, there will be hiccups along the road, but that doesn't necessarily mean poor customer support.
That said, the following are considered unacceptable at all places:
Long-winded waiting times and responding times
Bad attention to detail
Impersonal and unprofessional interactions
Company employees with the lack of knowledge and experience
Businesses that make such mistakes oftentimes end up with negative ramifications. And a ton of them are hard to overcome and can cause the company to fail. It's something all businesses should stay on top of at all times.
But sadly, not all SMS providers put enough focus and commitment into customer support so that every client is properly looked after. A common approach is where SMS providers offer a tiered support plan with different price points.
In this case, the more you pay, the better quality of support you’ll get. This works fine if you’re able to pay top dollar, as you’ll get a premium level of support. But if your budget is tight (as it often is if you have a startup business), you’ll get the lowest support level.
We actually offer free support with all our services here at Messente. You might be concerned that ‘free support’ equates to a long waiting period in getting problems solved. Worry not – you won’t experience delays with us.
Customer support is what we’re the best at, according to our clients. Our account managers are always just a phone call away and can jump on any issue right away. Our response times vary from minutes to a few hours, depending on their priority. Generally speaking, most problems are solved within hours (not days).
Messente tackles these problems
SMS is ideal for many different types of communications in the financial services industry, such as marketing campaigns, customer service, debt collection and transactional messages (like PIN codes).
However, when you experience problems caused by an SMS provider, like failed SMS messages, high service costs and poor support, it’s difficult to see the value that SMS can bring to your business.
We believe Messente is very different from other SMS providers for two main reasons. Firstly, our fees are fair – and always clear. We never charge hidden costs and our SMS message pricing is very competitive whether you need to send texts locally or globally. We also offer custom pricing for enterprises and any business with bespoke or complex SMS messaging requirements.
Secondly, our personal approach and the way we offer customer service sets us apart from the crowd. Whether you have an account query, a technical problem or need advice on the best messaging strategy for your FinTech business, you’ll receive top-quality support as and when you need it. Every one of our clients is valuable to us, hence we provide the same premium level of service for every client, free of charge.