Vaguely heard of Verified SMS, but not exactly sure what it’s all about? This article explains what Verified SMS is, why you should use it over regular SMS wherever possible, and different ways you can use it. It also covers how to get started with Verified SMS and why it’s a no brainer to use it as part of Messente’s services. Let’s dive in!
What is Verified SMS?
Verified SMS is a new type of SMS service created by Google for Android devices. It’s currently available in ten countries – the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, India and the Philippines.
Verified SMS is essentially a way of letting customers know that the text messages you send are authentic. It allows you to add your business logo, a description, a verification badge and gives customers the chance to preview any links you’ve added.
*Screenshot from Google documentation.
Not everyone can receive Verified SMS. It’s only available to people using Google’s native Messages app.
Once your business is registered for Verified SMS, a number of checks are made. Messente first carries out a phone-capability check in the background to ensure the customer’s mobile device is RCS-enabled and can receive Verified SMS. This occurs prior to and alongside your text messages being sent.
Google will also automatically check your text messages on a per-message basis to carry out verification, using unreadable, irreversible authenticity codes. This means Google doesn’t actually read the content of your message. Again, this is done seamlessly in the background – the user experience won’t be disrupted. If Google confirms verification, the branding and badge are then applied to your text.
Why use Verified SMS?
The main benefit of using Verified SMS is that it helps to build trust with your customer. Because they’ll see your logo and can preview any URLs embedded within the text, the recipient can easily see your message isn’t a spam one.
From the customer’s point of view, this gives them more confidence in interacting with your business. According to Google’s research, 77% of U.S. consumers prefer Verified SMS compared to regular SMS.
Another advantage is that adding your branding to your text reinforces brand awareness and helps keep your business front of mind. This can also help boost impact, as texts with branding are more visually appealing than those without. Brands that use Verified SMS should see an increase in various aspects across the customer journey. For example, the likelihood to purchase is expected to lift by 27%.
Take a look at the differences between a regular SMS and a Verified SMS in the screenshot below.
*Screenshot from Google documentation.
How to set up Verified SMS with Messente
If you’re planning to use Messente for your SMS campaigns, it makes sense to get set up for Verified SMS as well. There are just four steps involved:
1. Messente will gather information about your business/brand and submit it to Google for implementation. We’ll ask for the following:
Logo (in JPEG or PNG format, or via a publicly available URL). Please note that your logo should display clearly as a 224px circle, as this is how it will appear within the text your customers receive.
Product, service or brand name (max 40 characters), as you want it to appear in text conversations.
Short company description – this appears in the header section of the Verified SMS. Maximum 100 characters.
Unique Sender ID – such as a shortcode or long code. Learn more about SMS Sender IDs.
The name and email address of an employee within your company who will help verify your business information and Messente’s authority to represent the business when liaising with Google.
Note: Messente can create localised branding information for your Verified SMS. For every language you send text messages in, we’ll create a dedicated setup and provide a localised display name and company description.
2. Messente will handle the Verified SMS whitelisting and verification process with Google on your behalf.
3. We’ll also take care of all the technical aspects of setting up Verified SMS within your Messente account, so you don’t have to worry about providing technical input.
4. Finally, we’ll carry out testing to make sure everything’s working as it should before going live with Verified SMS.
It’s easy to get started – all you need to do is contact us in the first instance and ask for information around our Verified SMS pricing model and implementation.
Verified SMS use cases
Some top brands, such as Wish, Air Asia and SoFi, are already using Verified SMS to improve customer relationships. There are several ways to use Verified SMS, including:
1. Customer account verification
Verified SMS can be used to send out one-time passwords (OTP) as part of two-factor authentication (2FA). Account security is something that many customers worry about, so seeing that their text with an OTP contains recognisable business branding is reassuring.
2. Fraud alerts
There are plenty of phishing scams around that present as fraud alerts, so it’s no wonder that 57% of people who communicate with businesses by text are concerned about fraud and spam. See this example below – it’s a text claiming to be from Halifax, a UK bank and building society.
To the untrained eye, a text like this could be deemed legit. You can see, however, from the URL embedded within the text that it’s not. With Verified SMS, you can ensure your customers are left in no doubt that any fraud alerts sent by your business are 100% genuine.
3. Order confirmations
Following up with a Verified SMS after a customer places an order lets them know you’ve received payment and their order is being processed. Seeing the logo they’ve just viewed online while browsing and ordering gives the impression that the business is well established, further cementing that element of trust. And trust is crucial. 62% of customers that have trusted a brand for a long time will stay loyal to them.
4. Marketing campaigns
You can send a wide range of marketing communications with Verified SMS, from flash sale deals to customer rewards, right through to product review requests and abandoned cart alerts. The added branding helps promote trust and engagement and may also increase conversions, especially if you personalise your campaign.
5. Billing statements and payment reminders
Businesses operating in the FinTech space may see an uptick in online payments and debt collections if they use Verified SMS for payment reminders. Such texts automatically become more visible and harder to ignore with the branding elements provided with Verified SMS.
Build trust with customers via Verified SMS
By letting your customers (with Android devices) know who is contacting them, you can build trust and improve response rates from your text message campaigns. In turn, you can ensure that your text communications are kept secure.