Finding customers on the move Featured

4:19pm EDT September 20, 2012
Finding customers on the move

More marketers see mobile texts growing as an effective campaign tool especially for local efforts. A couple numbers illuminate the reality and the potential for success:

  • 6.1 trillion text messages sent annually — an average of 200,000 per second — according to The International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency for information and communication technology.
  • Response time is usually measured in seconds or minutes. Corresponding lag time for email and voicemail messages average several hours.

Smart Business spoke with Michael White, chief technology officer at InfoCision, about the rise of mobile text marketing and how it is changing the call center business.

What factors drive the growth in text marketing?

Definitely the rise in the number of mobile devices. And, with the new generation, texting is how they communicate. It’s the new demographic. Also, there are some statistics out there that show that the age group for people who text is widening. It’s not just the 18-to-29-year-olds now. It’s the 30-to-40-year-olds and the 50-to-60-year-olds that are starting to text as well. So it’s becoming very commonplace out there.

How is the growth in mobile text marketing affecting the call center business?

We look at it from a service bureau perspective. We are handling calls on behalf of our clients, and what we’re seeing is that as we contact people through our traditional channels, people also want to be contacted via other methods.

As the types of communication channels change and options expand, we’re also finding people respond to texts a lot more readily than they respond to other forms of communication. I’ve seen statistics that show 90 percent of texts get opened and read within 15 minutes of being sent.

Texting is becoming a type of marketing that is exploding in popularity because of the growing percent of the population who have cell phones or mobile devices. As we see that proliferation, as a call center vendor, we need to be able to have that channel available to our clients so they can communicate with their customers or donors.

What changes are call centers making to capitalize on text marketing?

The main thing is they need to have a provider or in-house platform that is capable of sending and receiving SMS messages. (SMS, or short message service, is a standardized communication protocol that enables the exchange of text messages between fixed line and mobile phone devices.) It’s basically a tool set and call centers need to have the right tools to provide the service.

Why has InfoCision chosen to make this investment?

It’s another option for how our clients can reach out to their customers. In addition, because it’s a very new and emerging space, where we’re finding significantly higher response rates.

Michael White is the Chief Technology Officer at InfoCision. Reach him at (330) 668-1400 or mike.white@infocision.com.