How Does SMS Service Actually Work?

Short message service (SMS) is a wildly popular feature available on most digital mobile phones. SMS allows users to send short messages to other cell phones. These short messages are called text messages. SMS was invented by a Finnish civil servant named Matti Makkonen. Many people understand what SMS is, but few understand how it actually works.

In SMS, messages are sent with a “store-and-forward” mechanism. The messages are sent to a Short Message Service Center (SMSC), and then relayed to the intended recipient. If the messages do not reach the recipient upon the first attempt, then the SMSC will try again. It is important to understand that SMS delivery is not guaranteed. Many messages cannot be delivered, but the delivery is called “best effort.” The amount of attempts to send a text message varies with the company.

SMS messages are transmitted via SS7 within the standard GSM MAP framework. SMS messages have a certain payload length. The signaling protocol is precisely 140 bytes. In simple terms, SMS messages have very constrained character limits. This is why messages are sent in “txt speak.” Text speak is the practice of shortening words and phrases in order to fit messages into the allowed amount of bandwidth. SMS messages cost different amounts in different countries. In the United States, the average message costs 10 cents.

Text messages do not always have to be sent from mobile phone to mobile phone. AOL Instant Messenger has an option that will send instant messages to a cell phone. Additionally, there is a widget available for Mac OS X Tiger that will allow a user to send text messages to a cell phone from the dashboard. SMS messages can also be utilized to give news alerts. Additionally, SMS messages can be used to give sports updates and statistics. In this way, SMS messages are very versatile.

Technology is constantly evolving. SMS services prove that communication is becoming broader and easier. Technologists predict that SMS service will advance such that the service will be more reliable, and be able to store more data for the purpose of transmission.

Using SMS Service for Customer Service and Retention Techniques

SMS service has grown to be more than just a personal means of communication in the recent years. It’s now also a proven tool to boost many aspects of businesses in various industries. Customer service is one good example. With proper design and execution, text messages provide better ways of doing after-sales service, loyalty programs, and keeping track of your customers. Here are some of the ways you can maximize relationships with customers by using SMS.

Know more information about your customers – One of the basic principles you need to remember in customer service is that knowing more about your customers helps make your business grow more. You need to get information about customers, especially their expectations, preferences, needs, and wants. You can use text messaging by sending out short, interesting questions in the form of a fun contest or a professional research.

Determine how to satisfy your customers more – You need to accept that not all customers are the same. “One size fits all” won’t make your customers feel that they get value for their money and won’t make you rise from the rest. And with today’s rapid spread of knowledge about different products, other customers’ feedback, and other relevant information through the Internet, existing and potential customers are more demanding. Again, through a simple research questionnaire or an attractive campaign via SMS service, you can ask a question or two about how you can satisfy your customers further.

Send “customized” invitations and promotions – If you’re able to gather information about your customers, you’ll be able to create SMS announcements and even SMS-based promotions that will seem to speak personally to your customers. For example, you can send through SMS an announcement of a special sale on children’s merchandise to all your customers who have kids.

Keep communicating with your customers regularly – Consistency is key. Keep in touch with your customers in a set time period. Schedule text messages to remind them you’re keeping your relationship with them. For instance, send a text message per month. It may be about a new product, a reminder about a service that they might need, etc. This is why you do need to get accurate and current information about your customers, as mentioned above. From the information you gathered, you’ll know their interests and preferences.

You definitely need to let each customer know that you want to know him as an individual and not just a buyer. SMS service is one of the most powerful tools you have today to help you build strong relationships with your customers. Take the suggestions above and keep that goal of having a lasting commitment between you and your customers.