1 Dec 2022

Don't send SMS messages to your customers — this is inefficient and too expensive for communication

SMS messaging for business is expensive and hard to evaluate in terms of efficiency. You cannot know how many recipients have read the messages and if they took the targeted action.

Three reasons not to use SMS for business messaging

1. It's too expensive.

For different operators and services, a single SMS costs an average of RUB 2 to RUB 5–6, depending on message length. This means that messaging 10,000 people would cost an average of RUB 40K–50K. You won't be able to calculate the return either: you won't even have data on the number of messages read.

2. You will have to adjust to format limitations.

A single SMS message includes a maximum of 70 characters. If you exceed this limit even by a couple of characters, you will have to pay for two messages. No options to attach pictures or media files are provided either.

3. There is no way to build scenarios for subsequent interaction between customers and the company.

Say, a company uses SMS messages to notify customers of order status and delivery date. SMS messages are only suitable for notification. If a customer wishes to change the delivery address or other important order terms, they will have to contact the company, most likely by calling the hotline. This would result in increased costs for the company — first, for SMS messaging, and then for contact center payroll.

What are the alternatives?

Messenger apps. You pay only for messages delivered, and you see their read status in a report. With chatbots, you can see if a customer took the targeted action — whether they clicked a button or followed a link. Communicating in messenger apps is many times cheaper, and it gives more opportunities to the company.

Мессенджер на мобильном телефоне

1. Communicating via messenger apps is a good way to save money.

The most affordable in terms of price are Viber and VKontakte. Sending a single message up to 1,000 characters long would cost you about a ruble, and multiple messages would be even cheaper.

Communicating with customers in WhatsApp is more expensive — about six rubles, but this is the cost for a cycle of business messages within 24 hours. In this case, WhatsApp doesn't have to be your primary communication channel (we'll talk about this below). And even this messenger is often more affordable than SMS.

2. More data and multimedia files.

Instead of 70 characters, you have 1,000 characters at your disposal. You can also add images, videos, and document files (such as a boarding pass or invoice), as well as buttons for easy navigation or service. With messenger apps, it's easier to stand out from the chat flow and encourage customers to take the desired action.

3. More opportunities for future communication.

In messengers, you can add multiple links — for example, links to the order status page and to a support chat.

The advanced version provides for instant bot connection by adding action buttons under the message. Using the bot, customers can clarify details, find out about other interesting offers, and place an order — and all this can be done right in the messenger app.

If you connect an operator platform, part of the customers' messages can be handed off to company employees. Chats from all channels, as well as chat history, will be displayed in a single UI. Operators can resume communicating with customers in the messenger app in a single window.

What if a customer doesn't use this messenger?

For example, you choose Viber for mailing because it is one of the most affordable messenger apps. Still, many of your customers are not registered with it. This is a serious problem. To solve it, we came up with the cascade mailing method.

How cascade mailing works

For clarity, let's look at the following example. You have a store that has 1,000 customers and wants to send a message to all of them about holiday schedule changes.

First, you message them in Viber. Say, 300 people out of 1,000 use this messenger. For those who got the message, you don't need to send it anymore. You still have 700 people to contact.

You send the same message in VKontakte to the customers you couldn't reach before. You contact 250 people there. There are 450 people left — they use neither Viber nor VKontakte, or they haven't received your messages for some reason.

You contact them via WhatsApp. This way, you send messages to 400 people. The remaining 50 can be "caught up" with SMS messages as a last resort. As a result, 100% of your customers receive the message about the holiday schedule changes, and your store saves money on notifications.


How to set up cascade mailing

If you want to do this by hand, forget it: you cannot keep track of who has and who has not received the message. Besides, looking up every customer in the messenger is a labor-intensive task.

To make things work, you can organize cascade mailing with special platforms. They automatically find customers in messenger apps by phone number and track the status of each customer: message delivered/not delivered, read/unread.

Flomni can help you set up cascade mailing. We are trusted by many large companies, including Delovye Linii, Baikal Service, Ural Airlines, CDEK, and others. With cascade mailing, a company spends about 30% less money on outgoing notifications.

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