SMS A2P is on! Are you?

4

A2P is short for Application-2-Person, and when applied to the SMS world it means that messages flow between an application (a website, or business application) and the interested persons (clients, subscribers, patients, etc).

As commented in our earlier post “How SMS changed the Call Centre Business forever“, the mobile market has been steadily growing for a while now, and in a few years there will be more than one cell phone per world inhabitant. A2P has been really moving up in the past few years, and its market is expected to reach over U$S 70 billion dollars in 2020, according to several reports.

P2P vs. A2P vs. OTT

It is true that P2P (Person-2-Person) SMS are struggling to survive when compared to OTT (Over-The-Top) applications like WhatsApp and Telegram. However, A2P is gaining more and more adopters according to this study.

A2P is a great way to stay in touch with your clients, providing instant communications with an open rate of over 98%, but also enables self service, and enhances the overall customer experience with your business.

Use Cases

If we pay close attention to our daily life we will find A2P enabled applications literally everywhere: health services, banks, financial services, insurance companies, one-time passwords. Let’s see a few cases where A2P is being successfully used.

Security

One time passwords are used everywhere to grant temporal access to a system, perhaps to change or recover a lost password, to make transactions, or anything that can be done during a specific allowed timeframe. The person requests via web or even via SMS the access to a specific resource, and your application responds with a message containing a temporal (and expirable) password that can be used to authenticate to the system.

A2P can also be used to send verification codes, so you can make sure that a given person is the real owner of a cell phone number before sending or allowing access to any sensitive information. An example of this scheme is 2-factor authentication. This can also be used to verify a new mobile phone number added to a user profile. Companies like Google and Facebook rely on this kind of mechanisms to very user identities.

Health Care

Did you notice the SMS you get the day before your doctor’s appointment reminding you about it? Yes, that’s a great example of an A2P enabled application. Messages are also used to remind patients of taking their medication, and even to prevent them of abusing alcohol with outstanding results.

Hospitals, clinics, and doctors are now creating a stronger bond with their patients. They can be in touch without having to wait (on site or on the phone) to ask a simple question and instructions and recommendations can be sent and read immediately.

CRMs

Customer Relationship Managers can be adapted to send and receive SMS so there is a two-way communication between your business and your customers. Some SMS can be replied automatically, enabling self service (for example a client might want to receive payment or shipping information) and others can be routed to specific agents based on keywords, that can answer in a matter of seconds. Agents are now free to tackle new tasks, while time and money are saved at the same time. See a few examples in these earlier posts: “How SMS changed the Call Centre Business forever” and “5 Tips to make the most out of your SMS messages” for examples of how this is being applied in the CRM-powered businesses.

Banking

Banks, financial institutions, and debt collectors are also hopping onboard the A2P ship. They can notify about outstanding invoices or payments, send confirmations for their transactions, and account statements. They now trust SMS to reach out to customers in a timely and effective manner and over time, more of these kind of businesses require that their clients leave a cell phone number to be contacted.

Surveys, Marketing, News, Alerts, Notifications

Reach your customers or subscribers everywhere immediately within minutes. Send your website updates, or engage them in polls or surveys of their subject of interest. Marketing agencies, political consultants, government agencies are now using SMS to get a feel of what people think about different subjects. You can do the same with your business, by asking for feedback about customer satisfaction or even get to know your clients a bit better so you can send them offers and news that will be more of their liking.

Have questions? Get in touch with us!

— The PortaText Team.