Consumers Demand Multichannel Communications

Almost 90 per cent of consumers prefer multichannel options for interacting with businesses, according to the results of a survey carried out by mobile transaction network, mBlox. The survey found that businesses should include SMS and other communication methods to communicate with consumers about appointment and payment reminders and use coupons to improve customer loyalty and drive brand awareness.

mBlox commissioned research firm OnePoll to carry out the study, between 23 – 27 September, 2010. The results in the release are US/UK specific, from nationally representative samples of 1,000 mobile phone users aged 16 and above in each country.

Looking specifically at the role of SMS for business communications, 59 per cent of UK and 17 per cent of US respondents names SMS as their preferred choice when being contacted about appointment reminders. For payment reminders, such as credit card and utility bills, the research found that more than one in three consumers chose SMS as their preferred communication channel in the UK, compared to just one in 10 in the US.

“Businesses in the US are now learning about the breakthrough effect of text messaging as an effective communication channel for their customers,” says Brian Johnson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for mBlox. “Businesses in the UK have a few years head start in this respect, and that is reflected in these numbers.”

Jennie Hanson, SVP of West Corporation’s alerts and notifications business, says the company will launch 15 SMS programmes this year, in order to stay ahead of its clients’ demands in key verticals such as Finance, Communications, Pharmacy and Travel. “We see many companies adding SMS to their customer contact strategy for payment reminders, order ready notices, appointment reminders, customer care, promotions and a variety of other notifications, as consumers begin using text messaging to communicate with businesses, and not just family and friends,” says Hanson.

Over three quarters of all consumers surveyed use coupons when shopping, with 29 per cent of UK and 15 per cent of US consumers having already used a mobile coupon. The survey also revealed that 71 per cent of UK and 42 per cent of US mobile users would be interested in receiving mobile coupons while they are shopping in a store to alert them to a special offer or promotion, indicating a pent up demand for these services.
“Our clients, who range from small businesses to large restaurant and retail chains, media outlets and professional sports teams, are seeing mobile coupon redemption rates of up to 25 per cent,” says Chad Manning VP of sales and marketing of mobile couponing company eNowIt. “This success drives a lot of repeat business, but it is surprising that more companies are not yet embracing this medium. Delivered in seconds and redeemed in minutes, no other advertising channel can reach consumers in such a contextualized way.”