Survey Says: Consumers Increasingly Prefer To Have Communications With Businesses Via SMS

mBlox, a US-based mobile transaction network recently released some consumer research, which revealing almost 90 percent of consumers prefer multi-channel options for interacting with businesses. The survey shows that businesses should include SMS and other communication methods to reach consumers in regards to appointment reminders, payment reminders as well as coupons to improve customer loyalty as well as drive brand awareness.

According to the results, 59 percent of U.K. and 17 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed stated SMS as their preferred choice when being contacted about appointment reminders. Brian Johnson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for mBlox, comments, “Businesses in the U.S. are now learning about the break-through effect of text messaging as an effective communication channel for their customers. Businesses in the U.K. have a few years head start in this respect and that is reflected in these numbers.”

For payment reminders, such as credit card and utility bills, the consumer research showed that more than one in three consumers chose SMS as their preferred communication channel in the U.K. but just one in 10 chose SMS in the U.S. “At West Corporation, to stay ahead of demand from our clients in the key verticals of Finance, Communications, Pharmacy and Travel, we will launch 15 unique SMS programs this year,” states Jennie Hanson, SVP of West Corporation’s Alerts and Notifications business. “We see many companies adding SMS to their customer contact strategy for payment reminders, order ready, appointment reminders, customer care and marketing alerts and notifications as consumers begin using text messaging to communicate with businesses, and not just family and friends.”

“More and more people are turning to SMS for important communications, because emails can easily get lost or overlooked in an email inbox,” said Brian Johnson. “Mobile phone penetration in the U.S is now catching up to the U.K. and mBlox is experiencing a hockey stick effect in growth for business-to-consumer messaging. Businesses are beginning to give their customers the option of how they want to communicate with them, and increasingly consumers are realizing the power of mobile messaging.”

Over three quarters of all consumers surveyed use coupons when shopping, with 29 percent of U.K. and 15 percent of U.S. consumers having already used a mobile coupon. Furthermore, the survey results revealed 71 percent of U.K. and 42 percent of U.S. mobile users said they 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 percent,” said Chad Manning 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.”

Research Methodology: The U.S./U.K. research was carried out by global research company OnePoll between September 23-27, 2010. The results in the release are U.S./U.K. specific from nationally representative samples of 1,000 and 1,000 U.K. mobile phone users aged 16 and above.