Despite the emergence of other communication platforms like WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger and RCS, 28 years after the first simple text message was sent, SMS still holds its own in a world of rapid technological communication advances.
It’s a practical, reliable and immediate way of sending appointment reminders, payment alerts and notifications and, quite simply, a text message is almost never ignored.
SMS is central to why Commify UK Ltd, trading as Esendex, has become a first-time winner of a Queen’s Award, in the Innovation category.
Headquartered in Nottingham and employing 250 people across Europe and Australia, Esendex provides intelligent multichannel messaging services on a self-serve basis and as tailored solutions to more complex needs.
Three years ago, Esendex was approached by energy giant, Npower, to find a solution for improved recovery of small value debt from their customers. Individually a debt may be tiny and expensive to chase, but cumulatively the debts are worth millions of pounds a year. Its successful application led to Esendex partnering with several other companies in adapting online ‘Payment Journeys’ for indebted customers to ensure fair and sensitive treatment mindful of individual circumstances.
Richard Hanscott, CEO, said: “Our Mobile Collections solution cuts through the noise and effectively reaches consumers using a mobile first approach. While SMS has a particularly high open rate, it is also considerate to the recipient, it’s discreet and allows the consumer to respond at their convenience rather than having to take a call at work or in front of their families.
“Once the message has successfully reached the recipient, they begin a payment journey, one which crucially gives the consumer options: would they like to make full payment, set up a payment plan, make a promise to pay, or speak to an advisor? This flexibility has proven to be more successful than simply asking for full payment every time.
“It’s a sensitive but persistent solution helping businesses collect more small value debt in a way that’s not intrusive and helps consumers take control of their finances.”
Esendex has a wide spread of customers, but unlike many of their competitors they made a conscious decision to make their services available to SMEs. In many ways, in the current situation, it’s a strategy that is paying off.
Esendex has robust Business Continuity Plans in place to ensure that there is no impact on the services they provide to customers across the world during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Richard said: “We are mindful of the fact that many of our customers use our services for business-critical communication with employees, customers and suppliers, and the need for these services is even greater in an emergency.
“In the last month, we have found that many organisations are needing to communicate with their staff very urgently. The critical nature of that messaging and the fact that SMS is fast and invariably read by the recipient has meant that there has been a surge in SMS use, predominantly in healthcare, education, local government and retailers moving to a delivery-based service.
“We have been affected – some of our customers, such as retailers, have reduced activity – but on balance, I believe we will weather it well and we are glad to be able to continue providing a service to those most at need. With that in mind we are offering any NHS provider 1,000 messages free of charge to get started.”
The Queen’s Award will bolster Esendex’s already-soaring reputation for reliability and innovation and when the world emerges from the crisis, they will be able to kick on.
Richard concluded: “This is a tribute to the creativity of our product, professional services and solutions sales teams who took a simple payment proposition and made it into something more innovative. The Queen’s Award adds a stamp of credibility to that. Mobile Collections is not just a good idea, it has delivered results and will allow us to talk to more people about what we have here.”