Scale Personalized Customer Relationships with Two-Way SMS

With two-way SMS, you can both send and receive text messages with your customers. Built-in logic allows the system or an agent to reply immediately.

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Scale Personalized Customer Relationships with Two-Way SMS

Many businesses have already implemented SMS, or text messaging, with their customers. They send appointment reminders or delivery confirmations by text, and their customers appreciate the instant access to information text messages provide. Texting is by far the most popular communication channel among most age groups and in most countries—with 98% of text messages opened within three minutes. Unlike one-way SMS, in which a business sends out relevant information but doesn’t accept responses, two-way SMS allows a business to both send and receive a text message, so they can have an actual conversation with the recipient.

Personalized Customer Experiences Create Better Relationships

Personalized experiences make customers feel like they’re more than just a number; they make them feel valued and appreciated. Businesses are increasingly creating personalized customer experiences through marketing, customer service, and sales. According to a recent "Trends in Personalization Study,” 72% of marketers are using personalization in email campaigns, 57% on their company’s website, 28% on their mobile site, 20% in their web app, and 18% in their mobile app. And all of these numbers are on the rise.

Two-way SMS is the ultimate personalized customer experience. It’s a direct message, sent specifically to the customer, with a real, live agent on the other end available to carry on a text-based conversation. Or in some cases the conversation takes place with a well-trained bot that comes mighty close to a real, live agent. Regardless of how complex or simple the interaction, the beauty with two-way SMS is that customers get responses right away.

How UCSD is Using Two-Way SMS to Improve Health

Businesses are using two-way SMS in a variety of ways, from scheduling to banking, but what UCSD is doing with their patients is pretty special. Since 2007, the Center for Wireless and Population Health Systems (CWPHS), a research organization at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has studied how two-way text interactions can be used to promote health and prevent disease and disability. CWPHS has conducted 16 SMS studies over the past decade, sending over 889,000 text messages to nearly 1,800 study participants, and receiving over 238,000 responses. Today, all SMS projects at CWPHS are built on Twilio.

CWPHS has built multiple clinical text messaging applications on Twilio including mDIET (mobile Dietary Intervention through Electronic Technology), which sends personalized messages throughout the day to promote short-term weight loss in overweight adults, PsyPhone, which communicates with patients with schizophrenia about their symptoms and medication, and MD2Me, which sends daily messages to children with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or inflammatory bowel disease to help them and their families better manage the disease.

UCSD Provides Personalized Medical Alerts to Improve Patient Health

With all CWPHS applications, built-in logic allows the system to reply with additional questions, make recommendations, and reach out to doctors, case managers, or in some cases, even escalate it to emergency personnel, based on how the patient responds. The goal is to make patients feel as if they are communicating with a live health coach, and not a robot. When patients respond with a particularly long message, it is automatically sent to a case manager, who can reply via text directly through Twilio. These interactions aren’t just creating a positive customer experience, they’re building positive customer relationships.

How to Build Two-Way SMS

CWPHS, who always have multiple SMS projects running at once, appreciate the simplicity of being able to build all their projects on the same core engine and customize the rules and messages displayed for each new application. Twilio provides a full decision tree that lets customers determine how to auto respond to incoming text messages, or connects a real, live person to engage in a two-way SMS conversation directly through Twilio. Getting set up with an SMS messaging API like Twilio is fast and easy, with the option of using existing phone numbers, short codes, custom alphanumeric sender IDs, or toll free numbers.

To learn more about adding two-way SMS to your customer communications, visit our Programmable SMS page.