When the Internet Goes Down, SMS Messaging Can Save the Day
A few weeks ago, Amazon’s S3 cloud server on the east coast of the US went down. According to an article on mobilemarketer.com, 54 of the top 100 online retailers went with it. Some of the hardest hit are recognisable American retailers like Disney, Target and Nike. Also, Docker’s Registry Hub, Twitch.tv, Autodesk’s cloud, Twilio, Mailchimp, Adobe’s Cloud were affected. Even DownDetector.com, a website that keeps track of whether websites and online services are up or down, went down.
What would you do if your online presence went down, or suffered a 1165% slow down like Disney did? Do you have a plan? There are many ways you can deal with the technical issues, but a likely bigger problem is your customers. How will you communicate with them and restore their trust? Here’s a hint: use SMS messaging.
Have a Plan
In the Mobile Marketer article, Justin Bougher, a vice president at SiteSpect said, “The key is to be prepared and have a response that has a minimal negative impact on customer experience or can convert the negative impact to a positive one.”
He goes on to say that those responses could be via text message, email, or even direct phone calls in certain situations. Which one is appropriate can depend on several things, including the “life time value of the customer”.
The time sensitivity of the downtime matters too. If your site goes down during a critical period (like Cyber Monday), or a whole portion of the Internet goes down (as has happened recently), you might want to assume that people’s access to email or social media could be hampered too.
That means any communication you try to have in those channels may go unheard. Even if social media channels do work for some, there’s no guarantee the message will be seen by your customers. People’s feeds fill up so quickly, and getting noticed is hard.
So, when you need to be sure your customers know what is going on, and what you’re doing about it, send them SMS messages.
SMS Messages Will Work
The SMS protocol doesn’t rely on the Internet. It was designed to work on cellular networks. That means even if websites or servers are down, or if hackers are trying to break the Internet, your message can still get through. Cellular networks can have outages too, but historically it’s much less likely. And when it happens, it’s usually due to a natural disaster damaging towers or from people overloading the system in a wide-spread emergency. And even then, SMS messages can often make it through when voice calls can’t.
When an online disaster affects you, then, you have the choice to use SMS messaging or a combination of different channels. Which one you choose will depend on the circumstances. But SMS is a reliable method you know will work, almost always no matter what is going on elsewhere. The sooner you let the customers or clients that rely on you know what is going on, the better it will be for you, and for them.
Of course, if you’re sending SMS messages, you’ll need to have a reliable service provider. In the context of online disasters, this means a service provider whose services will still be working when other parts of the Internet may not be. This is because most providers use the Internet for some portion of their SMS delivery.
At Fastsms, we have both a main data centre and a disaster recovery location. This means if our servers go down for any reason, our second location will pick up where they left off with little delay (you can contact us if you want to know the details and our service level agreements).
In addition to being prepared, our primary data centre is just one hop away from the main Internet exchanges and SMS gateways. This means that our use of the Internet to send your SMS messages is just a tiny little piece of the whole journey. So, messages sent from our service get into the cellular networks super-fast and delivered to your customers and clients fast too.
Nothing is Perfect
In this day and age, it’s hard to know what will happen with technology. It turned out that Amazon’s issue stemmed from a staffer who mistyped a command into their system. That small mistake cost businesses millions of dollars based on the approximately five hours of downtime experienced. Amazon’s reputation as a cloud provider is certainly damaged, but they are such a large company that they will weather it well.
For everyone else though, it pays to have a plan to notify customers, employees, service providers, or clients when the worst happens. SMS messaging can be one of those options you turn to when you absolutely need the message delivered.
People rely on their mobiles for everything these days. They check them up to 200 times a day! Any business that communicates with customers can take advantage of that by using SMS messaging for transactional information. Read on to see the top 5 reasons why.
Hotel guests use review site ratings like TripAdvisor to make decisions about where they’ll stay. If your hotel doesn’t rate well, you’re in trouble. Find out how you can get more positive reviews when you use SMS messaging to communicate with guests.
If there's one industry that's often assumed to be cold and impersonal, it's the financial industry. It's all about numbers and money, not about the people who have accounts, or need help with enquiries. The reputation may or may not be deserved, but there is a way to combat it: by making customers, investors, or clients feel like you care.
If you’re tuned into the self-help industry at all, you know who Wayne Dyer was. He spent decades writing transformational books to help people improve their lives and find happiness. He died summer 2015 at his home in Maui at the age of 75. It’s probably an understatement to say he inspired millions of people. So when I came across an article about a publisher using SMS messaging to let people know about a new book discussing his legacy I wasn’t too surprised. Not at first anyway.
If you run a delivery-based business, you'll know that communication with your customer is key. Whether it's keeping them informed about their delivery's status and expected arrival time, or tempting them with discounts and offers on future orders, there are plenty of reasons to keep in touch. But a key communications challenge in the digital age is choosing the appropriate channel to use to get your message across. Forms of marketing like emails and phone calls are still forces to be reckoned with, but the success of many communications from delivery-based businesses rely on near-instantaneous reading. That's where SMS marketing comes in.
Although SMS services are usually associated with retail marketing campaigns, you can also use these communication tools across many other industries. SMS text messaging can be used to provide a perfect veterinary patient/clinic communication tool, and because of this it is becoming increasingly popular within the specialist animal care sector.
The lure of quick, easy and cheap travel arrangements online has revolutionised the way people find and book travel. Travel agents offer so much more than search, click and book, but still find themselves facing competition from online booking. But none of the major online booking sites can offer the personalised service an agent does.
The recent weather likely has many people thinking about their summer holiday. It's great news for travel agents looking to book ahead for the coming months. If you're a travel agent, SMS messaging is fast becoming a primary way to communicate with your clients.
Marketing for gyms and leisure centres is unlike marketing within many other industries. It's not enough to simply gain a customer and expect to keep them indefinitely. It's important to make every attempt to keep that customer dedicated and interested in achieving their fitness goals to avoid lapsed memberships and cancellations. It's in every gym's best interest to have a loyal customer base that feels supported and encouraged to attend the gym regularly. Failure to do so can result in members who feel it is a waste of money to pay for a membership that they don't use often enough. That's where SMS marketing can make a big difference.
In a world where your competition can be found in just a few seconds, instilling brand loyalty in customers is a greater challenge than ever. One way to proactively reach out to customers is via SMS. The personal nature of SMS messages, combined with high read rates, gives you the opportunity to develop relationships with each customer.