Text Messaging 2.0 Takeaways for Brands

Text messaging is a well-worn term in the tech industry-everyone from mobile operators, to marketers, to consumers know and love it for its convenience, immediacy and simplicity.

While SMS still receives high marks in customer satisfaction, in fact it's the number one most frequently used feature on mobile phones, some are concerned that it's getting stale in the face of innovations like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp - maybe even outdated. The truth, however, is far from it. SMS has another card up its sleeve, and it's about time to play it.

The winning card comes in the form of RCS-or Rich Communication Services. Known among the industry as text messaging 2.0, RCS is truly SMS for the smartphone age. It combines all of the classic, favorite features of text, and upgrades them to offer a mobile app-like experience to the consumer, without ever having to leave their phone's messaging inbox. This means no additional Android app downloads sucking up memory and cluttering the screen.

To back-up the claim of consumer demand for RCS messaging, our team recently issued a consumer-facing RCS survey to 2,000 respondents around the globe. Here are the top findings brands need to know.

No Relationship Without Trust

Like all relationships, the connection between business and consumer must be a tightly trusted one to be successful. With today's increasingly digital world, this is more important than ever to consumers, but unfortunately, also harder to gain. And it's no wonder, with news of company-wide hacks and identity theft claims running rampant in the media, security is top of mind for consumers when looking to engage in a relationship with a new business. According to our recent survey, the additional branding and verified ID capabilities RCS offers is a huge win for customers-with 79 percent of those polled revealing they feel safer communicating through it over the more traditional SMS channel.

Convenience Is King

Customers love the path of least resistance-and who can blame them? There's a lot to do in one's day-to-day, and communicating with a business isn't top of many people's to-do list. When it is, the quickest, most seamless process is so favorable to consumers; it comes with practically guaranteed brand loyalty.

RCS spells convenience (at least it should). Thanks to its ability to host high resolution images, video, animated gifs, and other key features all in one place, 60 percent of consumers polled cited convenience as their favorite aspect of RCS.

More to Love

Remember when the Swiss Army knife first became a thing? It's ok if you don't; the general idea of it is all that matters here. It was popular because not only was it pocketsize and transportable, it offered a plethora of handy tools all in one place.

Well, RCS is kind of like that-but less sharp. It has additional functionalities and utilities all available in the messaging inbox on a smartphone. Think touchable "confirm," "reschedule," and "opt-out" buttons that allow customers to coordinate an appointment, and various other action buttons that cancel out the need to physically type text responses. When on the go and in a rush, this capability is priceless.  Particularly when it comes to speed, texting and autocorrect's guessing game is often off-mark.  An overwhelming 82 percent of consumers said they prefer RCS to SMS for these very reasons.

RCS is packed with so many features in one spot, it effectively removes the need to download an app-customers can get all the same features for free, and without a download, something nearly half of those polled say they're in favor of.

Text messaging may not be taking home any "Best New Player" awards; it's been in the game a bit too long for that. But I'm betting that it'll win an MVP card sooner rather than later as brands get on board with the next generation of mobile messaging.

About the Author
Tim Fujita-Yuhas, is the director of product management and new product strategy at OpenMarket, which has launched REAP: an RCS Early Access Program for brands looking to get the benefits of a head start on the sure-fire preferred mobile channel among consumers. When OpenMarket asked what consumers like about RCS, here's what they said: