Before You Text It, You Must Protect It
RestcommONE Marketplace Partner Blog Series
Less than 40 years ago, the primary form of business communications was what we now call snail mail. By the late 90’s, email was widespread because it enabled us to communicate instantly no matter where you were in the world. We’ve now entered a new age of communication: the age of texting. Over 6 billion texts are sent a day, with over 180 billion texts sent every month (and growing). Nearly all (97%) of U.S. adults text weekly, and they text twice as much as they call.
And it’s not just Gen Xers and Millennials that would prefer to text to a business to get the information they want when they want it – other age groups have also jumped on board the text bandwagon.
A majority of customers (59%) said they would switch to a new brand for better service (read: more responsive service). Brand loyalty is fleeting. Consumers who prefer to text will soon move to brands that offer and respond to this form of communication.
This change is happening whether or not your business has text enabled its local and/or toll-free numbers. In our Feb. 2018 Telestax webinar, we learned that only about half of participants had text enabled their business phone numbers:
Have you text enabled your local and toll-free numbers?
Changing the way you conduct customer service won’t happen overnight. So let’s talk about the journey and how to get there without a major mishap (we’ll talk about mishap later… stay tuned).
Begin by identifying your primary objectives. Start small, recognizing that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Some businesses simply want to be able to answer common customer questions, while others want to enable customers to pay bills, check balances and handle more sophisticated types of interactions without human intervention.
Let’s Chat About Chatbots
The answer for many businesses – after they text enable their phone numbers – is to connect automated chatbots to their backend systems to complete customer requests, similar to how websites do it today.
Most large companies are well on their way down this path. Even if your company isn’t currently using chatbots, you’re likely already interacting with them daily. Some of them even have nice names, like Alexa and Siri.
Chatbots (or bots) are here today, and they’re here to stay.
At Midori Interactive, our goal is to help our customers develop new revenue streams and improve customer service through new communications technologies such as chatbots.
Yes, we build chatbots. But there are two things that makes us unique and different from other chatbot builders.
First, we take a DIY approach to chatbots. You don’t need to know a lick of code to build, share and/or promote our chatbots. They can be deployed within minutes and managed by non-coders via web interface. Our chatbots enable businesses to communicate efficiently and effectively with the vast majority of customers who prefer texting to phone calls or email.
Second and most importantly, we created a business model that enables a carrier or enterprise to resell chatbots to all of their customers. Our powerful Communications Platform enables providers that serve multiple businesses to create simple bots ‘in a box’ and resell them to literally thousands of businesses – without doing any provisioning, billing or support.
A Simple Example: Joe the Plumber
Let’s say one of your customers is a small business we’ll call Joe the Plumber. Joe wants to increase his revenue, and the only way to do that (and stay competitive) is to increase his customer base. But Joe is too busy answering common questions and booking appointments.
So what does Joe do? First, he could initially text enable his business phone numbers, and then protect them from being text-enabled by his competitors, which is a very real threat. Then, he can launch a simple bot to answer the most common questions his customers have; he could even set it up to book appointments for him.
It’s a win-win-win solution. Joe wins because he spends less time on routine, mundane communications and more time building his business. His customers win because they can finally communicate with Joe in the way they prefer – via text message.
Checklist: The Five C’s for Today’s Business Communications
And you win too because you can set up and sell chatbots to literally thousands of Joe the Plumbers, thanks to Midori’s multi-tiered solution that enables you to operate as a ‘Super Admin’ at the enterprise or carrier level. Midori has also fully automated the onboarding, LOA validation, text enablement (if needed) billing, and support of its unique and powerful chatbots without forklifting your existing operation.
Midori’s Communications Platform enables you and your customers not just to create, but customize, connect, communicate and conduct business:
- Create: chatbots in minutes; deploy on any pre-loaded channel such as SMS text, MMS (multimedia), Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, etc.
- Customize: Flexible, generic bot templates enable you to customize the conversations. You can also rename and resell our bots, utilizing your customers’ existing business telephone numbers.
- Connect: to your current systems, offering a full ITR (interactive text response) solution.
- Communicate: automatically with customers 24/7.
- Conduct Business: in the way customers want and expect in today’s world.
Standing still is not a viable choice when your competition isn’t. Just look at your web presence and how many times the experience for your customers have changed along the way.
But also remember that you need to walk before you can run. And if you run headlong into this new world, you could get hurt. Which brings us to what we consider the first, and most important step: protecting your phone numbers and your brand from hacking or slamming.
An Ounce of Prevention…
Bad actors who will hijack, hack or slam your business phone numbers are a bigger threat than you might think.
Recently, one of the largest credit card companies in the world had their main toll-free number hacked. It took two whole weeks before they could regain control and fix the breach.
Every single business is vulnerable. And if you don’t take simple measures to protect your business phone numbers, your company’s brand reputation could be at risk.
How much do you think you’re at risk of your local and toll-free numbers being hacked?
Participants in the Telestax webinar clearly understood the risks of having their phone numbers hacked and the effect it would have on their company’s brand reputation.
Consumer phone numbers have become key identifiers that are as important to protect as their Social Security numbers. And if you’re found to be in violation of the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act), it could cost your company millions. Protecting your consumers’ security is of vital importance. Just think of the Equifax breach and the resulting costs.
Most savvy businesses also recognize that consumers have changed the way they want to communicate with them. Texting is the wave of the future. Consumers who prefer to text will move toward brands that offer and respond to this form of communication.
Our research shows that when you provide consistent, accurate customer service, you will win the loyalty battle.
A Simple Solution…
Midori Interactive is helping businesses not just with text-enabling their business phone numbers, but protecting them as well – even if they’re already text enabled.
Text Protect® is a simple and free solution that prevents any bad players from text enabling phone numbers. The customer assigns a 4-8 digit alpha numeric Personal Identification Number (PIN) before or after text enabling their phone number(s), preventing unauthorized access without the assigned PIN.
Text Protect also blazes a path to an electronic letter of authorization (LOA) process, creating a more efficient transition while reducing costs and friction. (Did we mention that it’s free?!)
Midori designed the automated process to be entirely self-managed, thus building the first electronic messaging security and portability system.
What’s your timeframe for taking security measures to protect your phone numbers from hackers?
In short, unauthorized texting is a major threat to your brand reputation.
Don’t wait for your company to be in the news for the wrong reason – especially now that there’s a simple way to prevent and protect it.
The time to act is now – before you have to apply a pound of cure.
About the Author
CEO/founder of Midori Interactive
Established in 2017, Midori Interactive helps its customers develop new revenue streams and improve customer service using the most current forms of communications such as messaging and chatbots.