A few months ago I was in a fender bender, and the interesting thing is that I was an Uber passenger. About four hours later I received an email from Uber asking if I was OK—canned language from a generic, non-personalized Uber email box. What caught my eye was that they specifically asked me to respond and let them know I was alright. I certainly wondered if they were genuinely interested in my safety, but I was REALLY interested that the app-centric, mobile-centric Uber would revert to emails to communicate with me.
Uber should know that we communicate through messaging. So why the email? The truth is that even though messaging, especially SMS, has been around for more than 20 years, the ability for businesses to receive, handle, and reply to SMS messaging is fairly new technology.
So many successful businesses still use telephones as their primary communication tool. It’s like the refrigerator light bulb that’s barely working. It’s flickering more often than not, and when it does work, you still can’t find your coffee creamer. And you actually want that creamer, but you’ll live with black coffee if you have to. But what happens when the bulb is replaced? The creamer jumps right out at you, and you finally get to enjoy your morning coffee, just the way you like it.
Businesses are still using that dimly lit light bulb, and as consumers, we wait for them to figure out that it’s time to make a change. The answer to this dilemma: Two-Way SMS. With Two-Way SMS businesses could send messages to us, be it reminders, notifications, or a response-based offer such as a discount on Uber rides. And now we can actually tell them what we really want. Maybe we’re happy they offered for a month but would prefer just one free ride. Or what about those calling queues that we all get stuck in? Everyone loves waiting on hold for an hour just to have the agent take a minute to answer the two simple questions you had, right? Wouldn’t it have been nicer to have the ability to message our questions instead? In all of these cases the conversation would be faster, cheaper, and more to our satisfaction with Two-Way SMS.
And yes, if Uber had chosen this capability, they could have sent me a real-time message and gotten my positive response almost instantaneously. Instead…they were junk mail.