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SMS & Social media

on Friday, 26 May 2017. Posted in blog

How to make the Most from SMS messaging

You’ve got a great team in place creating great content for social media. You’ve got a healthy number of followers and the number is going up. But when it comes to engagement, it seems your message is falling on deaf ears. In this article, we look at how you use SMSmessaging to drive customers to your social media with a joined up approach.


Social media – a noisy space
On the whole, social media remains an incredibly powerful and growing force in the world of both personal and business communication. Few businesses can get away without having a presence on social media, whilst for many, it is now their number one marketing channel. Each platform such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has its own specific format, and each of these brings with it platform-specific advantages. Facebook, for example, is more friendly where lengthier copy is required, whilst the short, sharp SMS-like approach of Twitter encourages businesses to focus on getting a succinct message across. Instagram, like Pinterest, is image based and great for marketing from a visual perspective.
One thing all social media platforms have in common is powerful customer profiling and segmentation possibilities, allowing marketing campaigns to be highly targeted. The downside, however, is that anybody who is anybody in marketing has now learnt how to take full advantage of this, meaning that users are constantly blasted with content, often to the point that they switch off. The net result – your voice becomes drowned out in a sea of noise, and engagement figures start to sink, even when the content truly is great.


So how can you engineer a turnaround on this and draw customers back into your social media, with a view to increasing conversions? SMS messaging offers a simple answer.


Why SMS messaging still matters
Since it’s inception in the 1980’s, SMS messaging has always retained a very personal touch. Perhaps it’s because as humans we identify with the possession of a mobile phone as an object, or maybe it is simply that having one’s own telephone number gives a sense of uniqueness. There is also the argument that because a mobile phone is held in the hand, we experience the bond of touch far more strongly than with other technological devices such as laptop computers.
Why does this matter? Because the result is that almost all SMS messages are read; the majority instantly. Think about the last time you received an SMS alert on your phone – you almost certainly read the message, and probably within about three minutes of being aware. If you didn’t, the chances are that this was due to more pressing matters of urgency or other external factors and not a lack of inquisitiveness on your part.


Compare this to your email inbox or social media accounts. We would hazard a guess that even if you don’t use automated filtering to decide which messages you care about seeing at a given time, you perform a raft of mental filters every time you log in – some of them subconscious: Disregard messages or posts containing ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ in the subject line, ignore content with the words ‘X’, ‘Y’ or ‘Z’ in the sender address. Filter only for notifications that appear to be related to this or that… Few people would agree that they view, read and digest every single piece of information that comes their way. Far more would confess to quite the opposite.


There are of course techniques for improving the response rate – using personalised greetings and tones, adding carefully selected images for visual impact and such like. But as we’ve already discussed, if everybody is doing this the end result is no better.


When it comes to SMS messages, the evidence suggests that we don’t employ the same type of filtering (unless it’s Mother-in-Law, perhaps). As individuals, we are far more selective about who we choose to share our mobile number with and why we do so. This means that we work under the assumption that anybody who chooses to send an SMS message is considered to be a pre-screened, existing contact. As a consequence, we are already satisfied that the information we receive by SMS is likely to be relevant and to our interest. In essence, we feel that we have performed the filtering process at the time of handing over our number.


How to tie SMS messaging and Social Media together
Let’s look at two examples of how you might tie SMS messaging and Social Media together.
Our first example is based on an event. For example, you are the organiser of a wedding show and have a reasonably large following on your various social media channels. So far, the reach on your campaign has been respectable, but you’ve had little feedback as to whether or not people are planning to attend. You’ve decided that Facebook Events is a great way to build and monitor interest.
In order to encourage more people to respond, you might run an SMS campaign that looks a little like this:
Ella, we’d love to see you at the A1Brides Wedding Fayre! Confirm your attendance on FB to enter our draw! More at facebook.com/A1Brides
The message is personal, it makes the recipient feel that they matter, and the CTA and link to social media are simple and clear.
With this approach, timing is of the essence. Ideally, at the time that any messages are sent out, the relevant content on the Facebook page should be the first thing people land on so that no searching is required.


The second example is a voucher promotion on Instagram. The idea behind the promotion is not unlike that adopted recently by big names including Jeep and EDF energy – encouraging users to submit their own selfies to boost engagement. User participation will be incentivised by a money-off offer such as discount vouchers.
For this campaign, the SMS message might read:
“Claire, there’s still time to enter the SupremeSkin Selfie competition on IG & win big! Upload your selfie now at instagram.com/SupremeSkin”


As in the previous example, the message is personal to the recipient and has a clear and provocative CTA that is linked directly to the social media campaign. The wording also creates a sense of urgency.
The beauty of both these approaches is that even if the customer has completely missed the update on social media, they now have a chance to participate. Provided that there is a genuine and relevant campaign underlying it, then it is likely that the customer will be glad to have received the message and perceive in much the same way as a gesture from a friend. This not only drives engagement but even more importantly fosters brand loyalty.
Creative Telecoms are one of UK’s leading business SMS platform, offering some of the UK’s lowest priced SMS bundles, a versatile range of sending options and a fully supported API integration. On top of this, we are famous for our exceptional 24-hour customer service. We pride ourselves in ensuring that all of our customers get to talk to a fellow human, no matter what.

If you are not sure how your business can make the most of SMS messaging, call us now on 0844 249 2864 and we’ll be happy to put you in touch with the right person.

NHS paralyzed by computer virus (Friday 12 April 2017)

on Monday, 15 May 2017. Posted in blog

Creative Telecoms Backup as a Service.

NHS paralyzed by computer virus (Friday 12 April 2017)

Have you taken precautions for your business? Can you afford to lose all of your data?

If not PLEASE read on

Creative Telecoms latest product for clients Backup as a Service (BaaS) is a managed product that allows customers to automate the backup of the data stored on their servers onto a secure and highly resilient storage facility within the Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure.

The service consists of two elements: a user agent that is installed on the customer's servers and a portal from which users can configure the service to suit their needs. The service performs automated differential backup and restore functions including block-level de-duplication, compression, and encryption.

For those that are weary of cloud based services, all of the infrastructure is in the UK and not stored abroad and for added security the data is also backed up and replicated in 3 other locations with within the UK – No resource will be allowed to be duplicated or moved outside of these areas.

Pricing for this service is as follows:

Monthly Per GB 29p

Set Up Per Server £57.50


For existing clients looking to use this product we will offer a 10% reduction on set up costs if you reference this message. A small price to pay for peace of mind.

If you have any questions or would like further information please get in touch by calling 0844 249 2864 or email

500 numbers to be phased out in June 2017

on Thursday, 04 May 2017. Posted in blog

Act now before its too late!

Back in 2014, Ofcom announced their decision to withdraw the 0500 Freephone number range from use, and the day of their demise is now nearly upon us.

0500 was one of the traditional two Freephone prefixes alongside 0800, and was created in 1982. But new 0500 numbers stopped being allocated twenty years ago in favour of a gradual focus on its better known 0800 counterpart.

Ofcom has now taken the decision to withdraw all remaining 0500 numbers given the low consumer awareness and the long-term decline of its use by service providers.

0500 numbers will stop working on June 3rd, and Creative Telecoms Business customers currently using the 0500 prefix have three options:

Switch to 08085: Ofcom has issued the Freephone number “08085” as a replacement for 0500 numbers, and is followed by the last 6 digits of the existing 0500 number. There would be no changes to the current call charge rates.
Choose an alternative: we provide both 0800 Freephone and 03 prefixes which are amongst the most popular customer contact numbers in the UK and are widely recognised.
Let it be retired: Organisations that have 0500 numbers but no longer use them can choose to do nothing and the number will be automatically be retired with the Ofcom withdrawal on the 3rd June.
We can also set up a redirection service on existing 0500 numbers, so that your customers know when the number will stop working and what the replacement number is. This service will function on the existing 0500 number, until the 3rd June 2017 switch off.

Any Partners needing to migrate their 0500 numbers should contact Creative Telecoms, to discuss taking an alternative number range such as 03, please contact your Account Manager.

Forget everything you've ever known about telephone systems

on Wednesday, 21 September 2016. Posted in blog

A VoIP - Cloud Based PBX Like No Other

Forget the hassle of setting up a new employee's workspace and the extra cables and wiring you need to connect their new extension on your telephone system. Forget how expensive it is to forward calls from an office extension to an employee's mobile phone or home office, with charges payable on every single call. Forget the expensive long-term maintenance contracts and the additional costs when you want to upgrade your telephone system with the latest features. You can also forget about all the effort it takes to move your telephone system to new offices.

Your telephone system does not need to physically be in your office. Your rolling monthly contract can be terminated with just one month's notice. And thanks to VoIP technology (Voice over IP, Internet telephony) you can also safely dispense with special telephone lines. With NFON you rent a telephone system that is tailored to your needs. You decide how many extensions you need and what features you want to use - in addition to the 150 functions that are available to you right from the very first extension.

 

Upgrade to a VoIP and a telephone system that makes you geographically independent, both in terms of administration and use. You can use your office number from anywhere - even on your smartphone.

See Also VoIP Systems

 So if your business is  considering  upgrading to VoIP,  everything you need  is right here from as  little as £10.99 per  seat/license, up to 4  connections (Mobile,  Laptop, Desk Top,  and Handset) so you  never miss another  call.  All the above  plus a FREE  Panasonic Desk  Handset and free  minutes to UK  Landlines & mobiles.  With more features and benefits that any other VoIP system available in the UK.

VoiceYou Disaster Recovery Made Simple

on Tuesday, 06 September 2016. Posted in blog

How to Contact Your Staff Securely in the Event of a Disaster

VoiceYou is a Unique Voice based Communication Technology

Welcome to VoiceYou, a simple app based program for your smartphone, simply record a message directly into your smartphone, select a list of recipients from Outlook, etc., and press send.  Each recipient will receive a call and when answering will hear the recorded message, here's the clever bit, there are reports on the app that tell you who has heard the message and who hasn't, so you know who received the information and who you need to get back to, this is especially helpful when the app is used as part of a Disaster Recovery Program.

VoiceYou allows a single caller to reach from one up to an unlimited number of people simultaneously. A technology that enables communication in a way like never before.

The message is delivered instantly

  • Recipients only need a phone, of any type, to receive the call, with no need of an Internet access.
  • The message is delivered instantaneously and simultaneously to all recipients, who can hear the genuine voice of the caller.
  • A traffic report is generated for each message delivery.
  • The service includes provisioning, configuration and full, on-going maintenance, management and monitoring. 

Key Use Case Studies

  • Capital markets

Deliver daily recorded market updates’ messages to an unlimited number of agents and brokers in a secure and real time fashion and get confirmation that recipients have received the call.

  • Travel industry

Instantaneously reach all travellers with real-time updates and alerts wherever they are, independently of whether Internet access is available, getting their immediate attention by means of a compelling phone ringing sound.

  • Government

Deliver important messages to citizens about local events and incidents even in disperse areas with no Internet access and to people that are not Internet savvy.

  • Corporate internal needs

Provide urgent sales updates to employees and agents in a safe manner with no need for them to read texts while driving their car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which countries am I able to call using VoiceYou?
A. You can VoiceYou anyone, anywhere, anytime worldwide

Q. Will my contacts, emails, or information ever be sold or distributed?
A. Never! All of your information is solely the property of you and/or your company. VoiceYou respects your privacy and we will never share, sell, disclose, or release your phone numbers, contacts, email addresses, or any other information that is stored in your account. Only you and whoever you share your login and password with will have access to your VoiceYou account & information.

Q. Do you support phone calls to numbers with an extension?
A. Yes, VoiceYou supports numbers with extensions. VoiceYou supports every possible number connected to a „human receiver“, if its landline, a dumb phone or smartphone, doesn`t matter.

Q. Will I be billed for the calls to approve my phone number & record greetings?
A. No, we will not charge you or take credits from your account for these calls. Only calls to the group calls you set up through our premium service are charged.

Q. Are there any call restrictions on what I can say in my message(s)?
A. No. VoiceYou is a service provider and you are responsible for any and all content that is played during your calls.

Q. Will I be billed for calls that go unanswered or cannot be completed?
A. If an unanswered call is transferred to the receiver‘s voicemail, this is a completed call. However, you will not be charged for calls that cannot be completed.

Q. Which number will show up on the Caller ID of the people I choose to call?
A. A service number is allocated to you. You can advise us from which country and area you prefer the number to be associated with. This number will be used for all your distributed calls by your company.

Q. Can I schedule a specific date and time for my call to be sent out to everyone?
A. Yes, please contact the VoiceYou Key Account Management for time-delayed and scheduled Calls

Q. What happens when a call isn‘t picked up?
A. The Call will be left on the receiver’s VoiceYou App and/or on the receiver’s Voicemail. If the receiver neither have the App nor a Voicemail and the call isn’t picked up it’s an uncompleted call that won’t be charged.

Q. Can I import a list of phone numbers and contacts into the system?
A. Yes, you can by contacting VoiceYou Key Account Management.

Q. Are there any limits as to how many people I can send a call out to?
A. No, there is no limit. You can reach them all with just one call! Anytime, anywhere, with any phone worldwide!

Q. What is the optimal length for my calls?
A. When creating a call through VoiceYou we recommend that the message is at least 4 seconds in length to ensure an optimal delivery to all call recipients. An average call can be around 1 minute, as each call is charged per minute

Other Q&A’s

Q. What are the typical fields of operations, e.g. using VoiceYou for informing about news, statements etc.; depending on the verticals? Do we have any cluster?

A. VoiceYou features hundreds of different use cases, but the major fields of operation are the following:

  •  Security:

- emergency alerts to all employees (when Internet connection brakes down, only VoiceYou provides you with the opportunity to reach all employees in a matter of seconds, VoiceYou outperforms every old fashioned "call-tree")
- a VoiceYou call is authentic (receivers know the senders voice) and therefore safe, especially when used in school environments (e.g. parents receiving a VoiceYou call from their children’s teacher)
- communicating in a car VoiceYou is the best tool, as the voice commands enable the driver to send and receive calls without touching the phone nor losing control

  • Disaster Response:

VoiceYou is the only tool to contact all students of a college in the same second with time critical information of any kind
- the first network to break down in any emergency situation is always the internet, VoiceYou still can reach all the people by phone (Tsunami, weather alerts, etc.)

  • Governments/Organizations

- get the message out / information of all kind / news … to supporters of a certain organization or project
- product call-backs to the public

  • Companies / Businesses

- internal communication with employees, staffing, team organisation
- Customer Relationship Management of all kinds
- polls and market research

  • Advertising:

- Every call send to customers or subscribers will be highly emotional, authentic and with a huge value for everyone listening.

  • Premium Rate Services:

- Users sign up to receive added value calls from their favourite artist, sports teams or from providers of other important information such as traffic alerts.
- Users receive calls on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Q. What are the typical arguments from a customer perspective against the solution (e.g. our CEO doesn’t find any time to record messages, time-consuming)?
A. VoiceYou is the least time consuming tool compared to all other mass communication tools. There is nothing faster AND that personal as record a call and send it to everyone. To record a call takes a couple of minutes, writing and the correction of emails to the whole staff are much more time consuming. Even writing a text message compared to a VY call takes far longer!

Q. What are the steps from an operational perspective to record and send a message? (User Guide existing)?
A. A user guide will be available as part of the Creative Telecoms Sales Tool Kit

Q. Who are the competitors and what Creative Telecoms is doing better?
A. There is no service worldwide available such as VoiceYou! All social media networks and messenger services such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc. are based on an internet connection and the fact that users and receivers need to be registered on the platform. VoiceYou is available worldwide without an internet connection and there is no account or app needed by the receiver to receive VoiceYou calls.

Q. What will happen if I may have a question related to the message (e.g. if a flight has been canceled)? Can I let me connect to an agent directly?
A. Due to the company’s needs, it is possible to arrange every kind of menu functions in the case a recipient gives a call back to the phone number that has called him. He could leave a message or find additional options to hear the call again or even be connected to an additional service line. All by simply using his or her phone keys.

Q. Does the solution also include the possibility to offer t-t-s; converting website content to a phone message?
A. No, VoiceYou is a real person call distributed to many.

How Can Disaster Recovery Be the Key to Customer & Staff Safety In the Event of a Crisis?

on Thursday, 10 December 2015. Posted in blog

 

What Is Disaster Recovery? 

Creative Telecoms Disaster Recovery service can be used and manipulated in an endless number of ways for various reasons and results. Disaster Recovery gives you the ability to change to your emergency routing plan with the push of a button no matter where you are - in the event of any crisis you can route your calls to any number of your choice. 

Our Disaster Recovery service is ideal for when large numbers of people need access to information during a crisis. Here is a list of examples where Disaster Recovery comes into practice: 

  • Environmental Disaster - floods and storms. 
  • Transport - trains, tubes, airports, shipping
  • Large Sporting Events - football, cricket, tennis. 
  • Terrorism Threats 
  • Corporations - making information available to staff.
  • Local Council - a message to the community. 

Adapting an IVR System to Work With Your Business - Top 10 Tips

on Wednesday, 02 December 2015. Posted in blog

 

IVR can be a controversial topic but when it's given the right attention it can add significant value to any customer's experience, not to mention contributing to improving productivity. We have been supplying IVR systems for over 10 years and our account managers have been building a huge range of these IVR systems both simple and complex and for the benefit of businesses just like yours. 

Here are some of the top 10 tips for IVR success. 

10 Reasons Why Call Pilot Pro Is Your Perfect Outbound Calling Solution

on Wednesday, 25 November 2015. Posted in blog

Call Pilot Pro - Solution

What is Call Pilot Pro? 

Call Pilot Pro is a powerful and versatile dialler designed to revolutionise your outbound calling. You may be wondering what it is exactly that makes Call Pilot Pro the amazing outbound solution that it is? It's so simple. I have outlined the top ten reasons why Call Pilot Pro is the ultimate outbound calling solution for your business. 

Seven Serious Questions You Should Be Asking In Regards To Your Business Communications

on Thursday, 12 November 2015. Posted in blog

SIP Trunking is becoming the ideal solution for modern day businesses - find out why and what questions you should be asking your business phone service provider. 

July 08 and 09 Number Changes

on Thursday, 28 May 2015. Posted in blog

Changes to the cost of 08 and 09 numbers

From July 1st is the cost to the consumer for calling an 08 and/or 09 number will be split into two clear parts both consisting of a Price Per Minute charge: 

  1. A Service Charge: This is the cost that is charged on calls to these numbers which is set by the range holder e.g. Vodafone, O2, Colt which is up to 7p a minute for 084/3 numbers and 13p per minute for 0871/2 numbers.

  2. An Access Charge: This is the cost that is charged by the caller's service provider for calling the actual number e.g. BT, Talk Talk etc. 

Freephone Numbers to Become Free on Mobiles

on Thursday, 28 May 2015. Posted in blog

Freephone numbers to become free on mobiles. 

As of July 1st, calls from mobiles to Freephone 0800, 0808 and 119 numbers will also become free to call from both fixed and mobile lines.

Changes to Service Number Charging

on Thursday, 12 March 2015. Posted in blog

Change aheadWhen you make a telephone call to a service number – one beginning 08, 09 or 118 – it’s not always clear how much it will cost.

That is going to change, under a new system that will make the cost of calling service numbers clear for everyone. It affects all calls from consumer mobiles and landlines to 08, 09 and 118 numbers.

 

BT, Virgin, TTB and Sky are raising their prices again.

on Wednesday, 10 September 2014. Posted in blog

Here’s how to escape the increase.

BT has confirmed it’s hiking business phone and broadband prices for millions of customers from December 2014.
BT are informing its customers about a raft of call cost, line rental and broadband price rises from 1st December 2014. BT customers will receive a letter in the post informing of these price increases to their services.

NGN Numbers New Regulation Details

on Monday, 01 September 2014. Posted in blog

Important Information This May Affect You or Your Clients.

New regulations regarding the use of higher call rate NGN (non geographic numbers) for consumers.  

There is an important change in regulation which takes effect in June 2014, which affects the numbers that you/or your clients make available for customers post-sale.

The £3000 SuperConnected Cities Voucher Scheme

on Monday, 30 June 2014. Posted in blog

A detailed look at the SuperConnected voucher scheme.

Important Notice: Scheme funding is running out! If you are interested, please enquire now before it's too late!

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