An increasing number of companies are turning to messaging in place of the more traditional business communication methods such as emails, phone calls and even in-person discussions. SMS messages and instant messaging apps are two technologies that have seen a dramatic rise in popularity among companies both large and small, spanning all industries and business sectors.
Gathered collectively under the umbrella of texting, instant messaging apps and SMS messages both align well with the way in which we naturally communicate. We seek to connect with others the moment the inclination arises and enters our mind and when we do so, it’s in short bursts. That’s exactly what you can achieve with IMs and SMS messages.
Messaging is a very different digital animal from something such as an email, whereby you may have a long, drawn-out missive. Aside from a speech, we generally don’t talk like that. Plus, there’s the whole concept of TLDR — Too long. Didn’t read. We tend to tune out when we’re confronted with a wall of text. As a result, emails tend to be far less effective than SMS messages and instant messages.
But all this begs the question: when it comes to SMS vs instant messaging apps for work, are they effective business communication tools?
SMS for Business Communication: The Pros and Cons
To effectively evaluate instant messaging apps vs SMS text messaging for business communications, you must have a firm grasp of both technologies and how they impact a company, its employees, its clients or customers and its operations. In the case of SMS, there are a few important considerations that an organization must keep in mind to ensure that messaging data is retained.
SMS messages are typically sent over cellular data networks, which means they’re only generally sent via a smartphone device or a tablet with cellular service. This can be problematic if an individual wants to send a quick message while working on a laptop. They’re going to need to shift their attention to a different device, which breaks focus and interferes with productivity.
Conversely, since we usually carry our mobile devices with us at all times, we have access to SMS messaging at all times (assuming there’s cellular network coverage.) This is a key characteristic and benefit of both SMS and instant messaging apps. Quite simply, SMS texts are convenient and by using SMS to communicate with a client or customer, you’re meeting them where they are in terms of their communication preference. That’s certainly the ideal, especially when you consider that people are generally quite hesitant to install a new app just so they can communicate with a salesman.
What’s more, a client or customer can communicate using SMS text messages without downloading and installing anything on their device. That’s a major advantage over a messaging app. A client is typically going to be a bit reluctant to install a new app for the sole purpose of communicating with a member of your sales team. Most would agree that it’s best to leverage a communication channel that the client is already using.
SMS messages are typically limited to 160 characters and this is one potential downside. While SMS messages are generally rather short in length, most would agree that character count limits can be a hassle. You don’t want to worry about hitting the limit while trying to communicate with a colleague. That momentary interruption when you finally do arrive at 160 characters can break your train of thought, making your communications far less efficient. But notably, an increasing number of texting platforms are now allowing for longer texts and some are accommodating longer texts with “read more” links to expand a message and automatic splits that divide a long text into multiple shorter texts that are delivered in a single burst.
Group messaging is possible with SMS, but there are no moderation capabilities which can be problematic for business users. SMS texts are wholly within the user’s control and as such, the lack of moderation tools can be problematic. This represents a liability in the business realm because companies are required to maintain an inclusive, non-discriminatory work environment.
SMS messages may pose challenges for business use when it comes to the actual messaging data — a key consideration that we’ll explore further. A company has no way to demand access to a SMS user’s messaging data; It’s up to the employee to provide it voluntarily. Actually providing the messaging data to an employer can pose a challenge since you’re lacking the user-friendly export tools that can be found on a business instant messaging app.
Instant Messaging Apps for Business Communication: The Pros and Cons
Many instant messaging apps are very well-suited to business use, although you need an app that’s designed specifically for this purpose. Consumer-grade messaging apps can be somewhat effective, but there are some issues that may pose a challenge.
Instant messaging apps run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with some offering desktop versions for your laptop too. Messages are transmitted over the internet or via a cellular data connection, giving IM apps far more connectivity than SMS. That’s good news if you’re using instant messaging for business communications, since the ability to connect is more robust.
Whereas SMS is more bare bones, Instant messaging apps for business are more fleshed out with features like admin portals, moderation capabilities and data management tools. Although it is important to note that you generally won’t find these features on consumer-grade instant messaging mobile apps. This characteristic makes them far less business-friendly.
Message Data Management Considerations for Business
Companies must carefully consider message data while developing the organization’s communication protocols and policies. Important and potentially sensitive information may be discussed in instant messages and SMS message threads. Your business needs access to that data.
SMS messages and messages on consumer-grade instant messaging apps are essentially tied to the user and their mobile device, so when they leave the organization, they take all their messaging data with them. That’s problematic from a perspective of data retention requirements. It’s also problematic operationally because the business loses access to valuable information.
In fact, many users of consumer instant messaging mobile apps may be shocked to learn that they may not even own their messaging data. This underscores the importance of using instant messaging apps that are designed specifically for business usage.
Record keeping laws and regulatory requirements abound, many companies must retain messaging data for a certain period of time. Some regulations also require that this data is stored and accessed under very specific conditions. Failure to do so can have staggering consequences. Nearly a dozen major banks recently discovered this fact when they were collectively fined $1.8 billion dollars for record keeping failures associated with messaging apps. The banks were allowing the use of instant messaging apps such as Signal, WhatsApp and iMessage. Data retention, data auditing and data export capabilities are absent or very limited on these consumer messaging platforms. Subsequently, vital data was not retained, leading to the tremendous fines.
To drive the point home another way, consider the healthcare space. Organizations in the healthcare sector must comply with HIPAA regulations that dictate how data must be collected, accessed and stored. SMS falls short of these requirements, posing a risk of fines for non-compliance. Many instant messaging apps also fail to meet the mark, but there are a small number of HIPAA-compliant messaging apps designed with compliance in mind.
In an evaluation of IM vs SMS, most would agree that business instant messaging apps are far better suited to company communications. But you need the right instant messaging app; one that will meet your needs without causing undue issues in terms of regulatory compliance. SayHey Messenger® offers a unique solution, with business messaging tools and the ability to message users within the app and externally via SMS.
Instant Messaging for Business Communications: SayHey Messenger®
SayHey Messenger® is a user-friendly instant messaging app for business communications, designed with regulatory compliance in mind.. The admin portal also allows for easy moderation and data management capabilities. The latter ensures that all message data is retained and auditable for easy reference and reporting.
Instant messaging has become an integral part of the corporate landscape. In fact, messaging apps have been found to be some of the most effective business communication tools. But you need to have the right app designed for business — not a consumer-grade messaging app like WhatsApp because as discussed above, these platforms can lead to serious problems.
SayHey Messenger® is a unique and regulatory-compliant business instant messaging platform that solves many of the challenges that companies face when it comes to communication. The team at 7T developed SayHey Messenger® as a method for patching the holes in your company’s messaging situation.
The SayHey Messenger® app features:
- Data sovereignty for control and ownership of all messaging data;
- Fully compliant instant messaging for regulated businesses;
- Seamlessly integrates into existing company software platforms;
- Admin portal for moderation, auditing, and inclusivity;
- SayHey Spaces for company-wide broadcasts and team collaborations;
- Engaging, intuitive user interface for incredible adoption rates;
- Send compliant SMS messages to external users with full data retention; and
- Custom UI with your logo, colors and branding elements for a style that’s all yours.
SayHey Messenger® offers two regulatory-compliant deployments: a SayHey Messenger® Business deployment with a mobile app platform (for iOS and Android) and web app portal. There’s also SayHey Messenger® Enterprise deployments, which entail storing all messaging data in the client’s private cloud environment and the platform is fully integrated within the client’s existing software platforms, including mobile applications. This allows users to access their instant messages without leaving the screen, leading to greater productivity, higher user adoption rates and better efficiency.
Consider using SayHey Messenger® as your business messaging platform. And the best part? We can deploy this business messaging solution in a matter of days. Contact us today to learn more about SayHey Messenger®.