SMS still on message for customer communications

16 November 2017

Effective use of text messages by financial services providers can help improve how they are perceived by their customers, according to research commissioned by the Student Loans Company.

The Company, which sends out six million SMS messages every year to over six million customers, commissioned market research company, Opinion Leader, to conduct the research in March 2017. The findings will help the company understand how customers behave when receiving text messages in relation to their finances.

The research, which will be presented at the Market Research Society Financial Research Conference on 16 November, showed that despite increasing use of  iMessenger, WhatsApp and other social media, SMS messages are still an effective way to drive customer behaviour and action for example reminding students to complete their loan applications. 

Participants also reported that they felt more trusting towards companies who texted them to confirm transactions such as payments or helped them avoid negative situations such as going overdrawn on their accounts. 

However, the findings suggest that texts are not suitable for longer messages or as a replacement for other forms of communication such e-mails or letters.

SLC’s  Online Services Manager, Lesley Raybould, commented: “SMS messaging is a central part of our customer communications - providing a low cost method of sending timely reminders and nudges to students at key points in the application cycle. We will use the results of this research to help us develop our SMS messaging to ensure that it remains effective in the future.”