April 15, 2020
Expedited Text Messaging Short Codes for COVID-19 Communications
Communicating with customers and employees during the coronavirus pandemic is more important than ever. With some utilities, government entities, and other organizations struggling to find ways to share business-critical communications, text messages may be a viable option due to expedited provisioning of short codes for COVID-19 communications.
Text messages are one of the fastest and most effective ways to reach customers and employees alike, with a staggering 98% open rate and 209% higher response rate than phone calls or emails.1 And, with recent TCPA clarifications that allow select organizations to make emergency calls and text messages related to COVID-19 without prior explicit consent from the recipient, organizations can reach more of their target audience.
Today’s current reality has dramatically increased the use cases for text messaging and mobile carriers and other communication partners have stepped up to lend a hand. Communication aggregators and mobile carriers are expediting the short code provisioning process for text message communications specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. The expedited process allows short codes to be provisioned within 24 to 48 hours when a typical project timeline ranges from 6 to 8 weeks. Some carriers have even frozen all new non-COVID-19 related short code applications until at least mid-April to accommodate the quick turnaround times.
The expedited provisioning is strictly for organizations wanting to send COVID-19-related communications that don’t already have a short code. It does not affect the delivery speed of individual messages. The following are examples of the type of updates and messages that could be shared by utilities and government entities during this crisis.
External Use Cases
- Temporary suspension of power shutoffs for non-payment
- Waiving late payment fees
- Online bill payment option reminders
- Text payment option reminders
- Closed payment centers alerts
- Continuation of reliable power
- Reminders to customers to minimize contact with utility members working in their area
Internal Use Cases
- Inform staff of updated policies, like work from home measures and office closures
- Send health and safety reminders
- Share important COVID-19 updates
- Share tips and fun quizzes to boost morale
Text messages are a great way to widely share critical information in a timely manner. And with the expedited turnaround times being offered by mobile carriers, now could be the time to leverage this technology to get your key COVID-19 messages out.