Using Reverse-Billed Data to create customer loyalty

 · 3 mins

As we navigate through these trying times of COVID-19 and a struggling economy, there has never been a more important time to put your customers first and give them the best possible experience that you can as a brand or business. As lockdown begins to ease, consumers will continue to be under financial pressure and brands will compete for market share in a race to find their feet. 

SMSPortal has watched as Reverse-Billed Data and URLs have moved from a niche product into the mainstream within the period of six weeks, and we would like to share our insights into this product and can improve your reach to customers with no or limited airtime. 

Reverse-Billed Data services is a mechanism used to allow a website or URL owner to carry the cost of the data used by visitors to their site. What this means is that consumers can visit, browse and transact with your brand or business website or advertising at no cost to their airtime balance – including customers being able to reach your website with no airtime balance whatsoever. The commercials operate in a similar fashion to SMSPortal’s Reversed-Billed SMS messaging where replying to an SMS is charged to the business which sent the message rather than the consumer.

Why should I apply Reverse-Billed services to my website or advertising?

South Africa has a large mobile user base, however, a significant portion of these are prepaid airtime users who often do not have airtime or data loaded on their phones and can therefore not access the internet.  Visual marketing can have a significant impact, which is part of the increasing trend of using URLs in SMS message content. 

By way of example, a business wants to send out a large SMS marketing campaign for life insurance. To apply, consumers need to complete a form on their website to submit information to assist with creating a bespoke quotation for the consumer. The campaign was sent as an SMS with a URL that consumers could click to navigate to the online application form. If the consumer cannot access the website due to having no data services, an opportunity has been lost. 

There is a wide spread use case for Reverse-Billed Data beyond marketing, with one other significant trend being the implementation of this service for businesses internal IT services, enabling work from home strategies throughout the lockdown period and minimising the impact of lockdown to your own staff in the absence of fixed internet services. 

How do I apply for Reverse-Billed Data services?

Application for these services is simple and is offered by all the major networks directly. It is important to note that this service needs to be applied for with each of the major networks to ensure that regardless of your consumer’s Mobile Network Operator, they have access at no cost.  

MyBroadBand published an article outlining the costs of this service with the various Mobile Networks. Simply contact the Mobile Networks and inform them of the URL or domain you would like to apply Reverse-Billed Data services on. Once the setup and commissioning is complete, mobile visitors to this URL enjoy data free interactions with your brand. Please note that this would not be applicable to customers accessing your website via fixed services like ADSL and Fibre. Read Article.

Reverse-Billed services are a must in a new world focused on consumer experience and 2-way communication. Allowing consumers to engage whenever they need to at no cost to them, with your business, is not only a value-add, but solidifies your market positioning as a brand that takes consumer engagement seriously. Reverse-Billed Data, while not a service that SMSPortal will resell, adds to the suite of existing Reverse-Billed products that businesses can use to better engage with their consumers. 

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