Thursday, March 3, 2011

Digital Filipino Talks: Using Text Messaging for Business Operations Support

Today, March 3, 2011, digital Filipino Talks about Using Text Messaging for Business Operations Support. Interviewed for this topic is GiveMe Unlimited CEO Mr. Erick Kalugdan ( on how text messaging (SMS) is used today to support various business operation functions.

Mr. Kalugdan shares his insights on how to implement SMS applications for businesses to reach out to their customers by either using the 4 digit telco services or using their own.

Many uses of SMS services to promote businesses

Mr. Kalugdan mentions the following uses of SMS which makes it a valuable tool for business:

1) blast texting - sending messages to mobile phone users for information about a product or promo.

2) notifications - sending messages that notify a customer of the status of his service.

3) customer service - allows customers to communicate with product agents about concerns on the product or service.

4) management - allows businesses to communicate internally on product inventory, etc.

On spamming and scamming

Mr. Kalugdan shares his insights on spamming and scamming via SMS.

He mentions that a text is considered a spam depending on how businesses acquire your cellphone number for their text blast. Cell numbers should be gathered legitimately by the company. If it is acquired randomly or from an outside source, then it is considered spam.

A text is considered a scam if any text message from an unknown number asks you for something in order for you to get something in return. (like payment or cellphone load)

The special 4 digit code.

Special 4 digit codes can be used instead of a normal cellphone number by a company to send SMS promo messages but they have to be acquired directly from telcos or other firms selling their 4 digit codes. Using this service is more expensive at 2 pesos or 2.50 pesos per send. Mr. Kalugdan advices companies should avail this service depending on the target number of customers.

My views on the issue

On SMS Updates

Most of the time we get SMS messages from the telcos themselves, specially their ongoing promos and contests. I know there are ways to turn off the SMS updates. All you have to do is send a phrase to a specific number to turn them off.

However, most of us do not know how to unsubscribe those services. And there are some who even complain that they already sent those commands to unsubscribe, yet they still receive those unwanted updates. Telcos (or any company using SMS updates) should make sure that people know how to unsubscribe to their updates, either through text, or through their official websites.

On contests and promotions

All of the 'contests' (I rather call them raffles) by telcos offer big cash prizes, with sums of 5 digits and up. And some contests say that they will be raffling off winners per hour. The only thing is how do I know if this contest has legitimate winners? That's the thing with electronic raffle, you are not even sure how the winners were picked. Companies who promote these contests via SMS must make sure they announce the winners' names as soon as possible in their official websites to prevent people from doubting the contest results.

On scamming

In my opinion, if companies want to offer a promo or raffle contest, they should avail the 4 digit code. This is because anyone can use a normal cellphone number to scam. As for 4 digit special codes, I don't think scammers will dare borrow those numbers from telcos to do their trade.

Reporting scammers

I was truly blessed to get notifications of winning 850,000 pesos and a Honda Civic from Philippine Information Center years before. Obviously it's a scam. You'll know it is when you win a contest you never joined. However these people behind these scams should be stopped so that other people will not be victimized. We should do our share in reporting this to the NTC (or any authority) so that these scammers can be put out of business for good.

On a final note

I hope companies who use SMS to promote their product or service would be sensitive to the consumers as well. Imagine if a lot of companies resort to SMS promotions, our cellphone inbox will be swamped by unwanted ads. So even though all these companies acquired cellphone numbers legitimately, they will still be treated as SPAM.

My take on this is that, even if companies know that SMS text blasts can reach their clients, I hope they won't overdo it. Anything in excess is will always lead to negative results.

This is my entry to's Talks Blog Contest. Be part of the conversation. Visit the contest page to join. Feel free to comment on my blog post about My view on Using Text Messaging for Business Operations Support.

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