texting your customers

Text Your Customers: A New Age of Notifications

As the era of connectedness and messaging continues to evolve, customers are demanding to leverage texting in their application workflows. This need for messaging is driven by customers that are looking for many different ways to be notified. In typical web applications, email usually was the main point of contact and still is today. However, SMS or text messages, are becoming increasingly popular as communication methods.

Marathon’s clients have started to listen to their customers and came to us to ask about SMS integration. Marathon has developed against many different web APIs and there is no shortage of SMS providers out there. Many clients look to trying to continue to generate emails to send to the providers that get translated into messages, but that requires you to know which provider they are using.

Most will recognize Twilio as a leader in this space, however there is a local option that we have partnered with to integrate their services and they are our preferred vendor for messaging APIs. CDYNE Corporation, is that preferred vendor, and is a leading provider of Web Service solutions which encompass a wide range of data enhancement, data verification, and communications tools. CDYNE has been developing and marketing Web Services since 1999. CDYNE Corporation’s transaction based billing model was developed with that product to allow clients to buy only what is consumed affording them further savings.

A company may want to integrate SMS into their applications for any of the following reasons:

  • Provide two factor authentication to your application
  • Send real time notifications
  • Use SMS to generate new traffic/leads/customers

Once the decision has been made to integrate SMS, some considerations need to be made:

  • What is the budget you have for messaging?
    • There is a transactional cost associated/message
    • There can also be a monthly account fee
  • How many messages do you wish to send?
    • At certain traffic limits, messages legally need to come from certain numbers like SHORTCODES
  • Have you thought about the legalities?
    • There are a lot of regulations surrounding text messaging. Sometimes you have to consider if the receiver has opt-ed in or out to receive messages
  • Locations
    • Is your messaging only going to work for US based numbers, or are you going to need to support numbers globally?
  • Return Number
    • What do you want to happen if someone tries to call the number the message came from?
      • Nothing could happen, or you could have the phone call forward on to your business line.
    • Incoming Messages
      • If someone decides to send messages what do you want to do:
        • Capture
        • Ignore
        • Auto-reply that the number isn’t monitored

Once you have established how the messaging will be used, then you have to figure out how it will be integrated into our application. CDYNE’s SMS service is very well established and is a standard API service to integrate with. For ASP.Net based projects it is as easy as adding a service reference. Once the API has been referenced the API’s to send messages are easy to use and have a larger variety. They also have a lot of different options for being able to schedule messages to be sent at a current time. If you had an application that needs to send messages to a larger number of recipients the service is able to easily scale to send many messages. For incoming messages, CDYNE can define a URL that it will call on the application side with a set of parameters.

Marathon has developed this solution for multiple clients and is able to be your choice for SMS integration. For example, Marathon has integrated SMS into a fleet system for a client, notifying truck drivers of incoming shipments and delays via SMS. In addition to SMS, CDYNE also has many other services, like address verification, that your application might be able to take advantage of.

Tom Marsden

Tom Marsden is an associate vice-president at Marathon Consulting. He has been a software consultant at Marathon for over 6 years working on many different and challenging projects including an application that scans and analyzes silicon wafers. Tom is first and foremost a developer who has been building and designing software solutions since 1996. Tom has had a chance to sharpen his tools out on the west coast with companies like Google and Amazon before settling on the east coast in Virginia, moving from Canada. Tom has developed in many different languages for many different domains and enjoys the challenges that picking up new technologies brings. His recent development experience have mostly being in the Microsoft Stack using ASP.Net MVC, C#, and WPF.

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