Looking for SMS/webapp hybrid examples

A product I am working on currently utilizes SMS to send users info about meetings and protocols related to work. Their managers are the ones that send out the SMS messages (users are employees) and the information is often user-specific. We intentionally don't have an app (or even web-app) for these employee users as we've found SMS to be the most seamless way to communicate updates to them.

We've identified the need to display more visual and rich content to these users but want to avoid a native (downloadable) application to keep the barrier to adoption as low as possible.

I'm looking for inspiration for any product that effectively uses SMS updates and links to a web app to communicate information and user-specific content. I'm particularly interstate in any creative solutions around authentication and making the UX seem as fluid as possible.

Thanks for the insight!

#Twilio #Phone and SMS
dadventureland's avatar
almost 2 years ago

ReplyYes was a Seattle-based company where SMS was their core application interface. It was innovative and immediately engaging. They're no longer running, but check the link for screenshots.

2 points
maguay's avatar
almost 2 years ago

We'd originally built our companion app, Capiche FM, around SMS messages, and still rely on SMS there for push notifications when shows go live. Originally, our SMS messages were fairly interactive. You could reply to a show to request to speak live, and could reply to send messages to the show's host. We worked on a few more interactive things there, but in the end focused more on the web app.

One of the more detailed real-world apps with SMS that I've seen is Agoda, the travel booking site. They do have a mobile app, but you could get by without it, as every time you make a booking it sends you an SMS with the full details, sends an SMS when your booking's soon and if you receive a message from the place you're staying, and more. Pretty sure I've seen more interactive ones in the past—ones that'd tell you to reply X to do Y—but I can't think of any offhand.

For inspiration, I'd recommend checking Chatfuel. Their app is built for making Facebook Messenger bots, but you could do much of the same with SMS albeit without images (at least, unless you're sending MMS, but those are hit and miss).

A few things we've learned with SMS messages:

  • Use SMS for the core content, then include a link to send people to your site for more functionality. Think of it more as notifications that share quick updates.
  • If you include a link, make sure it fits in the first 160 characters, or that there are at least 160 characters before the link, so the link will be inside a message and not split between multiple messages, as some phones aren't so great at stitching them back together.
  • Be very careful people know why you're SMSing them, as a random SMS catches people off guard and can seem to be spam far more easily than a similar email would.
1 point
jonpon's avatar
almost 2 years ago

My company Evant does SMS engagement for communities. (Event RSVPs, surveys, donations and other communication over SMS.)
Our platform actually tries to focus as much as the communication with the end user (the community members) on SMS.
The only time they need to leave SMS is to follow a stripe link if the event they are paying for an event.

I have been surprised with some of the creativity the community organizers have with the platform, they have been able to keep their community members engaged and active without really having to leave their SMS app.

There is a lot to be said about the details of SMS both on the technical level and on the "philosophical" level.
I think there is a lot of power of keeping the experience in SMS w/o having to move the user out.

Would love to talk more if you are interested.

1 point
navpar's avatar
almost 2 years ago

You may want to look at (free if you are on Microsoft 365). And great customer service. They might even customise the app to cater to your requirements

1 point
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