SMSGH Mid-Year Corporate Hangout

July 25, 2016 | 1 minute read
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SMSGH organized fun games for staff at the Lizzy Sports Complex on Friday 15th July, 2016. The essence of the games was to provide a midyear corporate hangout – a short break from work to unwind, interact in a less formal way with colleagues, and foster team spirit. There was a football match between the technical and operations teams and other fun games.

It was all fun, healthy banter, and an extensive display of team spirit.

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Uber Partners SMSGH To Accept Mobile Money Payments In Accra

June 9, 2016 | 3 minutes read
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No more street hails or waiting outside to find a ride. Uber has launched in Accra, the 11th city in Sub-Saharan Africa and the 467th globally, in a move that marks its growing presence in Africa.

The service is set to provide unrivaled intra-city movement for the over 4 million people using the streets in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA). Uber’s service has already gained massive brand recognition around the world because of its ease of use and the convenience it provides in an increasingly mobile world.

Uber selected to use SMSGH USSD-based mPOS service to enable a mobile money payment that was seamless and easy to use for riders and driver-partners.  According to a recent Bank of Ghana report, mobile money transactions in Ghana have now reached GHs35 billion per quarter.

With the launch of the SMSGH mPOS, Uber riders can now conveniently pay for rides via mobile money. Drivers will simply dial a USSD code containing the driver’s four-digit business identification number (BIN) and the rider’s mobile number (e.g.*713*1234*0244000000#), select the mobile wallet provider and enter the amount to pay. A bill prompt is then issued to the rider to confirm the transaction and complete payment with a wallet PIN. Both driver-partner and rider will then receive an SMS text as confirmation of payment.

In an interview on the solution, a Senior Product Manager at SMSGH, Bubune Peter Adih commented that “….the simplicity of the mPOS application resonates with Uber’s approach to doing business. Being everyone’s private driver Uber strives to breakdown complex interactions into very simple processes and so SMSGH sought to ensure that this payment service works just as well and simple as Uber.

Free Weekend

Uber is celebrating its launch in Accra by providing free rides. This means that from launch date (Thursday, June 9) until Sunday (June 12, at midnight), guests will be able to request an Uber ride at no charge. In order to activate this discount, a user will need to enter the promo code MoveGHANA on their Uber iOS/Android/Windows application. This will offer users 6 free rides within Accra, each up to GHS 20.

About Uber

UBER is a technology company that connects riders and drivers at the touch of a button.
Available in 467 cities across 72 countries, the UBER platform is evolving the way the world moves. UBER’s mission is to change the way citizens of the world move, work and live. It aspires to transform the way people connect with their communities and to bring reliability, convenience and opportunity to transport systems.

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MTN Holds SME Fair In Takoradi

March 31, 2016 | 2 minutes read
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Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) hosted this year’s SME Business fair in Takoradi for interaction and networking opportunities for SMEs within the Western Region.

The two-day MTN SME Business Fair, organized under the theme “Accelerating SME growth with smart ICT solutions and partnerships” officially opened on 23rd March 2016 at the Akroma Plaza in Takoradi . The fair brought together about a number of companies including SMSGH Solutions Limited, Fidelity Bank, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), GCB Bank, TXT Ghana, Glico and other businesses, who engaged participants in various products/ services they offer.

Participants had the opportunity to experience MTN’s ICT offers which includes Corporate Voice Solutions, Internet Messaging Solutions, Data Centre Services and Security Solutions. Other products showcased included MTN’s vehicle tracking devices, modems, routers, and corporate devices.

SMSGH, one of MTN’s leading partners was privileged to be a part of this event and had the opportunity to present to participants one of its products MYtxtBOX. Mr. Emmanuel Offei talked about the various advantages of using the right communication tools for customer engagement, explaining the benefits of using MYtxtBOX, its features and various offerings especially the recently launched MYtxtBOX Email.

Visitors at the SMSGH booth were taken through live demonstrations on various features of MYtxtBOX such as the #HashTag for feedback; real time messaging reports; multimedia messaging; voice messaging; e-mail messaging among others.

The Business Fair was proudly sponsored by MTN in partnership with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Western Ghana Chamber of Commerce.

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Airtel Hot As Top VAS Partners Deactivate Connections

March 18, 2016 | 4 minutes read
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Top local mobile value added service (VAS) providers who constitute the Wireless Applications Services Providers Association of Ghana (WASPAG) have suspended all their services on Airtel citing unfair revenue share.

Director of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs for WASPAG, Conrad Nyuur told Adom News that, the mobile network provider, like all other telcos, have over the years been imposing unfair revenue share arrangements on VAS players but this time round “they went too far”.

He explained that Airtel is one of the telcos that keeps 70% of revenue generated by services of VAS providers and gives 30% to the VAS providers, who in turn share their portion with content owners and App developers.

“That revenue share arrangement is bad enough, but just this year they wrote to us and said they will now keep 80% and give us 20% but we resisted and they reviewed it to 75% to 25%, but we still insist it is unfair,” he said.

Nyuur said they therefore gave Airtel one month notice to reverse the decision and that one month ended on March 16, 2016, but they have still not heard anything from Airtel so they have suspended all their services on Airtel until they reserve the decision.

By this action, all premium-rated and subscribed services such as all SMS-based services, caller ring back tone (CRBT), MMS or WAP content services and even some voice services have all been cancelled on the mobile network operator.

This means customers who subscribe to those services, some of which are essential, would no longer enjoy the services until Airtel reaches a compromise with their local VAS partners.

Nyuur noted that this is not the first time VAS players have had to boycott Airtel, saying that in the first instance, Airtel and Tigo failed to pay that exact amount due VAS players as reflected in mutually reconciled financial statement.

“They insisted on paying what they unilaterally collated and we lost money because we had then paid our content providers based on what the reconciled statement said,” he lamented.

He said initially the local VAS players had a 50-50 revenue share arrangement with Airtel but they kept scrapping off part of the share of VAS players every year and claiming it is based on orders from their headquarters in India.

Nyuur said “to add insult to injury”, the network even imposed their Indian-based sister company called ComViva on the local VAS players to play middle man for CRBT services.

“ComViva is nothing but a content provider like us but Airtel forced us to give our content to them in India and then they place it on the Airtel network in Ghana and that has reduced our share of the revenue from CRBT to 11% and not 30% as agreed,” he said.

He said WASPAG is particularly surprised at Airtel because, in India where it is headquartered, it gives VAS players up to 70% of the VAS revenue, but it has decided to shortchange VAS players in Ghana.

“The protest to Airtel’s imposition of unfair revenue share arrangement was necessary because we have endured that unfair cycle for years, where one telco scoops some of our revenue off and once they succeed the other telcos follow and we keep losing,” he noted.

Nyuur said WASPAG is very worried that so far, the telecoms industry regulator, National Communications Authority (NCA) is not providing any real protection for VAS players after licensing special number resources to them at a fee.

He said the last time VAS players took an issue regarding Airtel to NCA, the regulator said it could not interfere in commercial arrangements between two private entities, “but when we suspended our services the NCA said we should restore the services to customers while we negotiate with Airtel.

“We feel that was double standards on the part of the NCA because our commercial arrangement with telcos is always about the customer so why would NCA stay off the arrangement which has ramifications for the customer,” he asked.

Meanwhile, since the WASPAG members suspended their services, Airtel is said to have started feeling the pinch so its officials have called WASPAG for a meeting later today to discuss the way forward, after ignoring the VAS providers all this while.

AIRTEL

Airtel officials reached on the matter confirmed they are aware of the issue but declined comment until after negotiating with the VAS players.

But until then, all VAS services provided by WASPAG members to Airtel customers remain suspended.

WASPAG

WASPAG represents over 20 top VAS providers in the country, and they include MobileContent, SMSGH, TXTGhana, Rancard and many others.

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SMSGH Launches Email Messaging on MYtxtBOX

March 16, 2016 | 1 minute read
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SMSGH has launched Email Messaging on MYtxtBOX in addition to its SMS and Voice messaging. The primary aim is to give users multiple channels to engage with their audience.

MYtxtBOX is a communication tool useful for businesses and individuals to reach a large number of people through bulk messaging. The addition of email messaging is in response to the demands of customers for messaging content that promotes visual advertising.

Research shows that more than 85% of internet users use email and users have a one-stop communication tool that improves customer satisfaction, saves costs, and inevitably increases revenue.

Features

  • Create your own marketing campaigns using Email messaging on MYtxtBOX
  • Professionally designed email templates for different email campaigns.
  • Preview to check how your emails will look like.
  • About 60% cheaper than most email messaging providers
  • Pay-as-you-go service

MYtxtBOX remains the most effective communication tool useful for reaching a large number of people with personalized information at the lowest costs.

Send an email on www.MYtxtBOX.com

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Four Things To Consider When Choosing The Right SMS Pricing Plan

March 15, 2016 | 3 minutes read
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Over the years, SMS has proven to be a cost-effective communication channel with a 98% open rate. It is accessible by both feature phones and smartphones. Knowing the right SMS pricing plan to use can greatly help you reach your target audience.

The following are useful tips to guide you to choose the right SMS pricing plan.

1. Remain Within Character Limit.

To remain within character limit, you have to take note of the pricing scheme used by your SMS provider. Most SMS providers price an SMS based on the number of characters in the message.

A normal SMS has a maximum limit of 160 characters. For example, if you send a message of 180 characters, you will be charged for the price of two message bodies.

You can adopt shorthand texts to ensure that you use the fewest number of characters possible but still convey your message in the most comprehensible form. For example you can replace for your information with FYI or adopt emoticons.

2. Segment Your Contact List

You can also reduce your messaging costs greatly by ensuring that you are not sending messages to people on your contact list who may not be your target audience.

You can segment your contact list into various groups to ensure that you target your communication at the right audience.

The people who are really in need of your message are most likely going to act on the information you provide them.

3. Take Advantage of Price Discounts

Another point to consider is price discounts. You can take advantage of discount offers that come with high volume thresholds. At SMSGH we offer competitive discounted prices for clients who send lots of messages.

4. Choose The Right SMS Provider

Finally, it is very important to choose the right SMS provider that offers you with the best pricing plan to meets your needs.

You do not want to make the painful mistake of engaging the services of a poor SMS provider. A poor provider will hurt your reputation with your audience with system failures. They will also increase your cost of messaging in re-engaging the services of a better provider.

Note that choosing the right SMS pricing plan is key to the success of your communication.

Contact our sales team at sales@smsgh for more information. You can also check out our pricing page for more details www.smsgh.com/pricing.

Create a free account on MYtxtBox to receive free credit for your messaging needs.

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Businesses Urged To Switch To Electronic Platforms

October 28, 2015 | 3 minutes read
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Businesses have been urged to introduce electronic payment systems to improve the services they render to their clients.

The Chief Technology Officer of MPower Payments Limited (MPL), Mr Alfred Rowe, said although businesses had moved in quickly with the proliferation of the Internet and were using it to expand their services to reach customers and interact with them, businesses had not innovated around payments.

“We have all been to websites where you fill some forms and when you finish they tell you to find one of their branches and make payments. So you see it defeats the full purpose of going online. What’s the use for a customer to come online, perform a service, and then cannot pay but has to manually enter a premises to complete payment,” he said.

He was speaking at Joy Technology Innovative Summit (JOTIS 2015) at the Kofi Annan ICT Centre in Accra on October 20. He urged businesses in Ghana to set up dedicated technology departments for e-payment to help customers take advantage of it.

E-payment system is a way of paying for goods or services electronically, instead of using cash or cheque, go in person or by mail.

The system is generally categorized into four, namely, credit card and debit cards, electronic cash, micropayment systems, and session-level protocols for secure communications.

Mr. Rowe said, unlike the early 90s when people went to the post office to mail letters, the invention of email had overtaken the way the postal system worked.

“Now there are generations who have not written letters before because of email. What email did to the postal system e-payment is going to do the same to cash, going forward. It will get to a point where normal day-to-day transactions will be done electronically because the average modern-day customer is a very digitalized customer who pays school fees, bills, and other services electronically without spending time,” he said.

He said e-payment had many advantages and was transforming businesses such that some traditional businesses had expanded their service delivery to make more revenue.

“A traditional business like the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has expanded its service delivery to customers electronically. From the comfort of their homes, customers can now pay for their bills. What this means for ECG is that it can sell to customers at all times. It means business is now 24 hours and is not limited to location,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of SOFTtribe, Mr. Herman Chinery-Hesse, said most of the challenges confronting developing countries could be solved through simple technology and that it did not require big industries to solve them.

He advised up-and-coming technology innovators to avoid innovations that required large organizations of governments.

“The reason why I say this is that from experience it’s a very challenging environment and need to avoid plenty of problems. So if you can avoid it and rather come out with ideas that address the problems of the masses, or else the process of getting it into use may be long and you may be disappointed,” he said.

He said young innovators should again avoid developing technology programs that required permits or changes in law and must also avoid cut and paste.

“A lot of our young people come and chat with me and say I just invented something but they describe and you realize it is something you have read about before. It’s like re-hashing Michael Jackson’s song. Dishonesty kills innovation so you actually have to innovate properly,” he said.

Source: GhanaWeb

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“Take Advantage Of Our Robust Infrastructure” — MTN Urges Businesses

October 19, 2015 | 3 minutes read
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Telecom giant MTN has urged small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations to ride on the robust infrastructure it has built over the years to propel their businesses to new heights.

Samuel Addo, General Manager MTN Business — the business unit of MTN Ghana — who focused on providing businesses and institutions with combined network and IT infrastructure, made the call at the 2015 MTN Business Fair held recently at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra.

“As a testament of our continuous investment in the right infrastructure for the industry, MTN emerged the only mobile operator to have excelled in the first-ever data quality of service test conducted by the NCA, our regulator, in the two upper regions of Ghana.“

It is against this backdrop that we continue to call on all to ride on the robust infrastructure we have built over the years to propel your businesses to new heights,” he told exhibitors and other stakeholders at the fair’s opening ceremony.

He called on all gathered to take the opportunity of the fair to apprise themselves of the plethora of products, services, and technology available on MTN’s platform. “Indeed, there can be no better time to take advantage of MTN’s technological innovations than now.”

The MTN Business Fair is an initiative by MTN Business Ghana to bring together SMEs and corporate organisations to empower their businesses so as to maximise productivity and enable and inspire growth.

Under the theme ‘Sharing the Values of Growth for Businesses’, exhibitors were Sci-Fi Webtech, Fidelity Bank, Forum Networks, and SMSGH (1188 Directory Services).

Mr. Addo explained that the theme underscored the primary aim of the MTN Business Fair, which is to demystify the bouquet of technology solutions available for businesses and showcase the wide variety of technologies, products, and services available to businesses.

The fair has already been to the Eastern, Western, and Ashanti Regions, where MTN and its partners interacted with various businesses to understand and share ideas on the way forward.

“We have no doubt that through these interactions we can transform our businesses, reduce our operational expenditures and, more importantly, maximize the benefits from using the right technology in our businesses,” he added.

He assured us that the MTN Ghana Business Fair has come to stay and will serve as a platform that continually explores ways of staying in touch with the business community.

“MTN finds it necessary to interact with the business community to establish itself as the place where individuals and organizations from the corporate world meet to take advantage of the varied, tailor-made solutions and products that MTN Business offers to optimize the productivity of SMEs and expand their businesses.”

He added that just a few days ago MTN attained its fifteen millionth subscriber — a historical feat that affirms the fact MTN leads in voice and digital innovations in the industry.

Other speakers including Sofiene Marzouki, Managing Director of Hello Foods — an online food ordering marketplace that connects customers with restaurants — lauded MTN’s efforts in helping businesses operate smoothly through its products and services on offer.

“As an online food-ordering marketplace, the integration of MTN mobile money has helped improve our operations in terms of online payment and enhanced higher customer satisfaction,” he said.

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SMS vs. Push Notification vs. Email: When should you use what?

February 10, 2015 | 7 minutes read
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SMSGH BlogPost: A main concern for many companies is evaluating the best communication technique to increase customer engagement. How do you convince customers to interact with your product in the most contextual manner?

Email, push notifications and SMS are all popular methods of communicating with customers, but it can be tricky to discern when to use what while maintaining a good balance of delivering the right information at the right moment – all without sounding spammy.

Mobile has become the most impactful communication platform due to its massive growth over the past five years, clocking in an impressive 85 percent penetration rate with just Generation Y alone. The ability to reach customers directly on their smartphone can help boost visibility as long as their devices are powered on.

To keep customers coming back to your app, your communication methods must provide the most value at any given time. So what are the benefits of each medium?

Here are some recommendations on when to use SMS, push notification and email.

SMS
Approximately 90 percent of SMS are read within the first three minutes of delivery. This messaging channel should be used to deliver business-critical information to provide a superior user experience to your customers.

Sending an SMS when a delivery is arriving or when your item is ready for pick up keeps customers in the loop and allows them to feel more at ease. For example, Uber sends riders text messages when their ride requests are accepted and when drivers have arrived, giving customers time to prepare and look out for their rides. The SMS also prompts customers to browse the app to see their driver’s current location, photo, car make and license plate.

Aside from important contextual information, SMS APIS can be used to enable two-way communication between companies and their users in a comfortable and hassle free environment. By providing a communication channel that is familiar to users, companies can engage with their customers on their terms.

The combination of a high engagement rate (open and read) and global reach, also makes SMS an attractive choice for user authentication. Scenarios such as number verification and two-factor are prime uses for SMS because it can reach everybody, everywhere, in a familiar way.

Companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple do this well by allowing users to choose to receive an automated text message containing a PIN verification code. Once customers receive the code, they can input it via another channel (such as a Web form or app) to confirm their identity.
When shouldn’t it be used?
SMS shouldn’t be used for information the user will need to reference later, such as receipts or confirmation codes. Compared to emails, SMS are easier to delete and harder to search through. Any information sent by SMS should be readily actionable in a short timeframe.

Lastly, SMS can only contain a maximum of 160 characters, which limits you on the amount of information communicated to the user. SMS should mainly be used for critical information requiring the user to take an action, such as notifications, alerts, two-factor authentication, etc.
Any special considerations?
Try to avoid embedding links into SMS for devices in emerging countries where the user might not have a data plan or Wi-Fi to access the link, as this may result in frustrating your customers. Frustrated customers are not a good thing.

If a link is crucial to the message, make sure that the landing page is mobile-friendly.

Lastly, if your users are scattered around the globe, make sure that your campaign provider is capable of sending SMS messages globally – without delay and in the right timezone. Again, because SMS is the most time-sensitive channel, all communication with overseas userbase should be sent at the hours users are awake.

Email
Email should be used when communicating basic information which is not time-sensitive. Use email for things that users need to go back to at some point in time. This includes successful signups, confirmations, reference codes, orders and receipts.

Anything account-related and changes in service should also be communicated via email. User achievements or milestones can also be sent via email as they may want to keep them as badges of honor.

When in doubt, ask yourself the question, “will the user need this at some point down the line for reference?” If the answer is yes, then email away.

When shouldn’t it be used?
Email shouldn’t be used for urgent actionable items. Zipstripe found that the average time for recipients to view an email message is as long as 6.4 hours.

With this in mind, it would not be appropriate to notify people via email that their food delivery or mode of transport has arrived, as they might not see the notification in time. Promotions with a tight redemption period, e.g. a couple of hours, also shouldn’t bet delivered via email as the user might not see the message in time.
Any special considerations?
When sending an email, make sure your app/company is properly labelled as the sender so users don’t think it’s spam. If you want to it to come from a specific person, always include the app name as well e.g. James from CoolApp so the user recognizes the sender.

If your email has links inside, make sure it’s viewable on a mobile device, as your users may check it on the go.

Push notification
Push notifications work by sending a message to the notification center or status bar of your user’s smartphone and is the default way of communication for apps on smartphones.

It is considered less intrusive than SMS because it can be delivered on the user’s screen without interrupting their current activity, and it will never incur a cost to the user. It also makes it easier for the app developer as users automatically opt in to push notifications when downloading the app.

However, caution should still be taken when sending push notifications, as the user may revoke the apps permission push notifications.

Push notifications should be used when a significant event or activity occurs within the app that requires the user to perform an action, or is a time-sensitive piece of information that will benefit themr. Examples would include messages from other users, reminders for certain tasks, new in-app content and special offers.

When shouldn’t it be used?
Like SMS, push notifications shouldn’t be used for information that the user will need to reference later on. The ephemeral nature of push notifications mean they will disappear as soon as the user swipes left or clears their notifications. It is the easiest out of all three mediums to delete after reading.

Push notifications also shouldn’t be used to promote third party products, even the ones that partner with your app, as it will be seen as too intrusive and irrelevant.

Any special considerations?
Keep the push notifications brief. Remember, the user will see the notification flash at the top of their phones while possibly being in the middle of some other activity, so keeping it simple will resonate better with your users.

Push notifications allow you to get personal with your customers. You can use them to add strong calls to action to increase user engagement. For example, instead of saying ‘The weather forecasts rain,’ you can add personality by prompting users to ‘Bring an umbrella! It will rain today’ instead.

Finally, don’t oversend. The fact that push doesn’t interrupt user activity is not a license to overdo them. It only takes a few annoying, irrelevant notifications to prompt them to disable the function altogether.

The difference is in timing
Ultimately, timing plays the largest role between the three messaging channels. If you are trying to send information to existing customers about your product, push notifications and email are the ways to go.

But for larger audience reach, timeliness and important information delivery, SMS provides the urgency and flexibility to give customers valuable content at the most precise time.

Culled from The Next Web (with much thanks to Mr. Maximus Ametorgoh)

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