SMS is significantly more reliable and gets more attention compared to email
Essen-based Code Piraten GmbH specializes in the development of customized systems for workflow and process optimization. The dynamic Code Piraten team plans and develops individual software applications for its customers, implements them in companies and provides support for daily use.
In spring 2020, the software developers faced the challenge of establishing additional communication channels in the SaaS tools with their products guestoo, a solution for guest management, and covidoo, a Covid-19 test center software.
The initial situation
Due to the rapid digital development, work processes are now subject to constant change. During the acute phase in the Corona pandemic about two years ago, the Code Piraten team was looking for an alternative communication solution for the covidoo software. Guest verification at events also required new software updates at guestoo due to the tense pandemic situation.
The aim of the system optimization was to enable event organizers to communicate directly with their guests, or corona test centers to reliably transmit results to their customers. Previously, communication had only been possible via e-mail. The developers were looking for a reliable alternative to optimize the communication channels in the SaaS tools.
The e-mails were often blocked by the respective provider.
Although companies are not on an email provider’s blacklist, emails sent still sometimes don’t get through.
“At the test centers, we faced the problem that result transmissions via e-mail often ended up in the spam folder. Sometimes, test results or registration confirmations did not arrive at all, even though it was not spam, the mail server had a good reputation, and the e-mail structure complied with all specifications. As a result, test centers were bombarded with inquiring customer calls.
In order to stop wasting valuable administration time, we looked for an alternative way to transmit test results. We also asked ourselves what we could still optimize in the communication between the organizer and their guests before, during and after an event for our guest management guestoo,” Stefan Wirtz, one of the two managing directors of Code Piraten, describes the initial situation at the time.
The use case
We were looking for a guaranteed way to reach and inform guests and customers.
“We wanted to offer our customers an additional feature so that they can, for example, point out a special program item during an event and to make it easier for the health department to follow up on infections by contacting guests via SMS afterwards,” Stefan Wirtz explains example situations from his customers’ everyday work.
The decision-making process
The development team first obtained an overview of which communications service providers were available on the market. There was extensive discussion about what criteria Code Piraten would have to consider when it came to data protection and how the new functions could then be implemented in the existing systems.
Verification of guest contact data during an event was a legal requirement in acute Corona times. Since sensitive customer or even health data is managed in both products, data protection played a major role in the choice of communications provider.
“All the criteria, such as guaranteed sending of notifications, legal protection according to the DSGVO (GDPR) and compatibility with our products, were equally important to us. If we didn’t have all of that, we would use a product, which might not deliver.
For data protection reasons, the provider location definitely had to be in Germany. We did not want to give data to the US under any circumstances. We would rather do without a feature than soften data protection with such a step.”
In practice, customers who use covidoo, for example, create their own account with sms77.io so that they can then send SMS messages via covidoo.
For us, it was important that our customers technically had the option of saving and viewing data on the dashboard interface.
“Therefore, only a service provider that could conclude a data processing agreement (DPA) with us came into question. Other characteristics such as compatibility and integration with and into our products and reliability in shipping and service were added as further criteria,” Stefan Wirtz describes the result of the brainstorming.
The Code Piraten employees were critical of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as data protection is not guaranteed with either product. Other messenger services such as Telegram or Signal were also out of the question because they have the disadvantage of being dependent on the Internet.
SMS notifications work independently of the Internet
“So we looked around for a German business messaging provider that is capable of sending large volumes of SMS, has a data protection officer and offers a reliable system and good support.
Especially for corona tests and event invitations, SMS are much more reliable compared to emails, as many email providers have their own spam rules. SMS messages get delivered on any cell phone even without Internet reception,” says the software expert, describing his experience.
Solutions and improvements
The Kiel-based business messaging company sms77.io was ultimately convincing in comparison with other providers: “Our contact Christian Leo made a charming and likeable impression right away during support, the company had good ratings, was priced the same as other messaging service providers, and everything worked well right away during the test run,” Stefan Wirtz recounts of his initial contact with sms77.io.
The data protection and the possibility for our customers to create their own account clearly sets sms77.io apart from the competition.
“What appealed to us most about sms77.io’s solution was the easy integration into our SaaS systems and the nice and reliable support. If something ever goes wrong when sending large amounts of SMS, it’s important to have a guaranteed contact person. Data protection and performance also spoke in favor for sms77.io.
During peak times, for example, statistics can be viewed directly and our customers can independently create an account at sms77.io. The launch happened within a week as we had hoped,” says Stefan Wirtz, listing the services that particularly convinced him of sms77.io.
“The cooperation with sms77.io is very good. As we are also a young and dynamic team that implements its ideas professionally, we feel like we are talking to like-minded people.”
The alternative option of sending SMS messages has saved a lot of nerves and time for the organizers and staff of the test centers. Before using SMS messaging, they were contacted very frequently by customers because they had not received confirmation of their visit or their test results.
“Since then, complaints have dropped significantly and the sending of almost five million SMS messages by our customers speaks for itself. In principle, SMS are now used everywhere where fast and reliable delivery of notifications is important to our customers,” Stefan Wirtz tells us.
“We can guarantee a more reliable delivery with SMS than with e-mails, if desired. However, we also notice that the use of SMS sometimes still seems too advanced and too private for invitations, especially in the event sector. Many people still tend to shy away from it. Invitations by mail are still the most common model,” smiles Stefan Wirtz.
Another look into the future: The Code Piraten are also considering using SMS for notifications in their personnel planning tool persoo. The integration would be such that the staff can be contacted via SMS and, for example, automatically receive a reminder SMS for an upcoming work assignment or when something new happens in the workflow.
“For communication in our tools, SMS messages are very beneficial because they get more attention than emails. E-mails are looked at once a day if necessary, but SMS messages are seen immediately,” Stefan Wirtz concludes, summarizing the advantages of SMS over e-mails.
We are pleased to learn how SMS are used in modern planning tools and that they seem even too “advanced”. It is very pleasant to have found a likeminded cooperation with Stefan Wirtz and the Code Piraten team. The cooperation could hardly be better.