Simple and effective – How SMS in public authorities enable additional service

How SMS in public authorities are used to simplify processes and expand the range of services

Authorities of all kinds deal with many people, who could not be more diverse, on a daily basis. SMS can help to optimize both processes and communication between authorities and their customers. The benefits are obvious: not every person can install an app, SMS messages can be pre-scheduled, they’re more flexible than phone calls, and they attract more attention than emails. If you add a reply option, you can also use SMS as a full-fledged alternative communication channel. If you aim to do this, all you need is your own inbound number.

Let’s take a look at the purposes for which SMS are most commonly used in government agencies as a service to citizens. 

Appointment confirmation via SMS for online booking

Online appointment booking is now a standard feature for progressive government agencies. Your customers select the appointment time that suits them best on your online platform and book it. Sending a confirmation of this appointment booking via SMS has several advantages: it attracts attention, so the citizens know for sure that the appointment booking was successful. Also, your customers know where to look in case they forget when they booked their appointment. A text message is usually easier to retrieve than one of numerous emails most of us receive every day. To round out this process coherently, you can also send an appointment reminder via SMS two to three days before the appointment.

Appointment reminders

The appointment reminder via SMS enjoys its great reputation for a reason. Not only public authorities like to remind people of upcoming appointments, but also doctors’ offices, hairdressers and other service providers. The reason is simple: appointment reminders via SMS greatly reduce no-show rates. Fewer cancelled appointments means that your staff is working more efficiently, which lowers costs for you and stress for your employees.

If you wish, you can also enable your recipients to ask for another appointment by replying to the reminder SMS or simply cancel the current appointment.

Additionally, you can offer a call service as an appointment reminder in case the recipients do not own cell phones. With our voice function, you can send the reminder SMS so that it is delivered as a call and then read out on the phone. This way you provide an additional service for elderly citizens or those who decided not to use a cell phone for personal reasons.

SMS in public authorities can be used to remind people of appointments

Callback option

There’s no question that during telephone consultation hours, your team has its hands full. To prevent frustration caused by waiting on hold and to offer your citizens an additional service, you can offer a callback option. Citizens send an SMS to your number, in which they briefly describe their concerns or requests. This way, employees know what the call is about before they call back and can make it as effective as possible. Here, too, SMS create another service for your customers, which at the same time helps you to optimize internal processes.

SMS for accessibility and inclusion

Another benefit of SMS is that it can contribute to accessible communication when used wisely. For example, offer people with limited hearing, or speech, the ability to contact you via SMS. This makes it possible to answer short questions in a very productive way.

Perhaps you would also like to send back a link to a sign language video that explains the solution to the question? In addition, for many reasons, it may be easier for different groups of people to contact you via text message. So offer an SMS hotline to make it more convenient for everyone to access your services.

SMS to counter full waiting rooms

In Departments of Transporttion and other authorities, citizens often have to wait for long periods of time. With the help of SMS, you can make this time more pleasant for your customers. Offer to send an SMS shortly before the waiting time is over. This way, people waiting can stay outside the building, go shopping or otherwise occupy themselves and still be informed in time so that they can pick up their documents as soon as they are ready. This way, even longer waiting times are easier to endure and your waiting room won’t be bursting at the seams.

SMS in public authorities can make the experience a lot better for citizens

Flexible citizen service

Services such as SMS at the end of the waiting period have a particularly high added value for your customers. That is why SMS in Public authorities are often used to simplify processes related to application forms and collecting documents. Whether it is a text message reminding you to pick up your ID card or the option to ask about the status of your document, i.e. to make use of an information service – a text message is effective, up-to-date and usually very well received.

More complex solutions are also possible, such as that of a pilot project in the German town Ludwigsburg. Here, citizens can pick up their documents at a terminal, regardless of opening hours. They conveniently receive the PIN for the box in which their documents are stored via SMS. In addition, they confirm their identity on site with a fingerprint. This provides citizens with flexible access that works independently of opening or business hours and can therefore be integrated into citizens’ daily lives a lot better.

These and other measures can be used to expand the services offered by citizens’ offices, making them more user-friendly, effective and flexible.

SMS in public authorities – a win-win situation

With SMS you can implement services that not only offer advantages for your citizens, but can also make your own processes more effective.

For example, appointment confirmations and reminders as well as a callback option after an incoming SMS optimize internal processes and offer an additional service at the same time.

SMS can also create direct added value for citizens in public authorities if they are used to adapt existing service offerings to the living environments of citizens. This includes, for example, barrier-free services such as SMS hotlines, but also other ways of making citizen services more flexible, as shown by the example of the document terminal.

The use of SMS in departments with long waiting times does not make time go faster, but it communicates waiting times more transparently and precisely, so that people waiting can pursue other activities during this time without your processes suffering.

So using SMS in public authorities can be useful in many different ways. SMS can help you communicate with your customers as effectively as possible without making it impersonal. Just give it a try.

Do you have any questions? Write us a message – we look forward to hearing from you.

All the best
Your sms77 team

Header picture by scholty1970 via pixabay.com

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