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02 July 2024

Missed call portal and notification alerts

In this next instalment of our ongoing series about business microservices and how they help to generate additional revenues from micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise customers for telcos we’re going to turn our attention to the missed call portal. It’s a service with obvious benefits for that market, so read on…

We’ve established beyond any reasonable doubt that telcos generally aren’t meeting the specific needs of their micro, small, and medium-sized business customers (MSME’s). The numbers to support that claim, unearthed by research, spell it out, as you can read in our recent blog here. This oversight makes little sense. Given the competitive landscape in the industry and the intense battle for market share, why overlook a captive audience?

And make no mistake a large part of the MSME market does represent a captive audience, composed as it is of often very small businesses indeed (a sizable chunk of firms in this category has fewer than five employees).

The reason is that these sole traders and micro-enterprises are already telco customers, but they’re more often than not using their personal mobile accounts (which offer no added business service functionality) to run their companies. That’s a problem (certainly for them) and as we’ve already said (more than once), things need to change.

Offering microservices to this market segment is a way to do that while easily picking the low-hanging fruit; it lets telcos meet the needs of the market, and at the same time transition low-value personal accounts towards becoming higher-yielding enterprise customers, a step many MSMEs might be reluctant to take in a single leap. And yet, for the most part, this shift isn’t happening.

A basic MSME need

In earlier blogs in this series, we’ve already looked at three microservices that make sense in starting to bridge that divide. This time, we’ll consider a fourth – the missed call portal – another obvious candidate likely to have high appeal for SMSEs.

Individuals who either run or work in these companies often have multiple devices and identities as they try to juggle their personal and professional lives without enterprise communications service functionality at their fingertips to help them.

It’s quite possible (perhaps even probable) that a lot of the time not all of these devices may be active simultaneously. Additionally, many turn their devices off when travelling to avoid roaming charges which, for the small business, can be particularly prohibitive.

In these and other similar cases, if someone tries to call one of the numbers (and it may be a business opportunity, not the spouse!), the user might not receive the usual missed call or voicemail notification (one might not even be left) that they would not only expect but, from a commercial perspective, rely on.

By having access to a Missed Call and Notification service they could log in into a portal and view their complete call history, with the additional option of receiving a summary of call activities as an email alert, thereby solving the problem. This is a microservice that thus allows business users to control costs while ensuring that they stay up to date with all relevant activities.

Exactly what is a missed call portal?

Let’s explain how things work a little more fully. A Missed Call Portal itself is a system or service that addresses the annoying issue of missed calls by providing several interactive functions that can be leveraged without the need for the small business to incur charges.

As such, it’s a particularly attractive offering in regions where mobile users may be sensitive to costs (thought that probably accounts for most MSMEs, regardless of their location, at present).

The portal comes into play when a call is made to a specific phone number provided by the Missed Call Portal service (in our case, that of the MSME customer). The call is not answered, so no call charges are incurred.

However, the missed call is logged, and the caller's number is identified and registered. Based on that, the portal triggers a predefined action. This could be sending the customer an SMS or initiating a callback, or providing access to another specific service as the MSME defines.

There are a number of obvious use cases that apply here. For instance, customers could receive information directly via SMS or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) callbacks. Services could also be set up to send alerts, for instance about job openings if applicable.

Or, MSMEs could engage with customers by providing product information, promotions, or surveys in response to a missed call. Lead generation is another potential use: the business could collect contact information from missed calls and follow up with potential new customers. The variety of use cases that could leverage the portal is broad and extends to customer support, logging service requests, customer authentication, and others.

Advantages of the Missed Call Portal microservice

The microservice has a number of obvious attractions and advantages, of which perhaps five stand out:

  1. It’s cost effective for users – MSMEs often operate under tight budgets and with the Missed Call Portal, they do not incur charges for missed calls, making it an attractive option for cost-sensitive markets.
  1. It’s easy to use and understand, requiring (for the MSME) no additional hardware or software and only a basic mobile phone.
  1. It’s widely accessible, because the portal can reach a broad audience that includes those with limited access to smartphones or the Internet.
  1. It’s engaging. Missed call services can generate high user engagement because using them is cost-free.
  1. As ever, the data matters! Missed Call Portals provide MSMEs with valuable data on customer interactions and preferences that they might not otherwise accrue if the call is altogether lost.

For telcos, offering the Missed call portal makes sense

If they’re not already doing so, offering the portal should be, for the majority of telcos, straightforward to offer to their MSME customers.  The benefits are clear to see and for telcos, while a robust infrastructure is required to handle high volumes of missed calls and process them efficiently, given the size of SMSE customers that is unlikely to present a barrier.

Yes, the portal could also integrate with existing customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation tools but again, this is unlikely to present any substantial difficulties to deployment.

Likewise, policies for addressing data security and privacy for users, especially when collecting personal information, are broadly likely to already be in place.

The bottom line is uncomplicated. A Missed Call Portal microservice can be an innovative and cost-effective way that allows a telco’s MSME users to access information, engage with customers and other businesses, and perform various activities without incurring call charges.

The system enhances customer interaction and engagement while providing valuable data for the company. It’s the sort of basic tool the absence of which hinders fulfilling the potential of many companies in the small business sector and that, as we’ve said before, is something that has to change. Telco’s need to be there to help. And if they are, they’ll reap the profits too.

But – and here’s the key thing. It’s a gateway to leading the business to other services that incrementally offer more value. Let them discover the utility this simple offer provides, and then introduce them to more from the microservice range.

Talk to Gintel

Gintel helps operators succeed in highly competitive markets, achieving differentiation for their business service portfolio. Our telecommunications heritage, know-how and experience are backed by a track record of delivering successful solutions to Tier 1 operators, MVNOs, ISPs and Systems Integrators.

We enable our customers to stay at the forefront of service innovation in a rapidly moving market, offering agility and flexibility and delivering profit for their business.

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