How To Use Automated 2-Way Messaging for Increased Security and Conversions

By adding variables to the 2-Way SMS flow we've enabled our partners to instantly offer a higher level of security.

August 11 2016

In this day and age, businesses can't be too careful with consumer data. Every day there is another article highlighting the importance of protecting your accounts online. Every week there is yet another high-profile hack, data leak, or privacy lapse. Businesses need to find easy, but still secure, ways to protect customer data and their own systems.

We're passionate about creating meaningful interactions between business and people, but we’re equally as passionate about ensuring all those interactions are secure. Because customers expect near-instant communications with business, we're always looking for innovative ways to offer streamlined security workflows to our customers. One of the newest ways to enhance security is using real-time, 2-Way SMS challenge-response workflows that ask customers basic security questions before releasing confidential information. This new feature is powered by adding variables to the SMS conversation flow to match questions to answers for authentication. We've recently added these workflows to the Infobip Portal so all Infobip partners can offer a higher level of security.

Verifying user identity in real-time flows

2-Way SMS lets you promptly respond to customer questions and respond back in real time. 2-Way SMS is perfect for engaging customers right in the moment and offering promotions when they will be most effective. But some conversations are more sensitive than others. Financial data, like account balances, stock market portfolios, or loan offers, require user authentication before the information can be shared. Real-time authentication protects you from fraud, lawsuits, and helps keep user data protected. Actively improving user security not only protects your business, but improves your brand and helps your customers trust you more. The question then is how to make 2-Way SMS conversations more secure, but still easy and engaging for customers. The answer is actually simple: challenge-response questions over SMS.

We use challenge-response all the time for credit card information (enter your card number, then your birthday, and often a third question as well), why not connect the same data to a 2-Way SMS system for customer service? Combining 2-Way SMS with Two Factor Authentication (2FA) gives you challenge response security with SMS simplicity.

2-Factor Authentication is well accepted for granting access to user accounts and data, either through a first-time registration or login. However to offer challenge-response authentication, you need to combine the questions (challenge) with customer data (response) to make it work, and this is where variables come in. Our 2-Way SMS conversation variables let you pair questions and answers in real time so your customers can be authenticated quickly and easily.

Using variables for user authentication

Say you're a bank and doing an SMS customer survey and want to offer multiple loan options to your clients at the end of the survey. After your customers make their choice, they are prompted to confirm their identity by asking for information like their birthday or customer code. If the answer is correct, the system automatically connects the user with the appropriate loan agreement and sends it out, or halts the interaction if the user wasn't properly authenticated. Since you already have the customer's mobile number on file as the first check, combining that with additional data they provide you can authenticate the customers. If the data is more sensitive you can ask more questions to be more confident the customer is who they say they are. Using variables for questions and answers you can easily integrate secure authentication over SMS responses containing unique identifiers/responses for each client.

Infobip Portal: verify your users by adding variables in the 2-way SMS flow

Increased conversion through cost-effective flows

Automated 2-Way SMS message flows don't just improve data security, they automate getting the right customer the right offer at the right time. By guiding users through a fully-automated, pre-imagined message flow, you can decrease the burden on call center staff to verify users and even reduce the number of agents required for basic information or offers, minimizing the time needed for customer acquisition. All while having a quick and efficient user verification in place.

Coming back to one of the original points, customers want answers quickly. While we all want security, we often don't like to have to answer questions to verify ourselves—especially if we have to answer the same question more than once. Using an optimized challenge-response flow that is tied into your customer database not only helps authenticate people, but also engages customers meaningful conversations more quickly A flow such as this, supporting both user and business-initiated messages, also impacts conversions.

Infobip Portal Secure 2-Way SMS flow chart

Keep in mind that only 1% of consumers are always satisfied with their customer experience, anything you can do to make every customer experience easy, productive, and painless will help your business. Real-time flows and tools that allow you to connect with your customers before and during a purchase help increase overall customer satisfaction. Data from Kissmetrics shows that real-time, automated message flows increase sales up to 300% and improve customer satisfaction as well.

Measure, analyze and optimize

Once you have the right automated flow in place, you need to optimize every user interaction in the customer experience. The Infobip Portal gives you complete insight into your campaign performance at a glance with built in reports and downloadable data to build your own custom reports.

The Portal transparently showcases your campaign's performance and allows you to build predictive metrics around your reach. You can optimize your campaigns on the fly; adapting to consumer behavior and scale according to your business needs. Our deep connections to mobile operators around the world gives you the reliability and scale to grow your business in the global market.

Infobip is a Level 1 service provider that holds multiple security certificates, and offers a wide range of solutions for user authentication, messaging, and engagement. Infobip can help you build secure, effective messaging campaigns on any scale in over 190 countries.

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