There’s one question many have when deciding to use the new SMS feature integrated into Universal Office:
“Why does sending text messages cost extra?”
To answer that question, we first need to look at what it takes to deliver your text message.
There are two ways to generate content for SMS – composing your own SMS marketing broadcast or having the system auto-generate an appointment reminder. Either way, you have to first write the message before it can be sent.
For messages generated by the system – which happens when appointments are booked or when a 24-hour appointment reminder is due – Universal Office keeps track and triggers SMS notifications as required.
For marketing campaigns (and other types of bulk messaging), you compose the message, then add mobile recipients (pulled from patient files stored in Universal Office) and click Send (or schedule for the campaign to be sent at a later time).
In both cases, Universal Office then passes the recipient phone numbers – as well as pre-populates any personal patient information (such as patient name, service description, and appointment time) along with your message content – to the SMS service provider for transmission.
That’s as far as Universal Office can go.
In order for SMS messages to be sent, you must be subscribed to an SMS bulk messaging service that securely transmits your messages to its destined recipients.
Today, the cell phone industry in Canada is dominated by the three largest national telecommunication companies – Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, and Telus Mobility. They each charge customers for SMS service, with some packages including a limited number of text messages per month or even unlimited messages. Subscription to cell phone services with SMS always comes at a price.
But that price does not include bulk messaging or mass marketing. In fact, when attempting to send a message to hundreds of recipients at once, the mobile carrier may block the number and “spam” those messages. That’s why you need an SMS bulk message service provider, which will allow you to deliver large numbers of text messages to mobile phones.
So why do you need Universal Office to send text messages? Generally, these types of SMS gateway service providers know nothing about your patients or the scheduled appointments stored in your system. Therefore, they cannot trigger or generate appointment reminders. All the SMS service gateways can do is securely and accurately deliver your message.
To simplify SMS use within your practice management, we have integrated with a service provider that is reliable, secure, and affordable.
While other practice management software vendors have integrated with SMS service providers that charge between USD 4 to 9 cents per SMS – our provider only costs just over CAD 2 cents per message. We wanted to find the best deal for our customers, but check out our Why We Chose Swift SMS Gateway blog post for more reasons behind our decision.
The SMS bulk messaging service (much like transactional email service) is provided by dedicated vendors who specialize in developing and hosting the service on powerful servers in secure data centres. These services take care of delivery, security, routing of messages, and other nitty-gritty details.
In conclusion, Universal Office cannot deliver messages without a dedicated SMS bulk messaging service provider. We cannot and do not offer such service, and therefore, customers have to subscribe to one that is commercially available. While we at Antibex Software do not charge you anything extra for our new SMS bulk messaging module in Universal Office, you do have to pay the service provider for their SMS delivery service.