A lot of people ask me about Esendex and how/why Julian and I started it. I generally end up bending their ear for far too long about everything we've done and the passion we have for getting it right. It struck me that I should try and put together something more concise and considered and this blog seemed the appropriate place to publish it, so here goes.
Esendex has always been about business sms services. We deliver SMS services as a utility that businesses use alongside telephone, fax and email to enable them to conduct their business efficiently and cost-effectively. Our focus has always been on providing reliable, performant message using national carriers.
We decided early on that playing by the rules was important if you are in this for the long run and want to build a real business. To a certain extent this means a hard slog to reach critical mass. In the early days customers didn't expect too much but increasingly businesses are looking for levels of support and security of supply consistent with their other business communication channels.
I guess we built the company in our own image. I came from an enterprise development background, Julian from the utility sector and we just thought about doing things in the best way possible. There have definately been times where we wished perhaps we a little more fast and loose, but we're really bad blaggers and probably couldn't have carried it off.
In a recent customer survey, 93% of respondents were very satisfied with the service they received from Esendex, with reliability being cited as the most valued aspect of our service. Must have something to do with the team of technical experts, passionate about availability and performance, who monitor and maintain our systems 24 x 365.
All this is very laudable but not particularly exciting, which was the feedback during one of our PR flirtations over the past few years. The really interesting stuff, the stuff that's makes people understand what we do at parties, are the case studies.
In the early days this was also the education challenge, "so SMS is for kids or for spamming people, why on earth would I use it in my business?"
Both RAC Autowindscreens and NTL (Virgin Media as they are now) use our system to manage their mobile workers, sending and receiving job information. Which has meant saving money on voice calls and dispatch staff at the same time.
In NTL's case we have developed and host a bespoke application that manages job workflow all via SMS which has recently been rolled out to a number of other departments. We've also developed service checkers that confirm service availability for a given postcode, locations of local exchanges and switch gear, and a whole host of other services that bring enterprise data into the moble arena.
Another service I'm particularly proud of is the Car Data Check service we run for Experian. Taking a registration number for a car via text, matching that against Experian's vast motor and insurance database and sending a report of the vehicle's history and likely concerns via text. Once this service was live we then added in a Parkers valuation, gave it the keyword PRICE on 80806, and a very successful consumer service was born.
The great thing about all these services is they seed ideas among the rest of our customers and the business community as a whole. My personal view is that we have still along way to go with SMS and mobile messaging in general. It will become as pervasive as telephone, email and fax but in ways we're only just imagining.