Tuesday, March 03, 2009

10 things you didn’t know you could do via text

I want ur text card 

Now there’s a challenge. I use SMS for all sorts of things but in my mobile world, folks tend to get carried away with the new stuff and forget good ol’ fashioned reliable text messaging. And I firmly believe there is still plenty mileage in text messaging.

So when I received an email from another Helen who blogs at Mobile Maven alerting me to a post she’d just written about 1o things you didn’t know you could do via text, it got me thinking. Clearly there’s an American bent to her list and there’s a few things missing on it including these:

My favourite use of SMS in marketing terms is for customer service. Telling people via SMS that their parcel will be delivered on x date, asking customers for feedback and simply saying thank you goes a lot further than endless push messages telling me to do something I probably don’t want to do. Customer retention is cheaper than customer acquisition.

On a daily basis, one of the SMS services I use most is Spinvox who do voicemail to text message – incredibly handy – it converts all my voicemail messages to a SMS which I can then reply to the caller via SMS if I wish. I can even dial in to listen to the message if someone has mumbled so much that it wasn’t translatable. It also works as a voice memo service and links in with various social networks. And even better news today, is that Spinvox is now working with Skype.

You can text in to disable your phone if it’s been stolen… this is still a work in progress for me and I have yet to complete my investigation into these services but will report back shortly on my findings.

And although not strictly a SMS service, you can back up all your SMS (and contacts and whatever else) from your phone, over the air, using Synkia. I met these guys in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress and I’ve been looking out for a SMS-back-up service forever and couldn’t understand why one didn’t exist. After all, O2’s bluebook does this. And Treasuremytext goes some way to doing this too, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. But I have to say, Synkia is *exactly* what I was looking for.

I know there are plenty other examples but instead of me going on about them, perhaps you can tell me what your favourites are instead and share them with everyone here?


  1. SpinVox was great, I really hate having to listen to voicemail again.
    I use SMS for my reminders. If see something I want or remember something while I am out I'll text myself

  2. I'm not sure if your just asking for examples of sending out text rather than receiving them. Google calendar sends me a text message alert before meetings. I would have missed many meetings were it not for the txt msg reminder.
    This is particularly useful for conference calls where the text message gives me the bridge number to dial into. I can then dial in straight away.

  3. Another service, that at least 2 million UK people find invaluable and entertaining, is AQA63336. 17 million questions and answers, 3 books based on it, an edinburgh show and a BBC TV commission isn't too bad! I do, of course, work for them.

  4. Errr, what about the millions of people that use premium SMS to pay for everything from convert joining of porn sites to voting on X-factor-dancing-on-ice-nancy (no, I haven't done either! Well maybe the porn!).

    And then there is SMS based search with the fabulous AQA -- use it all the time.

    If I lived in Africa I would be doing most of my banking with SMS...

    SMS has sooooo many uses!

  5. My personal favourites use Twitter direct messaging in the middle:

    - texting reminders to Remember the Milk (essential for those, like me, with sieve brains)

    - texting appointments to Google Calendar

    - texting ISBNs to LibraryThing to add a book to my library

  6. A few more things:

    Voice SMS allows you to send a text message and its received as a voice call. Ideal for emergency messaging as it allows us to retry the destination number if it’s engaged or unavailable.
    SMS appointment reminders which reduce company costs & improve customer service every time!
    And my personal favourite - taxi firms that send you an SMS to let you know your cab is outside!!!

  7. Thanks for sharing that great info. I will look into it once I download Skype and all. Texting can be uber addictive though :P


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