USSD Services – An effective mobile-based tool for Businesses that desire customer interaction The explosive growth of mobile phones in India and the widespread adaptability of wireless technology are helping businesses communicate with their customers much more efficiently using end-to-end and real time solutions. USSD allows high-speed communication between the user and an application. Over time, it has become the most easy and cost-effective way for businesses to communicate with customers. USSD is a GSM communication technology that is used for transferring text-based messages in real-time between a mobile phone and an application program. By maintaining a session between the application and the end-user, this provides nearly instantaneous 2-way transfer of information. USSD is commonly used increase the reach of those businesses that need mobile interactive services to engage with their customers across handsets. USSD supports longer message content than SMS, and is generally considered more responsive. Unlike SMS, USSD is session based. Sessions can be initiated by both users and networks, through varying trigger methods. One very popular use case for USSD works is the facility telecom operators provide for checking the account balance on a pre-paid phone connection. Commonly used in banking, mobile polling and education, IMImobile USSD works best when there is a need for a highly reliable and interactive communication. Services which are ideal for use with USSD are those that require interaction between the user and the business application. In USSD based services, all you have to do is dial a service code and select the appropriate prompt for the desired information. USSD technology being integral to most phones can be invoked from any phone. In some cases, innovative service providers have introduced novel concepts such as a Missed call to trigger a USSD session. Information from the end user is sent over USSD session phone to an application that is receiving this information at the service provider end. The application, in turn responds back to the request from the user, by providing a new menu or alternatively, executing the action that the user has requested.. USSD message flow facilitates fast and real time communication for businesses with their audience,, far more immediate and responsive than traditional interaction over SMS.USSD services are widely used by banks to provide their customers with easy and quick access to mobile banking services. Some benefits of USSD based services are outlined below:
Customers can easily access information anywhere, anytime via any existing mobile handset. USSD services are convenient, can be personalized and time saving. No restriction on normal business hours - Ideal for people in remote areas who do not have banking facilities nearby. Interactive customer-care facilitating self-service with the option of call back. Enables user to enter commands directly from same screen without having to access any specific menu. Works on all handsets, instant implementation, and operating expenses remain minimal. Offers every customer a simpler and more direct access to interactive services.
How it works: USSD Gateway enabled services work on almost every handset with simple dialing facilities. In one method of invoking USSD services, customers simply need to dial a service code and receive a menu to navigate and access the information they are looking for. The menu is perfectly formatted making it suitable for easy interaction. Another method in which the USSD services can be invoked by the endusers is via a Missed call or a SMS to a short code/long code. Upon receiving any of these alternative triggers, menu-based USSD session can be initiated between the end-user’s phone and the business application. Typically, business applications are split into two parts – The Menu application and the Business logic application. The ‘menu application’ executed the menu based processing and is implemented and hosted at the service provider’s end. Businesses are provided with a self-serve platform where they can configure the menu of their choice. The ‘business logic’ application is set up by the business, and the application looks up databases etc. to provide the endcustomer with dynamic and relevant content. Service providers most often host the business logic application as well.
The explosive growth of mobile phones in India and the widespread adaptability of wireless technology are helping businesses communicate wit...